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Old 12-04-2016, 19:57   #1
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Cleat vs bitt for anchoring

Hey Im looking at the pros and cons of replacing my single cleat on the starboard and port side of the bow on my catalina 27, used for anchoring and mooring and replacing them with a bit right behind the anchor locker, in the proper place, thus elimination my fear of using just a cleat while anchored. Would this be a safer and sturdier option than tying the anchor rohde to a single cleat, as its been done for years and years? My catalina is a light boat, but up in maine were often able to be swept with a nasty noreaster pretty fast, and id love the peace of mind knowing that the boat is not relying on a 30 year old hunk of steel bolted to a 30 year old piece of fiberglass.
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Old 12-04-2016, 20:20   #2
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Re: Cleat vs bitt for anchoring

I had a 1985 Catalina 27- very similar to yours- and I too didn't trust using a single forward cleat. It was especially troublesome as the cleats needed to be retightened every few years (and you know how difficult it is to get to the nuts on those things). My solution was to simply use both forward cleats. I'd cleat the anchor line to one side and then bring it across the bow and cleat it to the other as well. I did this for 12 years and never had an issue. I would not add a cleat behind the anchor locker. It would mean drilling holes in the deck, attaching a cleat to a point (which is not necessarily designed to take such a load), and ultimately give you just one point to tie off to. I'd go with using/trusting the cleats you've already got, as per the original design. If you google this I doubt you'll find many instances where the horn cleats actually worked all the way off. Mine might've loosened but never getting anywhere close to coming off.

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Old 12-04-2016, 20:30   #3
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Re: Cleat vs bitt for anchoring

Quote:
id love the peace of mind knowing that the boat is not relying on a 30 year old hunk of steel bolted to a 30 year old piece of fiberglass.
So, now you would have a newer piece of "steel" bolted to the same 30 year old fiberglass, but in a place not designed to take the load.

Not to say that it couldn't be done, and done well, but it will likely require considerable reinforcement of the deck in way of the new bitt. Or you could build a proper Sampson post, let through the deck (suitably reinforced) and terminated on the hull (suitably reinforced). This latter would be very strong, but kinda a PITA to replace something that has worked for a long time!

Oh... the reason I put quotes around "steel" is that it is quite likely that the cleats are made from an aluminium/magnesium alloy, not steel. A visual inspection of the cleats to assure that they are not cracked, a replacement of the fasteners, and the installation of backing plates under the deck in way of them will provide a good level of reliability, and without any major surgery to the deck.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 12-04-2016, 21:24   #4
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Re: Cleat vs bitt for anchoring

While it is amazing what those little cleats will hold, I too would upgrade if I were you. I don't know if you need to go to a bit, a large 4 bolt cleat, with a lower profile on the deck would be preferable I think. It's really those 4 big bolts you want, AND a large solid backing block to spread out the load; that should be fine. I had one like that on the bow of my old Columbia 24 (large cleat, big backing block) which was overkill for a 5000# boat maybe until the day my boat ended up rocking in the surf, keel on the sand but not getting buried (some very unkind folks had untied my anchor line.) Harbor patrol came out, tossed me a big line and I put it on that cleat, and they floored it. The line went taught and the boat virtually lept out of the surf! The officer later commented that it was a good thing I had a good cleat on there.
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Old 12-04-2016, 22:22   #5
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Re: Cleat vs bitt for anchoring

A bit bolted on deck is just "lookalike" substitute for a proper samson post. To be proper it needs to be keel stepped and thus much stronger..
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Old 13-04-2016, 08:30   #6
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Re: Cleat vs bitt for anchoring

in one really nasty blow I tied it around the mast.
Bill


and id love the peace of mind knowing that the boat is not relying on a 30 year old hunk of steel bolted to a 30 year old piece of fiberglass.[/QUOTE]
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Old 13-04-2016, 09:21   #7
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Re: Cleat vs bitt for anchoring

As I installed an electric winch (where there was none before) I decided to might as well reinforce my bow cleats. Used several epoxied layers of 1/4" G10 with massive washers (practically plates in themselves) as backing plates for the cleats and four 1/4" epoxied layers for the windlass. After we finished, my boat building buddy was laughing saying that if we hoist the boat (17,000 lbs dry weight) by the cleats or the windlass it may separate from somewhere else in the deck but those will hold.
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Old 13-04-2016, 09:28   #8
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Re: Cleat vs bitt for anchoring

If the center cleat can be near the anchor locker bulkhead, with a good backing plate, and a large cleat, I would do it if you want. Put it where the rode will lead to the roller without chafing. Or just replace your side cleats with bigger ones and good backing plates. From what I've seen about most production boats, there is nothing "designed" about where they put stuff. They often just drill right thru the deck core and put washers on the back. If they designed it there would not core it there, use a big backing block and plate.
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Old 13-04-2016, 09:37   #9
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Re: Cleat vs bitt for anchoring

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
If the center cleat can be near the anchor locker bulkhead, with a good backing plate, and a large cleat, I would do it if you want. Put it where the rode will lead to the roller without chafing. Or just replace your side cleats with bigger ones and good backing plates. From what I've seen about most production boats, there is nothing "designed" about where they put stuff. They often just drill right thru the deck core and put washers on the back. If they designed it there would not core it there, use a big backing block and plate.
On my early 80s semi-production boat all of the cleats, stanchion bases, winches, etc. are over the non-cored portions of the deck. One would presume that this should be an industry standard. But I guess I am being too optimistic.
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Old 13-04-2016, 09:40   #10
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Re: Cleat vs bitt for anchoring

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On my early 80s semi-production boat all of the cleats, stanchion bases, winches, etc. are over the non-cored portions of the deck. One would presume that this should be an industry standard. But I guess I am being too optimistic.
Yeah, forward cleats are often outside of the cored area fortunately, but no actual space for a big backing block it seems.
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Old 13-04-2016, 10:18   #11
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Re: Cleat vs bitt for anchoring

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Yeah, forward cleats are often outside of the cored area fortunately, but no actual space for a big backing block it seems.
Yes barely but we squeezed the G10 plates which we specifically cut to fit that area. Plus lots of epoxy paste to even the under the deck surface out. Our biggest issue to resolve was fitting washers and nuts as the sloping hull side was making that very tricky and the new bolts were 1.5-2 inches longer and 2 sizes thicker. We also drilled bigger holes in the cleats to accommodate more robust bolts and I kept 1 or 2 old bolts as a reminder of the improvement we had made. ))
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Old 13-04-2016, 10:32   #12
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Re: Cleat vs bitt for anchoring

Remember it is a cat 27, with only 6500 displacement. A proper Sampson post would work, but itd be a lot of hassle and wasted space. Wouldn't a properly backed large bitt preform in much the same way as a Sampson post with a boat this light? I also haven't seen the backing plates yet, but it seems that catalina didn't cut short on stainless steel washers and plates on the sanctions and winches.
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Old 13-04-2016, 11:01   #13
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Re: Cleat vs bitt for anchoring

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A bit bolted on deck is just "lookalike" substitute for a proper samson post. To be proper it needs to be keel stepped and thus much stronger..
Or a big SS bollard in lieu of a Samson post with a steel backing plate as large as the space will allow.
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Old 13-04-2016, 11:24   #14
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Re: Cleat vs bitt for anchoring

I'll second AnacapaIsland's suggestion for securing to the base of the mast (assuming it's keel stepped). That's about as sturdy a Sampson's post you'll find on your boat. It's also one of the recommended attachment suggestions for when you find yourself aground and there is a tow boat available to power you off.

Properly sized bow cleats with proper backing plates are adequate for securing the anchor rode for most medium to light displacement boats. As pointed out by several respondents, placing a larger post in the middle of your foredeck won't necessarily buy you much unless you do the necessary modifications to the underlying structure to insure it is equal to the task of taking the loads you're concerned about.
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Old 13-04-2016, 12:12   #15
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Re: Cleat vs bitt for anchoring

My solution was to rig a three strand nylon bridle with a chain hook that had loops on both ends and went to the all chain rode. Never had the least problem or worry.

I would consider replacing the 30 year old bolts, and re-bedding the cleats after inspection. Even Stainless steel corrodes if no oxygen can get to it.

And call Catalina. They're very helpful about this kind of question.
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