Mainsheet Cam Cleat Upgrade

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Mar 20, 2007
Catalina 355 Kilmarnock, VA
Anyone with a late-model Catalina has had to deal with the poorly designed main sheet clam cleat on the cabintop. There was a thread on the Catalina 310 forum (thanks, Truckman) describing replacement of the OEM clam cleat with a proper cam cleat and lead assembly. Since our boats are very similar, I thought this might be a good and fairly easy upgrade.

I removed the screws securing the clam cleat and removed it, then cleaned up all the old bedding (of note, Catalina actually chamfered the holes in the gelcoat - Mainesail would be proud!) and filled them with MarineTex. I drilled (and chamfered) and tapped the holes in the embedded aluminum backing plate, and bedded the Harken cam cleat and lead assembly in butyl with SS screws coated with Tef Gel. Easy upgrade, and a great improvement in mainsheet control.


Jan 22, 2008
Hunter 27_75-84 Frankfort IL
This is now on my "to-do" list John. Thanks

Ken Reed
#22 "Duet"
New Buffalo, MI
Aug 2, 2009
Catalina 315 Muskegon
The only time I use my cam cleat is when I jam the mainsheet into it to free up the winch for use on the outhaul. It always works pretty well for me, so this mod might be rather far down on my personal mods to do list?

two questions:
- how or when do you use your cam/clam cleat?
-how did you determine which cam cleat to use, in order to be proper for the loads?
Mar 20, 2007
Catalina 355 Kilmarnock, VA
Good question about the loads. Don't know that anyone has actually calculated it (or discussed with Catalina). This mod has been completed by a number of 310 owners, who have essentially the same mainsail we do. Unless I'm sailing close hauled, I don't keep the sheet on the winch simply because it's too cumbersome to make fine adjustments, especially when the handle is on the winch. The old clam cleat was difficult to release the sheet from and was a hazard to fingers. The cam cleat is much easier to manipulate, and is better for fine adjustment as well as keeping a more reliably and visibly secure grip on the line. You might also want to check some of the comments from other Catalina owners on this and other sites.


Jul 7, 2010
Beneteau 37 Cranes Creek, VA
JS, I agree with your opinion of the stck cam cleat and replaced mine after the first season with a Harken extreme angle clam cleat. Other C310 owners have done that or other cam cleat models. I tapped the aluminum plate set in teh cabin top to secure it. Here's the picture.


Apr 8, 2010
Ericson Yachts Olson 34 28400 Portland OR
Just an odd question.......

If you Catalina guys and gals do not mind a naive question from way up here in the bleachers...
And... since I have done a lot of crewing over the decades on boats with housetop travelers and winches that were difficult to reach. Sometimes VERY difficult...

Any of you ever figured a graceful way to move the traveler back ino the cockpit, maybe right in front of the wheel?

Required Force on the sheet would diminish by magnitudes and single handing would be easier.

Our own (not-a-Catalina) boat has a bridge deck traveler with a main seet that can be popped in n out of the cam cleat from behind the wheel. Even single handing is easy so it's great for cruising with only the two of us.

There's a beautifully-maintained C-310 and a 320 near us in the moorage and we've visited aboard. Nice boats for local sailing and cruising.

Fair winds!
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