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"Fresh Air"

New Deck Mooring Cleats

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The unusually snowy winter halted all of my winter projects for several months, and I got going on this cleat upgrade in March.
While most EY boats of this size have fairly large cleats on each "corner" the Olson 34 was spec'd out with eight inch cast aluminum cleats. All had sturdy aluminum backing plates and they have proven their strength on many occasions.

OTOH, when we have to put more than two lines on any one of them, there was never enough length of horn to wrap more line around. Lines for a boat of this size tend to be 1/2" give or take, and any sort of hitch puts on bulk too quickly. Last year a fellow Ericson owner with a wholesale account sourced me four new Schaefer 10" cleats. (Still about $60. each)
I realize that I could have put on SS Herreshoff-style cleats for less $, but I thought they would look rather odd on our style of boat. Subjective call.

The factory aluminum 8" cleats have quarter inch aluminum backing plates. Only (altho somewhat expected) hitch is that most of the 5/16 ss bolts are trapped in place by corrosion of the aluminum cleat. Oh well, it's not like these have any real future value.

I did confirm that all (!) of these were bedded properly by EY, and that the deck core is bone dry. I have included a photo from inside, looking up at the underside of the end of the bow area. This view shows the G10 plate I put under the new anchor roller frame a few years ago. Also visible is one of the G10 plates under a cleat. The anchor reinforcement was bedded in epoxy mush. Note that on this boat the anchor locker is laid up with the deck, so there is no problem with leakage potential like the Ericson's of the 80's. OTOH, this is a rather shallow locker and will not hold too much ground tackle. "Everything's a compromise".

The new G10 backing plates are 3/8" which is overkill, but I already had a piece on hand. Tough stuff-- I wore down about one blade in my jig saw... per finished piece...

In the second photo, you might notice that the original pole chock is gone and the pole is now mounted on stanchions with new Forespar chocks. Great to have that toe-stubber off the deck after so many years. The old holes are being filled with epoxy.

Next up will be the install of the aft cleats. Note that I drilled out the old holes slightly and fill them with epoxy. Also, and not visible in the finished photo is that the underside of all of the new bolt holes were over-drilled and then filled with epoxy resin, and then re-drilled for the final install.
Picture #2 shows a plywood jig I made on the drill press, and it helped some with the final hole line-up.

Working up in the bow area, after getting in with one shoulder at a time, is tiring... it was over 80 yesterday... sweaty job. Any dropped washers and nuts go down and out thru a limber hole into a compartment under the forepeak, I discovered. Light duty swearing was invoked.
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Updated 01-31-2018 at 07:44 AM by Loren Beach

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  1. EGregerson's Avatar
    Nice work. Nothing compares to making your boat better. I had one broken 10 years ago, but the new one was $150 (peak of the last market run up) Nice to see prices have dropped.
  2. Christian Williams's Avatar
    I like the look of those big Schaefer cleats on our boats. It's a pity they changed the hole pattern so some of us can't just swap originals for new.

    I did find that a firm sanding of my corroded alum cleats, ending with 320 grit and wax, brought them back to looking almost new. You can't hurt anodizing that is no longer there....
  3. footrope's Avatar
    Those are big cleats. Thanks for the pics of your bow. I like the cove cut into the deck just forward of the anchor locker door. Is that original or did you have that done?
  4. Loren Beach's Avatar
    Referring to the recess along the edge of the deck mold on the Olson's, that was done at the tooling stage for the deck mold to make it possible for the top of the aluminum toe rail to be approx. level with the deck nonskid. The general idea was to provide a "level" place to sit while hiking out.... I always envision four strong guys on a sunny day bashing to weather, off the California coast, each with a beer in hand...
    Given the era, perhaps a Heineken?

    Best part of the idea was that the recessed part along the perimeter has no coring, so that the whole deck perimeter is solid frp where all of the stanchions and pulpits are mounted.

    Cleat trivia: I just looked at the invoice and these cleats were priced out @ $95.05 list, and my price was $59.09 each. No charge for shipping.
    Updated 05-09-2017 at 07:37 AM by Loren Beach
  5. Slick470's Avatar
    Hey, at least you got two cleats to start with. The single bow cleat on the 911 is somewhat limiting.

    And the hiking "ramps" on the Olson boats is definitely nothing to sniff at. After years of painful hiking out on C&C's and J/Boats with the aluminum toe rail digging into my legs that ramp is something special.

    Oh, and nice job too
  6. RCTB01's Avatar
    Just completed installing new bow cleats also on my 30 plus. Found stainless steel cleats on E-Bay for $42. each. They are Dive-N-Dog HD-E-8-316 stainless steel cleats. They are 8 inch cleats and look great. The bolt centers are the same, so I was able to use the same holes and backing plate. Needed to remove anchor locker for access to underside of deck.

    Decided to do this while rebedding the bow pulput. Nice improvement over the pitted original cleats
    Updated 05-09-2017 at 09:33 PM by RCTB01