Until recently we had a matching set of EasyLock clutches on the mast. These controlled the main spinaker and genoa halyards (5 in all). Sadly, due to poor design or age they would fail regularly (jamming in the fully open position). I decided to replace them and after much research and dock talk I settled on the Spinlock XTSs (XTS0814) (I bought 3 singles and a double. The singles I installed almost immediately. The bolt holes were wider spread than the previous ones so I elected to reuse one and drill and tap the other. Thanks to timely advice from John, of Pacific Rigging I knew to use my power drill for the tapping as well as the drilling. This probably saved me from breaking another tap off in the mast. The singles went on with next to no hassel.
It wasn’t until a few weeks later (yesterday) that I got around to installing the double that services the main and spinnaker halyards. I approached this project in the same way I had approached the singles, but that turned out to be a mistake. First off, the doubles had no common holes with the old EasyLocks. I had to relocate the clutch and drill all 4 holes. The other major factor was that the double can not easily be mounted to the slightly curved surface of the mast. As a result I had some unexpected trouble ,while tapping the holes, getting the threads to go in at the correct angle. In the end I did manage to get everything lined up, and the clutch mounted but it was a cold and laborious affair.
The last step should have been the easiest. Thread the halyards through the clutch and stopper knot the ends. The spinnaker halyard went through just fine but the main halyard (which had a little more memory) kept trying to exit early. I lifted the cam up a little too far trying to give it a clear path and heard and felt the retainer spring pop out. My heart almost broke. After some fiddling I managed to get the spring back (almost) in place and the cam works (though not as well as it should). When I get a warmer day I’ll go back up and fix it for keeps.
All in all I’m really excited to have these new clutches on Convivia. It’s nice to have equipment you can count on to work and perform well, and I trust that these clutches are solid. With any luck they will have some new Dyneema® cored lines to grip in the near future. If you’re not already on our team, please head over to our Dyneema® Experience page and vote for our team by “Following Us”.