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December 10, 2020 3 min read

Harken Cleats - Aluminium vs Plastic Carbo-Matrix

We sell two types of Harken Cleat in two different sizes at Sailing Chandlery.

In this article we are going to explain the difference between the two types of Harken cleat and also provide you with the vital statistics so you can choose the right cleat for you and your boat.

Two Cleat Materials

Harken cleats are made in two material variations, aluminium or a plastic carbo-matrix.

As you would imagine the aluminium cleats are harder wearing and they should be used for lines which are frequently adjusted or pulled through the cleat constantly. They also come with a higher working load so make sure you think about the load that will be put onto the cleat by the rope.

The carbo-matrix cleats won't last as long but have the advantage of being lightweight. If you're looking for weight gains on your boat and have lots of cleats this could save you quite a bit of weight.

How can you tell the cleats apart?

There is one simple difference between the cleats which you can see from the top. The aluminium cleats have red centres, the carbo-matrix cleats have black centres.

If you have fairleads on the cleats and can't see the top then the other way is to look for the slight difference in colour. The aluminium cleats are a dark grey and the plastic cleats are solid black. Below are images where the two types of cleat are shown.

Harken Cleat - Micro Cleat 468

Harken Cleat - Micro Cleat 471

Two Cleat Sizes

Two sizes are available for your cleats.

Here are the key statistics and specifications for the larger cleat size:

  • Height - 30mm
  • Length - 65mm
  • Width - 32mm
  • Minimum line Ø - 3mm
  • Maximum line Ø - 12mm
  • Fastener spacing - 38mm
  • Fasteners - 5 FH mm

The product codes for the larger cleats are:

  • Aluminium - Harken 150
  • Carbo Matrix - Harken 365

Here are the key statistics and specifications for the smaller cleat size:

  • Height - 22mm
  • Length - 48mm
  • Width - 24mm
  • Minimum line Ø - 2mm
  • Maximum line Ø - 6mm
  • Fastener spacing - 27mm
  • Fasteners - 4 FH mm 

The product codes for the smaller cleats are:

  • Aluminium - Harken 468
  • Carbo Matrix - Harken 471

Picking the right Harken cleat for the job

There are three main things that will help you with your decision on which cleat to buy:

  • The existing cleat and holes that are potentially already in place on your boat
  • The size of the rope
  • The load going through the sheet 

If the holes are there already then check out the specifications of the cleats and work out which cleat is going to fit on top of the existing holes. Do make sure you think about the loads running through the cleat to pick the correct material.

If you're using a rope that's over 6mm you'll need to go for the larger size cleat as the smaller cleats won't support that size rope. The larger 150 and 365 cleats are used for mainsheet jammers, think of a Solo mainsheet cleat for example.

The smaller 468 and 471 are used for smaller systems such as control lines, think Solo dinghy side adjustments for outhaul, kicker and downhaul. In some instances the smaller cleats are also used for mainsheets, such as on the Laser where the 471 cleat is issued as standard with new boats.

In terms of load being supported by the cleats, here are the maximum working loads for each of the Harken cleats:

  • Small Aluminium - 91kgs
  • Small Carbo-Matrix - 68kgs
  • Large Aluminium - 136kgs
  • Large Carbo-Matrix - 91kgs

You can see that there is a 25% difference in the smaller cleats and a 33% difference in the larger cleats.

Harken Cleat Questions?

We hope this article has given you enough information to help with your decision. Our friendly team are here and are always happy to answer your questions if you want to bounce some ideas around of validate your thinking.

We can also support you with the fixings and accessories for your cleats.

Explore the Range of Harken Cleats

Explore the full range of Harken cleats and accessories at Sailing Chandlery.

Harken Cleats