In Progress Report #13, I wrote that there were a number of components of Southern Cross that were critical to the voyage and had a story of their own, like the tent. The small jam cleat shown in the photo has a short but interesting story. A cleat, for those non–sailors reading this, is used to tie off a line (rope) and a jam cleat has an additional “V” that will jam the line.
Howard found the two small jam cleats at a garage sale a number of years ago. He recognized these cleats as unique because the jam (the “V”) was on one of the horns of the cleat. Thinking he might have a use for them one day, they were added to his collection of hardware where they stayed until becoming part of the “running shrouds.” There is a long description of the innovative “running shrouds” in a video, by that title, in the media section of this website.
It was the placement of the jam on the horn that allowed the cleat to work perfectly with the running shroud system. The little jam cleat replaced the small cam cleat shown in the video and with the jam facing aft Howard could ‘blow’ the shroud loose more easily and quickly than with the cam cleat.
Actually the little cleat worked so well in general that Howard has thought about having a small number cast in bronze and marketing them.
So the little cleat was resurrected from a garage sale table, found its way into the running shroud system on Southern Cross, and may find new life on other boats.
The little cleat’s short, individual story is another single thread that is woven into the tapestry of “A Voyage to the Dark Side of the Moon.”