In recent years, improvements in design have seen a rope clutch move from a cumbersome piece of kit to a powerful addition to a boat. Used on both racing and cruising sailboats, a rope clutch allows high load lines – such as halyards for the main sail, jib or spinnaker - to be controlled without the use of a winch. Other examples of high load lines include those that require cleating, such as tack lines and furling lines.
A rope clutch has various benefits on a boat: holding the line tight, a rope clutch facilitates fast and straightforward trimming of a line, and can be released quickly under load. Once infamous for causing slippage and rope damage, advancements in technology have since helped to suppress these side effects. As a pioneer of innovative rope holding technology, it is arguable that Spinlock produce some of the best high-performance clutches on the market.
With over 30 years’ experience, Spinlock are the self-professed ‘world expert’ in manufacturing rope handling equipment for sailing boats, dinghies and super yachts. Based in Cowes, Spinlock are practiced in designing innovative cleats, clutches and jammers, which are often showcased at prestigious events such as the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race.
Exploring the Spinlock range, the XAS rope clutch is a multi-role clutch with excellent performance across a wide rope range. It comes in two sizes: 4mm – 8mm, which has a maximum load of 400KG, and 6mm – 12mm, which has a maximum load of 575KG. Suitable for small boat high-performance applications, the 4mm – 8mm clutch is optimized for holding power on small diameter lines. The 6mm – 12mm model is suitable across the rope range, with an option to be converted for use with smaller diameter lines with the use of a base model.
The high strength XAS rope clutch – which is suitable for racing yachts up to 27’, and cruising yachts up to 35’ – features an easy, ergonomic access handle for comfortable release – alongside colour-coded handle labels for easy distinction. Line friendly, the endless line Spinlock XAS rope clutch makes light work of loading a continuous furling line, and provides a strong and durable housing that protects the rope.
Although similar to the XAS rope clutch, the Spinlock XTS is capable of taking almost double the load. The XTS clutch – which has earnt a reputation for being extremely reliable – also comes in two sizes: 6mm – 10mm (best for smaller diameter lines) and 8mm – 14mm (best performance across the rope range). Both Spinlock XTS clutches are capable of taking loads of 1000KG.
In contrast to the XAS rope clutch, the Spinlock XTS features an extruded alloy handle with a soft end grip alongside the colour-coded labels. In addition, the CAM is ceramic coated, for consistent holding with modern performance lines – such as Dyneema. The XTS also benefits from a clever lock open feature fitted on the cam. When engaged, the line is able to run freely in both directions, until normal clutch function is resumed. As testament to their performance, the Spinlock XTS clutch is now used as standard on new yacht production worldwide, as well as frequently used by inshore and offshore racing yachts.
Finally, the Spinlock XCS clutch is available in the same sizing and load as its predecessor, the XTS. However, the XCS rope clutch is finished with a superior quality, offering the chance to achieve a quality finish to match your boat’s deck or rig. Available in white coated, black anodised or silver polished alloy, the XCS has aluminum sides for sustained higher load operation that are 20% stronger than the XTS rope clutch. Because of this, the XCS is ideal in difficult mounting locations that requires extra durability, such as the mast.
Further benefits of the Spinlock rope clutch range include easy installation, upgrades and maintenance: there are service kits available for each, and all have replaceable parts. In addition, each clutch also boasts a variety of mounting options, be it single, double, triple, port or starboard mounting.
Can’t wait to get your hands on a Spinlock rope clutch? Explore the range at Upffront.com.