Spinlock Clutches and Jammers - Remote Operation

We are constantly reporting on the latest innovations in the marine industry which offer weight savings whilst, at the same time, increasing safety factors. The result: lighter, faster, safer and more exciting sailing.


spinlock clutches on a boat

Credit: Spinlock

A simple and reliable rope holding solution, everyone is familiar with spinlock’s range of clutches and jammers on the coach roof. But, did you know that Spinlock sells upgrade kits for remote control operation?


In this blog we will take a look at the pros and cons of remote clutch operation and Spinlock's solution.


You may have been surprised to hear that Spinlock even have remote control jammers as they have not been as vocal as some other brands about this functionality.

Before we look at their specific solutions, let’s take a general look at the pros and cons of remote control rope holding



Reduce compression

The great thing about controlling clutches and jammers remotely is that you can place them exactly where they are most efficient. That means that the jammer or clutch can hold the rope as close to the point of load as possible and thus reduce compression. A length of loaded line naturally creates a compression force between the two points. The greater the length, the more structure is required to resist that force.


Create a clean aesthetic

Modern boat designers are choosing to garage rigging either under the deck or in concealed areas of the boat to create ‘clean’ deck layouts for aesthetic purposes or to increase aerodynamic efficiency.



Can be more complicated

While remote control operation makes it easier to control rope holding from a distance, it also means having to manage an additional line. With remote control operation, both the trip line and loaded line must be managed.


Can be more difficult to maintain

While garaging rigging inside the boom, at the top of the mast or under the deck makes for a sleek aesthetic, it can also create real issues in getting to and maintaining your hardware and rigging.


How to upgrade the ZS Jammer

All ZS jammers are supplied with jaws and rear block pre-drilled for trip line attachment. To modify for remote operation you simply need to purchase the RLB (Remote Lock Back) lever and install a trip line.


clutch with line out of itRLB image


ZS Jammer with trip line installed                                                                           The RLB supplied by Spinlock.


Operation of the ZS using the RLB


RLB image 1


With trip line slack, the ZS Jammer is operated in the normal way


RLB image 2


However when the RLB is on, and tension applied to the trip line, the jaws are held open and when load is taken on the winch the jaws are opened by the spring and held open until the RLB is released.


RLB image 3


Modification of the XX0812 Clutch

The XX0812 is the only one of Spinlocks Clutches which can be adapted for remote operation. To install remote control, the lever arm is removed, and a trip line installed to release the clutch cams.

spinlock clutch on white


diagram of spinlock clutch



We spoke to James Hall from Spinlock about their thoughts on remote operation: “The remote function on the ZS Jammers is a feature that can be set up on the standard product with very little extra parts. On the XX0812 Powerclutch, the remote feature does need to be ordered but it is a standard product. We see remote operation use being limited, but not uncommon. Reef lines in booms being a common example”.

So, if you see the opportunity to reduce compression by relocating your jammers/clutches closer to the load point and can do so and maintain the ability to maintain your equipment properly then Spinlock do have solutions readily available which you can install yourself.


Interested in upgrading to remote control rope holding, or simply want to know more?

Take a look at our range of Spinlock clutches and jammers here.

Or email us if you have any questions about upgrading to remote control at support@upffront.com

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