Laser Clew Sleeve

Newly-approved device gives Laser sailors an easy way to secure the clew to the boom and makes for smoother outhaul adjustments. "Gear Up" from our January 2, 2007, /SW eNewsletter/

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In December, the Laser Class approved the Laser Clew Sleeve, a device manufactured by Harken for Vanguard that secures the clew to the boom and allows it to slide easily without binding, as strap and lashings are wont to do - especially in light airs. The Clew Sleeve ($45, www.teamvanguard.com) allows sailors to connect and disconnect the clew with just a twist of the hook, a real upside for those who frostbite and don't enjoy struggling to undo shackles or knots with numb fingers.I tried one for the first time on New Year's Eve during our regular frostbite series in Newport, R.I. I went out a little early because I had some concerns about the open hook keeping the clew captured when the outhaul was eased. Fortunately the design has eliminated this possibility. In light air conditions, none of the half dozen frostbiters who sailed with the sleeve had a problem. Everyone enthusiastically agreed that the Clew Sleeve is an innovation that works very well and is likely to become de rigueur very soon. The only negative word I heard about the outhaul sleeve came from my friend Mark, who said that he thought it was too heavy. It was politely mentioned, however, that one could find other ways to offset the few ounces the sleeve weighs. A couple of notes on installation: Follow the directions exactly or the Clew Sleeve won't work as well as it could. The hook is asymmetric and must be rigged on the port side in order to keep the clew captured. The outhaul grommet can also get hung up on the flange of the sleeve making it impossible to get the hook rotated as far as designed.