How to Repair Leech Line Cleat / Tensioning Device

Item # X-HT-200687

If your sail’s leech line or foot line can no longer be tensioned, it’s time to replace your broken cleat with a new one. In this video, we’ll show you how easy it is to remove a broken cleat from your sail and replace it with a brand-new one from Sailrite®. Let’s get started.

We’re replacing our broken cleat with a Large Plastic Clamcleat (#23202). We’re also going to replace the Velcro® closure — also known as hook and loop tape — on our sail. Using Velcro as a closure system for leech line — so that the leech line can be adjusted — is very common on sails, but Velcro does not last forever. It weakens in the sun and will need to be replaced when you notice that the hook side of the Velcro tape is losing its holding strength.

The first step is to remove your existing cleat. For this you’ll need a drill bit larger than the rivets. Drill into the rivets to break them down, then use a screwdriver or similar tool to wedge under the cleat (be careful not to damage the sailcloth) and apply pressure to pop off the cleat. The new cleat is easily installed once the old one is removed. Our video will walk you step-by-step through the entire process.

The final step is replacing the old, worn-out Velcro with new strips. This is easily done by removing the old strips with a seam ripper and sewing new ones onto the sailcloth. Seamstick Basting Tape is handy for attaching the Velcro strips to the sailcloth and keeping the assembly together prior to sewing. We recommend sewing a zigzag stitch around the perimeter of your Velcro assembly. Zigzag stitches are recommended for all sail repair and sail work. The Sailrite® Ultrafeed® LSZ-1 Sewing Machine is the best portable, heavy-duty zigzag/straight stitch sewing machine on the market. We recommend it to all sailors and liveaboards who do their own sail and canvas sewing.

Materials List

  • Large Plastic Clamcleat - Item # 23202
  • Velcro® Polyester White Loop 2" - Item # 105033
  • Velcro® Polyester White Hook 2" - Item # 105034
  • Seamstick 3/8" Basting Tape - Item # 659
  • Thread V-92 Polyester White UV 4oz - Item # 100079

Tools List:

  • Gingher® Scissors Right Handed - Item # 19104
  • Sailrite® Ultrafeed® LSZ-1 PLUS Walking Foot Sewing Machine - Item # 300602
  • Sailrite® Snap Fastener Deluxe Installation Tool - Item # 100949
  • Mallet Hammer Style 3# (Barry King) - Item # 68563
  • Seam Ripper Deluxe - Item # 18104
  • Drill with Drill Bit, Screw Driver