Fit for Purpose – Spinlock Clutches?

The rusty spring just crumbled away – but no refund from Spinlok
The Ronstan jammer broke whilst being fitted!
First season with Dubarry boots. Probably my last too!

I don’t have a habit of buying cheap stuff. On a small boat you can’t afford the weight of carrying rubbish or risk a failure on a trip such as this. I am pretty fed up with some bits of kit. My Spinlock Clutches to control the tricing line have been a constant source of problem. When the tricing lines come lose the runners can get wrapped around the spreaders. If the levers are pulled back with the runners caught in the spreaders it would be a disaster. Clearing them can be a risky business too. I decided to change them. When I took them off I was completely staggered to see a rusty spring which looks like mild steel incorporated into the clutch. Quite what Spinlok were thinking about I’ve no idea.
So today I spent a small fortune buying two Rostan Jammers. One of which broke while I was fitting it! The minute piece of plastic holding the spring in place had sheared off.
While I am on a bit of a rant -my one season old Dubarry Boots aren’t doing too well either. They seem to be wearing out already and I’ll have to repair them. Very comfy though.

This was the reponse from Spinlok

It wasn’t until I was tidying up the boat in Troon this year 2012 that I came across the two failed Spinlok Clutches which I removed in the Faroes. I sent them back to Spinlok in the expectation that I would get a credit note.

I obviously had to replace the clutches with something that worked so I don’t really want replacement clutches which would be of no use to me. Basically the spring steel had corroded away until it disinegrated. It was very obviously a faulty product from the very start. You can easily see the corosion on the spring. They hadn’t been on the boat for a full season. Firstly Simon Crowther from Spinlok seemed to admit they had let some mild steel through the net:

“Spinlock have made over 1,000,000 rope holding products and we do know that to incorporate mild steel in a marine product is not a good idea. I suspect we were delivered a dud by a supplier of springs, which missed our magnet test.

The last PX (as fitted) was made and supplied over 5 years ago, superseded by the newer and more compact design PXR- so it must be older than stated?

However, we will honour this now obsolete product with a replacement PXR product if you would like to supply us with an address?

Please not it has differing fixing holes and a rope range of 06-08mm or 08-10mm- please let me know which version you would like.

All the best,


but then changed his mind about the steel when I said I would prefer a credit note of refund:

“I’m sorry that we can only offer replacement goods.

The PX was last made over 5 years ago and the springs in question were made from Type 304.S26 spring wire heat treated to 300°C for 30 mins and will develop surface rusting over a long period, but needed to be made of this steel due to the properties that were required.

For your information ‘mild steel’ would have disintegrated.


You can make up your own mind by looking at the picture. That is not the surface rust you get on 304 grade stainless steel – it’s deep pentrating rust, typical of mild steel. The springs crumbled away in my hand.

I was surprised that they were not willing to offer a refund on what, to me, seems a very straightforward case of a manufacturing error.

6 responses to “Fit for Purpose – Spinlock Clutches?”

  1. Malcolm and Moyra avatar
    Malcolm and Moyra

    Glad to see things are going, (well?).
    Like the detail and photos of particular aspects of the trip, like mini problems. A while ago Feshie had metal fatigue in her corkscrew; hope you don’t suffer the same the fate. !.
    All the Best of winds and Luck
    Malcolm & Moyra

    1. if only we had the space for a corkscrew! Everything is going well so far appart from niggling little things. I was wondering if you would mind mentioning the blog on one of the YBW forums, if you think the the forum readers might be interested. We aim to leave on Saturday for the big one. Hope you are enjoying your cruise. All the best, Alasdair

  2. Loved your picture of the lee rail!
    Interesting comments about the poor quality of modern fittings, but at least the crew are good.
    Cheers, Terry

    1. Indeed the crew are brilliant and they haven’t gone rusty at all!

  3. I’m surprised that you did not mention the lopo light in failing pieces of kit, could it really be working now?

    1. Hei Jannicke, Well it doesn’t get dark here so I suppose it has dropped down my faulty gear list. It will get some special attention later. Temperature seems to be the issue. In any case, god to hoyre fra deg, Ha det, Alasdair x

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