Sunday, June 9, 2013

Lewmar D1 vs Spinlock XAS Rope Clutch

One of the thing on my list of upgrade for my S2 was to replace the Shaeffer jammers for the lifting keel and the main and jib halyard.  I had read all the literature and blogs about the two most popular types. Lewmar makes a D1 and Spinlock makes the XAS model which are the best for my small 22 footer.  I have replaced the lifting keel line and the halyards with Sta Set 5/16 inch line.

Many people swear by the Spinlock brand and say that they hold better than any other rope clutch out there.  Spinlock uses a cam mechanism to clamp down on the rope.  This clamping mechanism does wear the rope point of contact because of the sharp teeth of the cam.  They provide replacement parts for this cam mechanism and are easily serviced. 

I purchased one of these and used it for about a month before I had problems.  I use a 5/16 line for my lifting keel. I went to clamp down on the line and the plastic housing holding the main pin in the handle cracked.  See picture at left.  I am not sure if this is a design error or a point of failure but I was not impressed. The other side of the housing had a crack on top also.  I think you can buy the two sides of the replacement housing for about $25-30.

Safe working load for the XAS is 990lbs. A single Spinlock XAS will cost you about $75 dollars.

One drawback of the Spinlock XAS is that you cannot open or release it under load. You have to use a winch to unload the clutch before you can open it. You can however winch a rope through the clutch while it is closed.

The Lewmar D1 used a domino style device that clamps down on several spots on the line so there is less wear and tear on your lines. They open easily and seem to be sturdier than the Spinlock XAS model. There is virtually no load on the opening mechanism. I think it is a much better design.

The Lewmar D1 can be opened under load and you can winch a line through the clutch while it is closed. The price for a single D1 clutch will cost you $60-65.

The Lewmar D1 has a safe working load of 1100 lbs.  Both clutches have the same bolt whole pattern so they are easily interchangeable.

Here is a picture of the Lewmar D1 that I recently installed on my retractable keel.  Keel weight is about 430 lbs.

I would recommend the Lewmar D1 and I will be buying a double Lewmar D1 to replace the double jammers for my main and jib halyard on the port side.

Has anyone else had any failures of the Spinlock clutches?

Sail On