Lewmar boasts of their “domino” style locking mechanism. Spinlock raves about their cam being a superior rope grabbing mechanism. Well, both are pretty cool and both have their place, let’s have a look…
One of the downsides to the Lewmar clutch, other than it is a nightmare to reeve, is that it is very sensitive to rope size. With Lewmar there is a different size clutch for almost every two sizes of rope. One of the downsides of Spinlock is it can chew up rope over a long period of static cleating. However, Spinlock rope clutches will cleat a wide range of rope sizes and run very freely when not clutched down. With Lewmar clutches getting rid of all of the friction is very hard to do, whether clutched or not. This could be a problem for a line that needs to run freely, but could be a plus for a slippery line that has trouble staying cleated.
So which one is better than the other. The answer is they are both great clutches. For static load halyards, such as those that pertain to headsail or in-mast furlers where the halyard is left untouched for most of the season, Lewmar is probably the best choice. For applications where the rope needs to be able to run freely immediately, Spinlock comes in first.
Don’t forget, Lewmar clutch levers open toward you and Spinlock clutches open away from you, keep that in mind when fitting a new clutch in tight spots, like behind the dodger on the cabin top.
UPDATE: Check out Spinlock’s BRAND NEW XTR CLUTCH!
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