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As you can see in the silly photo of Rebecca and me, there is an awful lot of stern aft of the rearmost cleat on the Leopard 4600. In most cases this is OK but in certain docking situations, it leaves a bit of the boat exposed, a fact I was made all too aware of during a particularly gusty day at a marina.

In the past, Rebecca has been able to stand by in that spot with a fender ball in her hand, just in case. Unfortunately, being that we only have the two of us on board, there are times when she needs to be at the bow when we’re docking instead of at the stern. To address this situation, I decided to install a small cleat on the transom where we can secure a fender. The cleat lies just aft of the engine exhaust and is at the perfect height to hang a good sized ball.

The installation was easy and quick. With decent access from the engine area, I was able to through-bolt the cleat to the deck through an area of solid fiberglass. The cleat is so small that no one will get any ideas about using it for a dock line. Because of that, I didn’t bother with trying to fabricate a backing plate. Instead, I just backed it up with a couple of large fender washers.

Since installing the cleat, we have found that it is also quite handy for securing our kayaks and paddle boards as they drift off our stern. I like it so much that I think I’ll do the same installation on the port side.


  1. I’ve found climbing bolt hangers to be very convenient for attaching things without a cleat. Attached to a backing plate they will hold 5000 pounds, but are unobtrusive to sit on and can be placed on the lowest step, where they are handy for clipping dingies and kayaks. They might work for you. A wire gate climbing carbiner works well with them (regular carabiners jam with corrosion). At last count I had 10 of these on deck, doing everything from terminating jack lines to lashing bikes. They can be placed anywhere there is an existing bolt, which drastically reduces the “drill-a-hole-pucker-factor.”

    For hanging a fender, the small cleat is better.

  2. Good idea!

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