Reviewed by: Capt. Mike Schoonveld

            If your boat designer had any saltwater blood in his or her veins, chances are the boat came out of the factory with two or more flush mounted rod holders along the gunwales. My boat has four of them. I’ve never used any of them.

I’ve been on boats in the salt that used them but when the briny-water guys have a big spread out, that means trolling with four lines. Here on the Great Lakes, topping out with four times that many lines isn’t unusual.

In many cases the built-in, flush-with-the-gunwale rod holders have to be removed to install a track system to mount multiple holders and ‘riggers. In my case, I just worked around them.

I’ve now found a use for the pair of rod-slots positioned amidships on my boat. Quick Cleat, LLC makes a number of rope-holding cleats to attach to boats and docks. Instead of tying and untying dock lines, minnow bucket cords, anchor rodes or boat fenders, use a Quick Cleat. Rotate the top of the mechanism until a rope channel opens and lay a line in the channel. Release the mechanism and the top rotates back, securely clamping the rope in the groove. It takes only a second and makes adjusting the length of the line or rope nearly instantaneous.

Quick Cleat produces styles with applications for boats of any size, from inflatables, canoes and kayaks to offshore cruisers. There are a variety mounting systems as well including stick-on, screw or bolt on, as well as clamp on mounts for square or round rails.

The one I sampled simply slid down into my factory-installed, unused, gunwale rod holder. It’s perfect for holding a fender rope when I tie up to a dock. If I need the fender on the other side, slide the Quick Cleat out of the port side and into the starboard side.   I often just leave it in place but it is removable and comes with a plastic storage pouch. www.quick-cleat.com.

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