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Choosing the Right Deck Organiser For Your Sailboat

by Naomi Copperwait 19 Oct 2022 16:00 UTC
Choosing the right Deck Organiser © Antal

There are many different styles of deck organiser available on the market, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. In this article we'll look at three general categories: friction fairleads, sheave organisers and winch feeders, and how they can help improve your sailing experience.


Fairleads are a great option if you're looking for something simple and inexpensive. They are an economical means of containing, deflecting, or correcting the lead angle of control lines, sheets and halyards. Fairleads can be used to ensure lines always enter clutches, cleats, jammers or winches at the optimal angle.

When used forward of the clutch bank, the job of a fairlead is to centre each line between the clutch jaws and ideally change the angle by no more than 20 degrees, depending on the load and the type of line. Lines that are less often adjusted under load can turn through a greater deflection.

Fairleads feature smooth radiused edges and are polished or anodised to minimise friction. However, even a Dyneema covered line running through a fairlead still incurs greater resistance than through a sheave organiser with high-tech bearing.

A simple friction fairlead - photo ©

Sheave Organisers

Sheave organisers are perhaps the most popular option, and offer several advantages over fairleads.

These are designed for higher dynamic loads, with modern bearings offering reduced friction and better control of halyard tension as a result. Organisers can accommodate greater deflection angles without additional friction.

Many sheave organisers can also be stacked vertically if there is limited deck space and a need for extra capacity. You can of course expect a higher price tag and increased routine maintenance compared with simple fairleads.

A Sheave Organiser - photo ©

Want to read more about sheave organisers? Read our comparison here:

A modular Sheave Organiser - photo ©

Both organisers and fairleads are available in a modular 'Lego brick' style, which allows you to add or remove blocks as needed. These are straightforward to install and provide a highly flexible rope organising solution. To add an additional halyard or control line at a later date, you can simple add another block.

A modular fairlead as a deck organiser - photo ©

Winch feeders

Winch feeders are the final type of organiser we look at in this blog post. They differ from the other options in that you do not require an additional sheave for each line. A single winch feeder can be positioned aft of a clutch bank in an accessible location to be used by any of the lines from those clutches, especially where they do not naturally line up with a winch.

The winch feeder is there to improve the line angle to the winch or even deflect the line across the coachroof to the opposite winch.

Winch feeders are very low profile, normally at just 25mm height, and take up less deck space than multi-sheave organisers. The only downside is that you need to remember to lead the line around the sheave!

A winch feeder - photo © Spinlock


So there you have it, a whistle-stop tour of the three main types of deck organisers on the market. Ensuring you have the correct one can go a long way to improving your pit layout and sailing performance.

  • Fairleads are cost effective and maintenance free, but should be used for minimal deflection angles only. We suggest no more than 20 degrees, depending on the load and the type of line.
  • Sheave organisers offer reduced friction, particularly at greater deflection angles.
  • If you need to lead a line from one clutch bank to the winch on the opposite side, add a winch feeder to reduce friction around the corner.

If you're not sure what you need, or if you need something specific that isn't listed here, please get in touch by emailing us at and we will be happy to advise. Or click the link below:

Deck Organisers

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