Choosing the right deck organizer for your sailboat


Choosing the right deck organizer for your sailboat

by Naomi Copperwait 19 Oct 09:00 PDT

Choosing the right terrace organizer © Antal

There are many styles of patio organizers available on the market, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we’ll look at three general categories: friction fairleads, pulley organizers, and winch feeders, and how they can help improve your boating experience.


Fairleads are a great option if you’re looking for something simple and inexpensive. They are an economical way to contain, deflect or correct the angle of attack of bumps, sheets and control halyards. Fairleads can be used to ensure lines always enter clutches, cleats, jammers or winches at the optimum angle.

When used forward of the clutch bench, a fairlead’s job is to center each line between the clutch shoes and ideally not change the angle by more than 20 degrees, in depending on the load and type of line. Lines that are adjusted less often under load may turn with greater deflection.

Fairleads feature smooth rounded edges and are polished or anodized to minimize friction. However, even a Dyneema-covered line passing through a fairlead still experiences greater resistance than through a high-tech bearing sheave organizer.

A simple friction fairlead - photo ©

pulley organizers

Pulley organizers are perhaps the most popular option and offer several advantages over fairleads.

These are designed for higher dynamic loads, with modern bearings providing reduced friction and better control of halyard tension. Organizers can accommodate larger deflection angles without additional friction.

Many pulley organizers can also be stacked vertically if deck space is limited and additional capacity is needed. You can of course expect a higher price and increased routine maintenance compared to simple fairleads.

A pulley organizer - photo ©

Want to know more about pulley organizers? Read our comparison here:

A modular sheave organizer - photo ©

Organizers and fairleads are available in a modular “Lego brick” style, which allows you to add or remove blocks as needed. They are simple to install and offer a very flexible rope organization solution. To add an extra halyard or control line at a later date, you can simply add another block.

A modular fairlead as deck organizer - photo ©

Feed winch

Winch feeders are the last type of organizer we look at in this blog post. They differ from the other options in that you don’t need an extra sheave for each line. A single winch loader can be positioned at the rear of a clutch bench in an accessible location for use by any of the lines of these clutches, especially when they do not line up naturally with a winch .

The winch feeder is there to improve the line angle to the winch or even divert the line through the coachroof to the opposite winch.

Winch feeders are very low, normally only 25mm high, and take up less deck space than multi-sheave organizers. Only downside, do not forget to pass the line around the sheave!

A feed winch - photo © Spinlock


So there you have it, an overview of the three main types of deck organizers on the market. Making sure you have the right one can go a long way to improving your booth layout and boating performance.

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

If you are unsure of what you need, or if you need something specific that is not listed here, please contact us by emailing us at and we will be happy to advise you. . Or click on the link below:

deck organizers


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