As part of the whole “the inside of the boat should be dry” program, we are removing all the deck hardware and re-installing it with new fasteners and bedding. Yesterday we removed the mid-cleat, which is a very important, very highly stressed cleat used often in docking and springing off the dock. We were shocked at how light it was.
We assumed it was zinc, a cheap metal used for cheap marine parts and pennies. Zinc, also called Zamac, is weak and fails prematurely. After a little research we found out it was Aluminum, as are most of our cleats. Still not bronze or stainless steel, though, so we were off to Seattle to buy new cleats.
Then we remembered that our friend and advisor Capt. Dean Waterman (http://www.amazon.com/Life-Aboard-La-Cumbre-ebook/dp/B003GDI6PO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1340939850&sr=1-1) has nothing but aluminum cleats welded to his aluminum boat, and they are plenty, plenty strong. How strong? Read his book.
So the cleat went back on the boat.