Soft Shackles

April 30, 2014 at 8:30 pm

I made my first and second ever soft shackle last night! (If you’ve never heard of them, the are basically rope replacements for your common or garden metal shackles, particularly loved by racing sailors as they are lightweight and really strong)

Soft Shackles Hurley 22

My main aim was to make one to attach the sheets to the genoa as the current set up is always getting caught on the shrouds when we tack and this is supposed to help.

I bought 2m of 5mm Dyneema D-pro from Force 4 Chandlers (for £3.15 a meter) and I thought I’d try and get 3 out of it so I cut a length of 1/3 to start with.

Made the first shackle using a couple of the videos from YouTube, but I’ve just found a better piece on AnimatedKnots.  However,  it turned out with a 5cm eye so too small for the genoa (no doubt will be useful for something else though…)

Soft Shackles Hurley 22

I just used a double overhand as the stopper knot, and have added a piece of whipping twine so it opens easily. You just pull the string and it opens up.  Put the stopper through and work it back to closed.

Soft Shackles Hurley 22

The second shackle looks a bit more appropriate and has a 15cm eye, plenty big enough to get through the clew, and I shall splice some soft loops in the sheets to go on there.  I also did a proper lanyard knot on the bigger one, which is supposed to be stronger than the double overhand, but is quite complicated.

 Soft Shackles Hurley 22

I’m really pleased with them, and they cost 6 quid for both of them.  The fids are expensive though, they are about £10 each (I used a 5.5mm one for this).  But considering that the made up soft shackles are about £20 each in Force 4, I’m well pleased…

Not sure about my genoa though… The bigger one actually looks rather fabulous on the dog!

 Soft Shackles Hurley 22

Round the Island Race 2014

February 2, 2014 at 1:13 pm

I’ve never raced, its never really appealed… going out in the bay and going round and round with the risk of someone bashing you.  (To my mind, bashing boats is to be avoided at all costs!)  I think it might also be because my first introduction to racing was us in a Trapper 500, motoring through a fleet of racing Mirrors who happened to be crossing the buoyed channel in Chichester Harbour, and one of them ran over our trailing log and we lost it.  I remember the air turning blue and that ‘they were idiots’.

I would have thought that Duet was too old, and too heavy to be a real contender these days though one did actually win the 1967 Round the Island Race, and her previous owner did tell me that he transom mounted her outboard so he could lift it clear of the water to get an extra knot while he was racing?

Then I found Joseph Moore’s great blog, and his account of his 2013 Round the Island Race with his bilge keel Hurley 22, Derwyn. And if he can do it, why can’t we?

This is video is rather lovely too (and watch out for the boat with the black spinnaker hitting the wreck at 0:17)

We will see… Entries are open here. Would need to find some crew though…



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