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

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