Soft shackle stupid question

Tender

Member
146
41
Norway
On a 27 feet boat I would luggage tag one long sheet for a jib / genoa. I would tie a bowline on each sheet on a spinnaker. If I was going towards soft shacle I would not use separate ss’s, I would use a soft shacle spliced in the end of each sheet. But I don’t see the gain. I would use polyester sheets anyway.
 

zenmasterfred

Super Anarchist
1,553
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Lopez Island
Of course, they are boats and what can go wrong will go wrong. I still find a good old bowline pretty reliable although sometimes a pain in the ass getting caught on a shroud. Us soft shackles for tack attachments, to hold the tack of my working jib close to the solent stay (18" dyneema pendant on the tack). High tech stuff for cruising.
 
Wouldn't use a soft shackle on kite sheets, or anything else that needs to be taken on and off during a race.

for a SC27 i'd probably use metal shackles or a bowline (or other easily undone knot)
 

Grrr...

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Detroit
I have spent a lot of time on bow on a 30ft race boat. I think the main issue with soft shackles on spin gear as mentioned above are that you really need two hands to get them on and off the sails. This makes sail changes much slower and hooking up a new kite or repacking a kite quite a bit more tedious. There are lots of tight calls with which kite to use and a regular shackle can be clipped and unclipped single handed my really quickly. It’s also easy to unclip the gear and run it around the bow really quickly to change your hoist from one side to the other, much slower on soft shackles.

Then you run into the safety aspect in higher winds of not having a hand to hold on if the bow is pitching in waves. Additionally being able to release the sheets under load in an emergency is very hard to do without a knife.

For very light wind, as is common in the Puget Sound, we had a set of very thin light wind sheets and we just used a bowline. Often we would use the same sheets for both the spinnaker and the “finger licker” very light wind Genoa. Trimming by hand not using blocks or winches…
I'm confused. Why are you packing or repacking a kite on a 30 foot boat?

Drop in bag, hoist from bag.

And how many different spinnakers does a 30 foot boat need. 2?

Metal Shackles on a 27 foot boat sheets? What???
 
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Rain Man

Super Anarchist
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Wet coast.
Thanks for all the comments - the jury is apparently still out on the use of soft shackles.

Just did our first regatta this weekend on this boat with tiny soft shackles luggage-tagged to the spliced ends of the kite sheets. No issues with them - we are getting faster at getting them on and off. OTOH the snap shackle on the kite halyard let go twice - the second time it went to the top of the mast and we had to do bare-headed changes after that. Luckily it happened in the next-to-last race.

I'm going to test this method for a while and see if I end up with a reason to hate it. So far so good.
 

Tylo

Member
195
111
Sweden
I use soft shackles everywhere, including main and jib halyards and tacks - mainly because most of the shackles were mysteriously nowhere to be found when I took delivery of the boat and I had some Dyneema at hand. None of them have broken yet, knock on wood.

Maybe I'm an idiot for doing this, I don't have prior experience with using soft shackles in this manner but their load ratings tell me it should be fine as long as they are monitored consistently for wear (which mine are). I had never heard of soft shackles shaking out before, but it makes sense that it could happen, although I suppose this is a bigger problem on sheets than on halyards/tacks maybe?

The clew on my main is attached with a velcro/spectra strap around the boom and a soft shackle to the outhaul car. The clew of my jib is actually attached with a metal shackle; it was the only one left on the boat when I took delivery of it.
 

Jambalaya

Super Anarchist
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There are many different soft shackle designs out there. This thread would be much more useful if everyone who said “soft shackles shake out” could say which design they are speaking about.

I’ve been using soft shackles for jib sheets for the last decade and have never had one shake out. Almost all of mine are the l-36 “better soft shackle”. I only use them for ultralight kite sheets, regular kite sheets have tylaskas.
Ultra light kite sheets won't have any flog as they are only used in light air. Hence it doesn't really matter what type they are.

There is your part 1 answer.

The part 2 answer would be soft shackles with some kind of velcro which keeps the shackle tight. These days I see many which just have the loop and eye and unless the outer is snugged uptight (fiddly and slow) they can flog off eg on jib sheets
 

Jambalaya

Super Anarchist
6,711
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Hamble / Paris
I use soft shackles everywhere, including main and jib halyards and tacks - mainly because most of the shackles were mysteriously nowhere to be found when I took delivery of the boat and I had some Dyneema at hand. None of them have broken yet, knock on wood.

Maybe I'm an idiot for doing this, I don't have prior experience with using soft shackles in this manner but their load ratings tell me it should be fine as long as they are monitored consistently for wear (which mine are). I had never heard of soft shackles shaking out before, but it makes sense that it could happen, although I suppose this is a bigger problem on sheets than on halyards/tacks maybe?

The clew on my main is attached with a velcro/spectra strap around the boom and a soft shackle to the outhaul car. The clew of my jib is actually attached with a metal shackle; it was the only one left on the boat when I took delivery of it.
Halyards have fairly constant load / no flog ... even jib if dropped when kite is up. Issues I have experienced have been based around kite and jib sheets without velcro retainers
 

JohnMB

Super Anarchist
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Evanston
I'm confused. Why are you packing or repacking a kite on a 30 foot boat?

Drop in bag, hoist from bag.

For the sound of it the OP generally avoids rerigging the strings on the kite while racing (round the cans at least) implication of this is that normally they don't re-rig the sheets.
During a windy Wednesday night we had to re-rig the sheets a couple of times for various reasons.


Personally I like dogbones to connect sails.

try them you may never go back.
 

floater

Super Duper Anarchist
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quivira regnum
it shows how to use it - but not how to taper the sheet. and splice the dogbone firmly onto the end.

and I might misunderstand, but isn't the plastic stopper described below used just like a dogbone?

Ditched soft shakles, metal ones and knots on that size(H-boat 36sqm spinnaker).
Now simply tied a plastic stopper(must be bigger than the cringle, not able to pass through) at the end of the sheet. Process is to push a bight through the cringle, then pass the end with the ball through the bight and pull tight.

Takes seconds and can be undone easily by pulling at the stopper.
 

JohnMB

Super Anarchist
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Evanston
it shows how to use it - but not how to taper the sheet. and splice the dogbone firmly onto the end.

and I might misunderstand, but isn't the plastic stopper described below used just like a dogbone?
Yup, pretty much the same, I've used both. and even used juts a stopper knot without the plastic ball.
Results have been uniformy good, and very easy to undo/release when needed.
 

ProaSailor

dreaming my life away...
6,106
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Oregon
This video shows two methods of making soft shackles that don't require poking the line through itself to create the "noose". It shows a lame method first and buries the two better methods further into the video at 1:24 and 5:12 (a cow hitch noose).

cow_hitch_noose.jpg


It doesn't address the issue of making the soft shackle integral to the end of the sheet but still, these are simple and effective.



P.S. I'm a big fan of bowline knots.
 
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luminary

Anarchist
718
59
I have just made my first soft shackle. I use them 50/50 with hard shackles on my boat at the moment.

Here is a link to a yt video of making one - I like this one because the carrick bend is inverted so the tails come back towards the standing parts and can then be buried back into those.

Amazing how much length is needed to make one.

 
I'm confused. Why are you packing or repacking a kite on a 30 foot boat?

Drop in bag, hoist from bag.

And how many different spinnakers does a 30 foot boat need. 2?

Metal Shackles on a 27 foot boat sheets? What???
I had the privilege to sail on a very well equipped boat. We had a light air a kite, light air symmetrical kite, medium air symmetrical and a heavy air asym. All flown from a symmetrical pole setup. For buoy racing usually just two kites. For distance usually all 4.

In buoy racing we would drop whatever side was tactically convenient. Run the gear from one side of the boat so it was always on the Leeward rail for hoists. We could prefer the clew/tack end out as we approached the mark. If it was a gybe set we hoisted as we rounded but left the pole down and just did a human pole for a boat length or two while I sorted the pole on the mast.

Still doesn’t change the fact that it’s much harder to pull a soft shackle off a sail with one hand under load in chop. Or make a split second sail change decision at the windward mark.

We have used them a lot on jib sheets. I definitely like them whipped to the sheet in those instances. Nothing like losing a soft shackle when you’re bouncing around in chop as the wind picks up on a foredeck swapping from a number 3 to a number 4 jib.

Then again my perspective is from the safety and efficiency of man forward if the mast.

There have been many times dousing a sail at a leeward mark where it doesn’t come down exactly as you want it as you sneak in before some boats and you need to unclip the sail to get it in the hatch super quickly.

My point is this: if you are not in super light wind, on a flying sail a shackle is faster, safer(can be undone single handed while under load) and easier to work with. If you’re in conditions where the shackles are weighing down your spinnaker clews, you should probably be using smaller diameter light wind line and a bowline. The loads won’t matter from a safety stand point and you’ll have more time to prep/react as you drift around the course.
 
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