This follows on from a recent thread where I sought advice regarding current
thoughts on soft shackles:
Soft Shackles - What is the Latest?
Summary: Late 2015, there are apparently two types of soft shackles that are considered most useful:
1. The "Better" soft shackle (uses a Diamond knot stopper)
Developed by Allen Edwards.
Its strength is considered to be about 175% of line strength (similar to the Classic soft shackle, which Allen calls Colligomarine style, with its long buried central portion, and also similar to the Kohlhoff soft shackle with no buried portion).
My review of it:
- As the buried portion of the Better is shorter, the loop at the end is much easier to open. Buried portions stiffen with time, making the Classic harder to open as it ages.
- The longish enclosed portion in the main body of the Better makes it a neater shackle than the Kohlhoff style with no central bury.
- There seems to be a better distribution of stress, as the buried portion does not need to be super carefully milked, as it does in the Classic (I struggle a bit to get this right, often resulting in a larger than wanted eye because I have tried to be conservative)
- Like the Classic and Kohlhoff style shackles, the tail hanging out of the end of the stopper does, however, get tatty looking with age.
- Once you have practised the Diamond knot
a few times, it is very easy to tie.
- The eye is beautifully snug with seemingly no risk of the stopper slipping through.
I give this shackle 4*
Better Soft Shackle
Better Soft Shackle | How to tie the Better Soft Shackle | Splicing Knots
These are a couple of Better soft shackles. They are longer than normal as I had a request for a few of these from my better half. The thick ones like the one in the right are particularly useful as they are easy to handle. No need to be fumbling with opening small nooses and pushing small stoppers through:
2. The "High Strengh" soft shackle (uses a Button knot stopper)
Coming up with this was a team effort by Brion Toss (who developed the Button itself), Allen Edwards and Evans Starzinger in this SA thread:
Rope/knot/splice load testing - Gear Anarchy - Sailing Anarchy Forums
Its strength is considered to be about 230% of line strength (30% stronger than the Better soft shackle). This is achieved by burying the tails in the line at the base of the stopper and therefore strengthening the weak point of the shackle. The noose/loop at the end becomes the new weak point.
Allen commented that the Button stopper is "is a bitch to figure out
". Trying it for the first time a few days ago, my sentiments we initially along the same lines
This is a High Strength soft shackle:
Why bother with this stronger shackle when you could just use a thicker line and make the "easy" Better one? Well, soft shackles are extremely useful to connect the snubber to the chain. We have used them for about 18 months now with great success and general reports from other cruisers indicate the same. However, the optimal line diameter needed for strength unfortunately does not fit easily through the chain links. Using the "High Strength" soft shackle is therefore considered the better choice in this application.
Secondly, I concur with Evans - it not much harder to make once you have conquered the Button.
And last, but far from least, it is a elegant shackle with no stumpy bit poking through the top of the stopper
. Many thanks to Brion for this brilliant innovation.