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Old 21-10-2018, 05:02   #1
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Where NOT to use soft shackles?

I am joining the modern age and starting to look for places to use soft shackles on our boat. A good friend made me several of varying size dyneema. I just installed one at the tack of the staysail to attach it to the staysail furler.

I am looking for additional places where they may be useful, but don't want to use them in an inappropriate location. I guess anyplace subject to wild flogging may not be a good choice?

Any thoughts appreciated. Cheers!

Steve
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Old 21-10-2018, 05:46   #2
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Re: Where NOT to use soft shackles?

With soft shackles pay attention to chafe and UV degradation over time. These things are actually more resiliant than I originally anticipated.

FAVORITE places to start with soft shackles are places that rattle and clank. An annoying rattle from the topping lift to boom shackle was eliminated by a soft shackle, just as an example.
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Old 21-10-2018, 06:41   #3
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Re: Where NOT to use soft shackles?

Itís just so HARD to look at that big steel shackle in one hand and the little piece of rope in the other hand and let go of old notions.
Iíve gotten pretty good at making soft shackles and have changed nearly all the hard ones out.
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Old 21-10-2018, 07:03   #4
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Re: Where NOT to use soft shackles?

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Originally Posted by steve77 View Post
I guess anyplace subject to wild flogging may not be a good choice?
Soft shackles are often used to attach the headsail sheets to the clew. This has become common over the last few years. I have never heard anyone report that a soft shackle has released with flogging. They are sometimes lightly secured with velcro, but not always. I have not done so with ours and there have been no issues.

We have a few dozen scattered in various locations on board. They are extraordinarily useful for a multitude of things, not just as a replacement for stainless steel shackles.

SWL
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Old 21-10-2018, 07:06   #5
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Re: Where NOT to use soft shackles?

Not where unimpeachable reliability is required. For example, places you would either not use a pin shackle, or you would mouse it:


  • Anchor shackle
  • Attachment of bosuns chair or harness
  • Standing rigging
Against heavily burred steel or sharp edges. For example, where SS shackles have been used, without deburring.


Places were restricting rotation is desirable. Some tackles.


---


But mostly I like them.
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Old 21-10-2018, 07:28   #6
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Re: Where NOT to use soft shackles?

Thanks, everyone. Good suggestions!

Yes, it is a mindset adjustment to remove a stainless shackle and replace it with a floppy little ropy thingie. I am actively looking for places to use these as I slowly gain confidence in them.

Steve
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Old 21-10-2018, 07:38   #7
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Where do all the soft shackles go?

I love soft shackles. I make my own (using the excellent Seaworthy Lass tutorial). They've replaced metal ones many places on the boat. I like that I don't have to grab a knife/tool to open them when I want. And that they don't make noise, or hurt when they hit me. But, my oldest is about 4 years old (tack of the jib) and the hardest used (anchor chain to bridle - ~250 days/year) die after about a year or so.

On the other hand, I have metal shackles aboard that I know are 40 years old. And they're 100% recyclable. Even made of metals of high enough quality that they could be sold for scrap (if I could get enough). And still as strong as the day they were new. If I don't overstress them they could probably be used by my grandchildren.

So, the questions I have, how long do soft shackles really last; and where do all the old, plastic soft shackles end up?

As I sail around in my plastic boat, driven by my plastic sails, controlled by my plastic lines, and look at the giant piles of plastic litter on the windward side of every atoll I visit I start to wonder about adding even more disposable plastic to my account. They're great tools and I love them but I've started to wonder about their total cost.
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Old 21-10-2018, 07:38   #8
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Re: Where NOT to use soft shackles?

Seaworthy,

Being dense here. How are soft sha Klee being used? I just tie the sheets with a bowline, with attendant problems for a cutter rig.

I also have been shy about using soft shackles where flogging is experienced.

I suppose a couple of loose stitches may help that situation?

BTW, I also use your tutorial. Thanks.
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Old 21-10-2018, 08:11   #9
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Re: Where NOT to use soft shackles?

We have been using an over sized soft shackle to attach the sheets for the last couple of years now without any problems. You need a pair of small loops in the each of the sheets. The difference is when tacking the soft shackle doesn't catch on our baby stay which the bowlines did regularly. You need the soft shackle and the stopper on the side so that only the two sheet loops and the soft shackle contact the baby stay or staysail etc.

Whilst a small SS would have been fine, I went oversize to make it easier to tie or undo with cold hands.

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Old 21-10-2018, 08:21   #10
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Where NOT to use soft shackles?

Iíve been a bit stunned at their resistance to chafe which I suppose is partly a function of the slippery nature of dyneema. I use them exclusively now to attach my snubber to my chain which I think is a pretty good test of how they wear. Current one has seen 150+ nights at anchor through some fairly challenging conditions (35 knots, nasty chop, twisted chain etc.) and itís just beginning to show a spec of visible wear.

I put a rubber gasket on the one that attaches my sheets to my jib clew as insurance last time I checked it but Iíve never had one shake open. When theyíve been in use for awhile and have taken a set I canít see them opening except by some freak occurance. Frankly itís not something I worry about.
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Old 21-10-2018, 12:20   #11
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Where NOT to use soft shackles?

Iíve been using them on my jib this year and I like them very much. Fewer hang ups while tacking.
I havenít tried them any where else yet but will next season on the toe rail for blocks

Ymmv
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Old 21-10-2018, 12:57   #12
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Re: Where NOT to use soft shackles?

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Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
Not where unimpeachable reliability is required. For example, places you would either not use a pin shackle, or you would mouse it:


  • Anchor shackle
  • Attachment of bosuns chair or harness
  • Standing rigging
I have to say I'm always happy with the soft shackle on the end of my main halyard as the bosun's chair hoist. And another on the spinnaker for a backup. If there's the slightest doubt, then I just use a bigger one (I'm using 7mm dyneema to make SS's for things like halyards and snubbers, so that we're so far over the required specification we don't have to fret about a bit of UV or chafe)

The only place I wouldn't use them is places where I really don't care, not places where I'm concerned about reliability. The anchor shackle doesn't matter to me as it's not going to make a noise or danger more than the chain itself is, and if it doesn't need replacing then there's no point, particularly since there are now a large number of spare unused large shackles in my toolbox!
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Old 21-10-2018, 16:17   #13
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Re: Where NOT to use soft shackles?

Iím a noob, but I have a soft shackle on the topping lift where it attaches to the boom, the SS one was noisy, I donít miss the noise.
I also have them on the blocks for my Code Zero, as it mostly stays stowed.
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Old 21-10-2018, 17:16   #14
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Re: Where NOT to use soft shackles?

Perhaps a better question is "where have the failed?"


I've had them on jib clews for years; they don't flog off. Really. Stop worrying about it. Tying on a jib is good; I switched for boat-specific reasons that are not relevant to the discussion. What I will never again do is use a metal shackle on a jib; bad for heads and bad for spars.


Personally, I have never had one open or wear out.
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Old 21-10-2018, 19:51   #15
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Re: Where NOT to use soft shackles?

I love and use soft shackles every place. one of my best places lately is on dock lines, from the cleat through the hole or over the caprail where dock line stretches and squeaks, the dynema doesn't stretch and doesn't make any noise. I have had one soft shackle come undone, I had my bosen chair hooked to my halyard with the soft shackle for the mainsail, while trying to get as much height as possible I pulled the soft shackle into the sheeve box at the top of the mast and the way it went in it pulled the knot through the loop, luckily I always have a safety halyard hooked up, I dropped about 6 inches, enough to stop my heart for a second.
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