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Old 24-08-2014, 22:23   #1
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Why Use Shackles to Attach Halyards?

I come from an impoverished, fishing, dinghy background. I've wondered why people use the MASSIVE and expensive shackles to attach sails. Have they never been hit in the head with them? Have they never had to fight one-handed trying in vain to release them? Currrent boat came with several. I wondering if people could enlighten me as to their advantages?
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Old 24-08-2014, 22:38   #2
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Re: Why Use Shackles to Attach Halyards?

Been asking that myself for many decades. Once I went to rope halyards they were a waste of money except for the spinnaker halyard. Have never used them on sheets. Bowlines and bunt line hitches work super and they make it easy to move wear points on the line. Another benefit for knots on a halyard is you don't have the fat part of a splice getting jammed in the mast head sheaves.

And yes, shackles didn't feel good when the conked you on the head or elsewhere.


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Originally Posted by Scare_Rab View Post
I come from an impoverished, fishing, dinghy bamackground. I've wondered why people use the MASSIVE and expensive shackles to attach sails. Have they never been hit in the head with them? Have they never had to fight one-handed trying in vain to release them? Currrent boat came with several. I wondering if people could enlighten me as to their advantages?
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Old 24-08-2014, 22:39   #3
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Re: Why Use Shackles to Attach Halyards?

I have never used a quick release shackle on our Privilege 39 catamaran on the mainsail or genoa. I would be afraid that they would release at an inopportune moment, or that I could not get them to release in an emergency.
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Old 24-08-2014, 22:39   #4
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Re: Why Use Shackles to Attach Halyards?

You're right, those are not such good shackles. You need the really expensive kind that take a special tool to open.
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Old 24-08-2014, 22:44   #5
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Re: Why Use Shackles to Attach Halyards?

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Originally Posted by Scare_Rab View Post
I come from an impoverished, fishing, dinghy background. I've wondered why people use the MASSIVE and expensive shackles to attach sails. Have they never been hit in the head with them? Have they never had to fight one-handed trying in vain to release them? Currrent boat came with several. I wondering if people could enlighten me as to their advantages?
No advantage. Please send all those pesky shackles to me and I will get rid of them for you...
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Old 24-08-2014, 23:04   #6
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Re: Why Use Shackles to Attach Halyards?

They are good on race boats where seconds count on sail changes. Knots are quite sufficient and in many cases preferable on cruising boats.
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Old 24-08-2014, 23:34   #7
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Re: Why Use Shackles to Attach Halyards?

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I have never used a quick release shackle on our Privilege 39 catamaran on the mainsail or genoa. I would be afraid that they would release at an inopportune moment, or that I could not get them to release in an emergency.
Quick release shackles scare me. I have one on a spare jib halyard that I will never use except for its current position on a shroud cleat. If I ever had to use it, I'd remove it first.

Those things are dangerous.
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Old 25-08-2014, 00:01   #8
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Re: Why Use Shackles to Attach Halyards?

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Originally Posted by maxingout View Post
I have never used a quick release shackle on our Privilege 39 catamaran on the mainsail or genoa. I would be afraid that they would release at an inopportune moment, or that I could not get them to release in an emergency.
My neighbor came in today with his snap shackle at the mast head and the sail on the boom. Those quick release shackles should never be on halyard. All you have to do is catch that li'l ring on something and away it goes. But I do use a trigger snap shackle on my spinnaker.

This is what should be on halyards and out hauls.......
And they are not heavy. One can also put a safety wire on if desired.


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Old 25-08-2014, 05:09   #9
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Re: Why Use Shackles to Attach Halyards?

Well, I've been using a variety of snap shackles for the main halyard, and usually for genoa and spinnaker halyards for nearly 50 years now. I must just be lucky, for not one has come open accidentally, nor has one hit me on the head (or elsewhere).

It is all very well to talk of using a bowline or buntline instead, but on this boat I must stand up on the halyard winch and stretch to reach the top of the mainsail. It is hard enough to snap the shackle on, tying a knot securely under those conditions would be a killer, and opening it up after being under load not so easy either.... especially a buntline, which tends to jam after loading heavily.

Another case of internet wisdom that does not mesh with my experience; all of you are welcome to tie on your halyards with whatever knot suits you, but the only other method that I'm likely to use is a soft shackle. Already use them to attach the staysail sheets to the clew, and I'll be switching the genoa sheets over next time I replace them (won't face putting the eye splices in the ends of used sheets).

Cheers,

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Old 25-08-2014, 05:17   #10
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Re: Why Use Shackles to Attach Halyards?

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Well, I've been using a variety of snap shackles for the main halyard, and usually for genoa and spinnaker halyards for nearly 50 years now. I must just be lucky, for not one has come open accidentally, nor has one hit me on the head (or elsewhere).

It is all very well to talk of using a bowline or buntline instead, but on this boat I must stand up on the halyard winch and stretch to reach the top of the mainsail. It is hard enough to snap the shackle on, tying a knot securely under those conditions would be a killer, and opening it up after being under load not so easy either.... especially a buntline, which tends to jam after loading heavily.

Another case of internet wisdom that does not mesh with my experience; all of you are welcome to tie on your halyards with whatever knot suits you, but the only other method that I'm likely to use is a soft shackle. Already use them to attach the staysail sheets to the clew, and I'll be switching the genoa sheets over next time I replace them (won't face putting the eye splices in the ends of used sheets).

Cheers,

Jim
We use snap shackles all the time on genoas/spinnaker halyards and sheets when racing, but prefer delmarrey's type on mains.

I've never lost a halyard on a snap shackle, but I've seen quite a few sheets pop at the wrong time with them
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Old 25-08-2014, 05:29   #11
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Re: Why Use Shackles to Attach Halyards?

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We use snap shackles all the time on genoas/spinnaker halyards and sheets when racing, but prefer delmarrey's type on mains.

I've never lost a halyard on a snap shackle, but I've seen quite a few sheets pop at the wrong time with them
Well, if you think about how the clew of a sail can flog about wildly versus the relative stability of the head of the sail this makes sense. I certainly don't recommend snap shackles on sheets (except spinnaker sheets where the quick release factor is so important). So far the soft shackles have been great, but I don't have lots of hours on them yet. I did use a separate one on each sheet, so that if one failed the other would still control the sail somewhat. (What a neat invention!).

Jim
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Old 25-08-2014, 05:54   #12
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Re: Why Use Shackles to Attach Halyards?

This is what I use on the halyard block to the head of the main. I can't imagine what would make it release unexpectedly. 2000kg swl, 4000kg breaking load. My genoa/genaker sheets have bowlines.
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Old 25-08-2014, 06:12   #13
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Re: Why Use Shackles to Attach Halyards?

Because they are in the catalog, the neighbors have them, and I will look amaturish or cheap if I don't have them.

---

Yup, I've had a few come off over 30 years. However, I still use them on spinnakars. I can see them on haons, for those that remove the halyard after sailing, but I leave the halyard on and simply deflect the line to prevent slapping--easier. Other than that, knots or softshakles for sail attachment. And by the way, soft shackles need only be Dyneema if the load and space required it; they can be tied from other materials, and variations have been for 300 years.
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Old 25-08-2014, 06:59   #14
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Re: Why Use Shackles to Attach Halyards?

I use a Shaeffer investment cast mainsail halyard shackle. If I ever sell my boat it goes with me.
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Old 25-08-2014, 08:09   #15
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Re: Why Use Shackles to Attach Halyards?

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Well, if you think about how the clew of a sail can flog about wildly versus the relative stability of the head of the sail this makes sense. I certainly don't recommend snap shackles on sheets (except spinnaker sheets where the quick release factor is so important). So far the soft shackles have been great, but I don't have lots of hours on them yet. I did use a separate one on each sheet, so that if one failed the other would still control the sail somewhat. (What a neat invention!).

Jim
You know the OP only mentioned "attaching to sails" but failed to say where. I assumed halyards. I can't imagine anyone attaching shackles to the clew, that's committing suicide.
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