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Old 19-05-2024, 16:33   #1
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Soft shackle porn

If you are replacing your UHMWPE (eg dymeema) cored double braid line and you are not interested in rope work, consider passing the old line over to someone who is. The core is invaluable for making soft shackles. As an incentive, by way of thanks the recipient is likely to make you a few .

It is not as good as most single braid UHMWPE, as it is usually not coated to give added UV and chafe protection, but it is still extremely useful.

I scored about 25m of line with a 10 mm UHMWPE core from a friend recently, replaced only as the covering was starting to show some wear. I passed over 2 soft shackles, and the rest of the core was divided into 3.3 m lengths to make 6 long shackles that will be used during haul out next time on our 6 bollards to hold the tie downs for the concrete blocks employed in the Caribbean. The ends of the ties on the blocks are stainless steel and can damage the hull if not isolated. I needed to string together 2 or 3 soft shackles at each tie down point last time to avoid contact.

I will store these in the sail locker, but for now (together with a couple of contrasting mini ones) they decorate the rail near our Reflex heater that has happily not been in use for 2 years .

SWL
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Old 19-05-2024, 17:29   #2
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Re: Soft shackle porn

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
If you are replacing your UHMWPE (eg dymeema) cored double braid line and you are not interested in rope work, consider passing the old line over to someone who is. The core is invaluable for making soft shackles. As an incentive, by way of thanks the recipient is likely to make you a few .

It is not as good as most single braid UHMWPE, as it is usually not coated to give added UV and chafe protection, but it is still extremely useful.

I scored about 25m of line with a 10 mm UHMWPE core from a friend recently, replaced only as the covering was starting to show some wear. I passed over 2 soft shackles, and the rest of the core was divided into 3.3 m lengths to make 6 long shackles that will be used during haul out next time on our 6 bollards to hold the tie downs for the concrete blocks employed in the Caribbean. The ends of the ties on the blocks are stainless steel and can damage the hull if not isolated. I needed to string together 2 or 3 soft shackles at each tie down point last time to avoid contact.

I will store these in the sail locker, but for now (together with a couple of contrasting mini ones) they decorate the rail near our Reflex heater that has happily not been in use for 2 years .

SWL

Two thumbs up!


Halyards, for example, even if worn on the sail end and the masthead when the sail is down, there is typically a long section that lives inside the mast that is like new.


The cover is useful for covering Amsteel control lines where they pass through clutches, bulking up small lines, and chafe guards. Very few places sell cover-only for these sort of projects, and buying new line just for the cover always feels wasteful.


Cover is also easily made into soft shackle-like constructions for sail lies etc. (it is basically single braid).


https://www.animatedknots.com/adjustable-sling-knot
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Old 19-05-2024, 18:05   #3
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Re: Soft shackle porn

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Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
Two thumbs up!


Halyards, for example, even if worn on the sail end and the masthead when the sail is down, there is typically a long section that lives inside the mast that is like new.


The cover is useful for covering Amsteel control lines where they pass through clutches, bulking up small lines, and chafe guards. Very few places sell cover-only for these sort of projects, and buying new line just for the cover always feels wasteful.


Cover is also easily made into soft shackle-like constructions for sail lies etc. (it is basically single braid).


https://www.animatedknots.com/adjustable-sling-knot
Excellent suggestions.

Old covers are harder to work with, but a bit of perseverance and brute force generally overcome any issues, except when it comes to creating decent new splices in old double braid. I did try once, but never again .

In this case I cut away the cover’s worst wear and divided it into 2 spare “lightweight” lines, burying the ends to neaten them. This can also later be chopped up if needed, as you suggest. Having replaced only the sheets on our boat so far, we are desperate for old spare line for general use. Although the original owner deemed the line useless (he said he was almost embarrassed to be passing it over), the UHMWPE core was too valuable to me to leave the whole line in the locker as “spare”.

Riggers must constantly be discarding old line that owners do not need, particularly partially badly damaged line. This would be a very useful source.

SWL
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Old 19-05-2024, 19:56   #4
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Re: Soft shackle porn

Very good ideas.

Question: can these be used only for non-critical work? Is the strength comparable to similarly sized uncovered Dyneema?
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Old 19-05-2024, 21:00   #5
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Re: Soft shackle porn

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Originally Posted by Knotical View Post
Very good ideas.

Question: can these be used only for non-critical work? Is the strength comparable to similarly sized uncovered Dyneema?

Obviously, that does not have one answer. If the line were new, yes, very similar strength. Also, if the line was one that was considered "strippable," the core is coated and is very similar to Amsteel. But, of course, we are talking about used line.



I find that most of the soft shackles I have used, including my cruising cat, were mostly way over strength because I used 5-6 mm Amsteel, regardless the load, because anything smaller is too hard to handle in wet or cold conditions.
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Old 19-05-2024, 22:44   #6
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Re: Soft shackle porn

Wapspeed II double braid has an Amsteel Blue core so incl. the protective coating. I’m pretty sure there are plenty lines from quality manufacturers that have this too. Every “stripable” line should have this.

There are also other lines that have potential for soft shackles. I am thinking of products like control-DPX single braid which is a coated blend or MLX-3 double braid which has a coated, blended core. If you want or like a bit more diameter but don’t need the strength of 100% Dyneema.

My first soft shackle was made out of polyester and this was in the early ‘80’s.
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Old 20-05-2024, 04:34   #7
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Re: Soft shackle porn

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knotical View Post
Question: can these be used only for non-critical work? Is the strength comparable to similarly sized uncovered Dyneema?
Simple answer: When new, yes. When used, apart from line that has been subject to chafe (and this is very easy to see), we have no idea how much the life of any UHMWPE has been reduced.

It is not simply dependent on hours of use and load amount, but the type of load (eg shock loads).

The life of slings has been tested by some manufacturers (eg Dyneema) and lifespan recommendations have been given based on average type of use for a very specific purpose, but I have seen little data otherwise. UV exposure will also reduce life, but even here the only figures I have seen are for 6mm rope tested over 10 years. UV will affect only the very outer portion so thicker rope will be subject to % deterioration due to UV far less than thin.

Regarding the lack of coatings on UHPWPE core that is not designed to be stripped (apart from dye that annoyingly gets on your hands with handling), when stripped and repurposed, the lifespan will be less compared to coated line. In the early days all UHMWPE came without these coatings and this does not make the line unusable.

Personally, although my gut feeling is that strength of used UHMWPE core that is not chafed is unlikely to be reduced much (it is usually replaced as the cover has worn and the life of this is often relatively short), I would not use old core repurposed as soft shackles for any critical applications and I would make sure the diameter was well over that usually required. As Thinwater has said, this is usually needed anyway simply for ease of handling.

SWL

PS Working with core that is not designed to be stripped is also harder as it is “fluffy” for want of a better term. Extreme care must be taken not to split strands. On the other hand, new single braid that has only had treatment applied to its outer layers is still much like this. My preference is for single braid that has a coating applied not just to its outer layers or even to individual strands, but has individual fibres coated.
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Old 20-05-2024, 05:09   #8
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Re: Soft shackle porn

I have re-coated Amsteel and other with factory-like coating, to extend life, with good results. But I never tried coating core and never made soft shackles after coating.



If the coating is properly diluted and worked into the rope it penetrates deeply. The fuzziness goes away without undue stiffening.



https://www.practical-sailor.com/boa...recoat-dyneema
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Old 20-05-2024, 11:45   #9
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Re: Soft shackle porn

On the subject of life expectancy of UHMWPE, what are member’s experiences for various applications if the line is not subject to chafe? How often do you replace it routinely?

I have been using UHMWPE for 10+ years now. The first use was for soft shackles that were made using diamond knots inspired by Jedi’s photos here on CF .

We have just passed the 6 year mark of taking delivery of our new boat so our oldest UHMWPE on board is 6 years old (I haven’t used Dyneema or Spectra for many years so that’s why I refer to the material by the acronym). We are still using the original soft shackles or loops for the following heavier duty uses and they still look fairly pristine:
- Boom brake (these soft shackles have a UHMWPE chafe sleeve only because it was quick and easy to add)
- All our blocks
- Both headsail halyard connections to single braid Dyneema line
- Onboard snubber connections

A few months ago at the 6 year mark I replaced:
- The ones connecting sheets to the headsails (just because they started looking a bit fluffy).

The Bullseye soft shackles used with low friction rings on the snubber are subject to some chafe so I replaced them at about the 4 year mark and added sleeves. I just flipped the sleeve recently to extend life.

The soft shackle connecting snubber to chain is replaced yearly. It is looking scruffy from chain abrasion at that stage.

The sheets were replaced with ones with a strippable UHMWPE core about 2 years ago so will still be in action for a while.

Apart from this I have dozens of soft shackles performing tasks where the loads are low and I think these will outlive me .

I am working on the principle that UV will degrade the line by 50% in the first couple of years then not a lot after that and size the rope accordingly with a reserve for SWL (I take that as 1/5 of line strength when new). I inspect for chafe routinely, but very little on board is subject to that.

The use has been almost full time and has included a couple of North Sea crossings in rough conditions, one season in Norway, a fair bit of time sailing on the west coast of Scotland and Ireland (including late autumn), and an Atlantic crossing. For the past 18 months the conditions in the Caribbean have been benign (we cruised all through hurricane season, but never encountered much wind).

The rope I have used since 2019 is heat stretched and individual fibres have been coated during construction.
Am I over optimistic on expected life?

SWL
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Old 20-05-2024, 12:06   #10
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Re: Soft shackle porn

Thanks, thinwater and SWL for your responses.

My soft shackles are oversized as thinwater's, the smallest size that I work with is 5 mm just for its ease of use - my question was more out of curiosity as I do have poly covered Vectran rope for halyards that are due to replacement.
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Old 20-05-2024, 12:49   #11
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Re: Soft shackle porn

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Thanks, thinwater and SWL for your responses.

My soft shackles are oversized as thinwater's, the smallest size that I work with is 5 mm just for its ease of use …..
I have been using a lot of 3 mm soft shackles this last year or two. They are cheap as chips to make if a roll of line is purchased (well less than a dollar), and the handling issues are basically solved by reinforcing the eye. This is a bit more fiddly to do, but I have plenty of time on my hands. The two mini shackles hanging in post #1 have reinforced eyes.

I am not sure where these small soft shackles all go, but every time a make a batch they are quickly put into use. Having an easy means of securing stuff inexpensively with no concern about meaningful deterioration with age is hugely appealing on a boat.

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