Soft Shackles

Hybrid Soft Halyard Shackle

By Allen Edwards


Yet another way to make a soft halyard shackle out of Amsteel. This is one that I am using on my boat. The advantage is that the hybrid knot gives approximately full line strength but only extends a couple of inches so that the short splice will not end up making the line that goes into the sheaves fatter. This prevents extra wear in thinner halyard sheaves. The knot provides the locking action which removes most of the load from the splice. The short bury distributes the load enough so that not all of the load in on the knot. The result has been tested to near full line strength. This knot is one of just a few that do not slip in Amsteel. The knot is strong and the splice prevents slippage. This is very rare so please do not substitute other knots when making a hybrid halyard. It is called hybrid both because it uses a standard soft shackle and a knot, and because it uses a hybrid version of the knot that has a short splice.

Here it is on a headboard. It is quite neat as there is no lose end anywhere as it is buried in the halyard. The splice is so short it does not cause problems in my narrow sheave.


Start with just the halyard end. We are going to form a noose or fisherman's knot over the halyard. This is the first turn.
Continue making 4 turns.
Next, the tail from the noose is buried into the part of the loop that is part of the knot. In other words, if you pull the halyard working end through the knot, that is not the part you want to bury the tail in. Take your fid and go about 3 inches and bury the tail. I am using a knitting needle as a fid here.
Work the tail to it is snug and buried nicely.
Next, smooth out the cover. Mark the end of the tail where it exits the cover.
Cut off the tail a bit before your mark. Cut at a 45 degree angle. This is the taper. It is not a perfect taper and will cut the line strength a few percent. The resulting knot should have 95% of line strength but in any event, it is more than strong enough. The short bury prevents the thicker section of the splice from going into the sheave. This is a hybrid knot-splice and has the advantage of being short and almost as strong as a pure splice.
Smooth out the cover to accomplish the bury.
Now pull on the working end to move the splice through the knot and out the other end. This might take considerable force. I secured the halyard to a cleat and pulled with a winch on a line attached to the soft shackle to tighten it up when I did this on my halyard.
Here is the finished hybrid halyard

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