Sunday, January17, 2021
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Soft Shackles

Spinnaker soft Y-Sheet


My old friend the dual soft shackle version 1 has found a new use. It is common practice to use some kind of tail on an asymmetric spinnaker to keep the clew away from the rigging. One version is called a Y-Sheet. It connects to eye splices in the sheets and extends to some kind of connection to the clew either with a knot or a shackle. This article shows how to use a soft shackle type arrangement and not only avoid the strength loss that you would get with a knot, but basically doubles the strength of the line used for a penalty of a small increase in the length of the rope you need.

Hybrid Soft Halyard Shackle


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.

High Strength Soft Shackle


Recient work by Brion Toss, Evans Starzinger, and myself has led to the development of a high strength soft shackle that Evens has tested to 230% of line strength. The secret to this added strength in primarily an increase in the strength of the knot, the weak point in conventional soft shackles. I should point out that Evans testing shows conventional soft shackles, with diamond knots, test at 170% of line strength, considerable above the "higher than line strength" number I have been using. While these two statements are consistant, the more percise number is considerably higher and higher than the testing I had done at NE Rope.

HOWTO tie a button knot


Unlike the diamond knot typically used in soft shackles, this button knot has all four strands coming out the same side. this allows the tails to be buried inside the standing ends increasing the strength of the knot when used as a stopper.

Soft Shackles Overview


The link will take you to the first of 6 pages discussion soft shackles. The first page shows how to use them. There is one on how to make them and one on some variations. Another page covers strength testing. Finally, there are two pages that go into detail on the diamond knot, which is the stopper knot for the soft shackle.

Soft Shackle Howto


A step by step tutorial with pictures and a calculator that allows you to make any size soft shackle out of lines from 7/64 to 5/16 and have them come out the size you want.

A Better Soft Shackle


A soft shackle that is a hybrid of two types provides the best of both worlds, imho. It is easy and fast to use, secure, and just as strong. In this article, I show you how to make them step by step including a calculator so that you can make one of any size with line from 7/64 to 5/16.

Soft Line Shackle on a Block


Integrating a soft shackle on the line and using a modified butterfly knot you can attach the line to a block with no hard shackles and still be able to remove the block for service.

Double Soft Shackle


A Double Ended Soft Shackle that is secured to eye spliced jib sheets and can be very quickly be attached to the clew of a jib. A stopper loop is permanently attached to the clew ring to serve as the receptor for the shackle eye.

Integral Halyard Shackle


A variation on a soft shackle that forms in integral soft shackle on a main halyard.

Soft Halyard or Line Shackle


Soft Haylard or Line Shackle is fast, strong, and ideal for attaching any 12 strand line to something such as the head of a sail

Soft Shackle Variations


A couple of the standard soft shackle variations are shown. The best variation is not shown and it is my improved soft shackle shown in "A Better Soft Shackle" above. Be sure to check out that article.

Diamond Knot


Step by step instructions with pictures showing how to tie a diamond knot.

Soft Shackle Testing Part 1


Part 1 of three articles on soft shackle testing. In this test I establish that soft shackles are stronger than the line they are made of. In Part 2 I show that they are not 25% stronger than the line they are made of and in Part 3 I show the results of testing done by Brion Toss at New England Ropes where we show they are in this same range, but we have actual numbers.

Soft Shackle Testing Part 2


This test compares the diamond knot part of the soft shackle with a line that is 25% stronger (equivalent). The diamond knot fails, which is the known failure mode of the soft shackle. Thus, a soft shackle is not as strong as the line it is made of times 1.28. In Part 3 of Soft Shackle testing, my improved shackles are tested and the results basically confirm my results from part 1 and Part 2. The conclusion is that a soft shackle is stronger than the line it is made of, but that is about all you can say. 2.8 times stronger like the guy selling them on eBay claims.

Soft Shackle Testing Part 3


In Part 3 of the series on Soft Shackle testing I talk about the samples I sent to Brion Toss for testing at New England Rope. We tested both the new improved "Better Soft Shackle" and the Double Soft Shackle. The conclusion is the same as my own testing. A soft shackle is stronger than the line it is made of and the double soft shackle is half that strong but can be made somewhat stronger by using the next size line up for the diamond stopper loop.

Diamond Knot Animation


Animation of a diamond knot being tied.

Stopper Loop Variations


There are many ways to attach a diamond stopper loop. Here are a few variations.

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