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Evolution of the soft shackle #191457
09/21/09 11:53 AM
09/21/09 11:53 AM
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Isotope235 Offline OP
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A few weeks ago, another topic http://www.catsailor.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=189872&page=2 diverged into making shackles out of 12-strand high-tech line. Since then, I've tied a few in different ways, and thought I'd share the evolution.

You can see some of my early attempts in the other thread. After making those, I tried simply making a long bury and putting a stop-knot at the end as others had recommended. I wanted something prettier than a figure-8 knot, so I made a 4-part button knot on the end.

That was ok, but even though the top of the button was symmetric, the standing part didn't exit from the center, and the knob was still a little too big. In the next version, I pulled the tail out of the bury, put in a locking brummel, and tied a 2-part chinese button (which is a pretty 8-part knob knot).

I showed this one around, and a friend said he had bought something similar, but it had a string to help pull the eye out. I thought that was a good idea, so I added a loop of whipping twine. When you hold the cover and pull on the loop, the eye opens up.

I've since seen a picture of one with an o-ring around the cover. At first, I thought that was an interesting addition. It helps milk the cover back over the core to close the eye. I tried it, and it works, but I think the o-ring will break when it gets pinched under load. It's easy enough to milk the cover down by hand, so I'm leaving the o-ring off.

I've made several of these now, in different lengths from different diameter line. They are working well as wire replacements, and keeper loops. I might even start using them for reef lines and boom bails. They're fun to make, and look cool.

Attached Files
SoftShackle4PartButton.jpg (578 downloads)
4-part button knot
SoftShackle.jpg (581 downloads)
Shackle with brummel and 8-part button.
SoftShackleBrummel.jpg (578 downloads)
Shackle with loop for opening the eye.
-- Have You Seen This? --
Re: Evolution of the soft shackle [Re: Isotope235] #191458
09/21/09 12:01 PM
09/21/09 12:01 PM

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Originally Posted by Isotope42
They are working well as wire replacements, and keeper loops. I might even start using them for reef lines and boom bails. They're fun to make, and look cool.


looks very cool ...
what (and where) o you use them for? wire replacements.. whats that mean.
and as a boom bail? what will it attach to? just around the boom? wont it slide fore and aft?

Re: Evolution of the soft shackle [Re: ] #191462
09/21/09 12:18 PM
09/21/09 12:18 PM
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Isotope235 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by andrewscott
what (and where) o you use them for? wire replacements.. whats that mean.
and as a boom bail? what will it attach to? just around the boom? wont it slide fore and aft?

I replaced a wire loop in my main downhaul with one. It goes through the tack of the mainsail, around the boom gooseneck, and attaches to the top block of my downhaul. I also made a slightly shorter loop that goes through the mainsail tack and around the boom gooseneck. That way, the boom floats with the sail.

You can put a loop through the mainsail clew and around the boom to act as a boom bail. If that is too far aft, you can hold it in place with a track-stop. You can also use such a loop as a floating keeper if you have a trackless clew outhaul.

Re: Evolution of the soft shackle [Re: ] #191467
09/21/09 01:30 PM
09/21/09 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by andrewscott
what (and where) o you use them for?
On the Stealth so far I have:

- Top patch on the spi to spi halyard (I spliced a loop on the halyard end). It used to be a taped knot, this is faster to tie/untie.
- Attaching the hardware for the jib to the spi pole. I have a full length jib, all the way down to the pole. I have a block on the pole for the tack line and a cleat for the halyard. I only put this hardware on when I sail duo.
- Boom to main sheet blocks. This is a long one, it acts as a pigtail. It lowered my top block and allowed me to remove some length of mainsheet

I also use a variant where I finish a line with a soft shackle. Just make a loop like a bury loop, but don't bury, make a knot instead. Pass the loop over the knot to close. I use those on the spi tack and the jib sheet pigtails.

Last edited by pepin; 09/22/09 09:02 AM.
Re: Evolution of the soft shackle [Re: pepin] #191468
09/21/09 01:41 PM
09/21/09 01:41 PM
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Pics?

Re: Evolution of the soft shackle [Re: Isotope235] #191478
09/21/09 02:31 PM
09/21/09 02:31 PM

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Quote

I replaced a wire loop in my main downhaul with one. It goes through the tack of the mainsail, around the boom gooseneck, and attaches to the top block of my downhaul.

Gotcha.. i saw the wire on the isotopes and would prefer line as well... i personally just have a loop of line on mine.. but gotta love a nice splice when possible.

Quote
I also made a slightly shorter loop that goes through the mainsail tack and around the boom gooseneck. That way, the boom floats with the sail.


not sure i follow this.. your gooseneck floats in the track and this pulls the gooseneck up and allows it to fall? ????

Quote

You can put a loop through the mainsail clew and around the boom to act as a boom bail. If that is too far aft, you can hold it in place with a track-stop. You can also use such a loop as a floating keeper if you have a trackless clew outhaul.


Gotcha.. but as i move my outhaul i would move my block position.. .and conversely my blocks would be pulling my outhaul outward all day... but if it works on your cat... awesome

Re: Evolution of the soft shackle [Re: pepin] #191481
09/21/09 02:39 PM
09/21/09 02:39 PM

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Originally Posted by pepin

- Top patch on the spi to spi halyard (I spliced a loop on the halyard end). It used to be a taped knot, this is faster to tie/untie.
no worries of this coming undone durring snuff and douse?

Quote

- Boom to main sheet blocks. This is a long one, it acts as a pigtail. It lowered my top block and allowed me to remove some length of mainsheet

what prevents chafe? i made a dynema pigtail that lasted about 2 days before it ruptured (due to the flat bail). if i make another it will have to have a thimble for the dynema
Quote
I also use a variant where I finish a line with a soft shackle. Just make a loop like a bury loop, but don't bury, make a knot instead. Pass the loop over the knot to close. I use those on the spi tack and the jib sheet pigtails.

I like that one... if i understand... 1 end is luggage tagged to your sheet??? and this end is a soft shackle for the clew?

Re: Evolution of the soft shackle [Re: ] #191491
09/21/09 03:34 PM
09/21/09 03:34 PM
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Isotope235 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by andrewscott
i saw the wire on the isotopes and would prefer line as well... i personally just have a loop of line on mine.. but gotta love a nice splice when possible.

The original Isotope downhaul pulled on the boom gooseneck, and the gooseneck was in turn pinned to the mainsail tack. Unfortunately, the gooseneck wasn't up to the task and the welds eventually broke. That was replaced by a wire around the gooseneck, but some people just tied a loop of strong line. Joleen still has a double-loop of 1/4" polyester double-braid on hers. Both wire and rope work, but the dyneema is more satisfyingly cool.

The original boom end-casting has "ears" that you can pin to the mainsail tack. The previous owner of my boom, however, cut them off, so the boom has no attachment to the main at all. My boom used to sit on a track-stop in the mast, but now the gooseneck rests in the shorter loop. As I adjust the downhaul, the gooseneck rides up and down with the mainsail tack.

Quote
Gotcha.. but as i move my outhaul i would move my block position.. .and conversely my blocks would be pulling my outhaul outward all day... but if it works on your cat... awesome

Well, it wouldn't work on my cat. The Isotope mainsheet pulls a little forward on the boom, which is what induces mast rotation. If I mounted the boom bail at the mainsail clew, it would be too far aft and impart too much forward force. I have a regular steel bail bolted through the boom. Another sailor has a rope bail that is held in place by a track-stop in the boom groove. Since the mainsail is loose-footed (has no boltrope on the foot), the groove is empty. Imagine a short piece of round stock that fits the groove in the boom. Screw an eyestrap to it loosely and slide it to the desired location. Tighten it in place and run the rope bail through the eye. That is handy because you can adjust it if necessary.

I hope that is clearer.

Regards,
Eric

Re: Evolution of the soft shackle [Re: Isotope235] #191503
09/21/09 04:11 PM
09/21/09 04:11 PM

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Originally Posted by Isotope42I
hope that is clearer.

Regards,
Eric


Clear as mud smile.. thanks for the writeup.. its great to learn about other style cats... and i really do like your soft shackle.. and i totally agree that a spliced dyneema is "sexier" than any regular xls line

Last edited by andrewscott; 09/22/09 08:11 AM.
Re: Evolution of the soft shackle [Re: ] #191547
09/22/09 02:21 AM
09/22/09 02:21 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewscott
Originally Posted by pepin

- Top patch on the spi to spi halyard (I spliced a loop on the halyard end). It used to be a taped knot, this is faster to tie/untie.
no worries of this coming undone durring snuff and douse?
No worries at all.
Originally Posted by andrewscott

Quote

- Boom to main sheet blocks. This is a long one, it acts as a pigtail. It lowered my top block and allowed me to remove some length of mainsheet

what prevents chafe? i made a dynema pigtail that lasted about 2 days before it ruptured (due to the flat bail). if i make another it will have to have a thimble for the dynema
The line goes all the way around the boom on one side and inside a metal shackle on the block side. Chafe is minimal.
Originally Posted by andrewscott

Quote
I also use a variant where I finish a line with a soft shackle. Just make a loop like a bury loop, but don't bury, make a knot instead. Pass the loop over the knot to close. I use those on the spi tack and the jib sheet pigtails.

I like that one... if i understand... 1 end is luggage tagged to your sheet??? and this end is a soft shackle for the clew?

The jib sheets are 2-1 so I need to attach the blocks to the jib clew with pigtails. I was doing knots before, but it was taking forever, especially when the jib is flapping around. So I replaced the pigtails with a dyneema line with soft shackle at both ends and a brumel in the middle. I luggage tag the brumel to the jib clew and then I pass each end loop through the pulleys, push the knot inside the loop and I'm done.


Re: Evolution of the soft shackle [Re: Clayton] #191549
09/22/09 03:24 AM
09/22/09 03:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Clayton
Pics?
The jib pigtail. A Brumel in the middle to wrap around the clew and integrated soft shackles at the ends to attach to the blocks. One shackle is open the other is closed.

The line is 3mm Gleistein Dyna One.

Attached Files
pigtails.jpg (444 downloads)
Last edited by pepin; 09/22/09 03:34 AM.
Re: Evolution of the soft shackle [Re: pepin] #191588
09/22/09 07:54 AM
09/22/09 07:54 AM
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Isotope235 Offline OP
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Ah, now that I see your pic, I understand. That's a nice design. The brummel eye in the middle gives you a better attachemet to the jib clew. An eye-hitch wouldn't slip like a cow-hitch might.

Originally Posted by pepin
I replaced the pigtails with a dyneema line with soft shackle at both ends and a brumel in the middle. I luggage tag the brumel to the jib clew and then I pass each end loop through the pulleys, push the knot inside the loop and I'm done.

Ok, now I'm having trouble visualizing it. I had thought that you were just putting a terminal knot in the bitter end, passing a bight through, and capturing the knot with it. But, if that were the case, there'd be no need for a brummel (and i wouldn't trust that on a flapping jib sheet anyway).

I probably would have just eye-spliced the pigtail ends to the blocks permanently, and cow-hitched it to the jib clew in the middle. That would, however, require you to reeve and unreeve the jib sheets each time you rig and de-rig (not an issue for me as I do that anyway). I can see that a removable attachment might be convenient. I also took the 2:1 purchase off my jib sheets (too much line to pull in on each tack) - but I would like to understand your solution.

I picture you having a line with a sliding eye at each end, and the two buried parts come together in the middle. Do you brummel them into each other, or each one into the cover? With that done, where are the knots that you capture with the eyes?

Regards,
Eric

Last edited by Isotope42; 09/22/09 08:06 AM. Reason: a picture says a thousand words
Re: Evolution of the soft shackle [Re: Isotope235] #191595
09/22/09 08:05 AM
09/22/09 08:05 AM

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Originally Posted by Isotope42
I probably would have just eye-spliced the pigtail ends to the blocks permanently, and cow-hitched it to the jib clew in the middle. That would, however, require you to reeve and unreeve the jib sheets each time you rig and de-rig (not an issue for me as I do that anyway).


I have a pigtail that is tied to the jib blocks, and attachés to the jib clew the same exact way Pepin's attach to the blocks (except with a loop of line and knot on the end instead of a spliced eye...).

I leave this on the jib sheets which are always reeved and left on the cat during storage.. no need to re-reeve all your sheets every time (IMHO)...

Last edited by andrewscott; 09/22/09 08:06 AM.
Re: Evolution of the soft shackle [Re: ] #191647
09/22/09 12:37 PM
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Isotope235 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by andrewscott
Originally Posted by Isotope42
I hope that is clearer.


Clear as mud smile


Maybe this will help. It is a picture of what could be used as a boom bail, assuming your boom extrusion has a bolt-rope track in it. The eyestrap is screwed into a short piece of round stock. The dyneema loop passes through the eye and goes around the boom. You slide the round stock to the desired location and then tighten the screws. That binds the eyestrap in place. If you use the right length screws (or cut them down), then they won't bite into the boom.

That is kind of nice, because you can adjust the location of the bail to give the right amount of forward pressure and you don't put any holes in the boom. If you run any internal lines, there won't be any sharp objects in their way.

Attached Files
DyneemaBoomBail.jpg (394 downloads)
Boom Bail made from dyneema and movable eyestrap.
Re: Evolution of the soft shackle [Re: Isotope235] #191658
09/22/09 01:28 PM
09/22/09 01:28 PM
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Now you guys are just showing off! wink

Re: Evolution of the soft shackle [Re: Tony_F18] #191683
09/22/09 03:50 PM
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Perhaps we should go into business here guys, on Ebay type in Dyneema Shackle and guess what there are 8 such shackles advertised. Note the prices ooouch

Re: Evolution of the soft shackle [Re: waynemarlow] #191700
09/22/09 04:54 PM
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Interesting Wayne, I went and checked the soft shackles on eBay and I found this model which is even simpler to do. There is no bury at all, just a dumb loop, a locking brummel and a diamond knot...

Attached Files
x.jpg (364 downloads)
Re: Evolution of the soft shackle [Re: waynemarlow] #191705
09/22/09 06:38 PM
09/22/09 06:38 PM
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Re: Evolution of the soft shackle [Re: pepin] #191709
09/22/09 07:58 PM
09/22/09 07:58 PM
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thanks for the brain food guys, after 3 years with my old 5.2 i've realized that with the minimal mast rake i use i'll never come close to block to block sheeting and so must be carrying more sheet than i need. to work out the length for a boom pigtail i've have been dropping the boom block by adding long shackles

that last pic from pepin looks doable as a sailing exercise over our snowbound winter

Last edited by erice; 09/22/09 08:02 PM.

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Re: Evolution of the soft shackle [Re: erice] #191757
09/23/09 09:40 AM
09/23/09 09:40 AM
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I see the obsession is contagious. You should be aware there are some additional step in this obsession.

1) Protecting your soft shackle from abrasion where it touches metal. Saturating the line with 3M 52000 where it wears works well. A kevlar cover over the shackle at the wear point and the whole section saturated with 3M 52000 works even better. For the ultimate, I saw someone make a curved titanium tube as an outer cover (be sure to design it so when the line fails, you don't lose the tube.

2) Cool titanium thingies. These are plates designed hold the ends of your soft shackle. It makes it quick and easy to replace the line on the beach. The simplest plate has 2 holes to hold the knotted ends of the line. There are also 2 slots so you can loop the middle of the line over the area between the slots. Make the slots slightly v shaped so they hold the line.

3) Pins - A Marstrom pin(ss pin with a loop on one end and loop of bungee) and a loop of line is an easy to make shackle. The line is the "U" shaped part and a loop of bungee goes over the ends of the pin and keep the line from sliding off. A dumbbell shaped pin This is like the Marstrom pin except you put enough extra loops around one end of the pin so that you can just barely get it off. I bought handful of titanium dumbbell pins at local shop. They work like sister screws and I just leave them in small blocks. I was told that I was buying BIG piercing pins that nobody wanted (3/16 and 1/4!). There is also a barrel pivot that is a threaded tube with a screw in each end. You can also splice a loop in each end of the line that will just barely fit over the ends or nylon strap with a loop sewn in each end. This works well great when the weight is hanging from the line.

4)Loop of line with a square knot. This is what you use when you are tired of making complicated things. I am also using this to get rid of some mistakes I bought, just cut them when you are done(like lines that tangle unless you watch them constantly)

#1 and #4 I use a lot. #2, I have 3 or 4 where the plate is hard mounted to a block or something. #3 I use on a 14 where the loop goes through the foot of the sail, around the boom to the main blocks.

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