Soft Shackles

I’ve been looking into the best method for attaching sheets to the foresail. Metal shackles are dangerous and can rip holes in sails, bowlines are unreliable knots when not under pressure, and a continuous line looped in the middle through the clew is likely to compress the clew over time.

Soft Shackle Animation

The ideal solution appears to be to splice soft eyes into the end of each sheet, and attach them to the clew with a “soft shackle”. Being a lover of knots, I thought I’d give it a go and this was my first attempt. The surprising thing was the cost - I used 5mm Marlow Excel Vectram 12, at a cost of £5.91 per metre, which is enough to make a single soft shackle. The reason is the strength 5mm Vectram has a similar strength to 10mm braid on braid, 2400kgs breaking strain.

I followed the instructions in this video, which resulted in a 5 inch loop, too short for the intended purpose. A second attempt with a 7 inch loop looks long enough; although I have not yet tried it on the boat. The next step will be to splice soft eyes into each sheet.

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