I have wanted to add shackles to my halyards for a long time. I am hoping this will speed up and simplify the process of rigging and launching the boat. Now that I finally have purchased some hardware, I am not sure I really want to go this route. It doesn't really take all that long to tie a bowline after all! Here is a brief recap of my hardware shopping.
I looked at many of the shackle options at West Marine, both in the store and in their catalog. I am still in shock at what good stainless steel hardware costs! The cheapest "economy" shackle at West marine is about $16 for bronze, and a bit more for stainless. The really nice ones are at least $35 each. That just seems a bit much for two clips on the end of a rope for my little boat. So I went shopping on eBay to see what I could find.
I found a seller on eBay (marine_hardware) that listed small shackles at 2 for $13, with a "Make Offer" option. I offered $10 for 2, and won the bid. Two weeks later I now have the shackles in hand. I have not tried them on the boat yet, but as I manipulate them in the living room it is obvious that they don't match the quality of the West Marine hardware. Not even close. I had to sand off a burr that I repeatedly stabbed my finger with, and the bail hinge is pretty loose. The bail does not always line up with the pin when closing the shackle. I think they will serve the intended purpose, but they are not as good as the economy shackles and I can see a possible upgrade in my future.
The proper way to put a shackle on a line is with a splice. I thought that splicing double braided line would be easy. Well, think again. It is not hard, just complicated. I watched some videos and read a few articles, then decided that for now I would tie a knot! I did add some cheap thimbles to help prevent wear and tear on the lines. I went for the galvanized thimble rather than the stainless ones. I will update you later on how it all turns out. My attempts to save money might not pay off like I had hoped!