Saturday, March 28, 2009

Halyard Shackles

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!


  1. Those look more like sheet shackles than halyard shackles. The halyard shackles I have used are U shaped with a captive pin that locked with a quarter turn.


  2. Both are called shackles and can be used for a variety of purposes, especially on a boat as small as the Potter 15. The advantage of these is the quick release feature. I installed one on the jib tack last year and it is much nicer than having to unscrew the U type, especially when changing head sails on the water.