WeKnow Dyneema Soft Shackles
Learn about Dyneema Soft Shackles for use on a sailing boat or yacht, with the WeKnow Guide from Pro Marine Store.
Revolutionising on deck stainless steel shackles are the new breed of SK78 Dyneema soft shackles from SeaQure, in association with Pro Marine Store UK. But what are Dyneema soft shackles and why might you use one?
Traditionally, steel shackles are used all over a boat, from attaching the foot of a main sail, to reefing points, to anchors, to running rigging, to genoa sail head halyards...the list goes on, as we all know. Now think of what that shackle does: It is strong and connects two things together. It is made of metal because metal was the strongest thing around...until a few years ago...
Enter the Dyneema soft shackle. These can be bought from various places, but none are more thoughtfully manufactured that those from SeaQure Soft Shackles, and stocked by us at Pro Marine Store in the UK. Lets go through a few areas where a soft shackle is better than its older brother.
It Doesn't Chafe the Other Surfaces it Touches
A metal shackle will typically touch two things that it is there to connect. Hard stainless steel on almost any other material on a boat will win in terms of toughness. Thus, the other materials will be degraded by rubbing, chafing and pulling over time. Think of what an eye splice on a halyard looks like after a year or so of having a metal shackles on it - stretches to a fine point where all the force goes through. Which do you think is going to win and which is going to fail? In Contrast, the Dyneema soft shackle exposes a larger surface area to the opposing rope, in the case of an eye splice, thus spreading the load over a larger area, and not creating 'hotspots' of pressure. It is inherently a soft structure, and so won't chafe as metal will. After seasons of use, the eyelets you attach will show no signs of wear from the use of the soft shackle.
It is easy to open, close and repeat without tools, with gloved cold hands, in any weather
Think of those times aboard your boat when you've needed to open a steel shackle in the cold and wet. Did you manage with your hand alone or did you need a tool that could have gone flying into the sea with the next wave coming across. did your fingers throb after having put maximum pressure into unscrewing the pin with raw hands? Did you manage to keep the pin, or loose it overboard in the process? By contrast, the soft shackle opens with the ease of a bowline knot. simply pull on the red release cord and the eye of the shackle will easily open, no matter how long the soft shackle has been in place. it can be operated easily with gloved hands, and doesnt need tools.
They Float and can be brightly coloured
Steel shackles, and shackle pins of course do not float. Once they are gone, they are gone - quick! Get that pin in your pocket before it's fumbled onto the deck. Dyneema floats and comes in a multitude of colours. There is one one part so no pin to loose, once opened, it wont just fall on the deck as they are so light, and not so slippery compared with stanless steel. If they drop in the water, they can easily be fished out and can easily be seen on the water surface if brightly coloured
They Don't Hurt whilst Flogging on a loose Line
Imagine the damage a flogging line with a shackle on the end can do for your body, and more importantly for your poor deck gel coat! Imagine wincing when the flogging line impacts the gelcoat deck if you accidentally let go of the line. Worse, imagine the shackle hitting someone onboard thats potentially not as aware as yourself in the world of sailing. By contrast, a soft shackle is simply a cleverly designed knotted rope. it is soft so no amount of flogging or hitting will cause any damage to gelcoat at all. Additionally, whilst a flogging rope may hurt a little if it hits you, it hurts way less than a steel shackle!
They will never 'Jam' Closed.
Imagine the concept of a Bowline know - no matter how much pressure is put through the knot, or soft shackle, it will never be impossible to open, like the pin of a steel shackle might be. The opening of the soft shackle is so satisfying you'll wonder why you havent used them before.
Yes, but are they Strong?
European grade SK78 Dyneema is unbelievably strong. 6-8mm Dyneema will take loads far higher than anything you might find on a typical sailing yacht upto 50ft. And for bigger boats, we simply use a thicker Dyneema.
So we are now beginning to learn where a traditional steel shackle might not be so appropriate as a new Dyneema Soft Shackle. When we started using soft shackles on our own boats, we realised the incredible potential in this product. We the worked closely with the riggers at SeaQure to make our own line of products.
We now sell our high quality soft shackles to the UK market in a 40mm and 70mm loop.
Benefits of our Shackles:
- Please NEVER buy a soft shackle from an untrustworthy source like eBay or suchlike. You may not actually be getting European SK78 Dyneema at all, and so cannot guarantee the strength. We use Dyneema from Liros and Marlow to guarantee the breaking strain of our products.
- Our shackles come with optional Dyneema outer sheathing to further reduce chafe on the shackle itself. This Dyneema Sheathing is so strong, you wont get through it sawing with a sharp carving knife for love nor money!
- Our shackles are beautifully crafted, including crown knots on both the main part and the pull cord.
- Our soft shackles are made in the UK by experienced riggers, thus supporting UK businesses
- Our shackles can be made to measure, although we stock as standard 40mm and 70mm loops
Please ask us about our knowledgeable technical team about SeaQure Dyneema Soft Shackles in store now, and start improving the way you use shackles aboard your boat, to protect yourself, you sails and your poor gel coat.