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Thread: Sail Slide Shackles?

  1. #1
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    Default Sail Slide Shackles?

    Wandering Star has bronze slides on track, seized on. The seizings are done in, some have failed. My arthritic hands don't want to redo them all. I considered sewing webbing, but not by hand for the same reason. I have a Sailrite machine, but bringing the sail to the machine or the reverse is also labor intensive. My Pennant Sloop had shackles attaching the slides to the sail, they never failed and were easy to remove if necessary. I now see that there are nylon shackles. Anyone use them on metal slides? Or have a reasonable source for the stainless ones? The shackles on the Pennant were small and made of flat stock.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    Thank you.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    Sailmakers Supply carries these plastic ones, too. I've had them on boats years back, never a problem. Much cheaper. This is one of three styles.

    -Dave

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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    Thank you too.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    I tried the plastic ones and they quickly failed. I ended up using two of the metal ones , back to back , on each slide. 650 sq.ft. sail

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    Interesting. Did they chafe, break or open under strain?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    Some simply broke, but the screw pulled out on most.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    Quote Originally Posted by johngsandusky View Post
    Wandering Star has bronze slides on track, seized on. The seizings are done in, some have failed. My arthritic hands don't want to redo them all. I considered sewing webbing, but not by hand for the same reason. I have a Sailrite machine, but bringing the sail to the machine or the reverse is also labor intensive. My Pennant Sloop had shackles attaching the slides to the sail, they never failed and were easy to remove if necessary. I now see that there are nylon shackles. Anyone use them on metal slides? Or have a reasonable source for the stainless ones? The shackles on the Pennant were small and made of flat stock.
    I have the plastic ones on my 10' dink gunter rig sail. After a few yrs of hard use they cracked and broke at the screw. Could have been UV damage, stress from use or tightening the screw too tight. I don't think they're made for large boat sails. I also have the stamped d shackles on larger sails...some are screw tightened and others held with pin and split ring. I've seen no difference in reliability and I've sailed them for decades. My preference is the split rings because tools aren't needed. Harken makes them for $4-$5 each.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    My own preference is sewn webbing, but I completely understand your reasoning for avoiding it.
    The shackle using a pan head screw is the the least offensive of the others, I have sailed several boats with this style and found no problems. At $2.50 each you can't complain.
    Plastic always breaks at the most inopportune time, and shackles with rings can catch on stuff. Having watched a snagged "ring" straighten out and then fall away on the next tack (while close hauled in a place where there was no stopping and fixing it), I am gun shy of that type.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    Thank you all. Plenty to think about.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    I'm partial to the webbing. It doesn't chafe the edge of the sail as much as the others tend to do.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    The Number 5 version is really simple to do. Figure out the length for the proper number of wraps. Cut and melt each end. attach and stitch. You HAVE TO HAVE A PALM to push the needle.

    [/QUOTE]
    Ric in Richmond

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    I usually attach slugs and slides the traditional way with sail twine. It's dirt cheap, secure, doesn't tear up rings or grommets like stainless shackles can and it is easily replaceable with minimal work and tools if ever needed. Shown at upper right attached to that big sewn ring. For slugs spaced along a luff or sail foot I'll usually use two small spur grommets for the anchor holes.

    corner-detail-3.jpg

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    Big loadings on 650 ft, my bermudan sails have never been more than about 450 and I've had no issues to speak of over several sails with the plastic shackles. Interesting to note though, that the load point slides are usually beefed. At the head and reef points. Often doubled or steel slides and webbing or steel shackles.
    I've also tied shackles on with cord and a few half hitches, you get nice articulation that way and the modern cord like spectra or dyneema ain't going to break.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    Folks, read the OP...

    My arthritic hands don't want to redo them all. I considered sewing webbing, but not by hand for the same reason
    (I understand this completely)

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    Quote Originally Posted by James River Rat View Post
    The Number 5 version is really simple to do. Figure out the length for the proper number of wraps. Cut and melt each end. attach and stitch. You HAVE TO HAVE A PALM to push the needle.

    [/QUOTE]

    +1 on that. Hot knife the strips. Palm, needle and 5 strand Dacron. It's like... 4 stitches each, IIRC. Yes -- 4 stitches each. Just checked in my copy of The Sailmaker's Apprentice. Oddly enough,I had a bookmark, a piece of 5-strand dacron marking the place. The only hard part is hauling taught, but if you have a roping palm with a thumb stall, it's easier.

    And, Emiliano has another method, the "Privateer Knot", a strip of well-oiled latigo. It involves no sewing at all. I imagine one could snug it up with a pair of smooth jaw pliers.

    C565947D-BE03-4F15-85A4-DEDAE77846A3.jpg
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug B View Post
    I tried the plastic ones and they quickly failed.
    Another negatori on the plastic. Got the mizzen almost all the way up before the plastic shackles came raining down on our heads. It was pretty funny.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    Quote Originally Posted by johngsandusky View Post
    Wandering Star has bronze slides on track, seized on. The seizings are done in, some have failed. My arthritic hands don't want to redo them all. I considered sewing webbing, but not by hand for the same reason. I have a Sailrite machine, but bringing the sail to the machine or the reverse is also labor intensive. My Pennant Sloop had shackles attaching the slides to the sail, they never failed and were easy to remove if necessary. I now see that there are nylon shackles. Anyone use them on metal slides? Or have a reasonable source for the stainless ones? The shackles on the Pennant were small and made of flat stock.
    Not to drift too much but what size Pennant did you have? I had a 29...box spar with track and twine for the metal slides.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    I had the 20', she was a peach. They were all quite similar, though my mast was solid spruce.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    It involves no sewing at all.

    C565947D-BE03-4F15-85A4-DEDAE77846A3.jpg[/QUOTE]


    Nice.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    Plastic shackles and slides are easy to use, cheap and last a long time.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    Thanks. I'm considering all of the replies. Right now I'm leaning toward trying plastic shackles with steel ones at the ends. I'll report my solution and results.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    You might consider steel one above the reef tack...

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    Back when I was still doing a lot of general sail repairs and alterations I installed quite a few sets of slugs on sails for owners of small to medium "economy" boats like MacGregor 26s, small Hunters, etc. using the plastic shackles. In general, they worked OK and few came back with problems. The only caution that I would give the owners was that the plastic shackle is actually pretty strong when the stress is coming from the direction that it was designed for. From other directions, not so much. Most potential problems would happen when raising or lowering the sails, not while actually sailing. For this reason, it pays to be careful when the sail is going up or coming down. If something is jammed, figure it out and fix it. Don't try to force it. That will alleviate the vast majority of the situations where you might break a shackle. Usually the headboard would get two, just a few inches apart. The traditional "standard" for fittings along the luff is to have around 26" between them, though it can be adjusted as needed to space them along the luff length. They are not strong enough to safely function as the tack fitting, and if you install them on your luff you will likely need some sort of solid alteration, shackle/slug or fitting at the tack to maintain a proper tack setback distance.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    Good points both, thank you.
    "Don't force it" is a good rule on boats, and in life.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    I've been sailmaking for 12 years now (not as long as some who have already commented) working on everything from little dinghy's to 100ft supermaxis.
    I wouldn't recommend using plastic shackles on boats over 35-38ft long. smaller if they have a large mainsail.
    I have never really had a problem with using plastic shackles on intermediates on any boats this size.
    The issues usually happen when they are used above reefs and on batten pockets. We have always webbed on a metal slide above the reefs and battens, only using the plastic ones in between these places.
    Keeping in mind Todds comment on most breakages happen in hoisting or dropping when the plastic shackles get twisted. keeping you sail track clean and lubricated helps a lot with this problem as well.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Sail Slide Shackles?

    Thank you.

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