- All-fiber standing rigging
- Fiber lifelines
- Safer jacklines
- Fiber shackles
One of the biggest trends we've seen in the past 50 years is away from things that can be made to things that must be purchased. Given the steady decline in the basic shop skills of the average sailor and the increase in the complexity of our world, this trend is unstopable. But I try. Many of us try, and that is one of the great attractions of Amsteel; that a DIY sailor can replace purchased rigging services and create something better. I like that too.
Soft Shackles. A cool little invention: the only thing is the idea is about 200 years old on boats, and as old as ropes in general. Every pre-teen girl learned to tie these when braiding friendship bracelets. Every old salt learned to tie a strop with a splice and a turkshead; They are strong, cheap, and won't jam if loaded sharply. I've seen them used to arrest cannon. Rather similar, I think.
Still a good idea today. When made from Amsteel...
- As strong as steel
- Won't scratch the gel coat
- No tools required to install of remove
I learned of the old style strop from The New Glenans Sailing Manual over 20 years ago. There they were recommended as a means of attaching jib sheets on a dingy that was releasable and not likely to draw blood when changing a flogging sail. However, their method was simpler, taking only seconds to make, a minute if you're meticulous. The instructions, below, are for 1/8" line, but it will work in any size; I've made them up to 1/2" line, which will hold over 8,000 pounds (the line is doubled).
- Cut and seal a 12-inch length of 1/8-inch line. This can be longer, much longer, if a longer strop is needed.
- Double the line and tie an overhand loop near the bend, with the loop just large enough to pass a double overhand loop on doubled line without having to force it. Tighten by hand and with a fid in the loop.
- Tie a double overhand loop near the end of the loop. Leave enough tail to help pull the knot through.
Notes: A double overhand works as well as a turks head; a turks head is trouble in braid and a tight double overhand impossible in hemp. A single line works fine for longer stropes. Webbing is a mistake; depending on how the webbing lies, there may be no sharp edge on the knot. The loop can be spliced or seize, but that is just more complex; I use the bulk of the knot to advantage on tarps and awnings by tying the knots on either side of the grommet, keeping the strop captive and safe from loss.
Not as fancy as the soft shackles and considerably more bulky, they still come in handy due to shear ease and simplicity.
- Attaching tarps and awnings. No knots to jam and no chance of scratching the gelcoat. Any length you want.
- Sail gaskets. Unlike Fastek fasteners they won't shatter when you step on them, are easier to manage than knots with gloves on, and never jam. This is my every-day use.
- Securing halyards and preventing slap. Less noise and no scratching of the mast.
- Towing a tube full of kids; a metal shackle would make the floating tow line sink and a knot will jam.