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Preventing shackles from working loose


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What is the issue?
Shackles are used extensively in yachting as a highly convenient fastening and fitting mechanism. However they can come loose by turning and unfastening themselves.

Why address this?
A shackle accidentally un-fastening itself could cause, at best, an unwanted inconvenience. At worse, as in the case where it is supporting rigging or for instance anchor attachment, an unexpected shackle failure could cause extensive equipment or vessel damage.

How to address this?
Secure all shackles by looping stainless steel split rings through the shackle eyes and bodies as presented in figure 1.

Stainless steel split rings offer a more effective approach than the traditional wiring or whipping fail safes. A wired shackle typically presents a protruding sharp end or spur that will tear sails and injure crew. Whipping does not do this but it is subject to chafe and UV degradation.

The key to implementation is not to spread the split ring over the body of the shackle but only around the shackles eye. Running a split ring over the shackle body itself will most likely damage it by spreading it too far. The approach to follow is:
1/ Undo the shackle you wish to secure.
2/ Place the split ring into the shackle.
3/ Refasten the shackle with the split ring inside by hand.
4/ Work the split ring into the eye of the shackle.

The reverse opens the shackle and the split ring can be reused time and time again.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.


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