There is a definite MacGyver element to being a sailor, particularly a cruising sailor, therefore little inventions to make life easier are always of interest. Life at sea with something broken or working poorly can make an everyday Joe a brilliant inventor. Here’s a sailor math equation for you: Time on hand + annoying broken things = Innovation. Here’s one we like – the rope shackle:
Either find someone who makes these handy little widgets, check out a retailer who carries them or make one yourself and you’ll be better for the effort. They are a relatively simple creation and can serve a multitude of purposes. They are lightweight and perfect for situations where a hard metal shackle could do more harm than good. Their inherent flexibility is also an attribute in a variety of situations where the rigidity of a metal shackle might require a twist shackle of something else. They can also be made to custom lengths and used for attaching jib sheets, coiling lines, creating temporary cleats, perhaps in the amidships area of a boat where there are often none to be found. There’s many more applications for this organic little device. Grab a couple and keep them around – you’ll soon find that one will serve a purpose.
And, if you go to the trouble of learning how to make these little rascals, you’ll be even further ahead of the game. It means the difference between not having a shackle for an important task and always having one the perfect size for the particular job. For sailors who make long passages, it can be a bit of work but a great luxury.