Sailing Gizmo Rope Shackle

Cool Gizmos for Sailors : The Rope Shackle

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.

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Where can I find instructions on how to make these little wonders?


Yeah, I make and teach how to make them all the time. Go to YouTube and type in “soft shackle”. We use them everywhere except for ground tackle. Dyneema is your best choice for material but, we have made them out of many different types of line. Cheers!