Friday, May 13, 2011

SOAK Halyard Clip Product Review

The following is a product review written by Matt in Customer Service. There's a bit of hype going around about this handy spinnaker halyard clip, and thanks to Matt - APS has it in stock. Hear what he has to say about it:


On one of my many late nights perusing the Internet for unique and new sailing products I came across a new item called the SOAK Halyard Clip. As a long time bowman, this product struck my interest. I gave our product manager the heads up, and before long, we ordered some for the shop. I was super excited to try it out.

The SOAK Halyard Clip is essentially a plastic clip you tie down with some line that comes with it (as an aside, I wasn’t a huge fan of the line that comes with it and replaced it with super inexpensive halyard leader that ties really good knots). You then slide your spinnaker halyard into the prongs of the clip when the spinnaker isn’t in use. The clip acts as an alternative to a Velcro halyard lock, using a snap shackle (shown here) on a 105, or taping the halyard to the stanchion.

The best part about the SOAK Halyard Clip when comparing it to these other options is that the clip is never fully locked. If you forget to “unlock” it as you approach the weather mark, you’re never stuck jumping down to the low side to open it up or spending time tripping the shackle.

The SOAK Clip can be used on a range of boats. They market the product as being able to use between 4 and 9 mm line, but in my testing, I found it best used for lines smaller than 8mm. At the high end and on boats larger than 35’ I found the clip works best with stripped halyards so the diameter in the clip actually ends up being closer to 6mm.

I had the opportunity in recent weeks to try the SOAK Halyard Clip out on a J/109 and on Jet 14. I didn’t think the clip was quite as well suited for the 109 and without a stripped halyard the double braid line ended up being too rigid to easily release from the clip.



However, when I tried it on Jet 14 the other night, it worked quite well. At first, I thought the clip may have been overkill for boats smaller than 20’. The 3 ¼” length of the clip seemed a bit too large for such a small boat. Despite my concerns – upon actually putting the clip to use on the Jet, I really liked it.

Like you may often see on boats like Thistles, Jet 14s, or Lightnings, the spin halyard is often hooked under the port side guy hook when not in use, but that method requires remembering to unhook it before the set, which can be hard if you’re in big breeze and are all fully hiked out coming in on starboard tack and forget to undo it on the penultimate tack.

The best indication of how well it worked on the Jet 14 was that after we flew the spinnaker, I asked my crew* how well it worked – and she said she didn’t even notice. It just worked.

All in all, I generally like the SOAK Halyard Clip. It makes things a bit easier for the bow, and anything that can make that job easier is always appreciated. My one complaint is that the plastic on the clip is a bit too rigid to be used on larger line, and the overall profile (just over 3”) may be too big for dinghies. Maybe in the future, SOAK will make two versions – one suited for smaller boats say under 25’ with max line of 6mm and one for larger boats with max line of 10mm.

*A few thoughts from that crew:
Although it was a light air sailing night, it still worked well. It eliminates one step coming around a mark. There’s no more worrying about whether you remembered to take it off of the clam cleat or eye hook and you can just worry about getting around the mark as fast as possible. I also skippered a race, and it easily came out as you were hoisting. It is a great addition to any dinghy!

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Thanks for the post, Matt. We look forward to learning your thoughts on the J/105 Upgraded Outhaul!

Anybody else out there tried the SOAK clip? If so, what did you think?

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