Wednesday, June 25, 2014

When, Where and How to use a Spool Shackle

While it may look like a spool for your mother’s sewing machine it certainly is not.

The spool shackle is another light weight option for boats looking to decrease weight. Used as a shackle replacement for a halyard, sheet, or outhaul.

The Tylaska Spool Shackle come in seven different sizes to match the size of line intended for use.  Simply figure out what size line you require and match the shackle to it.  Small in size, but strong for in strength makes it the perfect fit.

Lets see how it works and how to install:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How to Use and Choose a Spinnaker Halyard Keeper


Every bowman has struggled with spinnaker halyards flapping around all over the place and getting stuck behind (or in front) of the spreaders. Fortunately over the years people smarter than myself have devised several great ways to secure that pesky spin halyard from getting out of control and keeping it ready for that next windward mark spinnaker set.

All three options work better (and are less polluting) than the standard white rigging tape many bow guys use. My personal favorite is the APS Velcro Halyard Keeper for most boats but the Soak Halyard Clip also work really well.

The upside of the APS Velcro Halyard Keeper is that you can put it in a locked position so you can really snug up the halyard. This is great for boats that launch from a forward hatch, where you don’t want the spinnaker halyard to swing around behind the spreaders while sailing and potentially get stuck between the back of the spreaders and the mainsail when you bear off to round the mark.

The downside is that you’ll need to remember to “un-lock” the halyard close to (or at) the windward mark.

The Soak Halyard Clip works for lines all the way up to 3/8” in diameter. I find it works particularly well with smaller diameters and especially well with stripped halyards. Inexpensive and light weight, it makes a great option for many boats from Lightnings all the way to J/105s

Lastly is the Ronstan Fixed Bail Snap Shackle. You can rig it in one of two ways. I prefer to use the fixed bail version shackle to prevent the shackle from swiveling inadvertently. Many people tie the bail to the boat but I prefer to tie the pull ring to the boat. 

If you tie the pull ring to the boat, the idea is that when you’re going to hoist and pull on the halyard the shackle will open.  But if you’re looking for a permanent hold, you can lash it to the bail to the boat.  You’ll need to remember to undo it before the windward mark and unlike the Velcro (where you might be able to break the “locked” Velcro) you’re unlikely to ever pull hard enough to open a shackle.

There are pros and cons to each approach so depends on you to decide which fits your needs best. 

Let's take a look:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Using a Safety Cutter on a Dinghy

Having a safety cutter as part of your gear is a small investment that offers a lot of peace of mind.  We’re looking at both the Spinlock "S" Cutter Safety Knife and the Gill Harness Rescue Tool.  

The Spinlock "S" Cutter Safety Knife comes in a small pouch that can be Velcro attached in a variety of places and can be relocated anytime.  It has a lanyard that attaches to the pouch so you won’t lose it if dropped.  It offers a very instinctual design when grabbing it to use.

The Gill Harness Rescue Tool is similar in design and comes with a lanyard that can be attached to any part of your gear as well as a “belt loop” sheath.  This sheath is made to stay where you put it for the time being.  The Gill Harness Rescue Tool also sports a shackle key which is always nice to have.

Lets take a look at their application for dinghies:

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How to Replace Rivets using a Hand Rivet Gun

Rivets are probably one of the most commonly used fasteners on sailboats—they hold bails on masts and booms, spreader mounts, trim, and much, much, more. Unfortunately, rivets don’t last forever (they last pretty darn close though), but in the event that you need to replace one, this video will show you just how easy it is.

Tools Required: 
  • Safety Glasses (safety first!) 
  • Rivet Gun
  • Rivets
  • Caliper/Gauge for Sizing the Hole
  • The Parts That Need to be Riveted (Eyestrap etc)
Here's the play by play from the video:  
  1. Put your safety glasses on! 
  2. With your already drilled holes, slip your unused rivet into the hole, with the part being riveted between the rivet head and the metal that will hold the rivet. 
  3. Change the tip of the rivet gun to fit the rivet
  4. Insert the tip and squeeze the handle. 
  5. After between 2 and 3 pumps, the pin should have pulled out.
  6. Voila! The rivet is set.
Want to learn how a Rivet Gun Works?