Sails & Canvas

This staysail has a high-tech fiber halyard and soft-shackle hank on a fiber stay. Although such arrangements are becoming popular for storm staysails, Practical Sailor is still advocating wire stays and metal hanks in this application.

Going Soft on Shackles

Our DIY guide to making and using rope shackles.

Fiber shackles have been in use for centuries—the simple knotted toggles provided all manner of service on square-riggers and even older craft. When made correctly with the right material, fiber shackles are strong, can be released without tools, and are jam-proof in the most severe weather. Like cotton sails, this 200-year-old technology has been updated through the use of modern materials.

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