Those are generally called hanks, not shackles.
I own a Merit 25 too... Mine has no roller furling and the head sail riggin is secured to the fore stay via shackles... There's a yahoo group that is devoted to Merits, they have been great help with questions like yours...
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.