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Old 03-04-2002
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Dan Dickison is on a distinguished road
Attaching Jibsheets

On all the boats I have sailed the jibsheets are tied on to the jib with a bowline. Is there another way to attach the lines so that a sail change will be easier without untying and retying the lines?

Dan Dickison responds:
Thanks for your question. Though the time-honored bowline (and other knots) appear to be the preferred method among sailors in general, there actually are several other ways of attaching jib and genoa sheets to the clews of these sails. Some boat owners use standard shackles, and some even use snap shackles, but each of these have drawbacks that I think disqualify them: Standard D-shackles are usually too heavy and they're apt to catch on the shrouds. Snap shackles are prone to snagging and releasing when you least want that to happen.

So what should you use? Many racing sailors use what are called J-locks. These are stainless-steel locking shackles that are designed and built to be streamline so that they don't tend to catch on shrouds or other fittings as the clew of the sail comes across the deck during tacks. We actually sell a version of this product in our online store at SailNet. The ones we sell are made by Tylaska, and these have a lock mechanism that can be easily released by hand, but won't open on its own.

Another alternative is a relaitvely new system that was introduced by a company called EquipLite. These simple devices use carbon and Vectran line wrapped around a high-tensile aluminum bobbin, which bears the load of the sheets. They are essentially just as strong as steel shackles and weigh about half as much, and are somewhat comparable in price.

Here's hoping that this information is useful to you.

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