Attaching sheets - SailNet Community

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Old 12-23-2010
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Attaching sheets

On most boats I have sailed / raced on, the jib sheets have been bowline'd onto the jib / genny. However the spinnaker sheet / guy has been snap shackled onto the spinnaker. Why the difference? Specifically, what's wrong with bowline'ing the sheet and guy to the spinnaker? Similarly the halyards have usually had key pin shackles for the main and jib, but a snap shackle for the spinnaker. So what's wrong (if anything) with a key pin shackle on the spinnaker halyard?

Peter
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Old 12-23-2010
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Spinnakers are used quite differently than the other sails, often set and doused more often, and need to be quickly disconnected and reconnected a number of times in any given race. Sheets/guys are connected with snapshackles for similar reasons, and also sometimes the cleanest way to douse a spinnaker is to pop the shackle on the guy, bring the sail in without a flailing guy (or the drag through the pole end), and retrieve it (the guy) later. This would not be practical using a tied-on line. Key pin shackles are slower, often difficult to use, esp when bouncing around on a foredeck so are best left to mainsails.

Mainsails are key pinned, as you say, but they generally have the halyards attached the entire race. Headsails most often use snapshackles, esp with multiple halyards and foils because they, too, get changed often and unused halyards are stowed and reconnected as required.

However, on more recent sport boats and one designs where the spinnaker can go in and out of the same bag (often in the companionway) without being disconnected and repacked, the spinnaker is often tied on because under normal circumstances the sheets/guys and even the halyard stay attached throughout the race. Tying them on does reduce weight and cost, of course.
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Old 12-23-2010
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One other reason the genny sheets are usually tied on—shackles become deadly when the sail is flogging... getting hit by a bowline will hurt, but generally won't do any permanent damage....getting hit with even a small shackle at the end of a flogging sail can kill you.
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Thanks for input everyone. The races I am doing these days will very rarely require the spinnaker to be used more than once - we do three legs of a few miles each, and that's it. Also I have had a spinnaker halyard snap shackle open. We had rounded a mark from a run to a medium reach which we intended to do under spinnaker. The pole went forward and then the head of the spinnaker came tumbling down! The shackle had survived the gybing down wind run and when retrieved appeared so perfect that I did not replace it and used it in many races thereafter. So I think I will go with a keypin shackle for the halyard, and bowlines for the sheets for now and add shackles if the need seems to be there. I agree keypins (and bowlines) are slower than snaps but there is plenty of warning that we are about to change onto a spinnaker leg.

Thanks again,
Peter
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With knots instead of shackles, it will be a little difficult to blow the guy in hurry when necessary (and sooner or later it will be necessary).
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An end-for-end spinnaker can use bowlines, if you are going to stuff the sail right into the bag. On a dip pole spinnaker the guys are attached to the clew with a snap shackle and the sheets are attached to a ring on the guys. (Or the sheets attached to the clew and the guys to the sheet ring.) End for end spinnakers spinnakers do not need separate sheets, although do employ them.

The shackles that are used must open under load, which is why they are specialized shackles which are released either with a line attached to the ring or a fid.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
it will be a little difficult to blow the guy in hurry when necessary
It is a good thing that this a sailing forum.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
It is a good thing that this a sailing forum.
Jeeze--If something can be misconstrued, it will be...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
Jeeze--If something can be misconstrued, it will be...
HyLyte's axiom.
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Try a Dutch or Soft Shackle. Good things. Easy to create, simple to use and less likelihood of a smack on the noggin than snap shackle or even a bowline.

You put a whipped or spliced eye onto your sheets and away you go.

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