Why Going Aloft On A Shackle Is A Bad Idea - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 34 Old 05-28-2015
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Re: Why Going Aloft On A Shackle Is A Bad Idea

Darwin would have loved this thread.

I've probably taken 2000-5000 falls on climbing ropes over a 35 years career in the mountains. Hard to say, just guessing from the number of trips and what is typical. The point is you've got to take ALL of the bullets out of the gun. Nothing "pretty good."

And no, a bowline is not "good enough" in any climbing circle. It's fine for a head sail, I tie many on the boat, but not for up the mast. Either take a class or read-up guys. I promise the instructor will send you to the back of the line.
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post #12 of 34 Old 05-28-2015
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Re: Why Going Aloft On A Shackle Is A Bad Idea

5,000 falls in 35 years? That's a lot of falls. Something like 143 per year. If you are falling every time you climb, then perhaps this sport isn't for you? But seriously, Biron Toss taught me to use the bowline when you go aloft. If this isn't right, what is? The "double" bowline?

Why people use a shackle that is designed to quickly release under load for an application where you don't want the possibility of accidentally releasing is beyond me. We only use snap shackles on our spinnaker gear and screw-in D shackles on halyards. We have even moused the shackle on the main halyard when doing trans-oceanic crossings.
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post #13 of 34 Old 05-28-2015
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Re: Why Going Aloft On A Shackle Is A Bad Idea

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Originally Posted by Irunbird View Post
...I had the same thing happen that Sabreman mentions above a few years ago on our J24 about 10 minutes before the start of a race; jib halyard shackle popped loose and I didn't have a harness at the time.
Check out that picture again. The shackle didn't just pop open, the metal parted in two places.
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post #14 of 34 Old 05-28-2015
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Re: Why Going Aloft On A Shackle Is A Bad Idea

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Check out that picture again. The shackle didn't just pop open, the metal parted in two places.
I suspect the shackle was cut off there to get to the race in time.. The failure appears to be the pin/spring/pull tab assembly that decided to 'disappear'...

We've always tied bowlines and if the line has any kind of shackle on it, clip that back onto the line as an unloaded 'safety'.. however after the pics I'm rethinking that last bit. But even then...not sure I've ever seen a loaded bowline 'slip'. I have seen them 'shake loose'.

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post #15 of 34 Old 05-28-2015
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Re: Why Going Aloft On A Shackle Is A Bad Idea

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I suspect the shackle was cut off there to get to the race in time...
Oh, got it.
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post #16 of 34 Old 05-28-2015
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Re: Why Going Aloft On A Shackle Is A Bad Idea

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5,000 falls in 35 years? That's a lot of falls. Something like 143 per year. If you are falling every time you climb, then perhaps this sport isn't for you? But seriously, Biron Toss taught me to use the bowline when you go aloft. If this isn't right, what is? The "double" bowline?
Falls. A lot of climbing is just practice, what we call top roping. It is like gymnastics, where you may try a small problem 10 times in a row, falling, you hope, only 9 times. So racking up 15 top rope falls in a day is considered normal when pushing the limit. 143 falls would be 10 Saterdays, and I climbed a lot more than that. Even if you don't fall, you weight the rope every climb, as you are lowered to the ground after finishing. Top roping is like climbing the mast, in that the rope goes from a belay on the ground, over a pair of carabiners (like a pulley), and back to the climber, with little to no slack. Still, one bad knot and you hit the deck. Climbers have these systems dialed in.

When lead climbing (assents from the ground-up, where any fall has some potential for seriousness, over perhaps 1000 pitches, I've taken only a few leader falls on gear, a few more on bolts, none of which were really a surprise to me; I was pushing, knew it, and had good anchors.

Actually, I'm pretty good at this. And I have never so much as skinned a knuckle in a fall, because the rigging was always right.


Knots. A figure-8 is the standard, with several variations in finish. There are 3 troubles with a bowlines; they can loosen with cyclic loading, they can be tied wrong, and they absorb less energy in a fall (a figure-8 absorbs considerable energy while tightening). A figure-8 is practically impossible to tie wrong and obvious if you do. This has to be a knot you can tie in the dark. Additionally, there is always a back-up knot, the primary function of which is to make certain the tail is ling enough.

Shackles. Why would you use something that can open while a load is applied? Such a person should be banned permanently from climbing if they even considered it once. This person is not trainable IMHO. Locking carabiners, though not so good for many marine applications, are made for this. Obviously.

---

However, don't listen to me. Surf and look for a climbing web site; sailors know sailing, climbers know climbing at a whole nuther level. A accending a mast is trivia.

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post #17 of 34 Old 05-28-2015
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Re: Why Going Aloft On A Shackle Is A Bad Idea

pdq - you know that I was just kidding (where are those damn emoticons when you need them?) But getting back to the seriousness of being up a mast and at the end of a rope - When I tie off jackline ends I use the "waterknot"(?) - isn't that like a double figure eight? I'm supposing that knot would be too large for the harness given we're talking about halyards here. Then you also tie a figure 8 in the tail as a stopper or will the size and mass of the shackle be sufficient? I was recently at a SAS seminar and Jim Antrim was talking about a double bowline where the rabbit goes in/out of the hole and around the tree twice. Have you heard of such a thing? Comments?

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Re: Why Going Aloft On A Shackle Is A Bad Idea

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pdq - you know that I was just kidding (where are those damn emoticons when you need them?) But getting back to the seriousness of being up a mast and at the end of a rope - When I tie off jackline ends I use the "waterknot"(?) - isn't that like a double figure eight? I'm supposing that knot would be too large for the harness given we're talking about halyards here. Then you also tie a figure 8 in the tail as a stopper or will the size and mass of the shackle be sufficient? I was recently at a SAS seminar and Jim Antrim was talking about a double bowline where the rabbit goes in/out of the hole and around the tree twice. Have you heard of such a thing? Comments?
A water knot is a traced overhand and is used to connect 2 pieces of webbing or to make a sling. I think what you use is probably and overhand loop (an overhand tied on a bight).

When I said figure-8, I should properly have said "figure-8 on a bight." Basically, it is a figure-8 stopper tied on a bight, making a loop.

It is also possible to tie both the overhand and the figure-8 loops by tying the basic knot loosely, and then tracing though to make, for example, a trace figure-8 loop. This is the standard knot for tying a harness in if a significant fall is expected. The video shows this.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dd1rFhayU-M
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post #19 of 34 Old 05-29-2015
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Re: Why Going Aloft On A Shackle Is A Bad Idea

Iv'e used a bowline with two half hitches. Do you think that is a safe knot for going aloft?
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post #20 of 34 Old 05-29-2015
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Re: Why Going Aloft On A Shackle Is A Bad Idea

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned that no matter if you use a shackle or a knot, you shouldn't go aloft on a single halyard.
I *never* send anyone aloft on my boat without using two halyards, in case one of them fails.

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