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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New boat owner here (1969 Ericson 23). I'm going through all the goodies left on the boat from the previous owner, and among them I find four(!) headsails. All are hank-on type, and my headstay is non-furling. All the sails have Swedish snaps.

Unfortunately, all of the snaps also came with a thick coat of green corrosion. From experimenting, I've determined that soaking in a solution of vinegar and water will take off the corrosion. However, rather than unbend all the snaps, soak, and replace them all, I was thinking...

And I know this might be really dumb (I'm prepared for that), but I can't see why...

Why can't I use carabiners instead of Swedish snaps?
It seems like an obvious solution--lightning fast one-hand attachment to the headstay (instead of the two hands required for the Swedish snap), easy detachment, cheap, strong, versatile. The swedish snap honestly looks like a seriously outdated design, with the fact that it doesn't create a full loop for strength (like a carbiner does), that the spring inside can easily fail and then it doesn't close, and that to attach or detach requires you to bend the metal, weakening it.

My only hesitation is that I've never seen carabiners used as hanks. So either it's not done because it's not "how things are done", or there's actually a good reason for it. Are there downsides?

For that matter, looking around my boat, I can see all sorts of marine-type shackles where it seems a carabiner would perform much better (lifeline attachments, the ...thing.. that hangs my boom from the backstays, etc.)

Why do we see no carabiners in the boating world?

Thoughts?
 

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Just clean up the snaps , you don't have to take them off .That green, is "patina" and it is a badge of experience . Carbines are for mountain climbers . Welcome to SailNet !
 

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One of None
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There is a good reason for plastic in this area.. it breaks.. rather then the sail ripping.. can save you much money!
 

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Why do we see no carabiners in the boating world?

Thoughts?
Function. Carabiners have a habit of clipping on to anything they brush against, making them terrible for halyards and sheets. How would you like a halyard clipped to a shroud up high? It has happened.

Size. If you mean climbing biners, there is only one size. Often we want something smaller or stronger.

Corrosion. Wire gate biners do fine in most applications, but it they are wet constantly they will corrode and SS is better. Non-wire gate biners generally freeze-up very quickly--don't bother.

That said, there are limited but good applications. I use them to hang dingies, deflect mooring lines, rig MOB systems, secure fishing tackle, and park spare running rigging (faster than dealing with a snap shackle). If it is something you might otherwise use a SS marine carabiner for, a mountaineering carabiner is probably a better solution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I guess all those points make sense. Probably the most convincing is the prospect of having a halyard clipped to a shroud at the top of the mast while underway. I suppose you could use a screw-gate version to prevent this, but then it does take away some of the speed and ease factor.

In terms of corrosion, I was actually referring to the SS versions, not the aluminum ones. Does that make a difference?

What are the plastic hanks that you speak of denise?
 

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I don't discuss my member
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The last edition of the volvo ocean race, they used carabiners for some of their sails. A bit overkill on a 23 footer.
 

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The Norway type bronze piston hanks are best cleaned/maintained (removing the green) by soaking them in lemon juice / citric acid then spraying on clear lacquer. No need to remove them from the sails for cleaning/maintenance.

Soft shackles are 'wonderful'. Their downside is that they take toooooo long to remove when the headsail has to come off ..... RIGHT NOW as in an emergency.

:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A Wichard hank is basically a carabiner shape, but, much smaller.

Interesting. Still requires semi-permanent attachment on the sail side, however. Also, why brass? Isn't stainless steel more corrosion-resistant?

I'm thinking something like this:
Spring Clip SS T316 - 3-3/16" Length : Ratchet Straps, Tie Down Straps, E Track Tie Downs, Moving Blankets & Pads, Cargo Straps, U.S. Cargo Control

Maybe with these for the top 5 or so:
Oval Snap Hook w/ Screw Nut SS T316 - 3-3/16" Length : Ratchet Straps, Tie Down Straps, E Track Tie Downs, Moving Blankets & Pads, Cargo Straps, U.S. Cargo Control

What kind of load requirements are necessary for a hank on a boat this size (23')? The linked biners have WLL of 300-350 lbs
 

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Swedish, Norwegian? Are we talking about regular old piston hanks? Are the piston springs sticking? If so, you need to replace it. They are sturdy marine bronze and will last a long time. If it is merely surface corrosion, you could clean them up on the sail with vinegar and a tooth brush. Dacron is really durable and a little vinegar won’t hurt it. Just be careful not to stain the cloth (rinse well before, during and after cleaning. You could also try a solution of washing soda/ salt/vinegar too. Piston hanks are marine bronze and will last a long time. Soft shackles won’t work for a number of reasons, primarily chafe. The carabineers won’t work because they don’t clip snugly to the sail like your piston hanks do. When your sail trim gets more refined, you will use the hanks as an indicator of halyard tension (pointing down for higher tension, and up for lower). You will also look for the wrinkles emanating from the hank on the sail itself as a tension indicator. Also, hanks are permanently fixed to the sail eliminating the need to carry a pocket full of ‘bineers every time you go forward to bend on a sail. I forgot to mention that piston hanks will tell you if you hanked on the jib correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes, the piston spring kind. On the newer sail, the pistons move freely but on the older ones they're corroded stuck.
 

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Closet Powerboater
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Welcome to sailnet!

Brass is because you WANT something softer than your SS headstay. The sail might be working and rubbing quite hard at these points and you would rather have it wearing away at the hank than wearing away at your SS wires.

BTW, here is a link for how to build a roller furler for $40 in case you are interested.

MedSailor
 

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Med,
Are the piston hanks marine bronze or brass? marine bronze has a harness number less than SS as I recall.
 

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Tzink, Try washing the sticking hanks with the vinegar/salt/baking soda solution, and work the sticking pistons back and forth. I’m thinking that if your hanks are that bad, what condition is your sail? You might consider taking them all home and giving them a through scrubbing on the driveway. (you can use a little Clorox in the soapy water). This won’t bring back everything to brand new (are they all vintage to 1969?), but it should help.

Piston hanks have been around a long time and that means countless sailors before you haven’t figured out a better replacement. The only innovation really to compete with piston hanks has been luff tapes and headstay foils.
 

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you have 4 headsails. Are they all the same size? you will most likely find that the old ones were not used because they are blown out and not worth raising. Headsails get blown out faster then mainsails and most used boats have a boat load that just need to be turned into bags or something else.
the fact that you are thinking of using the Carabiners for hanks tells me you have not done much sailing or you would not be asking this question.
Take it from the sailors on the forum and use the hanks the way they are designed and you to will become a good sailor.
BTW they are trying to politely tell you do not put Walmart parts on you boat. You wont hear them laughing from afar but they will be.
 

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Welcome to sailnet!

Brass is because you WANT something softer than your SS headstay. The sail might be working and rubbing quite hard at these points and you would rather have it wearing away at the hank than wearing away at your SS wires.

BTW, here is a link for how to build a roller furler for $40 in case you are interested.

MedSailor
That is one scary $40 piece of equipment, sure to roll the sail up and someday cause the entire rig to come down:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The four aren't all the same, and they don't all appear to be vintage 1969. Two true jibs, one old and grey the other much newer (the only one that has hanks with operable springs), a 150% genny and a 165%. Both of those are newer but the hanks are stuck.

It's true I don't have a ton of sailing experience (about a year), but that's why I'm asking.

I'll probably look into those carabiner-like bronze hanks.
 

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Drop the jib. Take it off the boat to someplace flat.

Now, you should be able to flake the sail and bring all those snaps into roughly a small tight group. Tie 'em together with a piece of string so you don't even have to reopen them.

Now take the whole batch of snaps, stuff 'em in a bowl of lemon juice, or brass cleaner, or Tarn-X (cheap enough in any grocery or hardware store) and let 'em soak while you have lunch. Come back, shaken 'em around, maybe hit 'em with an old toothbrush, let 'em soak again while you have dessert.

Come back, pull 'em out, they should be nice and smooth. Rinse with fresh water, spray with WD-40 (cheap but not good) or McLube (worth every cent is does cost) and have fun putting it back on the boat.

Every two weeks? Right, spray 'em again with McLube, which is also a perfectly good sail lubricant, and they won't go green again.

The problem is, if you clutter up the forestay with carabiners, they start banging around in the wind, and every Sherpa within a hundred miles shows up insisting it is THEIR job to carry your foresail, and then before you know it, one of them wants to camp in the cockpit, and they're hoisting prayer flags on the flag halyards, and the boat will never be the same again.

Don't take my word for it, just use the carabiners, and remember, I warned you what would happen.
 

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Interesting. Still requires semi-permanent attachment on the sail side, however. Also, why brass? Isn't stainless steel more corrosion-resistant?

I'm thinking something like this:
Spring Clip SS T316 - 3-3/16" Length : Ratchet Straps, Tie Down Straps, E Track Tie Downs, Moving Blankets & Pads, Cargo Straps, U.S. Cargo Control

Maybe with these for the top 5 or so:
Oval Snap Hook w/ Screw Nut SS T316 - 3-3/16" Length : Ratchet Straps, Tie Down Straps, E Track Tie Downs, Moving Blankets & Pads, Cargo Straps, U.S. Cargo Control

What kind of load requirements are necessary for a hank on a boat this size (23')? The linked biners have WLL of 300-350 lbs
I believe they are bronze not brass, though there are marine grades of brass as well. Stainless has issues with corrosion, especially in salt water environments and around sharp edges. Stainless quality can be hard to determine as well. Keep in mind climbing gear is not meant for saltwater exposure. Also there are a LOT of not for load bearing carabiners out there.

One last thing is that sailors tend to be a bit traditional so if you are hanking on, why not do it the way our great grandfathers did!
 
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