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When you are doing a sail change it is at deck level. If you are changing the sail in building storm conditions the foredeck can be a bouncy place.

I have to make some more soft shackles soon and could make one more for a nominal amount of you need one Matthew. You can also usually find them very cheaply on eBay.
 

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You could just run the soft shackle from the spliced eye in your halyard to the sail and bypass the soft shackle. Or you could run the soft shackle around the head of the sail and link the hard shackle to it, both will work. The latter uses more room and if the sail is already at the maximum possible hoist then it may not fit.
 
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