Monday, March 30, 2020

Practice and Research Pay Off

Three days of practicing the diamond knot/stopper knot pretty much got me nowhere - except more frustrated...,br> Then I found this YourTube video How To Tie a Paracord Lanyard Knot/2-Strand Diamond Knot Tutorial. Nothing magical about the "paracord" method, it is just a clearer, easier to understand method of how to tie the diamond knot than what I'd seen on the soft shackle tutorials.

Side by side: Early effort of following soft shackle tutorials (bottom shackle) and first effort with the "paracord" method (top shackle):

Clearly, one is a diamond knot; and one is not! The answers are out there...

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Soft Shackles

I like the idea of soft shackles. They can replace hardware, they are (I heard) easy to make, and represent another skill that is useful on a small boat. There is a lot of information available about soft shackles on the internet (and my book shelf) but most of it seemed mysterious, particularly about the knots (diamond or button) used on soft shackles.

An inquiry to the John Welsford Small Craft FB page resulted in several good suggestions. Animated Knots, Allen Edwards, and a book, Splicing Modern Ropes were good starting points (better directed than my own research had been). I ordered the book and watched the videos multiple times. I had, I was sure, about 50' of 1/4" Dyneema line that I bought but didn't use and a fid. However, somehow those items disappeared into the depths of the barn and I resorted to ordering new line and fids. I fully expected to find the lost items as soon as I hit "Send" on my orders - but no such luck. I have supplies of other small line, so I decided to practice the diamond knot. That was frustrating. I couldn't get it right no matter how I tried. Waiting for the new supplies seemed like a good idea - at least then I could figure out the first half of making the shackles.

The new line and fids arrived today and I began experimenting. My first efforts were disappointing. But with a little time and practice I was able to complete my first 3" diameter soft shackle using 5/32" Dyneema and a home-made pull tool! The knot IS a diamond knot - but I clearly need more practice! The tails have not been trimmed as I may undo the knot and try again.

I'm encouraged and claim partial success with tonight's effort.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

New Rigging for Gardens

No, I haven't sailed Gardens so long and hard that she needs new rigging. But my efforts this winter have been aimed at personalizing Gardens to suit my own preferences - esthetic changes intended to please my eye rather than necessarily enhance and improve performances. So, to that end, new rigging. DVX double braid in "Traditional" color. Mizzen spotter, mizzen sheet, main halyard, and main sheet in DVX "Tradition" double braid
Been a while since I whipped any lines, but I'm satisfied with what I did today - the process came back to me easily enough and the results improved steadily. I'll trim the ends down a bit. Any suggestions for heat sealing the ends without mushrooming sharp edges?

Monday, March 2, 2020