Colin’s post about the failure of a snap shackle on Pèlerin and his recommendation to stick with shackles made by Wichard or Harken, which we heartily agree with, got me thinking about another type of shackle that we have found very useful on Morgan’s Cloud. A type that may surprise you since it is normally associated with racing boats.
Eight years ago, we replaced all our halyard shackles with J-Locks from Tylaska. The big advantage of these beautifully made and super-strong fittings is that once they are locked with a half-turn of the pin, they just simply can’t come undone, no matter how hard they thrash around, or what they hit or brush against whilst doing so. (Diagram showing how the J-Locks lock.) This is a big improvement on normal snap shackles that can and will, at the worst possible moment, open up unexpectedly, and this is only made worse if they have lanyards attached to facilitate opening.
We also find that J-Locks are a great replacement for standard screw pin shackles since they don’t need pliers to close and open, or wiring (mousing) to be safe.
Inspired by a comment from Paul Mills, I’m even thinking that the next time we replace our lifelines, we will replace the boarding gate portion with rope and J-Locks to get rid of the pelican hooks, all types of which, that we have seen, can open when brushed by a crew member or thrashing sheet–an extremely dangerous weakness.
The one down side to J-Locks, aside from their expense, is that you do need to splice the line around them really tightly to make sure they can’t pop off the splice when open. We have our favorite rigger, who incidentally recommended J-Locks to us in the first place, do this for us.
We paid the same price as anyone else would for our Tylaska shackles and have received no benefit of any type from Tylaska or their resellers.
Any thoughts? Please leave a comment.