I’ve used a couple different set ups for my kayak sail sheet pulleys. First off, the term is a bit misleading as I don’t actually have a ‘pulley’ in any of the installs! On a couple installs the sheet line passes thru a plastic pad-eye on the deck and on the other install the ‘pulley’ is actually a SS thimble knotted. I don’t see any added advantage of having an actual pulley ! Thus far my systems have been adequate.
However the thimble approach is a bit clunky in my mind. Maybe it’s because I’ve used a knot instead of splicing the thimble eye nicely into the line.. or maybe it’s just too.. Clunky!??
Anyhoo, some while back whilst surfing boatchandlers websites I noticed a very inneresting product. Something made by Antal, a lowfriction ring. Whats more, they have a product called a soft link, which at least looked aesthetically nicer than my self made unspliced thimbles!!!
“Must have” me thinks! That is, until I saw the price! The soft link with the smallest sized (7mm)low friction ring was slightly over 31€ + postage !! Ofcourse Finland is known for generally overpriced everything when it comes to yachting products.. but 31€ is just ridiculous!!
OK.. so time passes by and every time I see the clunky thimble on the deck in front of me, it annoys me ever so slightly.. which with time just gets worse. So then I get to thinking that mayhaps, I’ll buy one of those darn low-friction rings and a bit of 4mm dyneema line and make the rest meself! The ring itself costs 11€ which in my mind still IS highway robbery.. but fortunately I’ll need just the one for now (Imagine the poor yachtie who’ll need 10, 20 or more.. oh wait.. there is no such thing as a POOR yachtie… Haahaa!)
I did contemplate trying to fabricate a ring myself out of several materials.. aluminium coated with epoxy+graphite powder, or laminate something with CarbonFiber+Graphite powder etc etc etc.. And in the end the highway robbery of 11€ seemed quite decent! After all , I’ll just need the one! 🙂
So finally when the mail arrived (well, actually I had to pick the mail from the store 2 km’s from home.. but that’s Finland for ya, and another story) I was a happy and eager new owner of some 4mm dyneema line, a D-Splicer F15 .. splicer thingy, a couple Antal 7mm lowfriction rings. Add to the mix some semi sharpish scissors, splicing yarn , needle, some odds and ends. Finally armed with knowledge gleaned from a confusing dutch language instructional online videos: here, I was ready for the real deal.
First attempt, I cut the total length 35 cm.. which was way too short! Repeat after me.. 35 cm is TOO SHORT!..
Second time around.. I cut the initial dyneema line to a length of 45 cm, which at first seemed 5 cm too long but now that the first self made softlink is at hand.. it maybe just right?
How well will this work? Dunno. A couple questions that will be answered in due time:
- Is the polyester line for splicing was proper?
- Is is spliced properly?
- Is two loops around deck line enough to keep the softlink from sliding and following the sail, left and right across the deck? It might need the three as in a proper Prusik knot…
Time will tell. Needs to be tested in use and go from there.. well hopefully sail from there!
Making a modern dyneema spliced loop was surprisingly easy and quick work with the proper tools! Making the closed loop, on second attempt took less than 10 minutes! Doing the splicing with string took about the same. Overall time was probably approx 30 minutes. I kinda liked it.
If working with Dyneema , good sharp scissors preferably ones meant for the job is a must. Making one or two soft links will go wit a sharpish household scissors.. sort of. but it will nut “cut it” in the long run! 😉
Atleast this version looks nicer than the previous version! 😉