One of the most productive things you can do for your boat while self isolating and social distancing is to learn something new. Fortunately, YouTube is full of tutorials for the modern sailor to add tricks to their bag of seamanship expertise, and knowing how to splice Dyneema and tie soft shackles is one of those skills.

Whether you’re attaching a block to a pad eye or toe rail, sheets to the clew of a spinnaker or genoa, a snubber to an anchor chain, or are switching-out stainless steel snap shackles on your halyards, soft shackles are showing up more and more on cruising and racing boats alike. Indeed, I’ve been using them for years aboard Yahtzee because they’re strong, light weight and non-abrasive. And while there are many different commercial soft shackle products on the market, tying them, along with splicing Dyneema loops, is not terribly difficult.

If you’re keen to give it a try, the video below from Yachting Monthly is a great place to start. The hardest part of the whole process is tying the diamond knot at the end and making sure you get it tight so the shackle won’t fail. Have fun replacing all that metal on your boat!