A Piece of string

Hands up the sailor who’s never dropped a vital shackle pin into the water? The most common victims are halyard shackles, undone and done up ever time the sail is handled. Often hands are cold, the vital pin slips through the fingers, and why, oh why, does it always roll over the side! One answer is a captive pin shackle, but if your pin can part company with its parent, try hitching a length of string between it and the shackle, the thimble or even the end of the halyard itself. The string twists, of course, as you screw in the pin, but it’s less of a pain than the alternative.