How To Use Sailing Dog Bones

Author: Allen   Date Posted:28 January 2022 

We know what you’re thinking “how can a dog bone be used on a sailboat? We’re not playing fetch!”.

Allen Dog BonesWell, the type of dog bone we’re talking about here is not something you would want to feed to your favourite four legged friend.

No, the type of dog bone we are talking about is a small, lightweight, ‘dog bone’ shaped piece of aluminium. And they are becoming increasingly more popular on modern sailboats.

So, in this article we will explain a few useful ways to use a dog bone that will soon have you fetching one from your tool bag! 

Materials have developed over the years and as a result rope is now replacing many traditional stainless-steel fittings such as shackles, hooks and wire. Because of this it has opened up a variety of new ways to streamline, lighten and adapt the way we attach things to the hull, sail or control lines of a boat. Dog bones are a direct development of this.

Dog bones can be used in a vast array of applications due to the shape and features of the product, however, it’s main purpose is to connect rope to something.

Examples of use:

Main halyard

Jib sheet

Spinnaker sheet

Tack lines

Tii-on blocks

High load thimbles

Cunningham system

Clew tie

Why use a dog bone?

Dog bones have a few simple features to ensure they are suitable for a wide range of applications.


Dog bones are extremely lightweight. Replacing a metal shackle for a dog bone on the end of a jib sheet will help reduce damage when the clew slaps against the mast, deck or sailor! Reducing the weight on the spinnaker or jib clew will also help the sail set more efficiently.

Low Profile

Streamlining any fitting is always a bonus, it will help reduce windage, thus making the boat more efficient. It can also stop snagging.

Quick and simple

There’s nothing worse than needing to undo a shackle or knot in a hurry, especially as both can require tools in many situations if over tightened. A dog bone however is usually attached via a simple loop in the rope which is quickly and easily undone by hand.

Additional features

Allen dog bones are shaped differently to others on the market. Our triple cut-out design allows the rope to be looped perfectly around the dog bone without loosing any strength in the rope. The two protruding edges between each of the three tapered cut-outs act as a barrier which stops the dog bone from being able to slip off of the rope.

Cross holes on each end allow for an attachment of a leash line. The end is also recessed to allow the small knot of the leash line to sit inside the dog bone to keep it flush.

Available in 4 sizes ranging from 6mm to 16mm to allow for a wide range of rope sizes and applications.

Each of the 4 sizes is also available in a range of 6 colours, so you can add a personal touch to any system or colour code for ease of use.

Dog Bone Technical Information

SKU title breaking load kg length mm maximum outside diameter mm minimum outside diameter mm suggested rope diameter mm safe working load kg weight g
A8606 6mm Dog Bone 600 24 6 4 2 - 4 350 1
A8608 8mm Dog Bone 1100 32 8 6 4 - 5 600 3
A8612 12mm Dog Bone 2500 40 12 7 5 - 6 1400 7
A8616 16mm Dog Bone 3500 48 16 8 6 - 8 2000 14


View the Dog Bone Range