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The Rigging Puzzle: Crossed (Pad)Eyes

Posted in Puzzle

There’s lots going on at Scroll to the bottom of this page for details.

The Rigging Puzzle this time is about padeyes, and how to load them. In the pictures below, one padeye is a classic diamond pattern from Harken, and the other is one of Wichard’s nifty folding models.  We loaded them three different ways, all with the leads rising slightly up from the horizontal, and only one of those ways complies with the manufacturers’ recommendations for maximum strength, for both padeyes.  So what’ll it be, picture number 1, picture number 2, or picture number 3?

If you think you know the answer, send it to, or reply at the bottom of this page. Feel free to kick this around online, but it won’t count unless you submit an answer. We’ll draw the winner randomly from the pool of correct answers.

The prizes this time: one of our high-strength Spectra soft shackles (suitable for securing to your favorite padeye) and a copy of my book Falling, about the perils and rewards of working aloft. The book is available as a paperback, as an ebook, or as an audiobook, the latter narrated by yours truly.

Entries must be here by noon Pacific Time, January 21st. We will announce the winner on January 23rd. Good luck!

Arrangement 1, top view

Arrangement 1, side view




Arrangement 2, top view

Arrangement 2, side view



Arrangement 3, top view

Arrangement 3, side view


In other news, if you are going to be at the Seattle Boat Show, I’ll be giving a series of talks there about various aspects of rigging. And I will soon be sending reports in from, of all places, Tasmania, at their huge, semi-annual Australian Wooden Boat Show. And finally, we will be once again bowing to popular demand and will be giving another 3-Day Rigging Workshop this April, at our loft in Port Townsend. Still some spaces available, but these workshops fill up fast. For information on all of this, and more, visit




  1. Diane Nelson
    Diane Nelson

    Picture #3. They are designed for side loads.

    January 18, 2019
  2. Joe Schmidbauer
    Joe Schmidbauer

    Picture number 1.

    January 18, 2019
  3. Josh Wallace
    Josh Wallace

    Picture 3

    January 19, 2019
  4. M diDonato
    M diDonato

    3 , sheer is much stronger

    January 19, 2019
  5. Tim Hodges
    Tim Hodges


    January 19, 2019
  6. John Montgomery
    John Montgomery

    Picture 2

    January 19, 2019
  7. #3 – side load only!

    January 19, 2019
  8. Picture #3. But for the Wichard, pull should be in the opposite direction, where *two* screws would be in shear.

    January 19, 2019
  9. Scott MacCready
    Scott MacCready

    Picture #3

    January 19, 2019
  10. Rob on Avant
    Rob on Avant

    Three (3).

    January 19, 2019
  11. Photo 3 in my experience.

    January 19, 2019
  12. Robert Hagberg
    Robert Hagberg

    Picture number 3

    January 19, 2019
  13. Michael Richmond
    Michael Richmond

    Picture 1

    January 19, 2019
  14. Tom Dixon
    Tom Dixon

    I’m gonna say picture 2 due to the shear.

    January 19, 2019
  15. Stuart Sheldon
    Stuart Sheldon

    Picture 3

    January 19, 2019
  16. Picture 2 because the line loads are aligned with the bails of the padeyes.

    January 19, 2019
  17. Jason Hudson
    Jason Hudson

    #3. Percentages for pull direction are on Harken’ site. I think so are Wichard’s (I’ll have to double check).

    January 19, 2019
  18. Adam Kerner
    Adam Kerner

    Picture #2

    January 19, 2019
  19. Hugh Lane
    Hugh Lane


    January 19, 2019
  20. I think picture 3 shows the correct loading of the pad eyes.

    Don Krafft

    January 19, 2019
  21. Kenneth Ferrari
    Kenneth Ferrari

    None of the photos show the correct orientation of the Wichard’s greatest strength. For greatest strength, the load would be to the left.

    January 19, 2019
    • Thanks for the note. It is true, that there is a greater articulation for that padeye when it is pulled to the left, but as far as I know Wichard doesn’t deduct for strength on either side, so long as the bail doesn’t jam against the base. It was just starting to do that in my picture, and I am going to call attention to that detail in the follow up post. Meanwhile I have decided just to revise the pictures in the first post, as other people could not see what was going on at all. In the new post, the bail is being pulled to the side where greater articulation is available.
      Thanks so much for the commentary. So, which of the three arrangements would you choose now?

      January 19, 2019
      • Kenneth Ferrari
        Kenneth Ferrari

        It’s been a few years since I installed my Wichard padeyes, but I seem to recall the instructions suggesting not to point load the bail. If what you say is true, then the Wichard photos are all equally strong. If that’s the case, the real question lies with the Harken padeye. Harken suggests keeping the load in line with the bail, so photo #1 is incorrect. That means photo 2 and 3 are equivalent from the Harken perspective. And, since Wichard doesn’t care, photos 2 and 3 are indistinguishable from a strength perspective. However, if I have to choose one photo, I pick 3 because it agrees with what I “thought” I knew.

        January 20, 2019
        • As it happens, Wichard disagrees with you. You’ll see details of this when I post the results. Oh, this is fun!

          January 20, 2019
      • JB

        No. 3 is how I would set them up on my sailboat – for jacklines and Solent stays.

        January 20, 2019
  22. Elton

    #2 for me

    January 19, 2019
  23. James Corriveau
    James Corriveau


    January 19, 2019
  24. Hank Hoyt
    Hank Hoyt

    I learned about tying down cargo when I was loading aircraft. The rule was for a 30º
    up from level or away from straight line. Photo #3 appears to be the closest.

    January 19, 2019
  25. Tom Sailor
    Tom Sailor

    No 3 for me too. Strong resistence to shearing pull by both padeyes.

    January 19, 2019
  26. Gary Scott
    Gary Scott

    No 3

    January 20, 2019
  27. Ian Leedell
    Ian Leedell

    Arrangement 3 is correct.

    January 20, 2019
  28. Tom Dixon
    Tom Dixon

    Picture 3 shear loads look better

    January 20, 2019
  29. Joseph M
    Joseph M

    Arrangement #1 is the only one that shows the Harken at load angle “1” per their website, which is the angle that the manufacturer specifies for maximum load. I couldn’t find specific load angle information from Wichard for their website, but their current listings all describe the folding padeyes as “regardless of the angle of the load”.

    January 20, 2019
  30. Theodore j GIROUARD
    Theodore j GIROUARD

    #3 strength is distributed to the hull

    January 20, 2019
  31. joe taylor
    joe taylor


    January 20, 2019
  32. Bruce Roe
    Bruce Roe


    January 21, 2019
  33. Rich Findley
    Rich Findley

    #3 for sure

    January 21, 2019
  34. Jim wolf
    Jim wolf

    I will stick with #3.
    Doubt if would win but it was fun. Thanks.

    January 21, 2019
  35. Tom Miller
    Tom Miller


    January 21, 2019
  36. […] Last week’s challenge drew a near-record number of entries, from people in a wide variety of rigging interests. You folks are  obviously enthusiastic about loading up hardware. To see the Puzzle, click HERE. […]

    January 22, 2019
  37. Larry Johnson
    Larry Johnson

    I’ll take #3, please.

    January 23, 2019

Comments are closed.