HAPCO Hiking Strap Assembly and Installation

By Barney Harris 6701 & 8011

Here is the HAPCO hiking strap design for your Albacore. 

Note that the crew hiking straps are lead over the thwart. Reason is that the Skeen Albacores were fitted with thwarts that are too far forward – so the crew hiking strap going over the thwart permits sitting further aft.
Each strap is fastened to the thwart with two #10 machine screws. Use a soldering iron to melt holes in the straps where the thwart fasteners go. Note that when installed, the doubler at the middle is on the bottom – so where the forward strap contact the thwart the doubler is in between the strap and thwart. 

We use the Marlow 50mm wide toe strap webbing (see link).


Nothing magic about this stuff and any similar webbing should work just as well. I saw some were using woven tube material stuffed with foam rubber – probably more comfortable. I have found that no amount of hiking strap padding makes hiking “comfortable” – its hard work no matter how you do it!


At the forward end the attached drawing shows the crew hiking straps connected to a line lead through a block connected to the mast step. An original, 45 year old Skeene mast step may not hold up. There should be some small pad eyes in the bilge to either side of the mast step where this block can be attached.
We will include a cam cleat on the rail just aft of the side stay for the crew’s hiking strap adjustment. We will use 1/4 inch line and add two, single overhand stopper knots: one set at the loosest normal hiking strap setting and another on an 8 or 10 inch tail. This way if the crew’s hiking strap becomes uncleated it will only pay out to a loose setting and not drop the crew in the water. The tail is so the crew will always have something to grab. 

We normally use 3/16 inch shock cord on the forward hiking straps. Connect to the carlin to either side of the partner (see attached photo) ┬ájust drill and hole, pass the shock cord thru, and knot on the forward side. The other end tie to the front of the crew’s hiking strap. This will keep it up and out of the bilge and easy to hook after a roll tack.


On the helm’s side, the hiking straps are lead aft and secured to a pad eye low in the transom. Helm hiking strap adjustment is set with a knot and is not adjustable while sailing. The helm hiking strap is secured to the cockpit floor, roughly mid way between the transom and thwart, with a short, 4 to 6 inch webbing strap that is not included in the sketch. We use a rectangular stainless ring, 2″ x 1/2″ (see link below) to connect to the strap. See attached photos. The rectangular ring keeps the helm’s hiking strap flat.


We use a single piece of 1/4 inch shock cord looped through the aft end of the hiking straps and connected to either side of the aft deck as shown in the photo – by way of a drilled hole and a single overhand knot. This keeps the hiking straps up high which admittedly some people do not like. I prefer the straps up where my feet can readily hook into them.

All of the foregoing hinges on the exact configuration of 7103 – which I do not know – so read this over and then look at the boat and decide for yourself to adjust the strap design to suit. 

I usually hand stitch all hiking straps – this take hours but is easy to do while watching TV. If sewn by machine be sure to use a heavy strong thread that will not degrade in sunlight such as Tenara.


OK sorry for being overly verbose – jeeze, did I write all of that? I need a life – hah!

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