Is it safe to rig two separate silks on one rescue 8 accommodate a higher rig that your fabrics aren’t long enough for?
~L.K, aerial dancer
DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A RIGGER. The words below are my personal opinion based on my experience, and basic understanding of rigging. It is always best to consult guidance from a qualified rigger when rigging any aerial equipment.
In short, yes. You are not changing the load on the rescue 8 when you do this, and that’s important to know when analyzing the safety of the rigging. What makes it safe/unsafe is how you tie the knot. If your knots are loose, and it unravels, well, then obviously that makes for a very dangerous situation. There is certainly less risk in using one piece of fabric because there is smaller room for human error in the knots at the top (not to say there is no risk, but just smaller).
I use this technique all the time. My favorite reason is to have two silks of different colors. (The picture above comes to us from one of my students, Ma
risa Luboff.) I have also put two fabrics on one when I cut fabric that was really long only to find out I needed the length when I was teaching at a circus camp.
I like playing it safe so I usually use up a lot of fabric in tying my knots, and in my knots after the main knots, and back-up knots on the back-up knots. I tend to try to keep the top of fabrics out of pictures because they can look like beehives sometimes when I do this. Not pretty, but safe, and that’s what I go for. Others have found ways to do things both pretty and safe, and that’s why I have pulled from other resources (see below).
Keep in mind you don’t have to use one rescue 8 to accomplish your goal. You can do what the aerial yogis do and use a carabineer or ring for each fabric and wa-la! You can add a spacer for added distance between the fabric. I have included pictures below from Aerial Essentials (www.AerialEssentials.com) as well as a rigging video on how to tie a single fabric to a ring. There are many ways to do this, but they show a way that works just as well as any other. (Just pretend that the sling is cut into two pieces and the bottom, and you’ll have what you are looking for.)