Reef knot

This is an ancient knot, which was known during the Late Stone Age. The Ancient Greeks knew it as the Hercules knot, and it was also tied in Ancient Rome. It is often the only knotapart from the granny knot - that many people know, and when the ends are only partly drawn through the knot to leave loops and to form a double reef bow, it is frequently used to tie shoe laces. Its traditional and proper use is to join the two ends of a rope when reefing a sail. Both short ends of the knot are on...

Thief knot

According to legend, sailors on whaling ships used this knot to tie their clothes bags. Thieves would retie them with reef knots, thus revealing that the bags had been burgled. The thief knot is very similar to the reef knot, but the short ends are on opposite sides. The Reef knot lying side-by-side zvith the Thief Knot shows dearly how easy it is to confuse the two knots. As its name suggests, this knot is used by surgeons to tie off blood vessels, and it seems to have been in use since about...

Threepart crown

This is a secure knot, but it is not generally used by sailors because it is difficult to untie after it has supported a heavy weight. It is sometimes used by campers to hang food and gear. It can also be used as a decorative knot from which to hang objects. This symmetrical knot is sometimes used by climbers, who loop it around the chest. It will hold equally well whichever end is held it can be tied quickly the loop does not shrink when the knot is tightened and it can be easily untied. Its...

Loops

Loops are made to be dropped over an object, unlike hitches, which are made directly around the object and' follow its shape. They are knots formed by folding back the end of a rope or line into an eye or loop and then fastening it to its standing part so that the knot is fixed and does not move. Sailors find loops, especially the bowline, indispensable. The Figure eight loop is particularly suited for use with modern harnesses because of the symmetry. It is strong, uncomplicated and unlikely...

Hunter s bend

On 6 October 1968 The Times (London) carried a report on the front page describing how Dr Edward Hunter, a retired physician, had invented a new knot. The article generated a lot of interest in both Europe and the United States, but at the height of the publicity it was found that the knot had already been described by Phil D. Smith, an American, in about 1950 in a publication called Knots for Mountaineers. Phil Smith had been working on the waterfront in San Francisco during World War II when...

Spanish bowline

This is an extremely strong knot that is used by firemen (when it is known as the chair knot), coastguards and mountain rescuers. Like the bowline on a bight, it is an ancient knot, which is formed of two separate and independent loops that hold securely, even under considerable strain. One loop is slipped over the casualty's head, around the back and under the armpits the other loop goes around both legs, just behind the knees. It is vital that each loop is adjusted to size and locked into...

Clove hitch

Clove Hitch Sailing

Also known as Boatman's knot, peg knot The name clove hitch first appeared in Falconer's Dictionary of the Marine in the 18th century, hut the knot was probably known for centuries before then. The main advantage of the clove hitch is that, given practise, it can be tied around a post with just one hand, which makes it particularly useful for sailors who may, for example, need to tie a dinghy to a bollard with one hand while holding onto a guard rail with the other. Although it is often...

Ill Blood knot

The name barrel knot derives from the appearance of the numerous wrapping turns that are required to complete this knot, which has a relatively high breaking strain. It is widely used to tie nylon line in a host of situations, although it is most successful when the line is of more or less equal thickness. Because anglers tie their knots in such fine line, once they are drawn up tightly it is almost impossible to untie them - the line usually has to be cut. During the 19th century, anglers and...

Running bowline

Jack Ketch Executioner

This is probably the only running knot to be used by mariners It is found on the running rigging or it may be used to raise floating objects that have fallen overboard. At sea during the 19th century it was used to tighten the squaresaii to the yardarm in high winds, and at the same time in the country it was used by poachers. It has many other uses, being strong and secure, easy to slide and simple to undo. Tying it does not weaken the rope. The knot is mostly used for hanging objects with...

Fishermans bend

If the cow hitch is the least secure of the hitches, the fisherman's bend is the most stable. Simply formed by making two turns around the post or through the ring and then tucking the working end through both turns, the knot is widely used by sailors to moor their boats at the quayside. Extra security can be provided by adding a half hitch. The knot's other name-the anchor bend-derives from the fact that sailors use it to tie on the anchor ring, although a stopper knot should be added for...

Fishing knots

Because the conditions on a river bank may not be ideal, it is important that fishermen thoroughly master the art of tying a variety of knots before they set out. Knots must be tied securely and correctly if they are to be of any use, and wet and windy weather or poor light are not the ideal conditions in which to attempt to tie a knot for the first time. Practise tying the knots that are described on the pages that follow until you are confident that you can tie them accurately and quickly -...

Some breaking loads

When you buy synthetic rope from a chandlery, an electrically heated knife is used to cut the rope to the required length This gives a sharp edge and seals the end. When you cut synthetic rope yourself, however, you will probably use an ordinary sharp knife and then melt the end of the rope with a cigarette lighter or an electric ring. Rope is expensive so always look after it. Try to avoid dragging it over sharp or rough edges, or over surfaces where particles of dirt and grit will penetrate...

Noose

This simple knot can be used as the first knot in tying up a package. On a larger scale, it is sometimes used to put tackle cables under stress. It is made of string or small Stuff. The noose can also be used as a hitch, when it has two main functions. When a noose is tied around something large - a tree trunk, for example - only a fairly short length of line is required. If a constrictor knot or a clove or cow hitch were used, on the other hand, far more rope would be needed. When nooses are...

Bill hitch

Bill Hitch

This knot can be made and untied easily, and it is suitable for use with large diameter ropes. It is not, however, used for sailing purposes very much and tends to be associated with camping activities. It is good for hoisting light objects aloft. Also known as Magnf.r's hitch, magnus hitch The main benefit of the Rolling hitch i its ability to si de easily along the line to which it is attacked, One of the traditional uses of the knot is for making the flag halyard fast to the burgee staff...

Knot

This knot's alternative name has a rather gruesome derivation the knot used to be tied in the ends of the lashes of the cat o'nine tails, the whip used for flogging in both the British Army and Navy until the punishment's official abolition jn 1948. A far less grisly use is as a weight in the cords with which Capuchin monks tie their habits. Sailors use the knot as a stopper or weighting knot on smail stuff, although it is difficult to untie when the line is wet. When you tie the knot, keep the...

Turle knot

This knot is used by fishermen to tie flies with turned-up or turned-down eyes to the tippet. It is not suitable for use with ring-eye hooks. The knot was named after Major Turle of Devon, England, in 1884. The line is passed through the eye of the hook, the knot is tied and then the hook is drawn through the loop of the knot.

Capsized reef knot

The Reef Knot Sailing

Also known as Lark's head knot, capsized The reef of a sail is that part which is rolled and tied up by the reef points to reduce the area caught by the wind, and the ease with which a reef knot can be slipped apart made it perfect for reefing sails. When one end of a reef knot is pulled sharply or is subjected to strain, the knot will untie and become unstable. Capsized reef knots have caused accidents and should be used with caution. The Reef knot is a multipurpose knot which is Symmetrel and...

Rope manufacture

Traditionally made rope is formed of the fibers of materials that have been twisted together. If you look at an ordinary piece of three-strand rope, you will find that it is laid right-handed -that is, no matter which way up you hold it, the strands appear to ascend upward and to the right. This is because when it is made, the first group of fibers are twisted to form right-hand yarn the yarn is then twisted together the other way to form left-hand strands and the strands are twisted together...

Double loop knot

Double Loop Loop Knot

This knot is tied in the same way as the surgeon's knot (see page 53) except that it is made with a single length of tine. This non-slip loop can be tied very quickly. Interlocked loops are an easy and quick way of attaching to a line hooks that are already tied to a length of nylon. Make two double loop knots in the end of a line, leaving the loops quite long. Thread one loop through the other, pass the end of the hook through the line loop and pull them carefully together.

Stllj Fishermans knot

Also known as Angi.lr's knot, English knot, Englishman's send or knot, halibut knot, true-lover's bend or knot, waterman's knot The fisherman's knot should not be confused with the fisherman's bend which is actually a hitch, see page 28 , They are quite different knots. This knot was invented during the 19th century, although some writers have suggested that it may have been known to the Ancient Greeks. It is formed from two identical overhand knots, which are pushed against each other so that...

Stopper knots

This group of knots is most often used to prevent the end of a length of rope, string or small stuff slipping through an eye or a hole. Stopper knots can also be used to bind the end of a line so that it will not unravel, and they can also be used as decoration. At sea they are frequently used to weight lines or on running rigging, and they are also used by climbers, campers and fishermen. The simple overhand knot, which is the basis of so many other knots, is a stopper knot. Sailors tend to...