A knot is simply a connection in a thread, cord or length of rope formed either by passing one free end - known as a working end - through a loop and drawing it tight or by intertwining or tying together pieces of thread, cord or rope. However, there are several quite distinct groups of knot - hitches and bends, binding knots, stopper knots, knots that form nooses or loops and knots that join small lines together. Each knot serves a different purpose, and although it is not necessary to know a large number of different knots - four or five should suffice in most circumstances - it is important to know which knot is best suited to the conditions in which it is to be used. You should also bear in mind that any knot, no matter how carefully and securely tied, will reduce the breaking strain of a line by between 5 and 20 percent, just before it breaks, a knot slips. The more tightly you can draw a knot when you are tying it, the greater the strain it will withstand before it slips. ♦ ♦ ♦

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