The task of becoming sea-worthy

Alot Of Knots

Anchor Hitch

By clicking on the highlighted name, it takes you to additional information.

The Anchor Hitch is used to attach a line to an object. Holds well even when tension on line is changing, for instance with an anchor.    This knot is related to the round turn & and two half hitches, but is more secure.  The Anchor Bend is different from a round turn and two half hitches in that the first half hitch passes under the first round turn.

Anchor Hitch

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Bowline

The Bowline is best for forming a loop or eye, it doesn’t jam and it’s easy to undo if not under load.  Form a loop a short distance from the end – allow for the size of the loop and the knot itself. Pass the end of the rope through the loop as though making a simple knot (a half-hitch). Pull the end through, then round the standing end, and then back through the loop to finish the Bowline.  Some people find the bowline easier learn by saying “the rabbit comes out of its hole, round the tree and back down the hole again”.

Bowline Knot

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Bowline on a Bight

The bowline On a Bight is many times called a Double Bowline, used as a rescue knot with two loops to support a person.  It’s another way to tie a bowline in a doubled rope.  This knot was generally used at sea for lowering an injured man from aloft, by putting one leg is put through each loop.In the middle of a piece of rope, form a bight and use the bight to form a small loop. Pass the bight through the small loop. Spread the bight out and pass it down, round, and over the whole knot until the bight encircles its own origin. Tighten the bight to complete the Bowline on a Bight.

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Buntline Hitch

The Buntline Hitch was originally employed to secure the buntlines to the foot of the square sails. The repeated shaking and jerking of a flapping sail tended to tighten this knot – hence its value.  Structure: It differs from two half hitches in that the second half hitch is inside rather than outside the first one.  Advantages are It’s more secure than two half hitches.  Disadvantages being compared to two half hitches, when heavily loaded it is more liable to jam and be awkward to release.

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Carrick Bend

The Carrick Bend joins two ropes together. It used to be widely used to join large hawsers. To preserve the attractive shape of the knot, the bitter end of each hawser was often fastened with a seizing back to its own standing end. This seizing, however, is not required for safety.  The knot curls up under strain and the attractive, mat-like appearance vanishes. It is important that the bitter ends lie diagonally opposite each other; otherwise an intermittent pull will gradually work the knot towards the bitter ends until it is undone.  Because the Carrick Bend is reliable and has the enormous advantage of being easy to undo, it probably deserves to be used more often. However, it is slightly awkward to assemble and it is too easy to make a mistake and find you have both bitter ends on the same side of the knot.

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The Cleat Hitch, or Cleat Knot, secures a rope to a cleat. It is deceptively simple and an unwary skipper who invites visitors to tie the dock line to a cleat may be astonished and dismayed by the unsatisfactory results.  Initially the rope must be led round the most distant horn of the cleat followed by a turn in the same direction round the other horn. Starting round the wrong horn increases the risk of a jam.  Most professionals condemn the use of a locking turn since it increases the risk of a jam & cannot be uncleated as fast.  The rest of us would be wise to learn to cleat a rope without it.

Cleat Hitch

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Clove Hitch

The Clove Hitch does have two giant faults: it slips and, paradoxically, can also bind. However, it does have at least one application though NOT in boating!  So, if on a boat you feel an urge to use a clove hitch – resist! Choose something else.

Clove Hitch

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Constrictor Knot

The Constrictor Knot deserves to be much more widely known and used. It is an excellent quick temporary whipping for a fraying rope’s end. It securely ties the neck of a sack or bag, and I have often used it to hold items together for gluing.  Its great virtues are that it can be tied quickly and it binds so that it can be almost impossible to untie. It fails is when tied against a flat surface – it requires a curved surface for the binding turn to grip the half hitch.

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Eye Splice

The Eye Splice and its variants are for mooring, tow lines, and other long term or critical applications.  Modern synthetic materials, however, tend to be slippery and, now, a minimum of five complete “tucks” is required, seven tucks are recommended.  As in weaving, each of the strands is passed first under and then over alternate standing strands. In the process, the free ends tend to untwist and become untidy. Handle each strand with care to retain its original twist: after each strand is threaded, twist it to try to restore its original fimness – at least for the first two or three tucks. (click image for animation)

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Figure 8

The Figure Eight provides a quick and convenient stopper knot to prevent a line sliding out of sight, e.g., up inside the mast. Its virtue is that, even after it has been jammed tightly against a block, it doesn’t bind; it can be undone easily. This virtue is also, occasionally, a vice. The figure of eight can fall undone and then has to be retied.

Figure Eight

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Rolling Hitch

The Rolling Hitch attaches a rope (usually smaller) to another (usually larger) when the line of pull is almost parallel. It can also be used to attach a rope to a pole.  This is like a clove hitch with another turn. Ideal for taking the strain off another rope – a useful knot aboard ship.  The “pull” MUST be in line with the main rope (or the pole). If the tension is away from the standing rope or pole, this knot usually fails.

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Round Turn 2 Half Hitches

The Round Turn and Two Half Hitches is ideal for attaching a mooring line to a dock post or ring. As the name suggests, it is composed of two important parts:  The ‘Round Turn’ is really two turns, and these should take the initial strain while you complete the knot. This may be critical when handling a mooring line.  The two half hitches actually form a clove hitch round the standing end.  By learning to tie the half hitches with one hand! This allows you to use the other hand to take the strain of a vessel which may easily pull with a force far greater than you could otherwise control.

Two Half Hitches

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Sheet Bend

The Sheet Bend is recommended for joining two ropes of unequal size. The larger rope must be used for the simple bight as shown. It works equally well if the ropes are of the same size.  It would replace the Reef (Square) knot except for the awkward fact that it has to be tied with both ends loose in your hands with no load on the ropes (The reef – with all its faults – can be tied tight against a sail, or parcel, and usually stays tight while the second half hitch is tied).

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Sheet Bend Double

The Sheet Bend Double for when the ropes are markedly different in size, the bitter end of the smaller rope can be taken twice round the bight in the larger rope to create the double sheet bend.  When correctly tied the two ends lie on the same side of the knot. The alternative version – with the ends on opposite sides – is less reliable.  The Double Sheet Bend is no stronger than the single, but is more secure.

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Square or Reef Knot

The Square (Reef) Knot is usually learned when we tie the laces on our first pair of shoes. Admittedly it is usually a bow that we tie – but the underlying knot is a Square (Reef) Knot.  Probably one of the most popular and best known knots.  Typical uses are tying the ends of a rope around an object, eg. a parcel, bandage, or the neck of a sack. We also learn just how unsatisfactory the knot is. It slips, it comes undone, it jams, and it is all too easy to tie a granny instead which behaves even less well.

Square or Reef Knot

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Truckers Hitch via http://www.animatedknots.com

The Trucker’s Hitch (Lorry Hitch, Haymaker’s Hitch, Harvester’s Hitch) has the distinctive feature of providing a three to one purchase when being tightened. The variety of names for this hitch is a tribute to its widespread use. It is a valuable knot – particularly for securing loads or tarpaulins.  There are several variations.  One is composed of three parts: a loop, a purchase, and two half hitches. An eye is formed by twisting the rope after which a loop is passed through the eye. The purchase is then created by passing the free end round the hook and then back through the loop. After tightening, the tail is used to tie two half hitches below the original loop.

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