Jan 26 2012
Knots are tools, among the most important in any waterman’s (ditty) bag of tricks, even if that waterman happens to be a woman. And I’ve written about them many times before, most recently in November of last year, when I described six of my “favorites.” I put “favorites” in quotes because the word is really a bit misleading. While I seldom feel the need to have more than a half‑dozen knots at my fingertips, so to speak, my list evolves with the procession of the seasons, not to mention changes in boats. I’m not alone. A sometime sailor’s knotty toolkit will differ from a full‑time paddler’s, for example. But despite all the words I’ve spilled on the subject, I may have scanted one vital aspect: how and when to use the knots I’ve described. I’ve certainly mentioned their uses from time to time in earlier articles, but perhaps I’ve never given the topic the attention it deserves. As reader Bill Forshey was good enough to point out:
I was trying to improve my use of knots in my canoeing and came across your article. ["Knots to Know! Basic Ropecraft for Paddlers" – Editor] I have, over time, learned to create the knots you describe, but I have to admit that with the exception of the trucker's hitch to secure my boat to my vehicle, I don't really know how to apply them.
And that’s the whole point of the exercise, isn’t it? Being able to tie a bowline with one hand makes a nifty party trick — and it can be a vital skill in a hard chance — but it’s more important to know what to use a bowline for. So that’s what this article is all about. I’ll look at some of the ways I use knots, both afloat and ashore.
Ready? Then let’s cast off!… Read more…
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