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  #1  
Old 08-05-2007
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Pocket knife - Marlin Spike - What?

The friend I sailed with yesterday brought his own knife. It had a Marlin spike and I gave him a hard time about it, ie; "What are you going to do with that, chip ice?" But he was pretty adamant that all real sailors carry one for untying knots and splicing rope. But I just don't don't get it. I generally try to tie knots that can be untied and it just seems a little antiquated, more for days gone by when three strand rope was used, not Spectra and the like. So....am I wrong? btw, my knife is a simple diver's knife mounted in the cockpit.

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Old 08-05-2007
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Used to carry one similar years ago while in the Navy. But found that the blade did not hold an edge very well. The steel in today's knives have hopefully improved over time.
Went to carrying an 8" marline spike and a separate knife (with a high quality steel blade).
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Old 08-05-2007
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Certain designs of shackles can be opened and released under load with a spike like that shown in your post. My son, who works the bow on various raceboats, carries one as well.

Such sailors' knives are often made of materials better suited for the marine envorinment as well.
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Old 08-05-2007
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I keep three Myerchin knives onboard for myself, my girlfriend, and for guests to use if needed. The spike comes in handy with all sorts of things. Work it between the bends on really tight knots to untie more easily mostly, but it is not limited to just that.



Note the little cut out in the back edge of the blade.....its a shackle key also.

Last edited by Sapperwhite; 08-05-2007 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 08-05-2007
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I agree with what Sapperwhite just said, I never go out without mine tied to my belt.
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In the Navy I carried one and I still have a marlin spike. They are great for a lot of things. Sometimes even a correctly tied bowline will need a little help to break it free.
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Mine is a 30 year old Buck knife, it has been a good rigging knife ..
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I think that about settles it. This might be declared a Man Law.
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Whether the marlinespike is on the knife or not it is certainly essential gear. Those fortunate enough to have never had to attempt to remove a heavily loaded knot should consider that, without a spike, your only option is to cut it out. If some lubber has tied that knot in the middle of your line you may be able to put a monetary value on the possession of a marlinspike.

A rather nice one can be made, suitable for virtually all size line, from a piece of half inch round stock, shaped on a bench grinder. Make it about 8" long, drill a hole in the end, place a lanyard on it, and hang it where you will. You will find untold uses for it, not the least, as a drift pin.
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Where are you guys tying all these knots that seem to be so hard to get undone? I've found these great little things called snap shackles.....
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