SailNet Community

SailNet Community (
-   Learning to Sail (
-   -   Essential knots? (

blueranger 08-10-2012 11:45 AM

Essential knots?
Last night as I was unpacking some boxes from my recent move, I came across a book of knots/ropework. So I got to thinking, what would you consider the essential knots a beginner should know and why are they so important? What's their application?


poopdeckpappy 08-10-2012 11:49 AM

If I were to pick one, it would be a bowline.

A simple and universal knot

Chadfunk48 08-10-2012 11:56 AM

Re: Essential knots?
Square knot for tying two pieces of equal size line together you can't beat it

Bowline for tying a line around... well anything

Two Half Hitches for when a knot that slips is needed

Those would probaby be the three I would show a begginer. Altough I know some "sailors" who don't know any knot but the "tie a bunch of granny knots in a row" knot, and they get their boats from point A to point B... But that's neither here nor there.

SVAuspicious 08-10-2012 11:57 AM

Re: Essential knots?
These threads often end up with people adding one knot to the next until some poor sap thinks s/he has to learn a hundred knots. I suggest anyone that wants to make a contribution list all the knots thought essential.


1. Bowline
2. Clove hitch
3. Square knot/reef knot
4. Rolling hitch
5. Half hitch

I know a few others (like an anchor hitch), but I'm okay with those five and looking up anything else for special applications.

SVAuspicious 08-10-2012 11:59 AM

Re: Essential knots?

Originally Posted by Chadfunk48 (Post 907849)
Altough I know some "sailors" who don't know any knot but the "tie a bunch of granny knots in a row" knot, and they get their boats from point A to point B... But that's neither here nor there.

If you can't tie a knot tie a lot. *grin*

knothead 08-10-2012 12:08 PM

Re: Essential knots?
Definetly the bowline is an essential knot. Though the halyard knot is what I choose for tying shackles to halyards. They are stronger but after being loaded they are nearly impossible to untie.

The rolling hitch is something that I use every day for various purposes. It's probably my favorite. If you go aloft on a halyard and then discover that you need to work on the sheave that you're using, you can tie your self off to a shroud or even to the mast. Thereby freeing the line. I've actually used rolling hitches tied around the mast itself to get to the top of fractional rigs. The rolling hitch holds when loaded and can be slid when unloaded so it's great for things that you need to adjust. If you get an over ride on a winch, a rolling hitch can be tied around the standing part to take the load.
The sheet bend is great for bending two lines together and is constructed exactly like a bowline.
The clove hitch is very handy.
I use a trucker's hitch a lot too.
And of course, a plain old figure eight is a handy stopper knot.

justified 08-10-2012 12:08 PM

Re: Essential knots?
I would have to pick four
1. Bowline - simple all around and universal
2. clove Hitch- simple fast secure to a piling or post
3. cleat hitch- both locking and non-locking
4. two half hitches- simple and used to back up most other knots

The following site is a good spot to learn most that you will need and some just for fun like a Monkey's Fist


nolatom 08-10-2012 04:34 PM

Re: Essential knots?
Agree on bowline, figure-8, clove hitch, rolling hitch, cleat hitch, two half-hitches/fisherman's bend.

I don't find the square knot useful--with modern synthetic lines, it slips under load. When made into a shoelace knot, with slippery ends, then it is useful for sail ties and less likely to slip, too. If I really want to tie two lines together so I trust them, it's two bowlines.

I almost never use the clove hitch either, the lead never seems right. those who find it useful, could you enlighten me?

Minnewaska 08-10-2012 04:36 PM

Re: Essential knots?
Lots of good suggestions above.

A proper Cleat Hitch is the sign of significant intelligence and virility. Throw a Flemish Coil on the bitter end and you are practically qualified as royalty.

Walk down the dock and see how many Cleat Hitches are done with reckless nonsensical abandon. Yes, I judge.

sea_hunter 08-10-2012 04:49 PM

Bowline and it's derivitives like the sheetbend.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:04 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
(c) LLC 2000-2012

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome