To cut or not to cut, that is the question - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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View Poll Results: Do you sail with a sharp knife on your person?
Yes 50 63.29%
Sometimes 19 24.05%
No 10 12.66%
Voters: 79. You may not vote on this poll

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post #11 of 45 Old 03-14-2009
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"A seaman without a knife is like a whore without a ****."

My old bosun said that to me over three decades ago and I've seen nothing since to disprove him. All seamen are dealing with forces on lines far in excess of what they can control when in extremis. A knife below decks or aft might as well be upon the moon. We'll not even consider the more scary aspects of being over the side and fouled. In most cases, a quick and timely slash of a blade is all that's necessary to change a serious situation into a mundane repair/replace chore.

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post #12 of 45 Old 03-14-2009
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Always carry a knife without fail and it's not a fancy knife, just a knife. I always grind off the point on a knife for a rounded tip. I do this because I don't know any situation I would need the point unless attacked by pirates and I think in a bad situation, the pointed tip may be more of a danger than useful IMHO. But I think a knife where lower part of the blade has saw like finish might be good.

When I was a kid, my dad wore shorts most of the time with no belt like you and what he did was make a nice rope belt just to carry his knife and not to hold up his shorts. It actually looked pretty cool.


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post #13 of 45 Old 03-14-2009
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I have carried a knife with me since I was 10 years old, usually a Swiss army knife. When I bought my boat a good friend of mine gave me a Myerchin Offshore Navigator Pro. It has a locking blade and locking spike. I'm never on the boat with out both knives.

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post #14 of 45 Old 03-15-2009
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When I was four we went to Silver Dollar City in Branson MO. When asked what I wanted for a suvineer, I picked out a little pocket knife. Mom said no, but dad said yes because it had a really small blade. Pretty much carried one since then. Don't wear shorts without pockets. So yes, I've always had a knife with me. Even caried it to school after they quit allowing it. Tend to forget about it once every other year and have to throw it away when I fly. Currently a cheap one, less then ten dollars.

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post #15 of 45 Old 03-15-2009
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Since I was in the USCG, where it is required. A knife is inexpensive, light, and indispensable when you need it. A guy died in the Sound this fall with a single turn of an anchor line around his ankle, holding him under. A knife would have saved him. Nothing else could.
The only time I remember needing it for an emergency, I hurt my back badly trying to raise an anchor that was probably snagged. When my back popped, I cut the anchor line and got back to the dock while I could still stand.
The real question isn't "why carry a knife?" it's "why not?".
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post #16 of 45 Old 03-15-2009
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If I am wearing shorts with pockets then I usually have one on me. If not there is always one in the cockpit within reaching distance.
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post #17 of 45 Old 03-15-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyruffn View Post
I also have a dive knife strapped to the wheel pedestal and another one at the base of the mast.
If you have a steel boat, it's easy to have them magnetically stuck to things a sufficient distance from the compasses. I have one by the companionway and even a hand axe under a lid.

A friend who dives and also owns a steel boat has a pretty serious dive knife mounted next to his companionway steps so that he can grab it and unsheath it with his trailing hand as he hauls himself into the cockpit, so it's not so uncommon a practice.

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Last edited by Valiente; 03-15-2009 at 11:24 PM.
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post #18 of 45 Old 03-15-2009
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It is much easier to turn one long line into two short lines, than the other way around. So I was taught to never cut a rope or string unless I really needed to cut it.

And, that it only takes one slip for a line to wrap itself around a wrist, an ankle, a couple of fingers, and you can have a traumatic amputation or a severe crushing injury in less than a minute. I think you'll find that almost anyone who spends full days (working or playing) around "rope" also carries a sharp knife, because IF someone gets caught in it, you need to cut the line and release the pressure "NOW NOW NOW" not in two or three minutes after you've putzed around looking for a blade.

And for the same reason, I keep a very sharp edge on that knife and make a point not to use it for cutting much of anything. There's always something else around for general cutting, which I don't spend as much time getting as sharp.

Leaving one strapped to the binnacle, or on the mast, is a nice idea--but then you still have to go fetch it. Which only works if you're not tied down at the time.
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post #19 of 45 Old 03-16-2009
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If you get an over-ride in any winch; it could be so tight that you can't pull it free, or in an emergency to avoid a collision or going aground you would want that sheet that is jammed eased or free. I can see no reason why a knife should not be on every person who sails be it skipper or crew; and on my boat it's as "required" as a hat clip if you are handling lines (casual guests are not required to have one).

If you ever got caught in a sheet (imagine your hand inside the over-ride knot) or pulled overboard by an anchor line; what would you do if you had no knife? A good option is to have a knife you can open with one hand in addition...
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post #20 of 45 Old 03-16-2009
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A long time ago, I was pulling off a ~36' boat that had reached onto a rock up at the cottage in October in 15-20knots. Tow line (theirs) from a tow eye on my stern to their stern cleat. They left their sails up. As I pulled them off, they started sailing, pulling me backwards. My little runabout has a low transom. Water started coming in. I had to put my brother in the bow to get the stern up while I reached back with a knife and cut the line.

I learned that day that a 36' boat on a broad reach with full sails can very easily overpower a 20hp motor on a runabout. I was luck I had my filleting knife on the boat. Since then, I always have a knife on my belt or in my pocket. At minimum it's a multi-tool, most of the time it's a lockback or a fillet knife.

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