Bowline Success - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 26 Old 09-14-2015 Thread Starter
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Bowline Success

I was out sailing with a couple guys yesterday and one of the fellows passed me a line and asked me to put a bowline on the end of it.

This guy is 62 years old and has been sailing for 50 years. He is left handed, probably a little dyslexic. His grown sons are boy scout alumni and make fun of the fact that their old man can't tie a bowline.

He has raced, sailed on dozens if not hundreds of boats. This one minor skill has eluded him for fifty years causing great embarrassment.

I told him I was willing to work with him and do whatever it took to get over the hump. I figured if he was able to tie it 50 times in a row he should have it.

So we did just that. I coached him trough a couple dozen till he could do it himself. Then he tied about 50 knots. Then I recommended we have few drinks and make sure he could do it with a little buzz going on.

Once he got so he could do it fast with his eyes closed I had him do it around vertical then horizontal poles and in other awkward positions.

He claims he has it nailed.

Time will tell.

The method I taught is from my youtube video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHwucR5TQjE

I just had to reverse everything to make it for left handed.

Needless to say except for the headache I was pretty pleased with myself.
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post #2 of 26 Old 09-14-2015
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Re: Bowline Success

Wow, good on ya for teaching him..

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that the bowline is the knot I tie for everything. I look at everything and think, now how can I tie a bowline here. I really need to learn a few more knots to make some jobs easier (i.e. making a bridle to lift my dinghy!
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post #3 of 26 Old 09-14-2015
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I actually double the "6" in the line before passing it through, around and back. I've seen a few bow lines used as termination knots that, when poorly tied will back out. Just an added piece of bite and just as easy to back out and untie.
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post #4 of 26 Old 09-14-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Bowline Success

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Originally Posted by DivingOtter View Post
I actually double the "6" in the line before passing it through, around and back. I've seen a few bow lines used as termination knots that, when poorly tied will back out. Just an added piece of bite and just as easy to back out and untie.
The climbing community has switched from the bowline to the figure 8 because of several high profile falls.

http://www.outsideonline.com/1911861...-time-new-knot

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It is a lesson about the limitations of wax as an adhesive.
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post #5 of 26 Old 09-14-2015
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Re: Bowline Success

davidpm, helping your friend improve his skills is very admirable knowing that it will increase his enjoyment in sailing while potentially reducing his risk for future frustration or harm to himself and others. Taking the time to teach in the manner you described says a lot about your character. Thank you for sharing.
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post #6 of 26 Old 09-14-2015
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Re: Bowline Success

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
Wow, good on ya for teaching him..

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that the bowline is the knot I tie for everything. I look at everything and think, now how can I tie a bowline here. I really need to learn a few more knots to make some jobs easier (i.e. making a bridle to lift my dinghy!
I have a limited knot vocabulary as well. I keep trying to add to it gradually by finding the right knot for the right purpose, but I tend to never use them enough to get it into muscle memory. I keep working at it however.

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Re: Bowline Success

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Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
The climbing community has switched from the bowline to the figure 8 because of several high profile falls.
As a climber, just thought I'd chime in here....

Most climbers have always used a figure eight. Ideally the tail is long enough to put a half hitch around the standing end. Personally, I'm not sure the half hitch helps, but having a tail long enough to tie a half hitch is the key.

The bowline climbers tie is a "double bowline" the "hole" (the rabbit comes out of the hole....) is doubled. The double bowline is used because it's easier to untie. But with my life possible depending on a knot, I'd opt for the figure eight.
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post #8 of 26 Old 09-15-2015
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As a former climber, I never used a bowline for termination life support. I always used a double fisherman with about a 4 inch tail.
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post #9 of 26 Old 09-15-2015
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Re: Bowline Success

As a former rescue climber, the bowline is too easy to capsize, too easy to tie it 'backwards' thus MUCH weaker.
Gimme a doubled fig. of 8 (and with a 'jumper' across it if I have any high potential of getting 'bounced').

http://www.animatedknots.com/fig8loo...matedknots.com

Last edited by RichH; 09-15-2015 at 01:13 AM.
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post #10 of 26 Old 09-15-2015
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Re: Bowline Success

That double loop figure eight is interesting...I was taught to tie on with a Figure 8 Follow-through. It looks to be the same except for one loop instead of two.

Figure 8 stopper knots shake out quite easily, and always at the worst times. I use the doube (sometimes triple) overhand for stoppers.
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