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The Bowline (pronounced bow-lynn) is the classic knot for this purpose. Superstrong yet easy to untie. If you don't already know it I would suggest that you practice it until you get it down so that it will be second nature when it comes time to make a sail change in dicey conditions. I used to keep some line on the back of my toilet for this purpose, much to the dismay of my better half.

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Just watch Jaws over and over again...its the scene when they are on the Orca right before the Shark pops up and Martin is trying to tie that exact knot...

But on a serious note the bowline is the most common way and is useful in many more applications on a sailboat.
 

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best knot is no knot; try a larks head
 

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best knot is no knot; try a larks head
If the Lark's Head is the same one I know I would worry that when the sheets are slack they might come loose. The lark's head I know uses the tension on over turned loop that has a line through it with a stopper know in the end. When slack the loop can work loose.
 

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I tie more bowlines than any other knot. On my ski boat I use them to tie the ski ropes on and they never fail. they are also easy to untie.
 

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...time to make a sail change in dicey conditions. I used to keep some line on the back of my toilet for this purpose, much to the dismay of my better half.

CB...
You can make sail changes from your toilet!?!?
Paul
:) Sorry, but I just couldn't resist!
 

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I find the concerns about lark's heads interesting. Joe, there is basically no way a lark's head can come undone, even if the loop completely loosens up. The only way is for the free ends of both sheets to be passed through the loop.

As for the strength of the knot, not sure what you mean by that. Knots do weaken the line they're tied in; maybe that's what you're referring to. If so, I don't know how much a lark's head reduces the strength of the line, but bowlines are one of the worst knots for strength. They reduce the breaking load to about 60% of the untied line's breaking load.

Anybody have data on lark's heads?

Edit: I just realized a lark's head can fail if only one of the free ends passes through the loop... which I suppose could happen if you only ever apply load to one of the free ends, or if the first time the sheet is loaded up, the lark's head hasn't really been made snug yet. Hm!
 

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In my experience it is unusual for anyone to use anything other than a bowline for jib sheets. But I could be wrong. And if I ever wanted to do a quck sail change with no knot, as has been proposed, wouldn't I have to pull 50' of line (my boat is 41') through the clew, or am I missing something?
 

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Big boat alternatives

I was just looking for an answer to this same question, I did not realize there was a current thread, I posted over at in this seamship thread

Considering the larks head when you have two seperate sheets, as I see it the problem is that the knot can lock for one way pull. But if you are putting a larks head in in the middle, you have uneven pull, and that worries me on a larger boat, the forces are so high, it seems like it might slip.

The bowline is tried and true, but the knots are hanging up in our tacks and with a small crew in a race, we can't stand that delay.

Anyway, since I already have two lines and I want to eliminate knots it looks like I need to splice an eye in the end. So far so good.

I also looked at the Attaching Jibsheets article.

Then the options are:

0) Bowline (tried and true)
1) larks head (possibly hard to undo)
2) Tylaska Spool Shackles
3) Tylaska J-Shackles
4) EquipLite Connectors (too expensive!)

Any thoughts on these? It seems like the spool shackles might be a good compromise. Has anyone used these for genoa sheets on a larger (40'+) boat?
 

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The lark's head I know uses the tension on over turned loop that has a line through it with a stopper know in the end. When slack the loop can work loose.
When used on the jib the loop is turn under, I have only used this on two boats, currently on a 37' Tayana, I've never had issues with the knot coming loose or slipping in wind up to 18 knots or hanging on inner stays or shrouds, and yes it can be tough to undo if neglected
 

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I know conventional wisdom uses the bowline, an excellent knot, for jib sheets, and I do if I need to be able to untie the sheet and re-tie to the next jib. Otherwise, I prefer the buntline hitch. This knot is a bit less prone to snagging on the way past obstacles such as the stays, but has the fault of jamming under load, it will not shake out, but can be a problem to untie.

an example
Buntline Hitch
 

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I will probably go with the bowline since I know the knot and others have had success with it. However, this site attaching ropes to grommets suggests a double-fishermen's knot.
The first Jib sheet knot shown on your link is what I was referring to, You can work it so the it's centered instead of one side or the other and at the foot of the clew instead of the leech edge of the clew; but that doesn't really matter
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Right. That's the one I've used before with one long continuous jib sheet. But what if there are two separate jib sheets, one for starboard and one for port? Then I think the best (or most popular) knot would be the bowline for each sheet.
 

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you're right, sometimes ( aah, who am I kidding, all times ) I don't think pass my own boat setup. :eek:
 

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I had the same concern re: a larks head slipping when loaded, but since it was mentioned here previously I noticed that the Tartan 40 I crew on is rigged that way. We've never had a problem even though the owner is loath to reef the 150 roller furling genny even when we're defintely overcanvassed.

I use bowlines on my boat currently, but I will seriously consider going with a larks head when I need to replace my genny sheets since you need a single long sheet to use a larks head. From what I've seen I think the larks head works fine for boats with roller furling that don't change sails ofter (or at all), but is probably is not the way to go if you frequently change headsails.
 
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