Sailing Page: KNOTS!

Here are three knots essential to the serious sailor.

1. The Bowline     The "beau-lynn", as it is pronounced, is used in many situations. It forms a fixed diameter loop that will not slip, yet is easy to untie, even if wet. A line to tie your boat to an upright post would remain secure if a bowline were placed at one end to slip over the post. This knot could save your life: When the coast guard lowers a rope from a helicopter to remove you from your sinking boat, the only loop you can put around your chest that won't constrict your lungs when they lift you is the Bowline.

  2. The Clove Hitch     The Clove hitch shares a feature with most sailor's knots: it holds tight against tension and yet it is easy to untie. One use for this knot is to quickly attach something to something else temporarily. Attaching a fender to a life line is a typical use for this knot.

3. Round Turn & Two Half-hitches
    This knot can be used to secure a boat or a load to a ring, rod, or post. Holds tension well, but releases easily.

If instead of looping the first hitch around the long part of the rope, as shown here, you instead loop it through the round turn, you have formed a Fisherman's Bend (also known as an Anchor Bend), ideal for attaching a line to the ring in an anchor.