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Old 22-09-2008, 11:06   #1
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Minimum number of knots to know

There are knots for all sorts of things saily, but there must be a basic minimum for all newbies.

Here is my list and reasons

Bowline - if you fall in this is essential

figure eight - stops the ends of the ropes disappearing

reef knot - unless your boat never needs to be reefed!

clove hitch - secure the fenders.

I await other more rational arguments
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Old 22-09-2008, 11:59   #2
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The perfect 4!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 22-09-2008, 12:41   #3
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Aloha Talbot,

For our sail classes we teach those plus the rolling hitch, slippery reef and cleat hitch. Rolling hitch has many uses and is easy to slide up and down another line or stantion or spar and can lock into place. The slippery reef is better (in my opinion) for reef points because it is easier to shake out. The cleat hitch is necessary to make secure your dock lines and for cleating halyards (when you want them permanently secured)
For a very newbie then a couple of half hitches is good to teach and for those with a bit more skill then a sheet bend (becket bend) and anchor bend is another good couple to practice.
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Old 22-09-2008, 13:04   #4
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The Triple Sliding Hitch (or Prusik or Kleimheist) is the preferred "slide and/or grip" hitch for securing on line to another, as in a Snubber or Bridle to an Anchor Rode. It’s also an excellent climbing (ascender) hitch.
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Old 22-09-2008, 13:22   #5
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If you can't tie a good knot, tie a lot of knots.
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Old 22-09-2008, 13:39   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funsailthekeys View Post
If you can't tie a good knot, tie a lot of knots.
I've often stated that it is one of my life's goals to eliminate this very practice in as many people as possible. Few things aggervate me more than having to untie 15 or more half hitches when a bowline would have sufficed.

In a small boat sailing class, there are only two knots and two hitches I teach:

Bowline - to tie the halyard to the head of the sail and mainsheet to the traveler block.

Figure 8 - Stopper knot on mainsheet

Trucker's hitch - used to tie the sailboats to the trailer

Cleat hitch - to tie the bow dockline to a dock cleat, and the rudder control line to a cleat on the tiller.


For our keelboat I add: clove hitch and reef knot.

While I don't teach it in sailing (but do in climbing), I have found the prusik hitch that GordMay mentioned to be very useful on a few ocassions. The klemhist hitch is a bit different and is not multi directional the way a prussik is:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klemheist_knot

(Note they incorrectly call the Klemhiest hitch a knot.) "A hitch is not a knot, its a hitch"
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Old 22-09-2008, 14:53   #7
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Here is a very good site for learning how to tie boating (and other use) knots: Grog's Boating Knots Index

Gord agrees!!!
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Old 22-09-2008, 15:40   #8
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Well, I've never felt very comfortable with the clove hitch. I learned it over 40 years ago and it always seemed a little flakey to me. I was interested to see that Grog's Boating Knots doesn't recommend it either.
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Old 22-09-2008, 15:45   #9
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A clove hitch with 2 loose half hitches works much more securely than just a clove hitch.

I'd add a sheet bend. It is a simple knot that will allow 2 lines of differing thickness to be tied together, and is relatively easy to untie.
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Old 22-09-2008, 16:03   #10
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I am not a fan of the clove hitch. If you encounter currents or tides that put stress on the dock line, they will bind and be VERY difficult to untie. I much prefer a double wrap with two half hitches.

A clove hitch might be used for a quick tie up, but then should be replaced.

Also note. A sailor doesn't tie a knot, he makes a knot. He doesn't untie one, he spills it. A good knot, in addition to doing its work well should be easy to make and to spill.

George
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Old 22-09-2008, 16:11   #11
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A clove hitch on the bite with a half hitch is a great way to hold a boat to a dock. The "secure end" stays on the boat. You can release and leave in seconds TAKING your lines with you. I have seen people cut there lines and just short of break fingers and hands struggling to undo dock lines when the boat has been suddenly caught in a squall and the need to leave NOW....

I agree with the top four and Gords prussik...I use the prussik for tree surgery as well as a safety when I am going up the mast.
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Old 22-09-2008, 16:18   #12
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The clove hitch is good as a temporary knot but not for anything permanent unless you put a half hitch to secure it. I've had dinghies escape from the mother ship a couple of times while trusting just a clove hitch therefore I don't trust them unless there will be constant pressure on the line.
The Prusik is a fairly modern and new hitch for us old sailors but, in fact, is just a modified rolling hitch. Good to know and good to use especially for climbers.
Regards,
JohnL
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Old 22-09-2008, 16:52   #13
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Clove Hitch
Figure Eight
Reef (square) Knot
Clove Hitch
Truckers Hitch
Rolling Hitch
Cleat Hitch

I use all 7 every time I sail.

You should also know how to coil a rope, secure it and make it ready for immediate use.
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Old 22-09-2008, 18:19   #14
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Those are the four I know without having to think about it very much. There's a couple more I *know*, if I go and look at the picture first.
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Old 22-09-2008, 18:23   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talbot View Post
There are knots for all sorts of things saily, but there must be a basic minimum for all newbies.

Here is my list and reasons

Bowline - if you fall in this is essential

figure eight - stops the ends of the ropes disappearing

reef knot - unless your boat never needs to be reefed!

clove hitch - secure the fenders.

I await other more rational arguments
I would just add -

Round Turn and 2 Half Hitches
and, maybe, the Rolling Hitch.

While not strictly a knot as it has no predefined form, people should also be aware of the "Panic Knot". It is rather like Ex-Calif's Cleat Hitch but is performed on the nearest solid object using whatever wrapping method that first comes to mind and is generally performed in a big hurry.

Anything else is too complicated for me and gets me all knotted up trying to remember them - just watching animations of them is enuff to make me dizzy .
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