Sailboat Knots Every Sailor Should Know

The art of knot tying has been an important part of the human culture since Neanderthals roamed the earth. Our early ancestors used knot tying to transport and dry their meat, to make custom fitting clothes and footwear to survive the elements and for fishing and catching other small game. Knot tying was also a skill for the world’s earliest seafarers.

Knowing how to tie various knots was and still is an important sailing skill. Knots are used to secure your boat to a mooring or a dock, to secure your anchor, or to secure boat fenders. Knots are also used in fishing and can even save your life if you were to fall in the water. The skill of knot tying was passed down from sailor to sailor throughout the 18th century. The first school to include classes on knotting, rigging, setting sails and reading a compass was the British Salem School of Gordonstoun in in 1934.

Some of the most important knots for a sailor can be found on this Knot Guide graphic from the team at SeattleYachts.com. Tying two lines together is also an important sailing skill and this guide displays 4 different ways you can achieve that with a Sheet Bend, a Double Sheet Bend, a Reef Knot or a Rolling Hitch.

Having the skill to tie a variety of useful knots is not just for those with sea legs. Setting up a tent or a weekend of camping would be very hard without some useful knowledge of knot tying as would rock climbing, horseback riding, and sewing!

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