Do you really need to know any more than five or six knots for a life afloat?


What on earth is it about knots?

You wouldn’t think that such a humble subject could fell so many trees in a year, but of all the books we receive for review, tomes on knots are by far the most numerous.

It has become a joke in the office. We get about eight or ten knot books every year. Can there really be such an insatiable demand for them? Apparently so.

The latest is Des Pawon’s ‘Knot Craft – 35 Ropework Projects’. It features instructions on how to make bellropes, key fobs, mats, belts and knife lanyards.

Des Pawson is a legend in the rope world, the founder of the International Guild of Knot-Tyers and awarded an MBE for his work, but I’m intrigued why knot-loving flourishes when the need for them under sail has so greatly diminished.

How many knots do you really need to know for a life afloat? Ten max, five or six minimum – what do you think?

Let me see which ones I know: bowline, round turn and two half hitches, rolling hitch, tugman’s hitch, figure of eight (maybe a blood knot instead and for the fishing line), reef knot, sheet bend (can I count a double sheet bend?) and timber hitch to avoid those iron-tight bowlines in reefing lines.

I’ve been meaning to learn the trucker’s hitch as well, because that could be useful, but I keep forgetting to remember to look it up.