For those who are not dyed in the wool traditionalists with the Ashley Book of Knots on the shelves, a great resource is Grog’s Knots. There is a good “app” that can be downloaded to a tablet, but the same information is available on line here. The animations can be paused and progressed step by step.
Webmaster’s Knot of the month is the Trucker’s Knot (or “Truckie’s Hitch”). This knot is so useful it has many names and many variants. Webmaster’s favourite variations are:
a) start with a full sheepshank rather than directional figure 8 to form a loop which is both stable and easy to untie after heavy loading.
b) for tying down a load on a trailer, with a long rope, use a bight in the rope to complete the knot so that multiple truckie’s hitches can be made without miles of rope being fed through the loop. This system can be untied very quickly and easily. Quoting from Grog’s page, “Real Truckers: The Animation was prepared to show the structure of the knot. In practice at step 6, a Real Trucker will pass a Bight of rope through the Loop and then use the Bight to tie off the knot with half hitches. This allows him to use one long piece of rope to tie many Trucker’s Hitches.”
c) For maximum (theoretical) mechanical advantage and a self-locking effect, allowing easy tightening:- rather than just once, pass the free end of the rope round the trailer bar and through the loop twice, with the second pass underneath the first one. When this is tightened down it automatically locks and only needs a loose half-hitch or slipknot for security.
Last knot of the month was the Zeppelin Bend. Note the importance of the correct layout of loops because a “lookalike” can easily be made which simply pulls apart. So test before you use. The free ends must be diagonally opposite each other and the loop with its free end on top goes on top of the loop with its free end below. Like the last knot of the month, it will take a very heavy load without jamming.
Before that the “knot of the month” was the Perfection Loop, but tied by the alternative method: “Alternative: It can also be tied through a fly or lure by passing the free end along the path shown in Frame 7 of the animation.” This is a great alternative to the bowline. [Actually Frame 8 gives a clearer overview of the knot which basically starts with an overhand knot then the free end forms the loop through any object, then back through the knot as in ‘frame 7’ or frame 8.]
Entertainment – For 50 minutes of entertaining listening – there’s an ABC podcast of Sandy McKinnon’s interview about the Journey of Jack de Crow. (Or copy and paste the URL below.) It opens in different formats depending on the device but you should see “Conversations”. Ignore the “Play” symbol but click on “Episode website” and play from there. Several members went to his talk in Queenscliff, 10 years ago (May 2010).
Learning more knots
A suggested activity for those with sailing-withdrawal symptoms while staying at home: get a length of rope and learn more knots using the link to Grog’s Animated Knots. Or play around with the RaceQs system of replays linked in the race reports page here. In the links to “Videos via YouTube” there are not only excerpts from some of our races but a selection of other sailing related videos, and YouTube learns to suggest similar ones based on your viewing history.
Here’s a game of tacking practice.