Knots you must know


Like other articles in this section, this is not an in-depth knot encyclopedia. Just 5 knots that you should definitely know to handle almost any kind of situation or need during your charter. As a bonus, knot-making is a great past time for kids and it should keep them happily busy for quite a while—watch their ecstatic face when they nail their first bowline!

Instead of reinventing the wheel, we have searched many sources and we are providing you here with links to a site that has by far, in our opinion, the simplest and best graphics for fast and easy understanding: The Grogono's great web site.

TIP: A trick I use to understand a knot: I look at what it looks like when it is finished, before I even attempt to start it.

The King of All Knots: The Bowline
If you had to know only one knot, that would be the one. Very strong and secure: the more you pull on it, the tighter it gets. Yet, very easy to untie. For the young kids, the running ("bitter") end is a rabbit that gets in and out of a hole. Success guaranteed.
The Easiest: The Eight Knot
Use it mainly as a stop knot at the end of your jib sheets, for example.
A Classic: The Clove Hitch
Very simple "utility" knot. Fast to tie, can be done vertical or flat. Use it to tie up your boat or dinghy to a post, and a must to tie your fenders to your lifelines. If you tie up your boat with this knot, make it temporary, as this knot can become loose.
The Square/Reef Knot
All kinds of purposes: To tie something down or for tying to lines together. Lines must be roughly the same size (thickness).
The Cleat Hitch
What you will use to tie any line or painter to a cleat on your boat. You can imagine how many times you will do this one!

That's it. If you manage to master all those knots, you will be fine in all situations. Practice them a lot until they become instinctive: sometimes, speed in essential for your safety and you will not have the luxury to think about what you're doing.

Want more? Go to the Grogono Knot Index.

If you become interested in the art of knotting, we recommend 2 books:
- The Ashley Book of Knots, by Clifford Ashley, arguably The reference in knotting
- The Morrow Guide to Knots, by Guido Regazzoni. Very simple and clear.

All the knots in the linked graphics are Copyright of Grogono.