Sunday, 1 July 2012

Tie a Bowline

A month or so ago I suggested that there are only about eight knots that a boating person needs to know. Here is one of the vital eight. It's one of the most useful knots you’ll come across and it is the quickest and most useful way to put a fixed loop in the end of a rope. It is simple and strong, it won’t slip and it never jams. Use it to tie to a bollard. Use two to join two lengths of rope. Tie it around your waist if ever you have to go over the side to clear a fouled prop.

I have a friend a retired Thames tugboat captain who used to tie it behind his back as a party-piece when he’d had a few rums. You don’t have to be so clever, just so long as you can tie it when you need to - without looking for instructions.

Begin by making a loop in the end of a line 

Then take the end of the line and pass it up through the loop and round the back of the standing part of the line.


 Now bring it back over the standing part 

and back though the loop

Now pull tight and the job is done 

 It’s an indispensable knot, but if you want to keep sailing credibility it’s not enough to be able to tie it, you’ll need to be able to pronounce it correctly as well. Remember Bowline should rhyme with ‘Stolen’.