How to tie knots useful for sailors

collected by     Tony Heyes     member     Rye Yacht Club


One can Google all these knots and get many results. Some are better than others. This is my collection of what I consider to be the pick of the bunch.

Let's us define a Good Knot. It should be easy to tie, not shake loose and easy to undo - even if it has carried a heavy load and the rope is now wet. With the exception of the Highwayman's knot, all the knots described here are Good.


A Stopper Knot:    used to make a big end on a rope to prevent it being pulled through a narrow gap.
Never use a simple overhand knot - it becomes far too difficult to untie. Use:
The Figure of Eight Knot.
Bends:    knots for joining two ropes together.
My favourite is     The Zeppelin Bend.

if your two ropes are of different thickness use:    The Sheet Bend.   Or for an even more secure version:      The Double Sheet Bend.

If you have the need to tie together two nylon or slippy ropes consider        The Fisherman's Knot       or the even more secure version:        The Double Fisherman's Knot.
However, both fisherman's knots can be hard to undo and should be avoided if possible.

Hitches:    knots for tying ropes to things.
A very commonly used knot; great if the load is maintained:     The Clove Hitch     but it can shake loose. Play safe and add a half hitch at the end!

Better still, use the "Most Useful Knot in the World":      The Bowline.

Even better, use the Bowline with Yosemite Finish    sometimes called
The Yosemite Bowline.
Learn      The Round Turn and Two Half Hitches     but then learn the similar but much better knot;     The Anchor Hitch .

if you need to tie to a taught rope such as an anchor rope use      The Rolling Hitch.

Exactly the same knot can be used to make a loop round an object. in this case it is called      The Midshipman's Hitch.
To tie up to a cleat, Yes, you use      The Cleat Hitch .

More of a fun knot than a serious one. But, if you want a quick get-away use
The Highwayman's Hitch.

A Loop:
Occasionally one needs to tie a loop in the middle or at the end of a rope.
Use:     The Figure of Eight Loop Knot.


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This web page has been written by Tony Heyes
of Perceptual Alternatives


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