7 Essential Knots to Master

It’s knot rocket science – these knots make the difference between a crew member, and a useful crew member!


1. Bowline

The sailor’s most useful knot. Simple & strong, very stable and can be used to make a standing loop in the end of a line – good for attaching your mooring line and dinghy painter to a cleat.

GREAT because it is strong, easy to undo after being under load, it will not jam or slip

NOT SO GREAT because it cannot be undone under load

2. Clove Hitch

Often referred to as the fender knot – one of the most important to learn to keep your skipper happy!

GREAT because it is quick and easy to tie

NOT SO GREAT because it can slip or unwind if not under tension

Knot knot
Who’s there
Bowline who
I’m going bowline, wanna go with me?

3. Round Turn & 2 Half Hitches

This is a very versatile knot and is best used for fastening a line around a ring, hook, rail or bollard. This is a good alternative to the clove hitch if you find they are slipping…

GREAT because it is a self-tightening secure knot that can be undone under load

NOT SO GREAT because… nope it is just GREAT

4. Reef Knot

The reef knot joins 2 ropes together and can tidy up reefs in a sail on a boat without a lazy bag

GREAT because it can be undone easily

NOT SO GREAT because it comes undone too easily when you don’t want it to

You thought this was going to be easy? I’m a frayed knot

5. Double Sheet Bend

Ideal for joining two ropes of different thicknesses together – useful to lengthen a mooring line

GREAT because even after jamming against a block, it will undo easily

NOT SO GREAT because it cannot be tied under load

6. Rolling Hitch

Used for temporarily relieving the strain on a working rope. For example, if you have a riding turn on a winch

GREAT because it is generally very secure, providing a safety back up

NOT SO GREAT because some modern ropes are too slippery to generate any friction

And last but knot least…

7. Figure of 8

Used as a stopper knot to prevent a rope running through a car or jammer – super easy

GREAT because even after jamming against a block, it will undo easily

NOT SO GREAT because it can fall undone easily

Know all of these? Knot bad!

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