Useful knots to learn.

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Now that's one I do know how to do, but I haven't found a lot of use for it. If I want it to be strong I use the constrictor, which is almost identical to a clove hitch. But if I want it to be easily removable I use something like a highwayman's hitch which is just as quick to tie.

It's most useful when working with shackles or carabiniers, as you can very quickly attach the middle of a line to one in a specific place, securely and one handed, then load either or both ends of the line.

Alpine Butterfly is similarly useful but much stronger, and more permanent (still tieable one handed thought).
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Perhaps I missed it but I didnt see rolling hitch on this thread: surely part of anbody's core set of knots? certainly one I use routinely at sea, where you often rollling hitch a thinner line round a thicker one to have give a purchase that slides when pulled one way but grips the other way, although I also use prussiks for this (a heavily used rolling hitch will often twist itself into a tangle, a prussik not so much).

Less well known but incredibly useful is the tugman's hitch: can be tied and untied under tension, can be tied in the bight, very little slippage, will never come accidentally undone, easy to untie. But very bulky! The perfect knot for tying to a bollard or similar.

Less well known still is the buntline hitch: more compact and more secure than round turn and two half hitches, although can be impossible to untie when it's very tight. A lot of people without thinking about it will use a half turn and two half hitches to secure a line to a post or spar, but I never use that at sea, using either a round turn and two half hitches (can be tied under tension, but prone to slippage and accidental release, and a bit bulky) or buntline hitch. An anchor hitch is a simple variation of a round turn and two half hitches giving greater security but to my mind doesn't do much that you can't do with a bowline or buntline hitch

Essential knots at sea are
1) Bowline (forget rabbits, holes and trees, learn the one-handed technique, much the fastest way when you have two hands)
2) Figure of eight stopper knot
3) Clove hitch (notwithstanding earlier comments a great knot: can be tied in the bight, you can pre-tie one ready to drop over a bollard, and you can make a simple quick-release version if you tie it in two stages by using the bight for the second stage)
4) Rolling hitch (or prussik---but you need a double fishermans or similar to prepare the prussik)
5) Round-turn and two half hitches
6) Anchor hitch or buntline hitch

I know mountaineers like the Alpine butterfly, it's certainly a nice knot; but the easy way of tying it doesn't allow you to tie it round something else; and it can be hard to untie, so I don't use it much. At sea, ease of untying can be as simportant as ease of tying!

Finally you need a method of joining two ropes: the recommended method at sea is a double sheet bend but in practise a lot of people will just use two bowlines. If you do use the two-bowline method you can reduce chafe by reef-knotting the lines first---but *never* use a reef knot alone to join ropes as it capsizes and comes apart if the tension on the ends is unequal. The only place I use a reef knot at sea is on reef lines.

If you want to take your knots to the next level then learn the carrick bend: a lovely way in its own right to join two ropes, but also takes you 90% of the way to a diamond knot, one of the few knots that work in super-slippy stuff like dyneema (and used for making your own soft shackles), and opens up the whole world of turks heads and similar. But a more practically useful skill is splicing, especially for dyneema, which I like but which I never even try to knot (except diamond knots), splices only, generally locking splices ...
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Turks head was one i found relaxation in making. Rather than around a spar theres a method of making it around 3 of your fingers.
..or larger
I shall have to drag my knot tying books out of the dim recesses and get practising again.
The problem I have is that I’m largely left handed and knot instructions are forthe right handed.
I need ‘The Left Hander’s Guide to Knots’.
I shall have to drag my knot tying books out of the dim recesses and get practising again.
The problem I have is that I’m largely left handed and knot instructions are forthe right handed.
I need ‘The Left Hander’s Guide to Knots’.
Just read it in a mirror.
One-handed bowline - I had to learn that in the military, but never had to use it. This allows you to hang on with one hand and tie the rescue rope with the other.
Absolutely MikeK "throwing a bowline" with one hand around your waist may well save your life. Bowline on the bight is a good one too, makes a very effective harness. Had to do these and many others blindfolded when training at BRNC Dartmouth in the 80s
From my diving days two phrases that endured

”if you can’t tie knots, tie lots”

whats that- its a double overhand (insert name of creator) with complications.

Both usually used when something was recovered to the surface.

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