Having knot books onboard or at home is always useful, especially if sailing with beginner crew. We pick a range of new titles for the cruising and racing sailor
Knot books are invaluable to have onboard or in your sailing library, especially if you feel yourself getting rusty over the winter or you have beginner crew.
They can also keep young sailors entertained on long passages.
Most sailors value knots for their practical utility.
With this in mind, we’ve reviewed some of the newest knot books to be released.
How to tie knots
Tim MacWelch founded the Earth Connection School of Primitive Living Skills.
It sounds self-consciously millennial buts it’s an approach of which Baden Powell would have approved.
These knots are for anyone who camps, fishes, climbs or sails and who may need to improvise.
MacWelch explains, for instance, how a sheet bend can be used to attach rope to the corner of a piece of fabric, ‘when the grommets are torn out, absent or too small.’
His focus is on self-reliance and being prepared for emergency.
Perhaps one day I might need climbing and fishing knots and instructions on how to make my own rope – even from ‘stretched dried intestines’ (thought I am rather hoping to avoid a crisis on that scale!) This would make an excellent gift
How to tie knots by Tim MacWelch, Modern Books, £9.99
The Book of Knots
The book sorts out knots by construction and typing method and so has section on ends, loops, hitches, lashings, coils, stoppers and whippings.
It is written jointly by Geoffrey Budworth, co-founder of the International Guild of Knot Tyers, and gives an interesting history on each knot.
The practical applications of the knots for sailing, climbing and fishing are explained but not in detail.
This is a neat little volume, with clear line diagrams and step-by-step instructions, and is deserving of a place on your bookshelf.
The Book of Knots: Over 125 Practical Knots for All Purposes by Geoffrey Budworth and Jason Dalton, Ivy Press, £9.99
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A Knot a Day: 365 knot challenges for all abilities
Adlard Coles, £16.00
I’m assuming many knot books are given as presents.
Here’s one that I’d certainly recommend as a family gift: Nic Compton’s 365 knots include knots for scarves, rope ladders, hanging baskets and magic tricks as well as an extraordinary range of variants on old favourites such as the sheepshank and bowline.
Sometimes the variations are very slight – an extra bend or tuck – but the explanation is always interesting and helps the fumble-fingered understand how, for some people, knotting becomes not a science but an art.
It’s a tactile and well-presented volume with something for everyone, including the Double Wall Knot for top-gallant sails and a neat method of tying grass around flowers.
Some of the activities might even be fun.
Splicing for Racing Sailors
Narrowly focussed and completely practical.
‘This companion shows you how to do the popular splices on braided rope, which comes in two main types.’
It’s in Fernhurst’s familiar ‘Companion’ format, laminated and spiral-bound so each page will lie flat as you follow the explanations.
The necessary tools are identified on the back cover. There’s no mathematics or art here but if you need to splice a rope to a block, make a soft shackle, a sheet loop, a taper or a continuous line, here are the step-by-step instructions.
Nothing will ever replace direct tuition from some gnarled veteran of the Clipper ships, but for today’s young racing sailors this must be the next best thing.
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Visit the Yachting Monthly Book Club for more of the best sailing books released this year.
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