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Marlinspike Seamanship. Apprentice Requirement 5. Apprentice Requirement 5. Using both large and small lines, tie and explain the use of the following knots - Reef or square knot Figure eight Bowline Two half hitches Clove hitch Sheet bend Cleat hitch

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marlinspike seamanship

Marlinspike Seamanship

Apprentice Requirement 5

apprentice requirement 5
Apprentice Requirement 5
  • Using both large and small lines, tie and explain the use of the following knots -
    • Reef or square knot
    • Figure eight
    • Bowline
    • Two half hitches
    • Clove hitch
    • Sheet bend
    • Cleat hitch
  • Demonstrate the ability to use a heaving line.
  • Reference:
    • See "Knots" on page 127 and Heaving a Line" on page 154.

Apprentice 5 - Marlinspike Seamanship

a few knotty terms
Bend – a knot used to join two lines together

Hitch – a knot used to fasten a line to a spar or ring

Bitter end - the free end of a line

Standing Part - the longer part of a line which is fixed during the tying of a knot

Bight - the part of the rope between the end and the standing part. A loop formed by folding the rope back on itself

Eye - A loop made in the end of a rope either by knotting, seizing or splicing.

Loop - a circle of rope made by bringing two parts of the rope together without crossing them over each other

Turn - a loop formed around a post, rail, or the line itself

Crossing Turn - a circle of rope made by crossing the rope over itself

A Few “Knotty” Terms

Apprentice 5 - Marlinspike Seamanship

good knots
Good knots should:

Have good holding power

Tie easily

Untie easily

Three types of knots

Stopper knots



What does each type do?

These knots should meet most needs


Square knot

Sheet bend

Figure 8 knot

Clove hitch

Two half hitches

Cleat hitch

Good Knots

Apprentice 5 - Marlinspike Seamanship

can you identify these knots
Can You Identify These Knots?








Apprentice 5 - Marlinspike Seamanship

  • The King of Knots
    • If you're only going to learn one knot, here it is.
  • Will not slip if properly made
  • More secure under pressure but easy to untie
  • First described by Thomas Bowling; in usage “Bowling’s knot” became bowline

Apprentice 5 - Marlinspike Seamanship

reef or square knot
Reef or Square Knot
  • Used to tie the reef points when reefing a sail
  • Often tied as a slipped hitch to permit rapid release
  • Unreliable to use this knot to bend two lines
  • Tying this the wrong way can end up with a granny knot

Apprentice 5 - Marlinspike Seamanship

sheet bend or becket bend
Sheet Bend or Becket Bend
  • Used to tie two lines together
    • Good for securing a small line to the bight of a larger line
  • Very much like the bowline, but uses two lines instead
  • Secure, easy to untie

Apprentice 5 - Marlinspike Seamanship

figure eight knot
Figure Eight Knot
  • Used as a stopper knot
  • Easily untied and gentle to fiber
  • Best knot for keeping a line from running through a fairlead or block

Apprentice 5 - Marlinspike Seamanship

clove hitch
Clove Hitch
  • Simple handy way to fasten a line around a spar
  • This knot consists of two half hitches tied in opposite directions

Apprentice 5 - Marlinspike Seamanship

two half hitches
Two Half-Hitches
  • Quick and reliable knot used to make lines fast at a mooring
  • To tie make a half hitch and add another to it
  • Additional half hitches or a round turn will add strength and security

Apprentice 5 - Marlinspike Seamanship

cleat hitch
Cleat Hitch
  • Used for belaying dock lines and halyards fast to a cleat
    • Do not knot sheets and halyards to cleats
  • Tie line to a horn cleat
  • All the way around before cross
  • Finish with locking half hitch

Apprentice 5 - Marlinspike Seamanship

using a heaving line
Using a Heaving Line
  • Four things to remember:
    • Line must be considerably longer than distance thrown or you will not reach the target
    • Line must be coiled carefully and evenly
    • Hold the shipboard end of the line in one hand and the coil to be thrown in the other
    • Coil must thrown properly in an underhanded motion with a strong swinging movement

Apprentice 5 - Marlinspike Seamanship

coiling a heaving line
Coiling a Heaving Line
  • Make a loop which is lead to the other hand
  • Hold loops previously coiled
  • Helps to twist line slightly to avoid kinks and twists

Apprentice 5 - Marlinspike Seamanship

heaving a line
Heaving a Line
  • One end is secured
  • Half of line in throwing hand
  • Swing and throw underhand
  • Remainder runs free

Apprentice 5 - Marlinspike Seamanship