Unwinding with Knots (witty?)
It's been yet another difficult week-- three 16-hour work days back-to-back on top of having to study for a national tax competition next week. Yes, I'm a nerd and possibly a workaholic. Needless to say I could not wait for Saturday to arrive to relax for a bit. What better way to start off the short weekend with a bit of knot training? It's still pretty cold in CO, so for a few months I have to occupy myself with learning the little things before I can actually get out on the water.
Today I decided that it was knot day and video editing day. I turned to my friend that teaches me everything: YouTube. Turns out knots are a lot more interesting than I was expecting. Amidst trying to figure out how to film myself (for the upcoming Vlog) and deciding what objects around the apartment to tie knots to, I felt the dream of sailing move one step closer. Having the terrible week also made me even more motivated to make this happen.
The knots themselves were not very difficult, but remembering them is the hard part. I happened to have a long bit of nylon rope lying around, so I cut it in half, burned the ends, and started giving it a go. In little more than an hour I learned how to do a few basic knots: the bowline, the trucker's hitch, round-the-tree and two half-hitches(??), and some knot the narrator referred to as "two kissing fishes." Here are a few pics:
Bowline: From what I heard this knot is one of the most important knots in the world because it creates a sturdy loop in the rope. There is some fancy hand twisting that is involved in this one, but once I figured out the rabbit went around the tree and back into its hole, it became one of the easiest knots to make. Apparently this knot can be used to rescue people too (i.e. wrapping rope around a person and tying a bowline knot to drag them up cliff or out of water).
Kissing Fishes: Not sure if that is actually the name of this one, but it was an interesting way to attach two ropes to each other. I foresee many uses to this knot, and not just for sailing. It supposedly works by pinching the two ropes together and the harder you pull, the more tightly the ropes "stick" to each other.
Trucker's Hitch (below): Again, this might not be the exact name, but I can see why truckers would use it. This one looks a little more complicated than it actually is. You start out by making what I think is called a slip knot. You then wrap the leading edge around an anchor of some sort (in this case my bed frame leg), feed the leading edge through the loop and then back down. You would then tighten it down before finishing it off with two half-hitches. This knot combo is used in the same way that self-ratcheting straps are used to secure things to the tops of cars or on trailers. Very cool to have learned this one.
Round the Tree and Two Half-Hitches (?): The last knot, which I am sure I totally misnamed, was by far the easiest. It also had the most application that I could foresee. You basically wrap the rope around a fixed object (in this case my TV remote control) one full time and then tie two half-hitches to the long part of the rope. This essentially anchors the rope to the fixed object but still allows you to undo the knot while the rope is under load. As you can see, between the remote control and the knot is a little space. The tension is on the object, not the knot, so it was very easy to undo. Apparently this is very useful for tying your boat to a pole when there are no cleats.
It took about an hour to learn all of these knots, and I have been practicing them over and over again for a couple more hours. I then started trying to learn how to video edit, but that was a little more involved. Stay tuned for more on that one!