If you can’t tie knots…

…tie lots, is how the saying goes. Having a few basics up your sleeve is probably a much more sensible strategy though for any sailor, climber, horse rider or person venturing outdoors. And of course knowing how to get them undone again in a hurry always helps. For years, a little book called “knots and splices” which I stole from my dad’s bookcase, has accompanied me on my various travels and landed firmly here with me in Australia. Unfortunately I don’t think I have ever learned a single knot from it. Through practice and various experiences I have mastered the usual suspects; bowline, reefknot, figure eight, half hitch etc. but anything more complicated has phased me. Mainly because I just cant get my head around the diagrams on the pages of these books. I am one of those people you see in an unfamiliar town or country, turning the map upside down to try and gain some sense of orientation.

The Animated Rope Knots App

But I think I have discovered a solution. My “App of the month” for February is the Animated Knots App from Itunes. It has 22 common knots including the bowline and the slip knot. Each knot is shown complete with a description of its intended use and then a short animated video of how to tie it, which you can pause and replay as you practice tying the knot yourself. It also provides advice on what “not” (excuse the pun) to use the knot for. For example a bowline should not be trusted in a life or death situation such as mountain climbing.

If you are looking for the reef knot (an absolute necessity for any sailor) then it is referred to in the app as the square knot. Many people when learning this one (including me) make the mistake of tying a double granny knot. A good way to avoid this is to remember “left over right and then right over left” . Likewise with the bowline; “make a hole for the rabbit, the rabbit goes up and out of the hole, around the tree and down the hole again.” 
If you dont have an iphone there are also some useful clips on you tube that provide the same real time instruction.



So if you see some deranged lady on the Illawarra line in a business suit with a length of 15ml spectra tying herself in knots whilst trying to operate an iphone, its probably me trying to master a  double fishermans bend!
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