…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.
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.