Saturday, 21 July 2007

Hitched or Bent?

"I thought I heard the Old Man say, 'Give one more haul, and then belay'" - Sea Shanty

There are 67 different knots described in 'The Ashley Book of Knots'. And that's only in chapter 20 titled 'Belaying and Making Fast'. It begins "A hitch is a complication that secures a rope to another object, generally of a different nature. But this is not necessarily so, since the object may be another rope provided the hitch is made entirely with the active rope and the second rope remains inactive."

With today's technology, knotting and splicing is often replaced by shackles, carabiners and camcleats and the world brought to life in the Ashley Book of Knots is distant. But even today you can't avoid tying knots aboard a boat and every crewman needs to know how to handle ropes in a seamanlike fashion. New crewmembers can often be seen throwing heaving lines down the slipway and making lines off on the ILB gate. And of course we wouldn't dream of taking the mickey out of anyone who misses the Mersey on recovery...

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