Way, way, way back in time when I attended our yacht club’s junior sailing class, one of the tasks that the instructors set us each summer was to make a knot board. The kid that made the most complex esoteric knots, most beautifully arranged, on the most beautifully varnished board, won a prize.
I never won that prize. In fact, I never even came close. OK…really…the truth is I sucked big time at knot boards.
So maybe that’s why I decided early on that fixating on how many knots one can tie is at worst an affectation and at best a kind of quirky hobby that has very little to do with being a competent offshore sailor.
Be that as it may, here’s a secret for you: We only need to know how to tie five simple knots to be a competent sailors. Really, that’s it.
Before we get started, I should just say that I’m going to write about how we use each knot, not how to tie them. There are already excellent how-to sites for the latter and I will link each knot to its instructions.