Friday, May 25, 2012

Knotty by nature

Two ropes slither into a tavern and the bartender looks at them suspiciously. He says "Sorry, 'mates, we don't serve ropes any drinks in here." So the two ropes slither out again, very unhappy, and very thirsty.

They're sitting dejected outside when one rope says "Hey! I've got an idea to get me into the tavern."

So he starts twisting and turning, wriggling this way and that, pulling out a few threads here and there. His friend looks at him like he's gone completely out of his braided little mind.

Then the rope slithers back into the tavern. The bartender looks at him suspiciously, and says "Here now, you're not a bit of rope are you?"

"No",The rope replies, "
I'm a frayed knot."

(Boo! Hiss! Get the hook!)

Okay, Okay, pun intended. Today, we talk about knots. All good things come to an end, and rope is no exception. However, more often than not, you'll find a knot. (couldn't...resist..). This is about Nautical Knots (as in tying rope), not to be confused with Nautical Knots, the measure of speed.

A "knot board", a sailor's display of skill
To the uninitiated, it can be quite a daunting thing, this little matter of twisted ropes, but take heart! Think of it this way, you once thought tying your shoes was hard, as well, right? Now it's 'no big deal', (yes, I can hear some of you saying "But I wear velcro fasteners, nyah-nyah!") . Don't be naughty, be knotty (just..can't..resist..these...)

Anyways, to the subject at hand. There are a boatload of different knot types, for different applications, and different ropes. Since we here at tSC are all about Pirate 101, we'll be limiting this little discussion to the more practical and common knots one would employ while sailing. Remember, pirates, a mast and a sail are no good to you without working the rigging. .(Yeah, good luck with *that* one, there's a "Summer Read" for you.).

An educated knot artist can secure anything with rope, on land, at sea, (or in our case, "At Sky"). And practicing couldn't be simpler, all you need is a piece of rope.
For a basic overview of some boating knots, I'd recommend the "Anchor Hitch", the "Bowline", the "Clove Hitch", the "Figure Eight", and the "Rolling Hitch". A longer list of sailor-type knots can be found at The Pirate King.

Am *I* going to teach you how to tie knots? Of course knot! (, but I can tell you that trying to learn from a book is difficult, at best. Fortunately, we have the internet, so I can refer you to a really good visual guide : Grog's Animated Knots, which is infinitely better at showing you how to do "rope origami" than some future pirate blogger, amiright? You be the judge. I have faith in you that you can learn some basic knots, and be viewed with awe and envy by all your friends. Heckhound, you could even make "Monkey Fist" key-chains, or paracord bracelets and sell them, ( to save up for future Crowns purchases, of course). Nothing says "gift" like something you made yourself, with your own skill! The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Am I going to *reward* you for broadening your horizons?
"I'm a frayed knot."

Be Thee Well!

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