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Jameson Price
Jameson Price

Bowline Knot

Uses: The Bowline (ABOK # 1010, p 186) makes a reasonably secure loop in the end of a piece of rope. It has many uses, e.g., to fasten a mooring line to a ring or a post. Under load, it does not slip or bind. With no load it can be untied easily. Two bowlines can be linked together to join two ropes. Its principal shortcoming is that it cannot be tied, or untied, when there is a load on the standing end. It should therefore be avoided when, for example, a mooring line may have to be released under load.

bowline knot

Length of Tail End: An intermittent load, e.g., on a mooring line, may cause many knots to slip or loosen. The Bowline is relatively tolerant of such stresses. Nevertheless some texts quote a rule of thumb which states that, for safety, the length of loose end should be 12 times the circumference. A half-inch diameter rope would require a tail more than eighteen inches long but this is rarely seen in practice.

Yosemite Tie-off: A widely used alternative passes the tail around outside the loop and back under the collar to form a Yosemite Tie-off. Tighten the Bowline first and then tighten the Yosemite Tie-Off. Failure to do so can result in a slip knot.

The bowline (/ˈboʊlɪn/ or /ˈboʊlaɪn/)[2] is an ancient and simple knot used to form a fixed loop at the end of a rope. It has the virtues of being both easy to tie and untie; most notably, it is easy to untie after being subjected to a load. The bowline is sometimes referred to as King of the knots because of its importance. Along with the sheet bend and the clove hitch, the bowline is often considered one of the most essential knots.[3]

Although the bowline is generally considered a reliable knot, its main deficiencies are a tendency to work loose when not under load (or under cyclic loading),[4][5] to slip when pulled sideways,[6] and the bight portion of the knot to capsize in certain circumstances.[7] To address these shortcomings, a number of more secure variations of the bowline have been developed for use in safety-critical applications, or by securing the knot with an overhand knot backup.

The bowline's name has an earlier meaning, dating to the age of sail. On a square-rigged ship, a bowline (sometimes spelled as two words, bow line) is a rope that holds the edge of a square sail towards the bow of the ship and into the wind, preventing it from being taken aback.[8] A ship is said to be on a "taut bowline" when these lines are made as taut as possible in order to sail close-hauled to the wind.[9]

The bowline knot is thought to have been first mentioned in John Smith's 1627 work A Sea Grammar under the name Boling knot. Smith considered the knot to be strong and secure, saying, "The Boling knot is also so firmly made and fastened by the bridles into the cringles of the sails, they will break, or the sail split before it will slip."[10][a]

The bowline is used to make a loop at one end of a line. It is tied with the rope's working end also known as the "tail" or "end". The loop may pass around or through an object during the making of the knot. The knot tightens when loaded at (pulled by) the standing part of the line.

The bowline is commonly used in sailing small craft, for example to fasten a halyard to the head of a sail or to tie a jib sheet to a clew of a jib. The bowline is well known as a rescue knot for such purposes as rescuing people who might have fallen down a hole, or off a cliff onto a ledge. This knot is particularly useful in such a situation because it is possible to tie with one hand. As such, a person needing rescue could hold onto the rope with one hand and use the other to tie the knot around their waist before being pulled to safety by rescuers. The Federal Aviation Administration recommends the bowline knot for tying down light aircraft.[12]

There is a potential with beginners to wrongly tie the bowline. This faulty knot stems from an incorrect first step while tying the rabbit hole. If the loop is made backwards so that the end of the rope (the bitter end) is on the bottom, the resulting knot will be the Eskimo bowline, looking like a sideways bowline, which is also a stable knot.

As noted above, the simplicity of the bowline makes it a good knot for a general purpose end-of-line loop. However, in situations that require additional security, several variants have been developed:

Similar to the double bowline, the water bowline is made by forming a clove hitch before the working end is threaded through. It is said to be stronger and also more resistant to jamming than the other variations, especially when wet.

In this variation the knot's working end is taken round the loop in the direction of the original round turn, then threaded back up through the original round turn before the knot is drawn tight. The Yosemite bowline is often used in climbing.

The cowboy bowline (also called Dutch bowline), French bowline, and Portuguese bowline are variations of the bowline, each of which makes one loop. (Names of knots are mostly traditional and may not reflect their origins.) A running bowline can be used to make a noose which draws tighter as tension is placed on the standing part of the rope. The Birmingham bowline has two loops; the working part is passed twice around the standing part (the "rabbit" makes two trips out of the hole and around the tree). Other two-loop bowline knots include the Spanish bowline and the bowline on the bight; these can be tied in the middle of a rope without access to the ends. A triple bowline is used to make three loops.[14] A Cossack knot is a bowline where the running end goes around the loop-start rather than the main part and has a more symmetric triangular shaped knot. A slipped version of the Cossack knot is called Kalmyk loop.[15][16]

How to tie the Bowline Knot. One of the most useful knots you can know. The Bowline forms a secure loop that will not jam and is easy to tie and untie. The Bowline is most commonly used for forming a fixed loop, large or small at the end of a line. Tried and tested over centuries, this knot is reliable, strong and stable. Even after severe tension is applied it is easy to untie. However, because it does untie so easily it should not be trusted in a life or death situation such as mountain climbing. It is said to retain 60% of the strength of the line in which it is tied.

Disclaimer: Any activity involving rope can be dangerous and may even be life threatening! Knot illustrations contained in this web site are not intended for rock climbing instruction. Many knots are not suitable for the risks involved in climbing. Where failure could cause property damage, injury, or death, seek professional instruction prior to use. Many factors affect knots including: the appropriateness of knots and rope materials used in particular applications, the age, size, and condition of ropes; and the accuracy with which these descriptions have been followed. No responsibility is accepted for incidents arising from the use of this content.

The bowline is the "King of Knots" in the boating world. [1]XResearch sourceThe bowline, pronounced 'Bowlin' not 'bow-line', is secure, easy to make and unties easily even after being subjected to a heavy load. Follow these simple steps to learn how to tie a basic and running bowline, as well as how to untie them.

The use of its name (sometimes spelled as two separate words, bow line) dates back to the Age of Sail (1571-1862, approximately). At that time, it referred to a rope on a square-rigged ship that held the edge of a square sail towards the bow and into the wind protecting it from sudden unexpected movements. The knot, as we know it now, was first mentioned in 1961 in the book A Sea Grammar by John Smith. Its discovery on the rigging of a solar ship belonging to the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu, during an excavation in 1954 testifies its ancient origin.

Rightfully known throughout the outdoor world as the king of knots, the bowline knot is a must-know knot for every outdoorsman. If like me, you were in the boy scouts when you were younger, the word bowline might have just sparked a whole load of memories. Probably something to do with a rabbit, a tree, a hole, and a whole load of confusion as to what this had to do with attaching your compass to your hiking backpack.

Step 5: Dress the knot by pulling on all the two strands of rope that go through the loop, and the standing line, individually. Then pull all three individually to tighten your bowline.

Step 2: Bring the rope end up through the loop, around and behind the standing part, and back down into the loop. The amount of rope remaining below the loop determines the size of the fixed loop in the finished bowline.

The bowline is one of the most useful knots you can know. Simple to tie, and easy to undo, the beauty of the bowline is that it creates a quick loop secured by a knot that tightens when under load. Sailors use the bowline to fasten halyards and other rigging which require a super-secure connection.

We describe how we developed a new method of tying an intracorporeal suture of monofilament material using a bowline knot, which eliminates the troublesome C-loop formation for winding the thread on the rod. The winding-forceps point to the site of suturing, and the needle end of the thread is placed under the rod of the forceps during the knot tying. This position allows for easy winding of the line even when the forceps-angle is as narrow as 10 because the winding-forceps and suture line are in parallel. This method resolves the problems of C-loop formation with a narrow forceps-angle. Thus, our bowline method of knot-tying provides an easy, secure, and rapid intracorporeal ligation requiring a short learning curve, as an alternative to the conventional C-loop method.

If there are only two knots an outdoors person can remember, they should be the trucker's hitch and the bowline. We covered the trucker's hitch in this earlier blog post, but the trusty bowline is your best friend for all kinds of things: 041b061a72


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