Nautical Charts and Sailing Knots

 

It kind of felt like Christmas when I checked my mail today! I had ordered these books a few days ago to use them for research and training. One of them, How to Read a Nautical Chart: A Complete Guide to Understanding and Using Electronic and Paper Charts was mentioned on another sailing blog I follow and it caught my eye very quickly due to the nature of the book.

Since I’ve got no sailing experience [yet] and I have no idea how to read a nautical chart, I thought it’d be a great idea to jump in and give it a shot. This book interested me, too, because it mentioned using paper nautical charts and electronic charts. In this age of electronics, I’m sure I’ll be using at least some electronic charts or GPS. But I’m not naive enough to think that I’ll be able to rely completely on electronics…especially since we’ll be living on a boat and eventually something will get wet, lost overboard, or just stop working. So I think it’s a smart idea to have [and know how to use] the paper nautical charts. Plus, using those paper charts seems like it’d make me a more involved sailor, if that makes any sense.

The second book, The Complete Book of Sailing Knots also contains a wealth of information that I know I’ll need to be knowledgeable about. I did a lot of rock climbing in my youth, very steadily from about seventeen years old until twenty two, then infrequently until I was about twenty seven. So I’m familiar with some of the knots in the book, but there’s many in there I’ve never heard of, much less know how to use them. I looked through the book briefly and got a couple strands of rope and worked a few of the knots just for fun. I know that with time I’ll be able to remember not onlt how to tie these knots, but in what instances to use which knot. I’m sure there’s some sort of “basic set” of just a few that are routinely used, so I’ll just initially need to figure out which those are and start there.

Anyone have any input on which knots I should start with? The ones that are most used? Thanks!

 

Siochana,

Mike

5 Comments

  • Reply
    November 28, 2012

    Hey Mike,
    One thing I learned from aviation is to always have a backup. So, even if you are primarily using a GPS chartplotter, it’s always good to have a backup. And it doesn’t get more foolproof than paper. No satellite issues, no power issues, etc, etc.

    As for the knots, I’m certainly no expert (you know my limited experience), but the ones we regularly use are the bowline, the stopper (figure-8), the reef (square), and clove hitch (for tying fenders to lifelines). And if you want to look like you know what you are doing, a proper cleat hitch (at least a few folks I have met have specifically noted that I knew how to properly tie to a cleat).

    I don’t know if you are planning to take the ASA courses, but if you do, I did a write-up on the knots they expect with some links you may find useful on my blog: http://thisratsailed.blogspot.com/2012/03/lesson-2-knots-not-knots.html

    Hope that helps. Sounds like you will be ahead of the curve in no time.
    -Mike

  • Reply
    Deb
    November 28, 2012

    There’s a really good app for knots as well – Knots 3D. It shows the actual motion of tying the knot. They have a website too – knots3d.com. The most common knots? Bowlne, Clobe Hitch, Cleat hitch, Figure Eight, Square Knot and Anchor Hitch will be the most common ones you use I suspect.

    Deb
    S/V Kintala
    http://www.theretirementproject.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Mike Author
    November 29, 2012

    Very good! Thanks Mike and Deb. Now I have a starting point with which knots to learn first.

    @Mike – Great write-up on the knots, not knots. Somehow I missed that post when I was initially looking at your site. Thanks!

    @Deb – That’s a pretty neat knot site. I couldn’t find the animated knots on the site, and initially I thought the app was iPhone only…I’m an Android. But then I found the Android app they made. Only $2…had to get it. It’s very good, thanks for the recommendation! I like how they have a separate categories. Boating, camping, climbing, etc. Very well worth it.

    Mike

  • Reply
    Cookie
    December 27, 2012

    Just found your blog and wanted to introduce myself. We plan to be cruising within 4 years also and have limited experience. We too are in the planning/learning stages and it’s good to hear what others are doing to prepare. We have earned our Basic Keelboat and Basic Coastal Cruising and we spend our summers sailing our 21 foot San Juan on Lake Dillon in Colorado, a treacherous lake to learn on. We too are leaning towards a Catamaran, but haven’t spent much time on one yet. Feel free to contact by email and we can compare notes sometime!!

    • Reply
      Mike Author
      December 27, 2012

      Thanks Cookie, very glad to hear there’s so many others out there with the same desire (and timing) as us.

      We’re taking our sailing lessons in the spring and I’ll probably be searching Craigslist for a cheap little sailboat to run around on a lake and get some practical experience in the meantime since we have to wait until retirement to get going.

      Stay in communication and we’ll see you out and about someday.

      Mike

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