The Sea Chest  

by David Nichols - Austin Texas - USA


A bit of vocabulary and a great knot

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In the last column I described making a loop in a line by seizing the working end to the standing part of the rope. Now, if you know where the working end and the standing part of the rope are you’re in good shape but if not, that description wasn’t much help.

So, I thought this might be a good place to give a few definitions…. If you service your deadeyes and drink pine tar instead of morning coffee then you can skip on down to the part about the bend but the rest of you can take a look at Figure 1. Just remember that even those who have spent a lifetime before the mast weren’t born knowing their bight from their standing part. They had to start at one end and work their way to the other end.

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Figure 1

The END of the rope is fairly self-explanatory but if you were wondering about the BITTER END of the rope, you’ll find that at the opposite end. In an anchor line it’s the BITTER END that should be secured to the boat so you don’t watch it disappear under the water after you have thrown the anchor over board…. it can happen, believe me, it can happen. On boats that don’t have a dedicated anchor locker, a canvas storage bag makes a tidy way to store an anchor and the rode. If you use an anchor bag it’s a good idea to have the BITTER END exit the bag at or near the bottom so it can be fastened to a cleat.

The WORKING END is just that part that is actively being tied into a knot.

The BIGHT of the line is the part between the END and the STANDING PART and the STANDING PART is the part of the line not in use. That’s all there is to it…. So, we’ve worked our way from one end to the bitter end and now let’s talk about the anchor bend.

The particular anchor bend in Figure 2 (there are a number of them) is considered by some to be the best and strongest of all anchor bends. It is certainly overkill for the tiny grappling hook that I use on Flyfisher but for small and medium size anchors that use a ring you’d be hard pressed to find a better bend.

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Figure 2a

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Figure 2b

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Figure 2c

To tie this knot you’ll want to take the WORKING END and make two round turns through the ring (Figure 2a) and then pass the WORKING END through the loop made by the two rounding turns (Figure 2b) and then take a half hitch to finish the knot (Figure 2c and 2d). This will make a very secure knot but I like to seize the WORKING END to the STANDING PART for a basically bullet proof anchor bend (Figures 2e and 2f).

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Figure 2d

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Figure 2e

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Figure 2f

I like this knot because it’s easy to tie and it’s hard to find better bend for attaching the rope directly to the anchor. With large anchors that use a shackle or have chain between the anchor and the rode you will want to use a rope with an eye splice and bronze thimble but for the lunch hook or a stern hook it’s hard to beat this particular anchor bend. Just remember to secure the bitter end.

More columns by David Nichols