Use the reef knot only in low-stress, noncritical situations, as it will capsize easily. Used properly, it will bind something such as a reefed sail. However, the reef knot may be hard to untie when wet or under tension.
Besides the method shown in figures A and B, another method of casting a reef knot is to form an open bight in the end of the first line. Then weave the second line end through and around the bight on the first line as shown in the same figure. Make sure both bitter ends are on the same side of the knot. Finally, pull the knot tight as shown in Figure C.
Continue building your marlinespike skills by taking the Knots, Bends and Hitches seminar. Find a seminar near you or purchase the USPS guide Knots, Bends and Hitches for Mariners. Call 888-367-8777 ext. 0 for more information.
Original materials used with thanks to Irene Rodriguez and John Bennett