August 2012

Mastering marlinespike

Lark’s head

About 2,000 years ago, a physician used the lark’s head to tie a sling for broken bones. Today this knot secures such things as baggage tags. Not used for much aboard ship, the knot will slip unless both the bitter end and the working part are both under tension.

Slipped bowline

A. Begin with an underhand loop followed by an overhand loop, with the tip of each loop up. Hold the line with both hands, and fold the loops together, like closing a book. 

B. Slip the loops over the open end of the spar and pull the two ends down through the loops. If the loops can't be slipped over the end of the spar, take the bitter end of the line over the spar, go around and in back of the working part, back over the spar, and back down through the bight parallel to the working part.

Original materials used with thanks to Irene Rodriguez and John Bennett


Mastering Marlinespike


Cleat hitch

Round turn with two half hitches

Clove hitch

Sheet bend

Figure eight

Anchor bend

Rolling hitch

Double sheet bend

Eye splice

Becket bend

Reef knot

Blood knot

True lover’s knot

Monkey’s fist

Carrick bend

Angler’s loop

Strangle knot

Jar sling

Japanese success knot

Spanish bowline

Stevedore knot

Heaving line knot

Three-part crown knot

Sack knot

Short splice

Constrictor knot

Slip knot

Japanese bowline

Hawser bend

Slipped bowline

Bowline on a bight

Lark’s head

Buntline hitch

Jury mast knot

Slipped buntline hitch

Painter’s bowline

Binder’s loop

Wall and crown knot

Inside cow hitch

Toggled reef knot

Long splice

Tugboat hitch

Crown sennit

Toggled lark’s head

Matthew Walker knot


Back splice


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