Monday, February 8, 2010

Knot A Problem

They say a well-tied knot could save your life, or in my case, be the bane of your existence.  My first introduction to knots was in Brownies, where we learned the Reef Knot:  right over left and under, left over right and under.  Hurray, I could tie my own Brownie tie.  Then came Girl Guides and the world of earning badges for life skills.  For the campers and hikers badge (is there really a badge called "Campers and Hikers"?) I had to master the Sheep Shank, the Clove Hitch and the Bowline.  To this day, I have no clue about the shanky one and the clove hitch gets me positively dyslexic, dizzy and disorientated.  The Bowline is another story altogether.

Now any sailor worth her salt is a master of a complete repetoire of knots.  I am a "boating person" who has trouble with knots.  The Reef has been my life-long friend: that's one for my list.  Fishing taught me the Surgeon's Knot, which is basically a Reef with a couple of extra over and unders:  number two.  Something I have no name for, but which ensures I will never loose my end-tackle from failed line connections makes number three.  So far, so good.  My fenders never fall off, so whatever I am doing there seems to be working and my vessel has never come unloosed from the dock either.  All good on that score.  I must confess:  Yes, Judy, I did hear you when you quipped, "If you can't tie a knot, tie alot."

In my own defense, I have had remarkable success in the decorative knot department.  Case in point, two lovely and often admired floor matts for our decks and long-needle tatting which is just a two-sided hitch and nothing else, over and over again.  Beauty.  

The Monkey Ball will be next.

Back to the Bowline.  All I truly learned in Girl Guides about this naughty knot was the mantra:  The rabbit goes out of his hole, around the tree, and back into his hole.  In the past 8 years, since we bought our boat, I have laboured long and hard at getting the hang of this one.  Occassionally there would be some measure of success in that I could get it one day but not the next.  Finally, this summer, eureka!  I finally figured out which side of the tree that rabbit starts on his "go around" and I realized it matters where, exactly, he goes down the hole.  Now my dingy is never in jeopordy of coming loose when I leave it sweetly tied by bowline loop to the dock.  My dog is secure when I forget his leash and use a painter instead, attached to his collar with, of course, a bowline.  YES!  Proudly I say, "That's a bowline," when I recognize my now favorite knot, tied by someone else. 

Last week, I died again.  An Old Navy Salt completely deflated my ego when he informed me I was no sailor until I could tie a  Bowline.  Behind.  My.  Back. 

Oh, give me a break.
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