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Puzzle Contest: Depose the Bowline

Posted in Knots, and Puzzle


This week’s Puzzle will be a little different: instead of asking you some tricky rigging question, I want you to convince me that you have the best answer to the following:

What is the best knot? The Bowline is called the King of Knots, but it has its limitations, and  might be overrated. So what other knot would you nominate as a usurper? What other knot do you think is the most valuable, versatile, important knot? It need not have the same function as a Bowline, or any function at all. It is the knot that you think would make the world a measurably better place if only more people knew about it, a knot that, in your mind, deserves fame and glory.

It can be some currently obscure arborist’s complication, or an undeservedly unknown theater knot, or it might be already well-known, afloat and ashore, but not well-known enough to suit you. Tell us about it! Sell it! Send pictures, or links to videos, if you like! The answers will be reviewed by a panel of experts, amateurs, and hangers-on. Entries will be judged on eloquence, ferocity, hilarity, and (utterly subjective) value.

I rarely ask that you make a point of sharing one of my posts, but this time I am making an exception. I’d like to hear from a wide variety of trades and pastimes, from anyone who works with rope. So if you have a neighbor who is a whiz with lashings, or if you know a climber who can work magic with a belay, or any individual or group you can think of who might enjoy promoting a favorite knot, please share this post with them, and urge them to enter.

Send entries to by noon Pacific Time, Monday, May 14th. We will announce the winner on Wednesday the 16th.

The winner this time will receive a prize from a special guest presenter, the magnificent Wendy Hinman, author of the award-winning, best-selling Sea Trials: Around the World with Duct Tape and Bailing Wire. If you are a sailor – or even if you are not, but like to read funny/useful/fascinating prose – you should have this book. Here is your chance to win a wittily-inscribed, autographed copy.

On other topics, thanks to everyone who sent in fan mail about last week’s guest post, Difficult Feats, Pointless Tasks, from the lyrical Jacob Haverfield. You’ll be seeing more of Jacob’s work. Meanwhile stand by for another tale from the bark Sea Cloud called “How to Circumcise a Whale.” It comes out on Friday, May 11th.

As always, I recommend that you cruise through our Online Shop, binge-read every single previous Blog Post, and scroll down this page to subscribe to receive notifications of new posts.

Fair Leads,

Brion Toss

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  1. Henrik Heckmann
    Henrik Heckmann

    I can’t think of a fancy knot to replace our bowline, but in fifteen years of rigging land lines I wouldn’t want to be without a ‘round turn and two half hitches ‘… simply because you can undo them under load… Fair winds either way y’all ; )

    May 9, 2018
  2. MattE

    I like the Perfection loop.

    May 12, 2018

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