A Not Neat Knot Need Not Be Tied

Teresa Carey Words 13 Comments

It was late at night while I was passing the time to hurry the rising sun that I started tying and counting all the knots that I know how to tie. I began categorizing them according to their uses. I tied adjustable knots, knots good for lines under tension, simple knots, decorative knots, knots for tensioning lines, knots I use daily, knots I never use, bends, turns, stoppers, hitches. I even included whippings, sennits, coils, lashings, frappings, splices… eventually I lost track of what and how many I had tied.

I am fascinated by the lore and art in knot tying. I consider it a point of honor to tie the finest knot in the most preferred way and chosen because its most advantageous for that particular purpose. Sometimes I imagine I can do anything, fix anything, create anything, simply with knots. And when I tie them, its with the heart of those who many years ago tied knots to save their ship and all the souls aboard. Buckles, clips, Velcro, cam cleats, straps, and other gadgets weren’t available.

So it was during my interview and after she had asked me why I would be good for the job, what other sailing experiences I had, and all the other standard questions, that I felt most assured with my answer to the last question.

“What knot would you use to connect a line to the anchor rhode in order to extend it?”

Without hesitation, “The Zeppelin Bend.”

The zeppelin bend isn’t a well-known knot and can’t be found in many knot tying books. However, its perfect in that it is easy to tie, is solid whether its under tension or slack, it will join two lines of differing widths, its attractive, and even after a heavy load you can untie it comfortably and quickly.

“Your hired,” she said and extended her hand. The next day I was sailing off into the fog, having just passed the USCG Captain’s exam and having my first experience being in command of a passenger vessel. All because of the zeppelin bend.

Watch a video we made… 5 Essesntial Sailing Knots & Bends which includes the Zeppelin Bend.

Comments 13

  1. Bill

    I like the title of this post 🙂

    I sometimes take a piece of line and start tying knots just to stay fresh during the cold NY winters. I’ll have to work on the ‘Zeppelin Bend’ now.

  2. Chad

    Hail Rosendahl for making it somewhat well known. I learned this knot from a book that gave it a different name. Whatever you call it, it is a favorite of mine.

  3. Lee

    It is very pretty stuff. Me gusto mucho. Pero, how about a few more things for those ego maniac men sailors? I like pretty, but not always as ear rings for myself.

    Wish I had your knowledge of marlin spike seamanship. Never counted, but figure I have maybe 8 good working knots? Knot nearly enough…

  4. Post

    You may be right. I’ve never been a good speller and nautical terms often have several spellings anyway. I’m not sure which is correct. I also get confused with jibe and gybe, zeppelin and zepplin. I hope my poor spelling doesn’t ruin the blog. I know writers should have editors who check their work. I googled it and found both spellings in reliable sources!

    Keep checking the store. I just ordered some sailor’s pocket knives that I plan to scrimshaw, and a long bit of line for some rope mats and things. Can you tie a turk’s head? That looks nice on the wrist of any sailor, male or female. Mine has been tied onto my wrist over over 6 years!

  5. BIG SIS

    I just want to tell you how proud I am of you and how much you make me smile!!!! You are truly an inspiration T. Love and miss you!

  6. Bob

    Don’t sweat the spelling. It happens. I looked up the knot also. We have used a double sheet bend to do similar things but I like your knot. I’ll have to practice it and put it to work.
    I agree with your big sis and only know you through your work here. Your enthusiasm and excitement makes us all smile. Keep us going.

  7. leah

    I love knots too but really don’t have much daily use for them. Thanks for the reminder, time to get better acquainted with some.

    Love the store! Cool stuff that makes one feel like they’re tagging along on your wonderful journey.

    Be well….

  8. danville

    bonjour T,

    i’ll place an order for a couple monkey fist lanyards and maybe a cool sunglass keeper/lanyard of your design…. after that maybe a turks head for my tiller… bon… price is up to you…

  9. Egaladeist

    Hello, I apologize for contacting you in this fashion, but I think you might be interested in submitting your site to my new sports directory…at thesportszone.org

    I’m assuming comments are moderated so when I click submit this post won’t automatically appear on site, if it does, I again apologize.

  10. John Mayton

    My daughter, Marina (who spent her first night in this world aboard our 42 ft ODay) is now 20 and is studying to be a teacher. She wants to get another boat (we swallowed the anchor 18 yrs ago), live aboard, and teach wherever we drop anchor. We are about 3 years out from leaving.

    When I was in the Navy, we used to sit around on the fantail and tie knots as a matter of pride. One of my favorites went like this:
    Me: “Can you tie a DRAGON BOWLINE ?
    Another sailor: DRAGON BOWLINE, I never heard of one.
    Me: Tie a bowline in the bitter end of a length of line, toss it a few feet away on the deck and drag it back towards me, See, a draggin’ bowline.
    Other sailor: LOL

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