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How to Tie a Bowline with Your Eyes Closed

tying a bowline

A Fast, Eyes-Closed Bowline

The rabbit-comes-out-of-the-hole method of tying the most important knot of all time is not tolerated on commercial vessels. The bowline can be used to make giant loops, temporarily fasten lines together, lift heavy objects, and serve a host of other purposes onboard. It’s greatest virtues are its strength, the ease with which it can be composed in the dark or without looking, and the ease with which it can be pulled apart. Begin by crossing the standing part of the line with the bitter end (1) and then (if you’re right-handed) doing a two-handed maneuver that’s admittedly complicated. As the index finger of the right hand guides the bitter end of the line down, the backs of the fingers of the left hand slide across under the standing part and lift (2), thereby forming a loop. While all this is going on, the right forefinger forces the bitter end up through the loop almost parallel to the standing part, which is now held straight up with the left hand’s forefinger. Completing the knot is straightforward. You merely go around the backside of the straight-up standing part with the bitter end and then go back down through the loop. Tighten (3) by simultaneously pulling on the standing part at the same time you pull on the bitter end and the portion of the knot it adjoins. The point here is to get so you can tie this knot automatically and fast, without looking. A bit confused? Check out the Eyes-Closed Bowline video below.

How-to Guide to Knots, Hitches, and Linehandling Techniques ▶

This article originally appeared in the September 2015 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.