jury rig mast knot
is it only ornamental or utilitarian ( with
evolution to ornamental) ?
PS. Mid-August I got
that from FCB
reading … "POSH" by M Quinion. All about
origin of English words and phrases, particularly the ones
that have been explained
wrongly by amateurs, journalists etc.
One of interest is "jury
rigged". Author states that most likely
source is Old French
ajurie---- "aid, assistance". He goes on to say
Jerry Built or Jerry Made is
probably a corruption of the
thorough scholarship, but
not without a
lot of humour--- just my sort of book. [end
Right it is.
Ajurie is an Old
French (10th century and after) word coming from Latin
In French we have -
‘adjuvant’ ( that which help ) which in the 14th
was an adjective,
becoming a noun in the 19th - - adjudant ( noun )
the 17th was an ‘aide-canonnier’
without the ‘t’, being a century later, with the
end ‘t’ un ‘aide-de camp’ - - -
- - - - - - - - -
Writing of Tasmania makes me recall an
Australian : Richard
(1952 in The Bushcraft handbook series
7 give 2 small drawings , of Jury Knot or
True Lover's Knot :
This knot is primarily for a mast head, to form loops by means of
mast may be stayed. It is called a jury knot because in
sailing ship days it was often used
to rig a temporary or jury mast.
This man who is presented as
having been seconded to American
Air force as Commanding
Officer of Australian Jungle Survival &
Rescue Detachment seems to be pretty affirmative.
Top of the head or
validated knowledge ?
For the sake of Waltzing Mathilda and Banjo
Patterson I will opt for the later.
Fair dinkum mate!
Added when the very end of September was there.
Joe Schmidbauer of Igkt-PAB kindly remarked :
[begin quote] I was
surprised that you did
'The Encyclopedia of Knots
and Fancy Rope Work' by Raoul Graumont (a
Frenchman!) and John Hensel in
your list of Jury Mast Knots.
75, plate 31, figure 132 for a 'Rigged Jury
Mast Knot'. "
Right Joe is, though I own one copy of that title I tend to regard it
stupendous collection of "pretty pictures" with not enough
details given in the
Just as I would in front of a huge collection of butterflies with
on the label
" Big red butterfly", "Medium blue butterfly", " small
black butterfly" but with no
indication of date of and place of
capture, place in the classification, habitat, and so on.
Nevertheless not one to let go a good tip I went foraging : there is
what is already
pointed to by Joe but also Figure
43-A to 44-B on
plate 24 and a mention of
Fig-49 in plate 25.
by Joe is the best of all in my view.
I then decided to add the post 2000 publications that either
at the time of my little detective work
acquired since ( Gordon
Gordon PERRY in Knots ( 2002 ) write p
187 "To make
a guy or
stay attachment for a temporary mast- Jury mast knot p 200" with
and 201 some pretty images of a 3 loops one with this comment " This
makes an ideal point to secure three or four lines or stay to a
temporary mast. The knot
only provides attachment points for guy lines,
it is not capable of gripping the mast.
Therefore it should be secured
to the mast above an existing fixing - such as a horizontal
yard ( or
cross tree), a transom square lashed or in a groove cut into the mast -
so that it
will not slide down the mast when in use. Guy ropes or stays
can be attached to the loops
with a Sheet Bend ( p.44). If a fourth
stay or guy line is required, make another loop by
tying the two
working ends together with a Fisherman's knot (p 47)."
Lindsey PHILPOTT's books I had consulted at the
time but did not make note of the fact.
In Knots - A Complete Guide (2004), Jury
mast knot p 39 classed in the "loops".
A detailed photographic sequence of "how to " with some explicative
of the 7 vignettes is provided.
The introductory paragraph state :
" A life-saver at sea in an emergency, the Jury Mast Knot may be used
simply to replace
a fitting at the head of the mast that will normally
receive the shrouds and the stays.
When a mast is broken and has to be
re stepped on deck, this knot form the attaching
loops and a fourth set
of lines for the remaining stay when tightened around the
new or replacement spar.
As a decorative knot it can readily be formed from this simple method.
The knot is know
as a Pitcher Knot when it is used to hold and carry a
jar or a pitcher"
Considering that G. PERRY was Royal Navy ( U.K) and Lindsey is a
licensed by the US Coast Guard we landlubbers can only
surmise that they know what
they write about from in the flesh or
rather in the rope experience, just as Eric TABARLY
At least this little addition will provide an easy opportunity to those
two gentlemen knotter
to step in the discussion and enlighten us.
Here are some historical ship model from the 17th 18th c
state is 'original' ' and when, they do
it is with the most exacting
precision and historical veracity ) that
show how spare masts were disposed
on board and along the hull too.. Ship
2006 Sept 29th
French saying : " every thing comes in time to the one who
know how to wait for it "
This morning in my mail box : a manuscript letter from Le
'question 1850 '.
is with a card with the heading of Le Chasse Marée
but comes from M.
unmarked paper from the
Mediterranean part of France (?).
Here goes the translation :
[begin quote] You
seem to know much more
than I do about this knot.
I have never seen it used in my 37 years at sea, be it either in
or in pleasure cruising.
The only book in my possession that evokes it is a small book
published by les Editions Maritimes et Coloniales ( 1958 - 2nd edition)
"70 noeuds épîssures et amarrages
marine", without author's name.
there goes a quote of
what is said ... Le Manuel Du Manoeuvrier by La Marine Nationale (
1938 edition) does
not evoke it.
" [End quote]
I own a copy of this book, a fond memory, it is the very first book
about knots that I bought.
It is a compilation of drawings and words.
The quote is just taking words from Le Manuel Du Gabier.
That was why it did not get a place on my list.
2006, October 4th
This contribution kindly came from Joe SCHMIDBAUER
( Editor "Knots News"
I worked with your notes I became very interested in the
subject and I looked into my
own library to see if there where any
other quotes. I did not search every volume in my
attached list) but I did look through quite a few. It seems
the older works do not include it and many of the modern
ones (as you said) just repeat the
same information but in a slightly
different way. I have attached a short
selection for your
Seaman’s Ropework [Handbook I
Sjömansarbete] by San
Forward, Page 8 “In the old days the seaman who had a
thorough knowledge of the
complicated rigging of the deep-water sailing
ships, who knew all about knots and hitches,
revealed his skill by
always unhesitatingly making the correct hitch in the right
The hitches he used were always simple and effectively
functional. The unusual, complicated
hitches have never had a
place at sea, but like the incorrectly drawn items in the books they
have long been associated with the seaman and he will never
be able to
escape from them.
He does, however, like to play with them
and is amused by their intricate uselessness.
No seaman has
ever used the English (or is it the Turkish?) sack knot, but everyone
the story of the bosun who entered the circus arena and used a
Sack Knot to tie the hands
of the escapologist, who had to admit defeat
after an hour’s exertion. Some author’s
laboriously try to find a use for this knot claim that it is used
to carry bottles – which is
probably true. The
so-called Greenland Hitch also belongs in this category.
is found in all the books on the subject, but no seaman has ever used
it for the prescribed
purpose. The Top-Hitch, which with
intricate turns pulls out bights tens of fathoms long on
a large rope
to serve as backstays or stays for an emergency mast, also belongs
Modern Rope Seamanship
by Colin Jarman and
Page 26 shows how to make a ‘Jury or Masthead Knot’
and page 27 shows a “Jury Knot -
“In the unhappy event of finding yourself dismasted at sea
you are faced with the
problem of setting up a jury mast. The
most useful knot for this purpose is the jury or
masthead knot, both of
which names describe its function, since it is placed at the masthead
to form the band to which the stays and shrouds of the jury mast are
Encyclopedia of Knots and Ropework by Geoffrey
Page 212 “With its three adjustable loops, this
knot’s day job was once to rig a makeshift
(jury) mast in a
boat. Each of the loops and the two ends made attachment
points for the
necessary shrouds and stays in order to steady and
support it. Nowadays, it is reduced
to celebrity appearances
as a knot tyer’s party piece.”