The guys I was speaking with about the reef
knot in Brittany got another bout of head
shaking when I introduced
the notion of
bowline not being safe for the reason of it being
undone / whatever.
This time I had been quite prudent. The very first thing I
that it is not my personal
that it was what some persons were stating with great
and that I would like their opinion based on their daily
experience with it.
Gist of it is : short round of interrogation among
Result of the poll : they have yet to see a bowline coming undone or to
hear about one
having done that.
By the way : these days I see bowlines that are visibly 'permanent
In my youth I was taught to make it only a "temporary" loop.
duration of use. Rope has to rest too, and not stay
what is the good sense of leaving an unused
a cordage ?
Do you leave hammer, saw, chisel and screwdriver lying around waiting
for the next use and
came astonished at seeing them cause of accident
subject to degradation ?
One old guy on the quay in Concarneau commercial fishermen harbour said
to me :
" if you really fear it to become undone just make it
I asked him to show me what he call "double" : is
the tail again .
Example is not 'set' but left well 'relaxed'. Diagram.
This is what the US Coast Guard has to say :
http://126.96.36.199/knots/Bowline_Knot.asp "The bowline
knot is a versatile knot and can be used anytime a temporary eye is
in the end of a line.
It also works for tying two lines securely together, though there are
better knots for this. An advantage of bowlines is that they do not slip or jam
my emphasis on their words.
"OUTSIDE" Bowline is inferior to "INSIDE" Bowline : ANOTHER MYTH FROM COMMERCIAL
POINT OF VIEW
BASED ON PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE :
I asked here and there in Brittany :
well, they usually do the
"inside tail" one but do not consider the "outside tail" one inferior
on any point
and will use an "outside" if "outside" it is that they find.
More a question of "standardising" what knot are on board and
may be of ease in making
it induced by the handedness of the
knotter. ( ? question
mark here and not : it is
handedness belonging to knot tyer and certainly
not quite improperly to the knot )
I discovered the
following some weeks after
standard Bowline was selected
for the test, but the Cowboy or Dutch Bowline was
tested to see if
there was a
difference. The numbers were almost identical."
It seems that 'oral
from Brittany is vindicated. Forum transmission
should be 'studied critically' and taken with a hefty dose of salt.
SHADOW-TANGLE COMPARISON ON BOWLINE
localised shadow (shadow-tangle) is common to the "inside
tail", "outside tail" and
( not to take in account the FALSE outside tail which is based on the
Shadow of whole knot discriminate between 2 groups and adding the
nature of crossings
discriminate four knots.
PROPOSED EXPERIMENTS TO DO WITH BOWLINE
To those who think that a bowline is readily capsizing ("at
the brush of a shroud" as I have
read - I would check the knot tyer
qualification! ) or who
think that a 'left'/'outside' is worse
than a 'right'/'inside' I would
like to ask that they
just go and do these little experiments
with a right and a
bowline and draw their own conclusions based on something else
than hearsay or 'eyeread'.
Of course in
many case capsizing an unload knot is quite easy, problem is
that it may be
not so easy with a loaded one.
I think that schematics are self-explanatory.
Green arrow is for the tensioning load you will apply to the knot.
Blue arrows are for the testing loads applied.
You may even do it - less spectacular of course - with a
precision dynamometer and
3mm cordage and small loads of 4 to
kilograms, just to get the 'proportion' of force you
have to use to
make it capsize.
I AM NOT SURE THESE BOWLINE ARE CONSIDERED TO
'COMING UNDONE' KNOT BY THOSE WHO MADE THEM.
Do you think that this bowline is there since the
last rain ( it rain very often in Brittany )
and that it gives sign of
capsizing ? or
that one ?
May be that
one has every sign of being a knot that
capsize easily ?
Do you think that it is because it can easily undo
itself that they do not even take time to
seize it ? Why lose time about it since it will be undoing
itself the next minute ?
Of course silly me, it is the explanation.
Just look at this
wreck ( has been laying there for at least the last 10 or 15
years) on the
right bank of la
rivière d'ETEL in south Brittany.
In it I found that bowline,
there since all that time, wind, rain, frost, sun...
Do you think it give any sign of coming undone ?
spontaneously ? Just a depressed Bwl
with suicidal tendencies ?;-)
A TEASINGQUESTION / ANSWER
( for some not taking any
liking to the H&L, not to say an, outright dislike/distrust
This is just to try to show :
- - the utility of the H & L concept
to regroup knots on the logical level of 'diagram'
- - its limitation once you get to the logical level of 'knot in the
To differentiate between knots regrouped ( still hoping about
knots cladistics ) under
H&L STRuCTuRe one has to go beyond that strictly 'anatomical'
concept to get to the 'physiology', that is how the knot 'function',
not how 'it is built'.
In fact under this common (as in shared) H&L
that make them
to each other are hiding two different 'knot
To decide which one you are seeing
you need to be WEnd / SPart ( Working End /
Standing Part ) oriented as
still they have a common STRuCTuRe
( this typography is to
differentiate the H&L's from the
given to 'structure'.)
FREQUENTLY INSPECT YOUR CORDAGES AND DISCARD AT FIRST SIGN
MAY BE !
Well I am not all that sure that the guy was
listening in the classroom during this lesson. This
one must have been absent
Cannot resist to steal from Dan_Lehman : this is what
he, very aptly
IMO, name "Velcro
phase of decay".)
ALWAYS 'STOP' OR 'SEIZE' YOUR CORDAGES .
It depends !