Bowline

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The bowline (pronounced /ˈboʊlɪn/ or /ˈboʊlaɪn/[1]) is an ancient and simple knot used to form a fixed loop at the end of a rope. It has the virtues of being both easy to tie and untie. Although generally considered a reliable knot, its main deficiencies are a tendency to work loose when not under load and the bight portion of the knot to capsize in certain circumstances.[citation needed] To address these shortcomings, a number of more secure variations of the bowline have been developed for use in safety-critical applications.

The structure of the bowline is identical to that of the sheet bend, except the bowline forms a loop in one rope and the sheet bend joins two ropes. Along with the sheet bend and the clove hitch, the bowline is often considered one of the most essential knots.[2]

The bowline is sometimes referred as King of the knots because of its importance. It is one of the four basic maritime knots (the other three are figure-eight knot, reef knot and clove hitch).

Contents

History

The bowline's name has an earlier meaning, dating to the age of sail. On a square-rigged ship, a bowline (sometimes spelled as two words, bow line) is a rope that holds the edge of a square sail towards the bow of the ship and into the wind, preventing it from being taken aback.[3] A ship is said to be on a "taut bowline" when these lines are made as taut as possible in order to sail close-hauled to the wind.[4]

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