What Knot for iPhone/iPad, by Columbia Sportswear

As sailors, we’re constantly calling upon our personal repertoire of knots. We master a few common ones and, sometimes, learn knots that are more advanced or serve a more specific purpose. For instance, suppose you need to secure your dinghy to the foredeck. What knot would you use? For these types of questions, I keep a knot guide on my iPhone.

What Knot, by Columbia Sportswear, isn’t a sailing-specific knot guide, but it has all the essential sailing knots and several additional useful features. What Knot offers an overview description and illustrated tying instructions for over 70 knots, including the bowline, figure-eight knot, clove hitch, reef knot, sheet bend, rolling hitch, round turn and two half hitches, mooring hitch, carrick bend, stevedore knot and anchor bend. The only sailing knots missing are the cleat hitch and turk’s head. This app is available for iPhone and iPad; it’s easy to use and best of all, it’s free.

In What Knot, the user can search knots in two ways. In the category view, knots are divided between Stoppers, Bends, Hitches, Loops, Bindings and “Special.” (There are over 20 hitches alone.) In the name view, the user can scroll through a list of all knots by name and image. This is useful for when you know what the knot looks like but can’t remember what it’s called. Users can also store knots under “Favorites” to quickly reference them in the future.

Once a knot is selected, the user will see “Knot Info,” with an overview of the knot’s use, and “Step-by-step,” with clearly illustrated instructions on how to tie the knot.

Additional features include a history of the Columbia Sportswear knot tying guide, a glossary of terms and an index of “Rope Parts,” illustrating such rope terminology such as loop, bend, standing part, working end and turns.

I give this app 4½ stars. My only complaint is that when selecting a knot, one has the tendency to tap the knot’s name when “View Knot Info” is the button you need to hit to go to the next page. Other than this basic functionality quirk, What Knot is a great reference and a fun way to study knots.

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