A knowledge of knots, bends and hatches is central to good seamanship, and while its true that in the vast majority of cases a limited number of them will suffice, we could all probably stand to know a few more. For me, the kicker is the anchor bend. Its a great way to attach a line to a shackle, but I rarely use it and can never seem to retrieve it correctly from my cerebral database on those rare occasions when I need it. My rolling hitch is also pretty rusty, requiring more thought to tie than it should.
For those similarly challenged, there is now the Andys Sailing Knots iPhone app by regular SAIL illustrator Andy Steer, which includes a score of common knots, hitches and bends, ranging from the figure-eight knot and reef knot to mooring and clove hitches.
The illustrations are clear and easy to make sense of, whether reminding you how to do something you supposedly learned back in junior sailors or helping you figure it out for the first time. The app is animated in the sense that illustrations can be played sequentially in slide-show fashion. You can also click through each sequence manually or pause the animated sequence at any time to make sure youre getting things right.
In many ways, the app recreates what already exists in countless books on marlinspike seamanship. However, it offers the advantage of always being at your fingertips wherever you have your phone. The app also downloads in its entirety to your phone so you can use it anywherenot bad for something that costs all of $0.99! For more on Andys Sailing Knots App, click here.