Of Leaks and Knots

Day 25 
Noon Position: 6 10.31S 128 12.99W 

Course/Speed: SSE 6+

Wind: E 10 – 15

Sail: Working Jib full; Main, two reefs 

Bar: 1017

Sea: SE to 6

Sky: Clear

Cabin Temp: 86 

Water Temp: 79 (note significantly higher then low 70s of last week. Interesting oceanography to explore there.)
Miles last 24-hours: 164

Miles since departure: 3150

My confidence in the anchor locker leak fix of yesterday impressed not at all the two gallons of water I pumped from it this morning. Though the answer to the problem is now clear (the windlass hause hole), it also seems impossible so much sea could leak past all my stuffing and glue. No danger to Mo, mind you. The anchor locker is separated from the rest of the boat by a watertight blunk head. But it does create a twice-daily chore, and I’m doing my damndest to reduce those as much as possible before we get too far south. 

So, will have a go at removing the shackle next break in the wind. This will likely mean cutting a link so I can work on removing the shackle pins at leisure back here on the bench in the pilot house.

I don’t use a great variety of knots on Mo. In fact, I doubt I could tie more than ten because what I’ve found is that almost all situations on a boat can be handled by five–half hitch, clove hitch, rolling hitch, reef knot, and bowline. I’ve taught myself others, like boweline on a bite and sheet bend, more times than I can count, but they go unused and so the technique fades. 

But this trip I’ve added two to the kit bag that are turning out to be very useful. One is the Prussic knot and the other, the Constrictor knot.

With wind up and down and sideways here in the trades, I’m having to reef and unreef the working jib frequently. In order to get good sail shape, this also means moving the sheet car. I’ve found that a Prussic around the sheet with the bitter end of the line run to the rail allows me to ease the sheet without dumping wind from the sail. In fact, I’m doing this so frequently, I’ve left the Prussic in place for days. True, a rolling hitch, or more likely two in line, also works, but a rolling hitch holds best under steady pressure, whereas the Prussic cares not.

I’ve admired the Constrictor knot as a genius way to keep trash bag tops from coming open, but as most of my trash bags have their own strapping, I gave it up. But I was browsing Toss last week and noted his praise of the Constrictor. Man, was he right! What a workhorse, grab-and-hold knot! It’s now the basis for all the lashing I do, and the best use yet was as a makeshift splice on the Monitor control line. This install took five minutes to tie (imagine how long whippings would take) and hasn’t budged since.

2 Comments on “Of Leaks and Knots

  1. After reading this, researched the constrictor knot on my Knots3D app. I see there is both a constrictor, and a double constrictor. Both appear easy to tie, and ferociously tenacious.

  2. I watched you tie that Prussic knot on the video and thought, “Well, that’s an interesting rolling hitch.” (Brion Toss would be proud…)
    I’ll look it up and add it to my menu of knots, but I am finding that I need fewer of them now that I am a tugboater.

Leave a Reply