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» Online Classroom   » Inland and Coastal Navigation   » Public Discussion of Inland and Coastal Navigation   » Merry Christmas knot

Author Topic: Merry Christmas knot
David Burch

 - posted December 25, 2009 11:57 AM      Profile for David Burch           Edit/Delete Post 
Happy holidays to all. My gift is to share a unique knot that could prove very helpful. It is a way to release tension on a line. The applications i have had (crucial in both cases) was changing winches on a head sail sheet without tacking, and also to clear a jammed winch.

This knot is used to tie a new line onto the tensioned part of the line in use and then take up the tension on the new line till the problem at hand is solved.

I do not know the name of the knot, and have not seen it in books. It is related to a rolling hitch, but that one is not up to holding the head sail of a big boat.

for now, I will just post the picture here (found in an old logbook) and then come back with better instructions.

For practice (most definitely needed before trying this underway!)you might hang a cement block or anything very heavy over the top of a high pipe or rail, then practice using this knot to release tension on the main line holding it.

If anyone knows the name of it, please let us know. It might be related to Ashley's "Safety Belt Hitch"? I have only seen it used on two lines of about the same diameter.


Feedback always appreciated.

more soon on this note.

Note a difference between this one and rolling hitch or safety belt hitch is this one is not meant to slide. These others are designed so you can slide them up the rope and they grip and hold pulling back down, whereas this one is purely to hold the massive load of a sheet under sail.

From: Starpath, Seattle, WA

 - posted December 28, 2009 04:52 PM      Profile for Alberto           Edit/Delete Post 
This knot I saw in the Tabarly's book "Guide pratique de manœuvre". Actually I read a translation of this book in Portuguese many years ago and the name, in Portuguese, is "abossadura".
David Burch

 - posted December 28, 2009 06:27 PM      Profile for David Burch           Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks for that. It appears the English version of the book is Practical Yacht Handling and there are many used copies available, so we have ordered one. I am anxious to see this in print. Should have it in 5 days or so. Will post back here what I learn. --david

Ps Google Translate function does not know an English word for "abossadura." Can you tell us what that word might mean in this context.... then we can compare to what the English book calls the knot.... or is it a hitch?

From: Starpath, Seattle, WA

 - posted December 29, 2009 02:09 AM      Profile for Alberto           Edit/Delete Post 
The word "abossadura" in Portuguese comes from "bossagem" that in its turn comes from "bosse", in french, that means a protrusion in stone or wood. It seams to me that it's an architectural element. In the context: this is a knot used "to tie a new line onto the tensioned part of the line in use and then take up the tension" when we do the knot it seems to be a protrusion in the previous tensioned line. This is my guess. I will try to find the book in Portuguese and take a picture.
David Burch

 - posted December 30, 2009 10:58 AM      Profile for David Burch           Edit/Delete Post 
By email from Alberto:

Good morning David,

I took this picture from a friend's book and how you are going to observe, I discovered that the spelling in Portuguese could be also "aboçadura". Pierre Raffin-Caboisse, the french navigator that's in Rio now in routing for the Pacific ( http://www.babarautourdumonde.fr/index.php?lng=en ) told me that this knot is known in Bretagne by the name of "noeud de bosse". I'm writing this e-mail because I don't know how to post a picture.

Best from and happy new year,



From: Starpath, Seattle, WA
David Burch

 - posted December 30, 2009 11:54 AM      Profile for David Burch           Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks very much. The French "noeud de bosse" seems to mean something like "bump knot" which is similar to what you had before.

Note that this is obviously in the same family, but it is not identical. Notice the one i had learned has the initial wraps including the tail, whereas this one does not. Also the final hitch is different.

But they have the same intention. This one is being used to move a block aft without tacking.

Maybe i simply learned it wrong and this is the way it should be? We will have to set up some very heavy loads here to test the two.

From: Starpath, Seattle, WA

 - posted December 31, 2009 05:18 AM      Profile for Alberto           Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, you are all right. They probably belongs to the same family but they are not the same. Maybe variations.
Best from, Alberto.

David Burch

 - posted January 03, 2010 03:33 PM      Profile for David Burch           Edit/Delete Post 
We got our copy of Tabarly's Practical Yacht Handling yesterday.

The same picture is in this book, but the name he uses here is "Stopper hitch."

Again, it is not quite the same knot, but coming from this expert, i reckon the one he has is just as good. We will do some tests here and report back.

It is testimony to him and to this knot, that he has only 4 knots in this great book: bowline, sheet bend, clove hitch, and this one.

The book has in it many practical solutions that you will not find in Chapman's or Rousmaniere, two of the more famous books on seamanship... besides things like Knight's Modern Seamanship, etc.

In passing, we bought this book for this purpose, but now that i see it is such a good book, we will read it here, make notes as needed and then put the book up for sale in our new Bosun's Locker. We have a lot of other good books to put there as well, as soon as we have time. We have a couple of duplicates of really good cel nav books that are hard to find. Suspense!

From: Starpath, Seattle, WA
David Burch

 - posted January 11, 2010 10:10 PM      Profile for David Burch           Edit/Delete Post 
If you decide to practice with this knot using heavy loads, you might keep this data in mind:


From: Starpath, Seattle, WA

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