International Guild of Knot Tyers

The Cockpit Book of Knots by David Weatherston and Patrick Brophy

‘The Cockpit Book of Knots’ by David Weatherston and Patrick Brophy, published by Tarka Press, Ontario, Canada (1980), 2nd. impression 1981 ...at some point one wishes to call a halt to the purchase of expensive stainless steel gimmicks claimed to perform functions adequately served by a few feet of line.” So say the authors who go ahead and portray 10 ‘Must Knots’ and 15 ‘Maybe Knots’. Few surprises, except the Farmer’s Loop (c.1912) given new life as part of a tensioning device with a Rolling Hitch. Advice on using the knots is easy to absorb, together with facts on synthetic v. vegetable fibre ropes, breaking strains and safe working loads, protection from chafe, heat-sealing, whippings and seizings, laid and braided line splices. This book aimed to encourage “muscular memory”, speed and dexterity... and fails to do so. Only 18 of 75 photo’s even show hands, often static and meaningless. Attractively packaged in waterproof covers and on splash-resistant pages to fit it for life afloat, the large print can be read by the dimmest chartroom lamp. Instructions adjoin illustrations, with a spring binder so that pages lie open even in a sailing breeze. It’s an obvious gift for knotting and boating beginners but a trifle expensive at nearly £4 (in 1983) for 52 pages so that 3 pages on furling sails seems an intrusion. Avid knots(wo)men will buy it anyway; and it belongs upon the bookshelves and by the bunksides or (as the title infers) in the waterproofs of all boating types.