By Intern George
I learned to tie my shoes at a young age and can do this quickly with my eyes shut because it is a mechanical ability that I can never forget because I use it everyday. If you’re not an avid sailor it seems as if there are thousands of knots to learn, along with the importance of knowing how to tie and use all kinds of knots.
When you look at a tall ship, there are lines (rope) everywhere. Knots are used to control the various lines, control the sails, raising and lowering the anchors, holding down rigging, docking, and many more jobs. I knew that using the wrong knot could cause problems.
I found out the hard way that I was a hindrance to the crew. It’s not that I don’t have the passion to learn to be a good sailor and be an important part of the crew, or had the assistance from experienced crew. It’s that I lacked the knowledge of knots and the years of practice to get my muscle memory to kick in to tie these knots with blind composure.
An important tip that I can give you if you plan to set off on a sailing adventure is to get a few knots under your belt months before you set off. I had bought a book of knots for my trip thinking that I would learn and practice on the job. In my ignorance I became an albatross to the crew and an embarrassment to myself.
So remember, don’t overlook the importance of the most common thing: tying knots is a very significant sailing skill. Learning to tie a few basic sailor knots and practice them until you can do them with your eyes closed. Knots will keep you safe and secure on your adventure.
George is sailing aboard When & If, on his way to Marquette. He then heads home to Chicago. Ben is already back in New York City and leaves for college tomorrow. It’s hard to believe the interns are back on shore already!