Please select your home edition
Edition
Sailing Raceboats 2016/17 RS Aero 728x90

The Constrictor- a powerful 'Queen' of sailing knots!

by John Jamieson on 13 Mar 2014
How to tie the Constrictor - photo by John Jamieson Captain John Jamieson http://www.skippertips.com
Which sailing knot do you need to tie when you absolutely, positively must keep a rope bitter end from fraying, lash a broken sailboat tiller together or keep and engine hose in place--without hose clamps? John Jamieson here describes one of sailing's most under-used sailing knots...

If you already know how to tie the clove hitch, then you are about 75% on your way to tying the constrictor. As a matter of fact, with just a bit of practice, you'll be able to crank out the constrictor in about ten seconds.

Why the constrictor?
Why know this powerhouse 'king of torque'? Use this fast, easy, sailing knot to...

* Whip the bitter end of a cut line.
* Repair a broken tiller fast and easy.
* Clamp a patch over a blown engine hose.
* Make lashings for a dinghy or life-raft.

Tie the constrictor and take out the slack and it holds with the tenacity of a tenacious octopus. In fact, you will be surprised that it seems almost impossible to wiggle out of the constrictor. But fear not (fear knot?)...

Slide the constrictor off your hand or the contraption it's tied to and it transforms itself without assistance into the straight line it once was--smooth and easy!

Master rigger, sailor and author Brion Toss ('The Complete Rigger's Apprentice') says this about the constrictor knot:
'When drawn up sufficiently tight it is an amazing thing, at least as valuable as the kingly Bowline. If the Bowline is the King of Knots, surely the Constrictor is the Queen'.

Note in the illustration below, the deliberate separation between parts of the rope (bitter end and standing part) for clarity. In reality, these will be much closer together as you tie the knot. Grab some line and tie this super sailing knot now to take your sailing skills sky high.

How to tie the Constrictor:
1. Practice with an 18' piece of small diameter sailing rope. Use a horizontal structure like a rail or your hand. Pass the line over the object (see illustration 1 above). Note the wide separation of the standing part and bitter end. Keep this slight exaggerated width to make tying the knot easier.

2. Pass the bitter end over the standing part (illustration 2 above). Notice that you keep the bitter end low on the standing part. This prepares you to finish the knot in the next step.

3. Tuck the bitter end beneath the lower right-side loop; then tuck it beneath the top right-side loop (illustration 3). Pull on the standing part and bitter end to tighten and compact the knot.

Check Both Sides for Ultimate Security!


Look at both sides of the knot (see photo). Take particular care with the back of the knot. You should see two bights of the knot side-by-side and parallel to one another.

Remember, the tighter you pull on the bitter end and standing part, the tighter the constrictor will 'seize up' on the object or fitting. That's where this sailing knot gets its reputation for power and security to 'clamp down like a clam'.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

John Jamieson (Captain John) shows you the no-nonsense cruising skills you need for safer sailing worldwide. Visit his website www.skippertips.com. Then sign up for his free, highly popular weekly newsletter 'Captain John's Sailing Tip-of-the-Week'.

Henri Lloyd 50 YearsHelm Events 660x82Hall Spars - Mast

Related Articles

Great Barrier Reef managers and industry prepare for summer
Marine park managers, scientists and experts recently met for the annual pre-summer workshop Marine park managers, scientists and experts recently met for the annual pre-summer workshop to assess climate-related risks to the Great Barrier Reef over the coming months. Current predictions by the Bureau of Meteorology and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are for a summer of average sea temperatures across the Great Barrier Reef.
Posted on 7 Dec
Fifth Blog from on board Perie Banou II
Jon Sanders is closing in on Reunion and Mauritius The west coast of Australia is now a long way behind. Then it was 3 reefs in the mainsail. Windy. A wind one gets in the region - history shows it has been the same over the past 400 years - Southerlies. Soon the wind bends. And we get the South East trades proper. For the first 1,000 Nautical Miles the Trades were what I expected. Very strong southerlies leaving the Australian shore (Shark Bay).
Posted on 2 Dec
Predictwind release improved racing and cruising routing function
PredictWind has released a major upgrade to its Routing function, taking a much more graphic and interactive approach PredictWind has released a major upgrade to its Routing function, taking a much more graphic and interactive approach to what has been a black art of weather routing, used to chose the fastest route for racers or most comfortable route for cruisers.
Posted on 28 Nov
Only room for one at the top
The results of RMIT's (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) independent testing are in. The results of RMIT's (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) independent testing are in. Zhik® is the market leader in waterproof durability with a new standard that replicates the real world sailing environment and conditions. It is an astounding four times more so than the previous leader.
Posted on 28 Nov
Beneteau Cup – A statement in family and time
Every other deity with a nautical interest seemed to sense the importance of the occasion and delivered in spades Flagstaff Marine delivered a terrific regatta to mark the 25th Beneteau Cup on Sydney Harbour. It seemed fitting that Beneteau had two factory representatives there as well, headed up by Director, Beneteau Group Asia Pacific, Thibaut de Montvalon and also Asia Sales Manager, Beneteau Group Asia, Vianney Guezenec.
Posted on 28 Nov
Parlier reigns supreme in Hydrofoil Worlds
The south westerly breeze kicks over the land mass over north facing beach, making for flat water despite strong wind. Whatever the shortcomings of the Fremantle Doctor on the first day of competition, were made up for in spades on day two, when the wind kicked in early at 15 knots and quickly built to 18 with gusts as high as 26. The Rockingham course is perfectly suited to such conditions. The south westerly breeze kicks over the land mass over the north facing beach, making for flat water despite strong wind.
Posted on 27 Nov
25th Beneteau Cup - Great weather. Great times. Great brand.
The 25th Beneteau Cup on Sydney Harbour was filled with a genuine sense of joy. The 25th Beneteau Cup on Sydney Harbour was filled with a genuine sense of joy. Flagstaff Marine, together with regatta partners Sydney City Marine, Mark Anderson’s Boat Transport and d’Albora Marinas, can be very proud of the achievement, but it is the owners and crews who make it all possible. Here then are some of the pics of their day! Full report to follow…
Posted on 26 Nov
Ensign want to sell your boat!
Ensign have had such a successful sales year that they are now looking for more pre-used stock to sell. Ensign, one of Australia’s largest yacht brokers, have had such a successful sales year that they are now looking for more pre-used stock to sell. At their head office location at Main Beach, Queensland, they can offer amazing rates on berthing while the boat is on sale at their Marinas Cove Marina and that means great exposure.
Posted on 24 Nov
Fourth Blog from on board Perie Banou II
Oh no - not the coffee cup Oh no - not the coffee cup - Jon keeps us all entertained as he approaches Reunion Island. The B&G chartplotter tells me since leaving the pleasant mid Western Australian town of Carnarvon (by world standards, an isolated town), that I have sailed some 2559 NM and have 751nm to go to Le Port Reunion Island. French. Reunion is a Suburb (department) of Paris. Population 844,000.
Posted on 23 Nov
Third Blog from onboard Perie Banou II
Wind over the last week has been quiet and mild - Trade Winds from South East and South South East. It is 0830am here. 1030 in Western Australia. Windy. Rather Windy. Wind over the last week has been quiet and mild - Trade Winds from South East and South South East. Barometer 1018 to 1020 whatever they are. Last night I tapped the barometer and it sorta went oops. 1015hPa. Blimey.
Posted on 18 Nov