Thursday, September 14, 2006

This is your one month warning that no straps will be permitted for tying down Rebel Rivers canoes on the fall trip. Members bringing their own canoe on the fall trip must bring rope and a working knowledge of the Trucker's Hitch.

There are really only two knots you need to know in this club. The first is the bowline. The bowline is The Clash of the knot world because it's The Only Knot That Matters. Almost everything you need to do with a rope can be done with this knot. It puts a fixed loop in the end of a rope that will never fail and can always be untied, including when it's wet. You can even use it for tying two ropes together by putting a bowline at the end of each rope instead of relying on traditional bends or joining knots like the Sheet Bend or the most overrated knot of all: the Square Knot. If you're going to canoe with us you must be able to tie a bowline left and right handed and without mouthing any of the words about the rabbit coming out of the hole and going around the tree while you tie it.

The other knot is the Trucker's Hitch, which is so useful for car-topping a canoe that it gets a spot in the RRCC handbook right beside the O.K.T.M.

Here's how to tie it.

The beauty of this knot is it creates a block and tackle/pulley type leverage system that lets you crank the rope down as tight as you want. Be careful, the physical advantage gained from a Trucker's Hitch is so great you can break a canoe hull (unless it's a Grumman).

There is also no need to use bow and stern tie-downs if you're using the Trucker's Hitch on the belly ropes. It will be so tight the canoe won't move, and the middle rope closest to the stern will prevent it from ever blowing off the back because of the natural shape of the canoe's hull. If it is tied right it will never fail, unlike a cam buckle which is ugly and unreliable...and scratches your canoe... and has no place on the equipment list next to Duluth packs and chuck boxes.

There is pleasure in tying a perfect knot. And if you've ever been standing next to your truck minding your own business, maybe smoking a ready roll, and your buddy throws a strap with a cam buckle over two canoe hulls, you'll know the real reason they are banned.

No comments: