The Carrick Bend

ABOK 1439


Ashley's comment on this bend, from article 1439 of  The Ashley's Book of Knots:  "The Carrick Bend ... is perhaps the nearest thing we have to a perfect bend. It is symmetrical, it is easy to tie, it does not slip easily in wet material, it is among the strongest of knots, it cannot jam and is readily untied."

The Carrick bend is one of several well known extremely reliable bends that are also virtually jam proof. The others are the Zeppelin bend and the Alpine Butterfly bend.  (See Jam testing several bends). The Carrick bend is easier to tie, and its structure is harder to remember, than the other bends in this class.  The Carrick bend lacks the Zeppelin's simple mnemonic for its structure, but the method of tying it described here is so simple that the difficulty of correctly remembering its structure should not matter: don't remember its structure, remember how to make it.

There are many knots that looks very like this one, but which have inferior properties. This may be the reason that the Carrick bend is not used more frequently. It is inadvisable to try to remember the structure of the Carrick bend visually, because the inferior variants resemble this best one so closely. Instead, remember the hand motions needed to make this one correctly.  The necessary memorization is greatly simplified by the fact that the first few motions are identical to the sailor's way of making both the sheet bend and the bowline. The bend is then complete in two more simple moves.You learn the greater part of  the best methods for making three importand knots for the price of one. Everyone who has the slightest need for knots should know these ways of making these three knots. 

The carrick bend is useful for all sizes of cordage from string to hawsers.  If you need to pull a truck out of a ditch with a 1-1/2 inch nylon rope, the Carrick bend or the Zeppelin bend, or the Alpine Butterfly bend, used to form the rope into a loop are excellent knots for the job.

carrick-bend-01.jpg carrick-bend-02.jpg carrick-bend-03.jpg carrick-bend-04.jpg   To this point, the motions are the same as for starting the sailor's way of making the sheet bend and the bowline.

carrick-bend-05.jpg carrick-bend-06.jpg carrick-bend-07.jpg carrick-bend-08.jpg carrick-bend-09.jpg  Back to context    Home