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Knots on the go

2013 February 22

There is no shortage of knot-tying applications available for handheld devices and they can be a handy guide to remind you how to tie less well-known knots. Some are geared more towards fishing or climbing, but many applications include knots that sailors will use.

How to Tie Knots (Sergey Burkalov, FREE) comes with just a handful of knots pre-installed, but there is a menu for free downloads of a few other knots. It doesn't give a lot of information about the application of different knots, so you have to know what knot you're looking for. Stop-motion type animation makes seeing how the knots come together relatively easy, but it's disconcerting that one knot we looked at­-a bowline-wasn't shown tightened properly.

Animated Knots by Grog
(Grog LLC, $1.99) uses clear animated photos in addition to descriptions to how how a knot is tied. An info tab offers information about the usage of the knot, as well as other ways to tie it (something left-handed sailors may appreciate) and variations on the knot. It also mentions some limitations of a knot, information that is equally as important. Knots can be searched for by usage category, variety and alphabetically by name and favorites can be added to a list. Of the apps we tried, this was our favorite even though it cost a bit more than others.

Knot Guide (Winkpass Creations Inc., FREE) has knots divided into categories, which is handy, but you can also search for a knot by name. The "Sailing Knots" category only includes eight of the more basic knots, but some of the knots featured in this article can be found in other categories. There are only pictures, no descriptions, to show the tying method, but you can add knots to your favorites for easy reference. As with many free apps, advertisements can get in the way of what you want to see. There is a paid version available featuring more knots and the promise of no ads for $1.99.

Knots 3D (Nynix, 99 cents) gives excellent descriptions of knots and their usage, including some history. There are no step-by-step instructions provided, but there are some notes on knot structure that can be helpeful. Animation shows the knot being tied very quickly and then you swipe your finger to see it step by step. The black background can be a bit tough on the eyes and the graphics a little small. There are 80 knots included in the app and you can add them to a favorites folder.

Knots Guide (Max Soderstrom, FREE) only organizes knots by kind, rather than usage and there is no search function to find a particular knot, so it can take a bit of searching. Step-by-step written directions are given, but there is no animation to or art beyond photographs to show how a knot comes together. Some knots, like the bowline, only include a photo of the finished product.