The bowline knot is certainly the most widely used knot aboard all boats, it has two fundamental characteristics: it develops a very reliable loop and, most importantly, it unravels easily, even after being subjected to strong tensions .
Bowline knot, also known as bomber knot or lover’s knot, is a very old knot. The famous John Smith, Pocahontas’ boyfriend ( we aren’t joking because Pocahontas really existed), great sailor and master chief of a British settlement in Northern America, talked about it in his “Seaman’s Grammar” in 1627.
It is said it was seen even within the remains of Sun Boat, discovered in Cheope, Egypt. The point is that bowline knot has resisted during the centuries, athough it was thratened by lots of variants which proliferate on Internet today.
Here you are a video explaining its traditional execution.
First of all, make a wrap or hitch, usually but improperly called eyelet, by pushing the sleeper under the final part of the rope, that is the running.
Then, let the free cape, the sleeper, pass into the hitch from below and then under the sleeper again like in a hug.
The sleeper will enter into the hitch in parallel to itself and it will clamp.
This knot has an excellent grip. So, it is ideal for moorings or to fix halyards and sheets. But it is not a jolly knot because it could untie itself if it is not tense.
But why is it called lover’s knot?
Bowline knot, according to the traditional definition, is ” a ring, generally at the extremity of a cable, made through splicing or special knots”. Okay, we agree.
But why lover? A probable reason is that old guides referred to the terminal part of a rope called “lover”.
In the prestigious ” Military Scientific Dictionary for Every Arm Use” by Guido Ballerini (Neaples, 1824) dealing with technical language used in military sciences, the term refers to the terminal part of a rope.
In our case, it is evident that the lover plans to monster to obtain its aim: it hugs the sleeper and let its love dream come true.