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The WoodenBoat School

The Arts of the Sailor

Principles and practices; tools and traditional techniques.

Knots and Ropes

Tuition: $800

Materials fee: $105

Note: This is a five-day course ending Friday evening.

Hervey Garrett Smith’s classic 1953 book, The Arts of the Sailor, is the inspiration for Eric Stockinger’s introductory course on traditional rope and canvas work. While many people have an interest in learning how to sew canvas with a sailmaker’s palm and needle, there is little practical instruction available, and even less information on where to find good, modern substitutes for tools and materials once used by sailors aboard tall ship. Here’s a great opportunity to gain some of those skills and plenty of information on knots and ropework, as well.

The week will begin with the fundamentals of palm and needle sewing, discussions of tools and various materials, and basic marlinespike rope work. Students will work on several projects throughout the course. Everyone will make their own ditty bag with a fancy marlinespike handle.

Most “fancy” knots have humble and practical origins aboard ships. Eric will show you how to create useful items that will look good and feel at home on a small wooden boat. Students will make a rope fender, a Monkey’s Fist heaving line, and other small undertakings such as lanyards, mats, Turk’s Heads, bracelets, etc. Eric will also discuss rope-stropped blocks, as well as other options for rigging small boats.

At the conclusion of the week, each student will come away with a good set of basic tools, the knowledge to use them, and, hopefully, the inspiration to take on other projects for their boat or around the house.


WoodenBoat School, 41 WoodenBoat Lane, PO Box 78, Brooklin, Maine 04616 USA
Tel: 207-359-4651, Fax: 207-359-8920

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