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Rappahannock River Yacht Club
37 39 24 N, 76 26 07 W

RRYC is about to get Nauti.....whoops I mean Nautical.  We are working on the 2020 schedule and would love to hear from you about topics you would like to see addressed, you can email Ian at with your ideas. 

First event 2020:  Splicing & Sail Repair  22 February 2020
Our very own Jerry Latell gives guidance and coaching on some key sailing maintenance skills.  Join Jerry at the club house at 9am.  Further detail to follow.


The 2019 events were a great success, below is a summary of what we covered.

Saturday 15 June 2019 in the RRYC Clubhouse.  "getting more from your GPS....Chartplotter...Apps"

Off to a great start! 18 attendees.  Most of us knew some of the capabilities of our GPS, Chartplotters and Apps but there is far more available from these little devices than most of us knew.  A lively session with lots of questions and some excellent demonstrations from Judy Fay and Gary Hooper.  One of the key learning points:  Man Overboard buttons differ on each manufacturers GPS.  They are rarely just press, most require either a long hold down or some other sequence.  Check how to use yours.... and tell your crew!   

 Saturday 27 July 2019 RRYC Club House. Distressed...not really but we certainly learnt a lot and had fun! Ed Johnson and Quentin Haynie (Smith Point Rescue) led the discussion and shared experiences.  Tom's Chapman and Richardson took mark boat Doug Power over to the far side of the creek and gave a telling demonstration about signal visibility in day time.  We all got to fire hand held flares and flare signal pistols. Key learning point: Smoke is best for day-time distress signalling.


Saturday 28 Sep 2019  RRYC Clubhouse.  Tying it all up!  Thanks to knot demonstration team Danielle, Judy, Sam and Sue.  A fun morning "never knew knot tying could be so much entertainment".  Wrapped up the morning with line throwing exercises, making a loop for the boat hook and finally... a river rescue!  

Scroll to the bottom of this page to see notes and videos of how to tie the essential knots.

Saturday 26 Oct 2019 "Man Over Board" 
A great turnout! We reviewed the most relevant issues associated with MOB for our styles of cruising and racing. We looked at the immediate actions when a MOB occurs, what to do to get back and contact the MOB and then techniques for getting them back on board.  Arabella led the theory discussion and Tom Linville gave some recent experience and compelling lessons he had learnt.  We then had an in-water demo of how to use a Lifesling to contact the MOB.  We then had fun at the dock getting a non-responsive MOB back on board.  Browse towards the end of this page for links to videos and some compelling case study information.  Key learning point..... wear your life jacket!
MOB recovery to sailboats

Notes from knots!


Square Knot, or Reef Knot

American sailing Association:  The Square Knot, also called the Reef Knot. Primarily for tying a rope to itself. Like when you are securing an item to the boat or a spar.

The reef knot, or square knot, is an ancient and simple binding knot used to secure a rope or line around an object. It is sometimes also referred to as a Hercules knot. The knot is formed by tying a left-handed overhand knot and then a right-handed overhand knot, or vice versa. A common mnemonic for this procedure is “right over left; left over right”, which is often appended with the rhyming suffix .. "makes a knot both tidy and tight”. Two consecutive overhands of the same handedness will make a granny knot. The working ends of the reef knot must emerge both at the top or both at the bottom, otherwise a thief knot results.

Although the reef knot is often seen used for tying two ropes together, it is not recommended for this purpose because of the potential instability of the knot.

The reef knot is at least 4,000 years old. The name “reef knot” dates from at least 1794 and originates from its common use to reef sails, that is to tie part of the sail down to decrease its effective surface area in strong winds. To release the knot a sailor could collapse it with a pull of one hand; the sail’s weight would make the collapsed knot come apart. It is specifically this behavior which makes the knot unsafe for connecting two ropes together.


Clove Hitch

Boat US video

A clove hitch is two successive half-hitches around an object. It can be used as a binding knot, but is not particularly secure in that role.  A clove hitch made around the rope’s own standing part is known as either two half-hitches or buntline hitch, depending on whether the turns of the clove hitch progress away from or towards the hitched object.

This knot is particularly useful where the length of the running end needs to be adjustable, since feeding in rope from either direction will loosen the knot to be tightened at a new position. With certain types of cord, the clove hitch can slip when loaded. In modern climbing rope, the clove hitch will slip to a point, and then stop slipping. With smaller diameter cords, after being heavily weighted it may become difficult to untie. It is also unreliable when used on a square or rectangular post, rather than round.

The clove hitch is also commonly used to start and finish a lashing such as the traditional square lashing, tripod lashing, round lashing and shear lashing



How to tie a proper Bowline

A few ways to tie a Bowline as well as the many different uses of this famous knot.

Also covers why bowline/sheet knot can fail when joining two lines.

The bowline is used mainly to make a loop at the end of a line. Like the other similar knots, it can be made and then secured over an object like a piling. This knot can be used in an emergency to hoist a person to safety, since the loop can slipped over a victim’s torso, under the armpits, and it will not tighten around the victim’s chest and prevent breathing. This is useful when a rescue harness is not available.

The bowline is commonly used in sailing to fasten a halyard to the head of a sail or to tie a jib sheet to a clew of a jib.


Cleat Hitch

Boat US short video on tying a cleat hitch.

Maryland School of Sailing  Demonstration of procedures needed to tie a proper cleat hitch, and a review of common errors made when tying a cleat hitch, as generally applicable to small to mid-sized recreational vessels.

Covers wrong tie well!


A Double Fishermans Bend

The double fisherman’s knot, also known as the grapevine knot uses two double overhand knots in their strangle knot form, one tied around the standing part of the other. This makes it stronger than the fisherman’s knot. Though mainly used as a bend to join two ropes it can also be tied with the ends of a single rope to make a loop with it.

Very strong join.

Notes From Man Overboard: Videos and Information

How to recover a MOB. 

Chest, chest & leg bowlines and hoist with assistance via sweating. We didn't show this one, it includes a way of lifting the legs at the same time  

Elevator method  

Lifesling with block and tackle.  

MOB using a Lifesling PBO 4 mins.  Use this.


Lifesling Case Studies:  

If you want a sobering reminder of why the wearing of life jacket and familiarity with MOB drills are important then take a browse through the 'Lifesling case studies".... 32 pages of accident reports.