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While there are thousands of knots, a handful are essential to the well prepared sailor. Here are seven to get you started.

Illustration Knot Description
Anchor Hitch Used to attach a line to an object. Holds well even when tension on line is changing, for instance with an anchor.
Bowline When in doubt, use a bowline.
Clove Hitch Used to attach a line to an object. Not a highly secure knot, but sufficient to attach fenders to lifelines.
Figure Eight A stopper knot. Used at the end of a line to keep it from sneaking away. Often seen at the end of jib sheets.
Rolling Hitch A versatile hitch that can be adjusted and tied under tension.
Sheet Bend Used to attach two lines together.
Reef Knot (Square knot) Good for reef points and shoes.