Carrick bend

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Carrick bend
A fully interwoven diagonally opposed carrick bend
NamesCarrick bend, Double carrick bend, Double coin knot, Ten accord knot, Bosun's knot, Basketweave knot, Chinese knot, Josephine knot, Whistle lanyard, Sailor's breastplate knot, Sailors knot, Pretzel knot, Wake knot
Category Bend
Related Single carrick bend, Diamond knot, Carrick mat
Releasing Non-jamming
ABoK #1428, #1439
Wake or Ormonde knot of heraldry Complete Guide to Heraldry Fig685.png
Wake or Ormonde knot of heraldry

The Carrick bend, also known as the Sailor's breastplate, is a knot used for joining two lines. It is particularly appropriate for very heavy rope or cable that is too large and stiff to be easily formed into other common bends. [1] [2] It will not jam even after carrying a significant load or being soaked with water. [3]


As with many other members of the basket weave knot family, the carrick bend's aesthetically pleasing interwoven and symmetrical shape has also made it popular for decorative purposes.


The Carrick bend is known as the "Wake knot" or "Ormonde knot" when it is used as a heraldic badge. [4]


This knot's name dates back to at least 1783, when it was included in a nautical bilingual dictionary authored by Daniel Lescallier. [1] [5] Its origins prior to that are not known with certainty. There are several possible explanations for the name "Carrick" being associated with this bend. The Elizabethan era plasterwork of Ormonde Castle in Carrick-on-Suir shows numerous carrick bends molded [6] in relief. Or the name may come from Carrick Roads—a large natural anchorage by Falmouth in Cornwall, England. The name may also have been derived from the Carrack, a medieval type of ship. [7]


The eight crossings within the carrick bend allow for many similar-looking knots to be made. The lines in a "full" or "true" carrick bend alternate between over and under at every crossing. There are also two ways the ends can emerge from the knot: diagonally opposed or from the same side. The latter form is also called the double coin knot. The form with the ends emerging diagonally opposed is considered more secure. [1]

Unfortunately, with so many permutations, the carrick bend is prone to being tied incorrectly. [3]


The carrick bend, also called full carrick bend, sailor's knot, and anchor bend, is perhaps the nearest thing we have to a perfect bend. It is symmetrical, it is easy to tie, it does not slip easily in wet material, it is among the strongest of knots, it cannot jam and is readily untied. To offset this array of excellencies is the sole objection that it is somewhat bulky.


Complete capsizing requires a loose weave. CarrickBendCapsizingSmall.gif
Complete capsizing requires a loose weave.

The carrick bend is generally tied in a flat interwoven form as shown above. Without additional measures it will collapse into a different shape when tightened, a process known as capsizing, with the degree of capsizing depending on the looseness of the weave. This capsized form is both secure and stable once tightened, although it is bulkier than the seized form below. Incomplete capsizing resulting from a tight weave produces a form that is likewise secure and stable, but which is more difficult to untie, countering one of the advantages of the carrick bend. When the knot is allowed to capsize naturally under tension, considerable slippage of line through the knot can occur before tightening, so the knot should be set carefully before loading to avoid this slippage in use. [9]


Seized carrick bend. The seizings preserve the initial shape of the knot. Carrick-bend-seized-ABOK-1439.jpg
Seized carrick bend. The seizings preserve the initial shape of the knot.

In the interest of making the carrick bend easier to untie, especially when tied in extremely large rope, the ends may be seized to prevent the knot from collapsing when load is applied. This practice also keeps the knot's profile flatter and can ease its passage over capstans or winches. [10]

The ends are traditionally seized to their standing part using a round seizing. For expediency, a series of double constrictor knots, drawn very tight, may also be used. [2] When seizing the carrick bend, both ends must be secured to their standing parts or the bend will slip.

Decorative uses

Decorative form made with doubled lines Double coin knot-rotated.jpg
Decorative form made with doubled lines

In the decorative variation, both standing ends enter from one side and both working ends exit from the other. In this configuration the knot is known as the Josephine knot (macrame) or double coin knot (Chinese knotting). This form of the carrick bend is found depicted in heraldry, sometimes with the tails of heraldic serpents woven (or "nowed") into this knot. [11] In heraldry the knot is associated with Hereward the Wake and is known under the name Wake knot. [7] It is depicted in the coat of arms of Bourne Town Council, Lincolnshire. [12]

The knot can be tied using doubled lines for an even flatter, more elaborate appearance. A doubled carrick bend was used to ornamentally secure the lanyards on the breastplate of the US Navy Mark V diving helmet during inspection and between dives. [13] [14]

When the ends of the carrick bend are connected together, or more practically hidden behind the knot, it becomes a carrick mat. This same configuration is also one of the most basic Turk's head knots.


The fully interwoven diagonal carrick bend is the most secure variation. All other forms are inferior [3] and not recommended as bends. [1]

Although the carrick bend has a reputation for strength, some tests have shown it to be as weak as 65% efficiency. [1]

See also

Related Research Articles

Knot Method of fastening or securing linear material

A knot is an intentional complication in cordage which may be practical or decorative, or both. Practical knots are classified by function, including hitches, bends, loop knots, and splices: a hitch fastens a rope to another object; a bend fastens two ends of a rope to each another; a loop knot is any knot creating a loop, and splice denotes any multi-strand knot, including bends and loops. A knot may also refer, in the strictest sense, to a stopper or knob at the end of a rope to keep that end from slipping through a grommet or eye. Knots have excited interest since ancient times for their practical uses, as well as their topological intricacy, studied in the area of mathematics known as knot theory.

Bowline Simple knot used to form a fixed loop at the end of a rope

The bowline is an ancient and simple knot used to form a fixed loop at the end of a rope. It has the virtues of being both easy to tie and untie; most notably, it is easy to untie after being subjected to a load. The bowline is sometimes referred to as King of the knots because of its importance. Along with the sheet bend and the clove hitch, the bowline is often considered one of the most essential knots.

Granny knot

The granny knot is a binding knot, used to secure a rope or line around an object. It is considered inferior to the reef knot, which it superficially resembles. Neither of these knots should be used as a bend knot for attaching two ropes together.

The granny knot is also called the false, lubber's, calf, and booby knot. Patterson's Nautical Encyclopedia calls it "old granny knot" and Sir Edwin Arnold calls it the "common or garden knot." The name granny is given in Vocabulary of Sea Phrases and Roding pictures the knot in 1795.

The granny consists of two identical half knots, one tied on top of the other. It has but one practical purpose that I know of and that is to serve as a surgeon's knot. Formerly it was employed for tying up parcels in five-and-ten-cent stores, but the practice was given up and paper bags substituted as they were found to be simpler.

Constrictor knot

The constrictor knot is one of the most effective binding knots. Simple and secure, it is a harsh knot that can be difficult or impossible to untie once tightened. It is made similarly to a clove hitch but with one end passed under the other, forming an overhand knot under a riding turn. The double constrictor knot is an even more robust variation that features two riding turns.

Truckers hitch

The trucker's hitch is a compound knot commonly used for securing loads on trucks or trailers. This general arrangement, using loops and turns in the rope itself to form a crude block and tackle, has long been used to tension lines and is known by multiple names. Knot author Geoffrey Budworth claims the knot can be traced back to the days when carters and hawkers used horse-drawn conveyances to move their wares from place to place.

Figure-eight knot Type of stopper knot used in sailing and climbing

The figure-eight knot or figure-of-eight knot is a type of stopper knot. It is very important in both sailing and rock climbing as a method of stopping ropes from running out of retaining devices. Like the overhand knot, which will jam under strain, often requiring the rope to be cut, the figure-of-eight will also jam, but is usually more easily undone than the overhand knot.

The figure-eight or figure-of-eight knot is also called the Flemish knot. The name figure-of-eight knot appears in Lever's Sheet Anchor; or, a Key to Rigging. The word "of" is nowadays usually omitted. The knot is the sailor's common single-strand stopper knot and is tied in the ends of tackle falls and running rigging, unless the latter is fitted with monkey's tails. It is used about ship wherever a temporary stopper knot is required. The figure-eight is much easier to untie than the overhand, it does not have the same tendency to jam and so injure the fiber, and is larger, stronger, and equally secure.

Carrick mat Flat woven decorative knot

The carrick mat is a flat woven decorative knot which can be used as a mat or pad. Its name is based on the mat's decorative-type carrick bend with the ends connected together, forming an endless knot. A larger form, called the prolong knot, is made by expanding the basic carrick mat by extending, twisting, and overlapping its outer bights, then weaving the free ends through them. This process may be repeated to produce an arbitrarily long mat.

Zeppelin bend

A Zeppelin bend is an end-to-end joining knot formed by two symmetrically interlinked overhand knots. It is stable, secure, and highly resistant to jamming. It is also resistant to the effects of slack shaking and cyclic loading.

Diamond knot

The diamond knot is a knot for forming a decorative loop on the end of a cord such as on a lanyard. A similar knot, also called the diamond knot, is a multistrand stopper knot, that is similar in appearance. To avoid confusion, it is advisable to call this knot the knife lanyard knot. This knot is a four strand diamond knot implemented in two strands. The knife lanyard knot is "tied alike" the Chinese button knot, "but they are worked differently."

The sailor's knife lanyard knot, also called marling-spike lanyard knot, single-strand diamond knot, two-strand diamond knot, and Bosun's whistle knot.

Buntline hitch

The buntline hitch is a knot used for attaching a rope to an object. It is formed by passing the working end around an object, then making a clove hitch around the rope's standing part and taking care that the turns of the clove hitch progress towards the object rather than away from it. Secure and easily tied, the buntline hitch will jam when subjected to extreme loads. Given the knot's propensity to jam, it is often made in slipped form.

The buntline hitch, when bent to a yard, makes a more secure knot than two half hitches, but is more liable to jam. It differs from two half hitches in that the second half hitch is inside instead of outside the first one.

Surgeons knot

The surgeon's knot is a surgical knot and is a simple modification to the reef knot. It adds an extra twist when tying the first throw, forming a double overhand knot. The additional turn provides more friction and can reduce loosening while the second half of the knot is tied. This knot is commonly used by surgeons in situations where it is important to maintain tension on a suture, giving it its name.

Offset overhand bend

The offset overhand bend is a knot used to join two ropes together. The offset overhand bend is formed by holding two rope ends next to each other and tying an overhand knot in them as if they were a single line. Due to its common use in several fields, this bend has become known by many names, such as thumb knot, openhand knot, one-sided overhand knot or flat overhand bend (FOB), though the terms "one-sided" and "flat" are considered incorrect.

Two half-hitches

Two half-hitches is a type of knot, specifically a binding knot or hitch knot. One variety consists of an overhand knot tied around a post, followed by a half-hitch. This knot is less often referred to as a clove hitch over itself, double half-hitch, or full-hitch.

Two half hitches is the commonest of all hitches for mooring in particular and also for general utility. Steel gives the name in 1794. The difference between two half hitches and the clove hitch is that the former, after a single turn around a spar, is made fast around its own standing part, while the latter is tied directly around the spar.

Ashleys bend

Ashley's bend is a knot used to securely join the ends of two ropes together. It is similar to several related bend knots which consist of two interlocking overhand knots, and in particular the alpine butterfly bend. These related bends differ by the way the two constituent overhand knots are interlocked.

Bight (knot)

In knot tying, a bight is a curved section or slack part between the two ends of a rope, string, or yarn. A knot that can be tied using only the bight of a rope, without access to the ends, is described as in the bight. The term "bight" is also used in a more specific way when describing Turk's head knots, indicating how many repetitions of braiding are made in the circuit of a given knot.

Harness bend

The harness knot is a general purpose bend knot used to join two ropes together. The knot can be tied under tension and will not capsize.

Carrick bend loop

A carrick bend loop or carrick loop is a knot used to make a reliable and stable loop at the end of a rope formed by the tail turned around and attached to the main part using a carrick bend.

Chinese button knot

Chinese button knot is essentially a knife lanyard knot where the lanyard loop is shortened to a minimum, i.e. tightened to the knot itself. There emerges therefore only two lines next to each other from the knot: the beginning and the end. The knot has traditionally been used as a button on clothes in Asia, thus the name.

The Chinese Button Knot is worn throughout China on underwear and night clothes. Buttons of this sort are more comfortable to lie on and to rest against compared to common bone and composition buttons, and they cannot be broken even by the laundry.

A Chinese tailor ties the knot without guide, flat on his table. But one may be more quickly and easily tied in hand by a modification of the sailor’s method of tying his knife lanyard knot (#787). The two knots are tied alike, but they are worked differently.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Geoffrey Budworth, The Complete Book of Knots (London: Octopus, 1997), 43.
  2. 1 2 Brion Toss, Chapman's Nautical Guides: Knots (New York: Hearst Marine Books, 1990), 79–80.
  3. 1 2 3 Clifford W. Ashley, The Ashley Book of Knots (New York: Doubleday, 1944), 262–263.
  4. Arthur Charles Fox-Davies, A Complete Guide to Heraldry (1909), p. 469.
  5. Lescallier, Daniel (1783), Vocabulaire des Termes de Marine: Anglois et François, London: P. Elmsly
  6. "Ormonde Plaster" . Retrieved 2017-05-30.
  7. 1 2 Geoffrey Budworth, The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Knots (London: Hermes House, 1999), 60–61.
  8. Ashley, Clifford W. (1944). The Ashley Book of Knots, p.262. Doubleday. ISBN   0-385-04025-3.
  9. Cyrus Lawrence Day, The Art of Knotting and Splicing, 4th ed. (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1986), 58.
  10. Des Pawson, Pocket Guide to Knots & Splices (Edison, NJ: Chartwell Books, Inc., 2002), 114-115.
  11. J.C. Turner and P. van de Griend (ed.), The History and Science of Knots (Singapore: World Scientific, 1996), 388.
  12. "Image: bourne.JPG, (256 × 404 px)". Retrieved 2015-09-02.
  13. Davis, RH (1955). Deep Diving and Submarine Operations (6th ed.). Tolworth, Surbiton, Surrey: Siebe Gorman & Company Ltd.
  14. Stillson, George D (1915). "Report in Deep Diving Tests". US Bureau of Construction and Repair, Navy Department. Technical Report. Retrieved 2009-06-03.