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61 Reviews
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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent self-learner for basic crew skill development.
Using hand drawings that are clearer than any photograph, THE MARLINSPIKE SAILOR (c.1960) by Hervey Garrett Smith illustrated in a 131 page soft cover book a collection of the best detailed renditions of basic knot tying and ropework any beginner can learn to start his ropework career, or for an old hand to refresh his memory.
There is no waste as only essential rope...
Published on October 11, 2002 by Brian A. Glennon

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars This was a gift
I chose this because my dad wanted a book to learn to make a sea chest handle. I looked over it a little once I gave it to him, and it seems like the instructions are not as explicit as I would like for myself. For example, sailcloth...unless you are a sailor, how in the world would you know what's comparable to this?! It's one of the requirements for building these chest...
Published 18 months ago by Sarah Grossbauer


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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent self-learner for basic crew skill development., October 11, 2002
By 
Brian A. Glennon "BAG" (South Boston, Massachusetts) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Marlinspike Sailor (Paperback)
Using hand drawings that are clearer than any photograph, THE MARLINSPIKE SAILOR (c.1960) by Hervey Garrett Smith illustrated in a 131 page soft cover book a collection of the best detailed renditions of basic knot tying and ropework any beginner can learn to start his ropework career, or for an old hand to refresh his memory.
There is no waste as only essential rope skills are shown in clear etchings, line drawings, and pencil sketches, which will make the wooden sail boat owner self-sufficient from a lot of expensive, store-bought textile gear.
In a written text accompanying each excellent drawing, Hervey Garrett Smith explained the purpose of each rope related product; such as: knob knots used for drawer handles, baggy wrinkle for chafe gear, coach whipping for stanchion rails, rope shackles for your storage chest, sewing skills to make gear bags and sail mending, netmaking for storage, and rope fenders for hull protection. The author included no superfluous skills or fancy work (MacNamara's Lace as we called it in the Navy).
There is more than a hint of Yankee frugality pervading THE MARLINSPIKE SAILOR as Hervey Garrett Smith promotes self-sufficiency through recycling old rope and canvas, or anything else that can be salvaged and made useable.
THE MARLINSPIKE SAILOR is an important and useful book for the beginner to teach themselves the fundamental skills necessary to quickly make oneself a useful member of any traditional sailboat crew. This book should be read in conjunction with both THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS and SEAMANSHIP IN THE AGE OF SAIL.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Time Honoured Classic, April 27, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Marlinspike Sailor (Paperback)
As live-aboard cruisers, we have frequent uses for knots, bends and hitches. We have several instructional books on knotting and splicing, and the best remains "The Marlinspike Sailor" by Hervey Garrett Smith, published in 1956. Smith's explanations and illustrations stand the test of time. They are the clearest and easiest to follow of any instructions we've found. Invariably, we always pull out "The Marlinespike Sailor" when we're at loose ends!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Down To The Sea In Ships, July 27, 2006
By 
Konrei "Everything I need is right here" (Boca Raton, Florida and Brooklyn, New York) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Marlinspike Sailor (Paperback)
THE MARLINSPIKE SAILOR, now in its 46th year, is one of the half-dozen or so "essential" books in any sailor's working library. Just a bit less cumbersome than THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS. THE MARLINSPIKE SAILOR is an excellent book to keep on board to teach yourself or your crew the fundamentals of working with rope, so critical a part of sailing.

I find Mr. Dupre's criticism of the use of nautical terminology in THE MARLINSPIKE SAILOR to be a bit ironic; after all, that's like saying a cookbook makes too many references to kitchen utensils.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A handy little boook, September 30, 2005
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This review is from: The Marlinspike Sailor (Paperback)
A chatty and charming little notebook of traditional skills for working traditional 3-ply laid line. Owners of classic craft will find it useful, and those with an interested in traditional sailing skills will find it a must-have for their library. I'm already contemplating burying my gaff-rigged catboat in acres of netting, woven rugs and baggywrinkle.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must-have for the Knotter's Library, October 10, 2005
By 
Brett C. (Helena, MT USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Marlinspike Sailor (Paperback)
I bought this book for two specific reasons. First, because it is recommended by many other knot tyers that know their stuff, and second, because of the illustrations. Although digital photos are nice, I very much enjoy the drawings in this book. They are very clear and easy to follow, and the accompanying text is enjoyable to read as well.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sailing knots and splices, January 19, 2007
This review is from: The Marlinspike Sailor (Paperback)
I purchased this book for my husband who has been looking for a easy explanation of splicing...He had the following to say: Have looked through several books on sailing knots and splicing and none have done a better job than The Marlinspike Sailor. The text shows a decent array of knots and does a great job on splicing which is what I purchased the text for. I have had no trouble following the simple directions to troublefree splices...a great item
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference for traditional sailors, August 18, 1997
This review is from: The Marlinspike Sailor (Paperback)
Execllent overview of functional and decorative marlinspike seamanship; and clearly written by a real sailorman! Not very deep in any individual area, but highly useful to the novice. I actually made a few items using the instructions, they worked
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to of Knots, February 23, 2006
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This review is from: The Marlinspike Sailor (Paperback)
This is a great book for anyone wanting to learn about nautical knots, and sundry other nautical things. You won't learn how to sail but you can tie a bowline, sew a ditty bag or build a sea chest with the best of them. A great book for someone looking for how to use the traditional materials. The book gives very little coverage of modern man-made fiber ropes.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun to read but not a how-to book, April 5, 2008
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This review is from: The Marlinspike Sailor (Paperback)
Pros: It's well written and fun to read. It's full of historic information and anecdotes. The illustrations represent a wide variety of interesting projects .

Cons: The book is very uneven. Some projects are explained in details with patterns and step-by-step diagrams. Some have little or no explanation. I also noticed that some knot-tying diagrams are inaccurate and near-impossible to follow.

I recommend the book as a fun and engaging overview of marlinspike seamanship, but if you want to learn the craft, this book alone is not sufficient.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A necessary resource for the traditional boatowner!, July 23, 1998
This review is from: The Marlinspike Sailor (Paperback)
Marlinspike Sailor is a "must" for anyone interested in making all the little extras that finish off a traditional wooden boat (rope ladders, fenders, baggywrinkle, etc.). The directions for each project are clear and well-illustrated; the end result is usually very nice!
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The Marlinspike Sailor
The Marlinspike Sailor by Hervey Garrett Smith (Paperback - September 1, 1993)
$17.95 $13.15
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