An assessment of the strength of knots and splices used as eye terminations in a sailing environment

K.A. Milne, A. J. McLaren

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Research into knots, splices and other methods of forming an eye termination has been limited, despite the fact that they are essential and strongly affect the performance of a rope. The aim of this study was to carry out a comprehensive initial assessment of the breaking strength of eye terminations commonly used in a sailing environment, thereby providing direction for further work in the field. Supports for use in a regular tensile testing machine were specially developed to allow individual testing of each sample and a realistic spread of statistical data to be obtained. Over 180 break tests were carried out on four knots (the bowline, double bowline, figure-of-eight loop and perfection loop) and two splices (three-strand eye splice and braid-on-braid splice). The factors affecting their strength were investigated. A statistical approach to the analysis of the results was adopted. The type of knot was found to have a significant effect on the strength. This same effect was seen in both types of rope construction (three-strand and braid-on-braid). Conclusions were also drawn as to the effect of splice length, eye size, manufacturer and rope diameter on the breaking strength of splices. Areas of development and further investigation were identified.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages12
JournalSports Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • knot
  • rope
  • sailing
  • splice
  • sports engineering


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