Marlingspike Seamanship

This is the specialized knowledge of cordage, including its construction, knots, splices, appropriate application, proper care, and management of inventory. This includes harnessing mechanical advantage of block and tackle, decorative or protective use of small stuff (twine or string). Essentially it is what comes to mind when thinking of the salty Jack Tar of the working age of sail. The word itself actually comes from a tool called a marlingspike, a corruption of the term “marlin’s spike” referring to the bill tip of the marlin fish, which was the original instrument used for picking apart strands of rope or cable to help facilitate splicing or untying knots. Eventually it became a pointed metal tool but the name remained.