If you have a boat with external sail track and slides you’re probably aware that everyone has an opinion about how to secure those sail slides to the sail. The most common way today is to use a webbing seizing — a narrow length of webbing wrapped several times around the bail of the slide, through the luff grommet, and hand-sewn in place. Compared with the alternatives–plastic or stainless-steel shackles–webbing is better.
But let’s say you’re not a sewing kind of person and you’d like a quick, easy method that will absorb shock loads and won’t chafe the luff or wear through the bail of the slide? We’ve got the perfect solution: The Privateer Knot. Made of heavy Latigo leather, it requires no sewing! I recently had someone ask me for info on how to make the Privateer Knot so put together some info including a photo and drawing as well as this link to the online “Instructable” for the knot. I wrote about the Privateer Knot several years ago here on our blog.
This knot became near to my heart when I learned it was actually named for Schooner Mahdee — she was known as Schooner Privateer from 1953 until 1983. The story and reference to the Schooner Mahdee is told in Marino’s 2001 Sailmakers Apprentice. Following the Instructables above or Marino’s instructions, with a bit of latigo leather and a sharp pair of scissors you’ll have your slides secured to your sail very quickly using the Privateer Knot.