Boye Knife Saves a Life
Dear Practical Sailor Magazine and David Boye,
I wanted to thank you both Practical Sailor for recommending Boye knives, and to David Boye for making the perfect sailing knife.
Per Practical Sailor's recommendation in the June 1st, 2000 edition, (plus subsequent issues), and speaking with David directly at the Newport Boat show a couple years ago, I purchased a Boye Cobalt sheep-foot serrated bladed knife. For the past few years I have faithfully strapped my knife holster to my belt prior to sailing. Sadly, after 5000 ocean racing miles and many a lazy day cruising along Long Island Sound New York, my Boye knife was only used on rare occasions; cutting rigging tape or slicing the end off a line for re-whippings nothing exciting or dramatic, but always reliable.
How quickly the tide turns.
This past weekend I was off-shore racing in Sydney, Australia on a 1980 12-ton Holland 44 foot sailboat. The breeze was a fresh 25 knots, gusting up to 35 knots, waves were rolling steadily from three to six feet. We were five miles off shore, racing down-wind with a spinnaker pulling the boat at speeds exceeding 9 knots. I was crewing at the mast, setting up for a dip-pole spinnaker jibe. Due to gusting winds, pitching boat through swells and whatever (things happen so fast in gale-force breezes), during our jibe the pole jetted for the sky, the mast fitting slammed down to the deck, the pole unlocked from the mast (still attached on the spinnaker end) and was whipping violently across the foredeck. The foredeck crew member was forced forward to the bow, unable to move aft due to the thrashing spinnaker pole. The crew member who was working in the pit (who has asked to remain nameless) came forward to assist me. In doing so, he accidentally placed his foot within the spinnaker sheet and brace. I was looking forward trying to sort out the pole situation, and heard a blood-curling scream from behind me. Because the boat was dead-down wind for the jibe, all the spinnaker sheets and braces became fully loaded with a 35 knot gust. I turned around to instantly see my friend's leg wrapped around a fully-loaded spinnaker sheet. He was hanging upside down, with half his body being dragged through the lifelines. I grabbed my Boye knife and within seconds positioned myself outside the lifelines and with a mere single swipe, sliced the spinnaker sheet clean through. Please find attached a photo of the cut line remaining on the boat side (the cut non-loaded side is obvious, and yes the inner core was stretched six inches under the loaded cut side). The shackle snapped off the spinnaker end, so fortunately all we lost was the other end of the line. My friend¹s leg and life were saved.
My biggest lesson learned with respect to my Boye knife is to NOT wrap the knife blade around the lanyard. The few seconds it took me to un-tangle the lanyard may make the difference between life and death if an accident like this ever happens again.
I hate sailing stories like this, but I wanted to THANK YOU for making a valuable difference in recommending and providing a quality product when sailor's lives are on the line. Practical Sailor, please keep the great reviews coming. And David, keep making those sharp blades!
Wishing you fair winds and following seas,
USCG Cpt. John Brown III