Here is a Monkey’s Fist and a Bitter End… It’s not as kinky as it sounds. Marlinspike is a craft as old as rope. The weaving and tying of line has all kinds of decorative and functional uses. It’s a bit of a dying art. The marlinspike needs of a powered vessel are much different than those of a sail boat. 3 kinds of splices, and 4 types of knots are all I need to keep my boat running. An experienced sailor in the 19th century might have known 100 knots, and dozens of splices. Everything from his hammock to his belt was made with his Fid.
The traditional Monkey’s Fist has a rock in the middle of it. My Monkey’s fists usually have whatever is handy, roundish, and expendable in the middle. This one has a ball of electrical tape inside. Once it’s cinched up, a Monkey’s Fist is as hard as a baseball. I tie them with natural fibers for the dog to chew on. (no tape in the middle of those..)
The idea is that a softball sized knot is easier to catch than a plain line. As your boat gets close to the dock, you throw the knot and line to your friend on the dock, and he/she ties you off. My brother can actually use the plain end of a line to lasso a dock cleat, and pull the boat in!
The other is called a back splice. It’s intended to keep the Bitter End of the line from fraying. I make my dock lines with this splice at one end, and a loop splice at the other end. The other splice I use on the boat is one that connects two loose ends together.