Knives: 23 tested

Knives testedWe put knives from Gill, Opinel, Captain Currey, Force 4, Gerber and more to the test.

No matter what type of sailing you take part in, some bits of kit are vital for sailors – a sailing knife can save your life.

But picking the right one from the huge range on offer can be daunting.

Our writer Duncan Kent got hold of a range of knives to see which is best for a sailor’s needs.

Knife Law

The UK Government’s Knife Law is outlined on its web page here.

The maximum penalty for an adult carrying a knife or weapon illegally is either 4 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both. The UK Government says you’ll get a prison sentence if you’re convicted of carrying a knife or weapon illegally more than once.

It is illegal to publicly carry any knife with a blade that can be locked open – regardless of blade length.

The government strongly advise you speak with your local police force to confirm your knife is not only legal, but also that you have ‘good reason’ to be carrying it in public – ie. back and forth to your boat.

Knives testedExamples given include:

taking knives you use at work to and from your workplace.

taking knives to a gallery or museum to be exhibited.

the knife is going to be used for theatre, film, television, historical re-enactment or religious purposes.

Most likely taking a knife to your boat would be covered in the first condition, but that has not always been proved correct and it will depend entirely on the way the law is interpreted by whoever stops you. If you are charged it will be down to the court to decide whether you had good reason to be carrying that knife at that time.

Note – prices listed below are correct at the time of publication.


See all our sailing gear reviews




Verdict: Not quite as good at rope or webbing cutting as a serrated blade, but still pretty effective and useful to have the locking spike as well.

Value: 5/10 Performance: 7/10


Verdict: Chunkier and heavier than the Bosun, but the separate shackle key is more user-friendly. It looks a bit smarter too, being polished stainless steel rather than just matt finish.

Value: 6/10 Performance: 6/10

FORCE 4 POCKET SERRATED, approx £12.95 [Best Budget Buy]

Verdict: Surprisingly sharp and effective for such a small knife and economically priced.

Value: 9/10

Performance: 7/10

GERBER Bear Grylls SCOUT, approx £24.99

Verdict: We liked this knife – it’s well balanced and very sharp, but not too big.

Value: 8/10

Performance: 9/10

GERBER EZ OUT, approx £34.95

Verdict: Light and very sharp, but a thumb stud would make it genuinely an ‘EZ Out’ device for one handed operation. A rubberised handle would also improve its grip.

Value: 5/10 Performance: 8/10


Verdict: Cheap and cheerful little pocket knife for odd little jobs, but clearly not up to the task of serious rope cutting.

Value: 6/10 Performance:4/10

GERBER ULTRALIGHT, approx £17.99

Verdict: A bit too small for serious rope cutting, but handy to have in your pocket for a number of other jobs.

Value: 3/10 Performance:5/10

GILL MARINE TOOL, approx £19.95

Verdict: Not the quickest cutter, but a nice looking tool and good value as well – especially considering the smart canvas belt pouch supplied.

Value: 8/10 Performance:4/10


Verdict: Great to have a serrated blade and a webbing cutter in one and the one-handed opening is a boon for deck work.

Value: 7/10 Performance:7/10

IBBERSON HEAVY DUTY, approx £28.75

Verdict: A fairly standard looking sailor’s knife, but from top quality stainless steel and is extremely sharp and effective at cutting all types of rope and webbing.

Value: 7/10 Performance:8/10

INOX FLOATING, approx £12.65

Verdict: Surprisingly good cutter and handy if you particularly need a floating knife for the liferaft, say. Not very pretty, though, and a blade lock and lanyard would improve it considerably.

Value: 8/10 Performance:8/10

OPINEL CARBON, approx £7.13

Verdict: Not really a yachtsman’s knife, but pretty sharp so would be okay as a GP knife for above and below decks.

Value: 7/10 Performance:8/10


Verdict: A very good cutter, nice and light and easily gripped. Difficult to justify the cost though.

Value: 3/10 Performance:9/10

WHITBY SAILORS LOCK, approx £11.53

Verdict: Okay for general use, but the 50/50 plain/serrated blade isn’t ideal for serious rope cutting.

Value: 5/10 Performance:6/10


Verdict: A pretty basic knife, but with above average cutting performance and the ability to see it easily in the dark is a bonus.

Value: 5/10 Performance:8/10



See all our sailing gear reviews




Verdict: A fine quality general purpose sheath knife with good cutting abilities and an attractive leather sheath.

Value: 8/10 Performance:6/10


Verdict: Looks ideal for clearing prop debris like netting and rope.

Value: 5/10 Performance:5/10

FORCE 4 RACE RESCUE, approx £37.95 [Top Buy/Recommended]

Verdict: We like this knife for its simplicity, excellent hand grip, thick blade and positive sheath locking action. It was pretty damn sharp too!

Value: 7/10 Performance:9/10

GERBER BG ULTIMATE, approx £70.00

Verdict: Not cheap but a lot of knife for the money and a serious rope cutting device in an emergency.

Value: 5/10 Performance:7/10

GERBER RIVER SHORTY, approx £49.99

Verdict: Good, strong general purpose knife with excellent cutting performance, although just a little short for prop clearing. Good for opening oysters though.

Value: 6/10 Performance:9/10

GILL MARINE RESCUE, approx £34.95

Verdict: Nice to hold, well balanced and a stout blade, but not particularly sharp.

Value: 6/10 Performance:4/10

MYERCHIN OFFSHORE/PRO, approx £76.74/£78.39 [Top Performer]

Verdict: Costly, but worth it for the quality of steel, handle and leather pouch. The Pro version was the top performer over all the tests.

Value: 7/10 Performance:9/10

WHITBY TEKNO RESCUE, approx £31.26

Verdict: A good all-round sailor’s/diver’s knife ideal for cutting rope from a prop.

Value: 8/10 Performance: 8/10


See all our sailing gear reviews


The post Knives: 23 tested appeared first on Sailing Today.


Admiral’s Cup to return in 2025 (with a Fastnet finish)

The historic Admiral’s Cup – for many the unofficial ‘world cup’ for offshore racing – which ran from 1957-1999 is set to return in 2025 having last been sailed in 2003

The Admiral’s Cup, formerly the most prestigious offshore/inshore regatta in the world, is scheduled to return in 2025, the Royal Ocean Racing Club announced today.

Few events make big boat sailors as misty-eyed as the Admiral’s Cup. First held in 1957 it took place biennially until 1999, and in its heyday saw as many as 19 countries competing in three-boat teams. After numbers dwindled it was cancelled in 2001, then flickered back into life in 2003 before the 2005 Admiral’s Cup was cancelled and has not run since.

The Admiral’s Cup. Photo: Matthew Dickens / Imagecomms

However, today’s announcement confirms that RORC is planning to run the event biennially once again, with the next event provisionally due to start on 19 July, 2025.

Widely considered the unofficial ‘world cup’ for offshore racing the Admiral’s Cup format traditionally saw international teams compete out of Cowes on the Isle of Wight, UK. Iconic entries have included Ted Heath with Morning Cloud, Eric Tabarly on Pen Duick III, and Bob Oatley with Wild Oats, while the crew lists read like a who’s who of America’s Cup, Olympic sailing and Whitbread Around the World Race talent.

The regatta’s courses featured inshore racing in the Solent, a Channel Race, and – famously – until 1999 the regatta included the 608-mile Rolex Fastnet Race. RORC has confirmed that they will continue this tradition, with three days of inshore racing and two short offshores scheduled before the fleet joins the 2025 Rolex Fastnet Race starting on 26 July.

Teams will consist of two boats, representing either a yacht club or a country, with Class 1 yachts of 44-56ft, and Class 2 yachts from 36-44ft.

Prime Minister Edward at the wheel of Morning Cloud at the start of the Fastnet Race for the 1973 Admirals Cup. Photo: Popperfoto/Getty

“Bringing back the Admiral’s Cup is a wonderful way to celebrate the centenary of the Royal Ocean Racing Club,” commented James Neville, Commodore of RORC, which was founded in 1925.

“The chosen format for the 2025 Admiral’s Cup respects the tradition of the regatta, as well as choosing IRC Classes for boats that are competing offshore at the top level internationally. By announcing over two years before the start of the Admiral’s Cup, teams will have time to prepare for a fantastic event. The RORC aim is to attract teams from all over the world for the 2025 Admiral’s Cup.”

Director of the RORC Rating Office, Jason Smithwick explained the rating bands for the eligible yachts. “The Admiral’s Cup Class IRC rating band and length range have been carefully selected to allow as many boat types to be eligible, while maintaining a compact group for each class in terms of performance and also size constraints for racing in the Solent and adjacent waters. The rating bands are purposely aimed to produce close racing so boats experience similar conditions throughout the wide range of races in the Admiral’s Cup.

The Mumm 36 Barlow Plastics (the campaign which many top young British big boat sailors made their name on) competing in the 2001 Admiral’s Cup. Photo: Bluegreen Pictures / Alamy

“For Admiral’s Cup Class 1 there are the bigger boats with a length above 44ft, (13.41m) up to 56ft (17.20m), this range encompasses boats like the Cookson 50 and ubiquitous highly competitive IRC 52/TP 52 fleet as examples.
“The modest sized boats in Admiral’s Cup Class 2 ranges in length from 36ft (11.00m) up to 44ft (13.40m) and has many boat options with comparatively high performance, such as the MAT 1180, J/125, GP42, and Ker 46.”

RORC Racing Manager Steve Cole added: “With a mixture of tight inshore racing and the challenge of offshore racing, culminating in the Rolex Fastnet Race, the Admiral’s Cup will deliver exciting racing.

“There will be no limitations on professional crew, but in addition, the RORC will continue our drive for inclusivity in yacht racing by amending the IRC crew numbers for the event to allow one additional crew member, if a boat has two women or two under 25-year-old sailors, or a combination.”

The Royal Ocean Racing Club will be writing to all the major yacht clubs around the globe, inviting them to enter a team, as well as inviting expressions of interest from proposed Admiral’s Cup teams before the Pre-Notice of Race, which will be issued on 19 July 2023.

If you enjoyed this….

Yachting World is the world’s leading magazine for bluewater cruisers and offshore sailors. Every month we have inspirational adventures and practical features to help you realise your sailing dreams.
Build your knowledge with a subscription delivered to your door. See our latest offers and save at least 30% off the cover price.

The post Admiral’s Cup to return in 2025 (with a Fastnet finish) appeared first on Yachting World.