Best Sailing Knives

The Best Sailing Knife

How to choose the sailing knife that’s right for you

A sailing knife is a very personal thing. You can start an good argument in any yacht club bar by saying that the knife you carry when on board is the best.

The truth is, there is no such thing as a perfect sailing knife.

Basically, sailing knives come down to two types, folding or fixed. They are further divided into serrated blades and non-serrated blades, sharp tip or blunt tipped. Folding knives are also available with or without marlin spike, and with a locking or non-locking blade

And even though they’re all marked as stainless steel, check for any magnetic interference with a small magnet before you buy a knife.

Modern high tech line is difficult to cut, and your knife’s ability to cut this line may one day save your life. Good cutting performance should be right at the top of your list of “must haves” in a sailing knife.

Lastly, the most efficient, useful knife you can own is the one you have on you when an emergency arrives. The best knife in the world is useless if you’re not wearing it when you need it.

Personally, I would wear a good fixed blade serrated rigging knife and martin spike when sailing and have a quality serrated blade folding knife in my pocket. With lanyards on both.
Here’s what you should look for in a sailing knife

Fixed blade knives

Remember, fixed knives are easier to grab and use in an emergency

  • High quality stainless steel blade, preferably serrated or half serrated
  • Blunt (sheepsfoot) blade
  • Comfortable non-slip handle with thumb stop
  • A lanyard ring or hole in the handle for a lanyard
  • An opening in the handle (NOT the blade) to use as a shackle key
  • A separate marlin spike in the same sheath
  • Non-magnetic steel

Folding blade knives

  • High quality stainless steel blade, preferably serrated or half serrated
  • Both blade and marlin spike must lock in open position
  • Blunt (sheepsfoot) blade
  • A lanyard ring
  • Must be able to open with one hand – even with sailing gloves on
  • Should include a marlin spike – very useful
  • Preferably include a key for opening shackles
  • Non-magnetic steel

When it comes to cutting high tech line, there have been some tests conducted over the last few years and the makers that stand out appear to be SPYDERCO, MYERCHIN, and BOYE

Spyderco Atlantic Folding Sailing Knife – my personal choice

Spyderco’s Atlantic Salt is a modified rescue knife. The Atlantic’s blade material is an extraordinary Japanese steel that uses nitrogen instead of carbon to create its steel matrix. The result is an austenitic steel that does not require heat treatment, gets harder and tougher with use and is absolutely impervious to rust.

The hollow- ground blade is available fully serrated or non-serrated. Both blades offer exceptional cutting performance. The large14mm Round Hole makes one-handed opening easier with gloved or wet hands.

The fiberglass-reinforced-nylon handle has Volcano Grip texturing to ensure a slip-free grip, and comes in black or marine yellow. A strong back lock mechanism with David Boye’s locking lever dent provides secure, reliable blade lock-up.

This is the best folding sailing knife in my opinion. You won’t regret it if you get the fully serrated yellow handle model. Easy to open when wearing gloves. Makes a great gift.

Myerchin A200P Generation 2 Offshore System – My personal choice

The Myerchin A200P Generation 2 Offshore System of knife and marlin spike looks good and works well. The three quarter serration blade allows the tip portion to have a tradition fine ground blade. Cuts synthetic line easily. Comes with a Lifetime warranty and serial number.

The A200P features a natural wood handle.
The length: Overall: 8.25″ / Blade: 3.5″ / Spike: 6.65″
Weight: Knife: 7.5 oz / Spike: 2.5 oz
Made from high quality 440 C stainless steel
Comes with a black leather sheath

I love these knives. This is the classic sail and riggers kit brought up-to-date with 21st century technology. Every man or woman with salt in their veins wants one.


Myerchin Knife A100N Natural Bone Handle Limited Edition – YES PLEASE!

No two of these beautiful knives are alike … here’s a true collector’s piece which, with proper care, you should be able to pass on to your grandson. Made from pro-grade German marine stainless which is comparable to 440C for hardness and edge-holding properties.  This modern upgrade features thicker steel, lighter overall weight, shackle slot and improved lanyard attachment.

The Classic Sheepsfoot blade design is a modern version of the classic knives used by seamen for centuries. The kit includes a heavy leather sheath, knife, and Myerchin marlinspike.

A note about natural bone knife handles: The real beauty of a natural material comes from the unique qualities of each piece. Every handle has slight color differences, natural stress lines, and the ability to weather and age gracefully as it is handled by the owner. You can scrimshaw the material, protect it with a natural carnauba wax, or just let nature slowly change its patina.

Boye knives – The Best, but Expensive

boyesailknifeThe Rolls Royce of sailing knives. Very expensive. If you drop it over the side – be prepared to dive. Boye’s dendritic cobalt blade is not steel, but a mixture of cobalt, chrome, nickel, tungsten, silicon, iron, and carbon. It cuts high-tech line easily and is completely impervious to seawater corrosion. Dendretic cobalt is non-magnetizeable, so there is no compass interference.

If I could justify the investment I wouldn’t hesitate – I’d own both a fixed and folding Boye. Drop some heavy hints before your birthday or Christmas

Or treat yourself – Boye Knives