I see in Diane’s 3-4-2017 Blog entry: "Bowlines are great knots. But they do occasionally slip. Make sure you pull the knot tight and leave enough of a tail on the bitter end."
The word “occasionally” implies a random event. I disagree. Do it right every time, and it won’t be:
In my experience, after many days of high tension use, the jib sheet bowline becomes so tight that it’s impossible to untie it with bare fingers. That is set.
With a set jib sheet bowline, you are much more assured that it will not untie itself; however, it is still up to you to inspect and determine that it remains OK, and that the amount of tail has remained constant. When it comes time to untie the bowline, you may need to use a marlinspike to loosen the knot and “break its back.”
So be wary of two characteristics of a correctly tied bowline having extra tail:
Discussion of knots is a slippery topic.
1. Outside Magazine discussion about what happened to a climber when a bowline came undone.
2. The Great Outdoors site reviews how the bowline performs in different situations.
From the admiral's chair
John Berol is the husband of Captain Diane. He commissioned Celtic Song in 2005, has sailed extensively and maintains an active interest in both the boat and her captain. He believes the more you know, the better you will sail. The term “Admiral’s Chair” is a family joke. For just as every writer needs an editor, so every captain needs an admiral.