Pros: Materials, Handle Material, Blade Material, Finish, Locking, Overall Quality, Included Tools
Cons: Sheath/Scabbard, None
A Beautiful Expression of the Sailor’s Knife
I’ve been looking for a nice sailor’s knife for awhile, and when I saw this Skipper Pro in the KnifeCenter e-mail promotional ad, I knew I had found the one I was looking for. I had a cheap 420J2 sailor’s knife when I was young, and messed around in a small sailboat on the bays Lake Michigan, and surrounding waters. It seems to have gone the way of my baseball card collection. I mainly want one for rope work/untying knots, etc. I have had an old wood handled awl on my desk for about as long as I can recall, that I have used for knots, and why I have not upgraded to a marlin spike sooner, I know not. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I have read that the wharncliffe blade of the sailor’s knife was developed, so, a sailor dropping the knife from above in the rigging would not kill/injure a sailor below, from penetration of a pointed blade. Having used rigging knives with wharncliffe blades, I believe this is romantic nonsense, or, perhaps, a slight side benefit. The advantage of the wharncliffe blade is that it transfers downward cutting power all the way to the point. Whereas, with a more traditional blade (say a drop point), once the rope you are cutting reaches the belly of the knife, the transferred power is pushing the rope away from you. Wharncliffe blades cut rope better (hawkbills, too). Whether, or not, a serrated blade cuts rope better is a big debate, and I’m not even going there. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Wow! This thing is solid/hand filling. It’s built like a Swiss Army Tank. Victorinox is calling their Skipper Pro blade a wavy edge (not serrated). Their serrations don’t have sharp points which can grab/bind too, much in some rope fibers, causing difficult cutting. These wavy edges grab/tear just enough without binding/becoming stuck. Skipper Pro has a saber ground primary grind, with a single bevel wavy edge, and double bevel on the plain edged portion of the blade. It will take special care in sharpening. I recommend EZ Lap Pocket Size Sharpener w/Tapered Shaft for Serrated Blades (EZLST, Available @ KnifeCenter.com). Knife blade opens easily one handed. Their oval thumb holes work better/more comfortable than round Spyder holes. I like Victorinox’s proprietary alphabet soup steel (X55CrMo14 or DIN 1.4110). It holds an edge fairly well, is easy to sharpen, and almost as stain resistant as 420J2 (sure holds an edge better). >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The marlin spike is robust. It only locks straight out at 180°, but opens stiff enough that it will hold fairly well at 90°, so you can sit in the galley with the knife open on the table and work on your monkey’s fist. My biggest gripe with many Swiss Army knives is they have a bunch of junk that you never use; or things like mini scissors that are so light weight and small (hard for large hands to use) that they are useless for anything but coupon clipping. The Swiss Army Skipper Pro has a selection of well thought out tools appropriate and useful for a sailor’s/rigging knife. The tweezers make sense where you will be working with wood spars, and even fiberglass, where you may pick up a sliver. They could have foregone the tooth pick, in lieu of a fine needle to aid in splinter removal, in my opinion. Maybe a dental floss dispenser : ) I usually end up losing the tweezers and toothpick from my Swiss Army knives at some point; but KnifeCenter.com has a nice selection of Victorinox tweezers, toothpicks, etc., available for purchase. I bought a bunch awhile back and put in a cigar box for future replacement. Now, if I could just find that cigar box. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> For the most part, I am not fond of blue handled knives (See Benchmade 535 Bugout Axis, available @ KnifeCenter.com). Why this blue Skipper Pro floats my boat, and not other blue handled knives is a mystery to me; but it does. The navy blue scales, with red contrasting Swiss Army cross, and white compass is a really handsome color scheme. This is a large/heavy knife; a little big for pocket carry. I wish they had included a pouch sheath, such as the one included with Victorinox Swiss Army Outdoorsman Hunter Pro Orange (available @ KnifeCenter.com). They are excellent sheaths. I like them so, much, I order one from Victorinox for the Skipper Pro, and one for my Cold Steel Folding Ultimate Hunter. Perhaps, if you called KnifeCenter.com customer service they could order one for you (about $16, item # 4.0822.4). >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> You don’t have to be a sailor to appreciate the Victorinox Swiss Army Skipper Pro. This knife would be great for canoeist, kayakers, backpackers, campers, mule skinners, ranch hands, or anyone who works regularly with rope. But, it would sure make an excellent gift for that sailor in your life, too.