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post #32 of Old 03-22-2013
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Re: How do you tie a cleat hitch?

Originally Posted by captflood View Post
GREETINGS EARTHLINGS :- I have never used this knot as it is known as a locking turn on the cleat. This can be dangerous when sailing big boats and you have to release the cleat in a hurry (for what ever reason). We just put more turns on the cealt. AS ALWAYS GO SAFE.

In my younger years working tug boats, your way is exactly the way we worked. A locking hitch would be a disaster waiting to happen. A few reasons come to mind:

1. With a locking hitch, there would be no way to get the line free of the cleat fast enough in an emergency cast-off situation

2. To remove the locking hitch would require someone to put their hands all over a line with an indeterminate amount of tonnage just waiting to snatch the line tight with your hands in there. (You ALWAYS slack a working line from several feet away by surging it. You could not surge off a locking hitch)

3. A locking hitch will not take any more working load than another wrap or two would accomplish

BUT, here's the difference:

A cleat hitch on a pleasure craft is usually to secure the vessel while you are gone and nobody is standing there minding the lines. I can't imagine walking away from my boat with no locking hitches on the cleats.

My boat uses 1/2" line, not 4-inch line. A locking hitch is no biggie to get out. If I can't use one hand to pull slack from the dock end toward the cleat, then the line is too tight to take loose. (imagine a case where the tide went out a lot more than you expect) I'll get a fid or a spike to take loose the hitch just in case the line decides to run as I pry the hitch loose.

Old habits do die hard. I still take a full turn around the base before I begin my figure-eight because the base should hold the load and the horns are just to give the line a way to bind on itself. I do a figure-eight, then one more half turn, then my locking hitch (half hitch.) All of which I know full well is silly and overkill. I can't help it. What was beaten into my skull so long ago just won't leave me.

Last edited by ShoalFinder; 03-22-2013 at 11:43 PM.
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