How NOT to tie a cleat hitch - Page 6 - SailNet Community
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post #51 of 57 Old 06-21-2013
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Re: How NOT to tie a cleat hitch

Lets see: To cleat a line as approved by the USN and Merchant Mariners;
1. A round turn on the cleat base.
2. Followed by three to five figure eights on the horns. Natural fiber line three figure eights. Synthetic fiber lines you may need five figure eights.

And no, I don't like to finish off with a half hitch or two... They jamb and you end up cutting your mooring line.
But you can use the long bitter end of the line to take several round turns afterwards if you are really worried about slippage. Or just flemish coil the rest of the line down.

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Last edited by Boasun; 06-21-2013 at 09:47 AM.
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post #52 of 57 Old 06-21-2013
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Re: How NOT to tie a cleat hitch

Flemish coils hold dirt on the deck, I coil the tail and loop over the lines.

The true requirement of a good cleat hitch is that you can put it on with one hand and remove it with one hand - but not be able to shake it loose with all hands (on deck).

Anything else fails my test. Multiple figure 8's add nothing to the security or strength and only add to complexity of un-tying.

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post #53 of 57 Old 06-21-2013
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Re: How NOT to tie a cleat hitch

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boasun View Post
Lets see: To cleat a line as approved by the USN and Merchant Mariners;
1. A round turn on the cleat base.
2. Followed by three to five figure eights on the horns. Natural fiber line three figure eights. Synthetic fiber lines you may need five figure eights.

And no, I don't like to finish off with a half hitch or two... They jamb and you end up cutting your mooring line.
But you can use the long bitter end of the line to take several round turns afterwards if you are really worried about slippage. Or just flemish coil the rest of the line down.
A slightly different point of view:

A mooring line that is too long is much better than one that is too short.

Excess line (that you might need on another day at another site) can be effectively handled by multiple figure eights on the cleat. They don't hurt anything and may actually help with line slippage, but may not be so pretty.

And if you can't take up the line on the cleat this way, round turns on the cleat are effective to take up the excess line, but don't look pretty.

If you are tied to a cleat that is subject to be under water, be aware that churning water and wave action on a cleated line going alternately slack and tight can untie that line. And in this case, finishing off the bitter end with half hitches can save the day precisely because they do jam. Since you have applied multiple figure eights and round turns to handle excess line, only the very bitter end is subject to be cut if you can't take a few minutes to work the half hitches loose. In this case, the half hitches are not about the line slipping under load, but rather the ease with which the proper cleat hitch can be undone by the water action. Someone said you should be able to easily tie/untie with one hand, and so can the churning of the water. Visually, this line mess now rates a photo posting on this thread.....ugly but effective.

A "proper" cleat hitch with excess line in a Flemish coil is pretty if that is one's biggest concern so long as you are sure the line cannot slip and the cleat will not be underwater.
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post #54 of 57 Old 06-22-2013
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Re: How NOT to tie a cleat hitch

For boaters like that, they should hang a knife on a chain on every cleat. Makes leaving the dock a doddle

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Last edited by Ferretchaser; 06-22-2013 at 08:50 AM.
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post #55 of 57 Old 06-22-2013
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Re: How NOT to tie a cleat hitch

Okay...I thought I knew how to tie off onto a cleat, but was told by a neighbor some of my lines were incorrectly tied.

The problem was not the knot - which is kinda 'duh' for a sailor - but which horn of the cleat the hitch started on. His contention was that in the bow you should start the rope on the forward horn; in the stern, on the back-facing horn. His point was that this spread the force more evenly across the two bolts holding the cleat down. I have tried to visualize this, and damn I think he may be correct!
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post #56 of 57 Old 06-22-2013
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Re: How NOT to tie a cleat hitch

Think of it this way. That first turn around the horn should be able to begin to take some load. If you turn under the near horn, the line is not holding on anything. Always start at the furthest horn from the load.
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post #57 of 57 Old 07-03-2013
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Re: How NOT to tie a cleat hitch

I walked the docks today trying to find more than one cleat tied properly...I failed. Pictures to come


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