SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,103 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
During fitting out the boat for school a couple of weeks ago I noticed two new ways to fail at knot tying.

The cleat hitch seems to be pretty full-proof but I managed to tie it in a way that let it slip off.

I was using a line that did not have a loop on the end so I had to use a cleat hitch on the boat side before it was tied off on the dock end.

What I did was hold the tail short and use the bulk of the line to make the cleat hitch.

What I should have done is to slack out a couple feet of tail and make the cleat hitch with the tail just like I would have to had done if the line was already attached to the dock.

It was only for a couple minutes and I did it on purpose in a hurry thinking it wouldn't matter.

It does, the line came off.

In another case I had a batten that has a hole in the end where the PO uses a cable time to stitch the batten to a grommet hole in the leach. I figured I could use some 1/8" line with a square knot. It would have worked but the square knot would not hold in the 1/8" slippery polyester line. We had to use the cable tie.


Add that to the fact that a clove hitch will not hold a 50" boat on a dock pole in Port Jefferson and I'm getting a collection of knot tying no-no's

I did have a success however. I was able to use a soft shackle I had with me to connect the halyard to the head of the mainsail to test it. The old shackle was too small.

This worked great until we got the replacement shackle.
 

·
Not Finished Yet
Joined
·
829 Posts
There are a lot of ways for a cleat hitch to fail. One thing we are taught early on is that it is sacrilege to tile a cleat hitch that is anything other than one wrap, one cross, and the hitch. This works great for most situations, but there are several where it will certainly fail. One is where the cleat is very large and the line very small. Another is where you have a smallish line on a cleat that is not a horn cleat. Both of these situations require more wraps before the hitch.

The key is to understand the dynamic of the knot: the hitch has to cause friction on the wrap. If one wrap is insufficient to provide friction, more wraps are required to provide enough friction.

There will always be the well meaning telling you that multiple wraps are un-seamanlike. Those who understand the mechanic of the know know better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,796 Posts
I never focused on knots until I started climbing. People ask "but how do you know the knot is good?" They are right, there is zero tolerance for mistakes. You check your work, every time.

I don't think I've ever had a knot fail, excluding a few mistakes with 6-pound mono when I forgot my glasses!

Clove hitches can slip on large diameter piles; the knot dynamic changes. Back it up by tying off the tail.
 

·
Over Hill Sailing Club
Joined
·
3,688 Posts
After losing a couple of battens overboard, I finally sewed deep, triangular pockets into my sails. Can't find a picture but they are triangular pieces at the leech into which the batten ends drop after sliding in. It's next to impossible for them to ever shake out and eliminates any tie-off system or hardware. Tying off batten ends is generally a bad system, prone to loosening and spitting out battens to the deep blue:) +1 on more than one initial wrap on a cleat hitch if the cleat is a large one. Looking at the cleat hitches along docks everywhere, I've noticed that MOST of them are tied incorrectly.
 
  • Like
Reactions: davidpm

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,036 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,103 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I never focused on knots until I started climbing. People ask "but how do you know the knot is good?" They are right, there is zero tolerance for mistakes. You check your work, every time.

I don't think I've ever had a knot fail, excluding a few mistakes with 6-pound mono when I forgot my glasses!

Clove hitches can slip on large diameter piles; the knot dynamic changes. Back it up by tying off the tail.
That's exactly what happened. It was a 10-12" piling.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,103 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
David did the clove hitch fail immediately or take a while to work loose?
It was a 50' boat and it was surging. It waited to fail at the worst possible time about 3 minutes after I tied it.
 

·
Tartan 27' owner
Joined
·
5,242 Posts
It was a 50' boat and it was surging. It waited to fail at the worst possible time about 3 minutes after I tied it.
I thought I tied that clove hitch david. The wind was gusting up into the 40's. We also made a horn cleat go airborne from the dock that day. That was fun. Then the CG Aux. guys helped us resecure the 50' Bendytoe.
 

·
Over Hill Sailing Club
Joined
·
3,688 Posts
It was a 50' boat and it was surging. It waited to fail at the worst possible time about 3 minutes after I tied it.
Adhering to Murphy's Law:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
It was a 50' boat and it was surging. It waited to fail at the worst possible time about 3 minutes after I tied it.
Better than after you were home on the couch.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,669 Posts
During my 4 year stint in the US Navy, I was often at the mercy of a chief bosun mate. One of the very first knots we learned to tie was a cleat hitch, which is fairly easy. And, when done properly, it will not slip. Since then, I've seen so many wrong configurations of a cleat hitch that the number is mind boggling. The worst one I saw was recently done by a guy who claims he is a retired USCG captain.

The correct way, at least the way the Navy taught me, is in the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMwXjckgiOs

Gary :cool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,764 Posts
During my 4 year stint in the US Navy, I was often at the mercy of a chief bosun mate. One of the very first knots we learned to tie was a cleat hitch, which is fairly easy. And, when done properly, it will not slip. Since then, I've seen so many wrong configurations of a cleat hitch that the number is mind boggling. The worst one I saw was recently done by a guy who claims he is a retired USCG captain.

The correct way, at least the way the Navy taught me, is in the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMwXjckgiOs

Gary :cool:
I agree, that's the deal.

I also agree with those above, if you do so with too small a line for the cleat, it will slip. Continuing the turn around the original horn does add more friction. Not necessary 99% of the time.

One of the biggest mistakes I see made is not starting on the correct side of the cleat. Without doing so, the knot does not properly pull on the cleat, nor create as much friction, both of which could cause slipping. The second was shown in the video, by improperly tying the final hitch. The video suggests that will make it hard to unload, but I believe it makes it more prone to coming undone.

Then there are those that tie as many alternating hitches as they can fit on the horns, following the old adage......... If you can't tie a knot, tie alot. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,103 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I thought I tied that clove hitch david. The wind was gusting up into the 40's. We also made a horn cleat go airborne from the dock that day. That was fun. Then the CG Aux. guys helped us resecure the 50' Bendytoe.
I am more that willing to blame you but sadly it was me.
Live and learn.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,103 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Better than after you were home on the couch.
We did the coast guard auxiliary guys a solid. They had just taken their annual ride in a real coast guard boat and had docked next to us.

We gave them a little excitement as they were able to save us.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MedSailor

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,103 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
During my 4 year stint in the US Navy, I was often at the mercy of a chief bosun mate. One of the very first knots we learned to tie was a cleat hitch, which is fairly easy. And, when done properly, it will not slip. Since then, I've seen so many wrong configurations of a cleat hitch that the number is mind boggling. The worst one I saw was recently done by a guy who claims he is a retired USCG captain.

The correct way, at least the way the Navy taught me, is in the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMwXjckgiOs

Gary :cool:
That is the way I teach it too right out of the ASA 101 book.

The think I would like to repeat because it was not obvious to me is that you HAVE to tie the cleat hitch with the bitter end of the line. If you tie it with the standing end of the line it can EASILY fall off.

I have never seen that mentioned before.

In other words you can tie it exactly like the video but with the opposite end of the line and it will fail.

The reason if fails that way is fairly obvious e of course it you take a moment to look at it.
 

·
Closet Powerboater
Joined
·
3,925 Posts
That is the way I teach it too right out of the ASA 101 book.

The think I would like to repeat because it was not obvious to me is that you HAVE to tie the cleat hitch with the bitter end of the line. If you tie it with the standing end of the line it can EASILY fall off.

I have never seen that mentioned before.

In other words you can tie it exactly like the video but with the opposite end of the line and it will fail.

The reason if fails that way is fairly obvious e of course it you take a moment to look at it.
While it may not be obvious, I would extrapolate what you have learned further to mean, "You can't necessarily tie a standard knot of any type using a bight."

MedSailor
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,036 Posts
The think I would like to repeat because it was not obvious to me is that you HAVE to tie the cleat hitch with the bitter end of the line. If you tie it with the standing end of the line it can EASILY fall off.

I have never seen that mentioned before.

In other words you can tie it exactly like the video but with the opposite end of the line and it will fail.

The reason if fails that way is fairly obvious e of course it you take a moment to look at it.
I'm having a hard time trying to visualize what you did..
1. Did you have the load on the end where you had the last (locking) half hitch?
2. Or did you tie using the bight - double'd up rope?

It's important to understand how knots and hitches work to use the correct knot the correct way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,103 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I'm having a hard time trying to visualize what you did..
1. Did you have the load on the end where you had the last (locking) half hitch?
2. Or did you tie using the bight - double'd up rope?

It's important to understand how knots and hitches work to use the correct knot the correct way.
If this cleat was on your boat and the line going up was going to your dock this would be the right way.



This is what I did which looks similar but does not work.



Notice that the load line is the last loop in the wrong one but the first loop in the correct one
 

·
Over Hill Sailing Club
Joined
·
3,688 Posts
Yes, the bitter end has to be after the last hitch. Putting the tensioned hitch last will almost guarantee that it will loosen and slip off when the line slacks.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top