Cleat Hitch

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The Cleat Hitch looks easy enough but it is easy to get wrong. Tied properly, it’s very secure and you shouldn’t need to load the cleat up with lots of extra turns so it’s fast to untie in a hurry. That’s an important poiny, as this knot is used a lot on mooring lines. Secure one end of you mooring line on the boat, pass the other through a ring on the dock and then tie a cleat hitch back on your boat.

The mooring rope should reach the cleat at an angle and must be led round the horn of the cleat that is furthest away first. Count 2 touch points looping round the cleat then pass the line over the top and round diagonally. Then finish off with a locking loop.
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Make sure you twist the rope the right way on the lock, it’s pretty obvious when you have it right as the knot looks very neat with plenty of rope touching for friction. Twist away from the entering line, but best just to have a play… practise it until you have it down.
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Some people like to start with 3 touching points ( a complete loop) and finish with one more loop (the OXO method), and that is also a good technique, but it´s debatable whether it´s any more secure and it´ll take you longer to untie in a hurry.

If you though that was useful, you should also check out our anchor hitch page – another useful knot in the same family.