The Best Sailing Knots
Part II

The next 2 most important sailing knots are the clove hitch and the rolling hitch.

Let's begin with the...

The Clove Hitch


This is the knot we use for attaching our fenders to the railing or lifeline. It's easy and quick, and you can adjust the length in a blink of an eye!

It must be said that the knot might slip when there's nothing pulling on the other side, so that's why it's wise to add an extra half knot.

1

2

3

4

5

6

clove hitch

And to secure the clove hitch, we add a half knot...

7

8

sailing knot


The Rolling Hitch


What a name and what a knot! This one will get you out of trouble. Why? Because it has the power to attach itself firmly on a rope.

I use the rolling hitch in 2 cases:


1) Did you ever had a riding turn of your sheet or landline on your winch or capstan? Yes?

Well, then you know that it's nearly impossible to get that undone just by fiddling with it. There is so much strain on that rope, that it is necessary to transfer the load on to something else.

And here comes our rolling hitch in. You attach it to the piece of rope under tension and then you guide the line, with which you made the rolling hitch, to another winch or capstan.

Winch it in a bit further until the load is gone on the first winch / capstan.


2) When you are moored mediterranean style (which means stern towards the dock and your bow is attached to groundlines), then you have to secure the groundlines to the cleats on the bow. You pull the ropes in manually or via the windlass.

Now, when the groundline needs to be pulled in a little bit further, we can attach a line to the groundline via a rolling hitch. Then we connect the rolling hitch-line to the windlass or winch.

When pulled in enough, we take the slack up of the groundline and re-secure it to the cleat.


Okay, here's how you make this great sailing knot:

1

2

3

4

5

Making the rolling hitch

6

sailing knots

7

8

Rolling Hitch

In number 8, you see that if we pull to the left, the black line will lock onto the white rope.

If we pull to the right, the black line will slip over the white rope.

So, you make the rolling hitch like that, that you go twice around the rope on the side where you want the line to lock onto.

In this case, we went around twice on the left side, so it will lock on the left side.


Go back to Sailing Knots Part I.



Return from Sailing Knots Part II to Boating Skills and Seamanship 

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