Knots and Hitches

Clove Hitch:

A very common hitch in use at sea today, it consists of two half hitches jamming against each other. It is a useful knot for turning about a rail and hanging things from, but unreliable, especially when the direction of weight is liable to change; that could easily cause it to slip. This is the knot we use to secure our gaskets aloft when stowing sails.

Round Turn and two Half Hitches:

This all-purpose hitch is used to secure a rope or hawser to a ring or spar. It is useful in the fact that by removing the two half hitches, the weight on the rope can still be retained and eased out by slipping the round turn. 

Rolling Hitch:

This is a directional knot; it must be tied with the double turn across the part of the line that will be taking the weight to be effective. The rolling hitch is one of the most useful hitches employed at sea. Providing it is properly secured and the weight is against the double bight turn, the hitch should not slip. Old sailors used to secure their hammocks by use of a rolling hitch. This prevented the hammock from sliding to and from with the motion of the vessel when in a seaway. 


Probably the most common of all hitches in use at sea is the bowline. If is by far the best way of making a temporary eye in the end of a rope. It will not slip even when wet, it will not jam, and it will come adrift easily when no longer required. It is commonly used to secure a heaving line to the eye of a mooring rope when running a line ashore. 

Reef Knot:

Used to join two pieces of rope of equal size together. “Right over left, then Left over right”

Single and Double Sheet Bends:

This hitch is commonly used to join two ropes of unequal thickness. However, when employed for this purpose, there is a tendency for it to ‘jam up’ after weight has been taken on the standing part. 

Figure of Eight:

Used as a stopper knot and employed in many forms. An all-purpose knot, it prevents a rope from running through a block. 

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