The Common (And Controversial) Cleat Hitch
BoatUS Trailering Editors
Ask three boaters how to tie a cleat hitch and the debate is sure to follow
Despite the back and forth on this basic boating knot, here are some basics:
It's important to wrap the dock line first around the farther cleat horn (in this case the right), then around the closer horn (on the left) before crossing over the cleat and beginning the figure 8.
After making the first cross of the cleat with the line and going around the horn (on the right) a second time in a figure-8, make a half-hitch (or just flip the line) so the cleat is crossed again. Note the two parallel lines in the center and that the half-hitch continues the figure-8.
Tighten as shown. The working end of the line (right) comes away from the cleat in the opposite direction from which it began.
Any remaining length of line should be "flemished" so that it won’t trip anyone walking on the dock or tangle when leaving the dock. The same holds true if the cleat is onboard.
With Full Wrap
This is how the cleat hitch begins with a full wrap. The next steps are the same as shown above.
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