Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Sailing Rope Secrets for Safety and Security

by John Jamieson on 21 Dec 2012
Add one or two half-hitches to boost the security of a relatively weak knot, like the clove hitch. Captain John Jamieson http://www.skippertips.com
How many times have you tied a knot, bend, or hitch and had it untie itself? Did you know that you can beef the security of any sailing knot in less than ten seconds? Here John Jamieson (Captain John) divulges some knotty secrets:

How Kinks and Knots Knock Down Rope Strength:
Kinks (also called 'hockles') in a line can break fibers. This weakens the line by up to 30% of its original strength. To prevent kinks, coil line before anchoring, docking, or towing. Coil three-strand line in a clockwise direction. Twist your wrist 1/4 turn to the right just before you lay down each coil. This prevents kinks and keeps the coil flat. Coil double braid clockwise without the final twist.

Make Friction Your Friend:

Tie a bowline knot to a rail, lifeline, or stanchion and you can count on lateral (side) slip. This can cause excessive chafe. Many super secure knots--like the round turn and two half-hitches--lead off with a round turn. This extra pass grips the rail or piling like a barnacle on a boat bottom. And it keeps the knot in place to reduce line-killing chafe. Always make a full round turn first before you tie the knot.

Develop 'Spill' Savviness:
Clove hitches and bowlines can untie from being worked back and forth. This constant strain and slack can cause them to 'spill', or untie themselves. And that could lead to a dangerous situation. Did you know that you can spill a square (reef) knot after just 19 tugs? In comparison, the double becket (sheet) bend, needs about 36 tugs to spill. By the way, the square knots fake cousin--the 'Granny' knot--spills after about three tugs!

If possible, choose a knot, bend, or hitch that doesn't spill as fast. Knots with more turns or those that are doubled tend to offer greater security. A clove hitch has one turn over the top. The more secure rolling hitch has two turns over the top. A single becket bend spills faster (22 tugs) than the double becket bend (36 tugs).

Five Seconds to Boost Knot Security:
You won't always want to take the time to retie a knot. But you can make it more secure with one simple step you can perform in less than five seconds. To use any of these security boosters, you must always finish the knot with a lot of bitter end. Use more line than you think you need to tie the knot. That way, you'll have enough line left over to add any of these additional 'security booster' hitches:

* Good Security - Add one half-hitch
* Great Security - Add two half-hitches

Use these sailing knots secrets to pump power and extra security into any knot, bend, or hitch you choose to tie. You will gain better performance from any sailing rope, extend its life, and save money throughout the sailing season.

John Jamieson (Captain John) with 25+ years of experience shows you the no-nonsense cruising skills you need for safer sailing worldwide. Visit his website. Sign up for the Free, highly popular weekly 'Captain John's Sailing Tip-of-the-Week'. Discover how you can gain instant access to hundreds of sailing articles, videos, and e-Books!

North Technology - Southern SparsMackay BoatsNaiad

Related Articles

Two Oceans, One Rock in a Proa.
A Proa is a multihull sailboat common in the South Pacific and Indonesia. They have two different sized, parallel hulls. A Proa is a multihull sailboat common in the South Pacific and Indonesia. They have two different sized, but parallel hulls. Jzero, the Proa pictured here is a shunting boat and does not tack. Ryan Finn is launching the modified 36-foot Proa, so as to accomplish the fastest-ever, nonstop solo-sail, around the Old Clipper-ship Cape Horn Route from New York to San Francisco.
Posted on 2 Dec
Predictwind release improved racing and cruising routing function
PredictWind has released a major upgrade to its Routing function, taking a much more graphic and interactive approach PredictWind has released a major upgrade to its Routing function, taking a much more graphic and interactive approach to what has been a black art of weather routing, used to chose the fastest route for racers or most comfortable route for cruisers.
Posted on 28 Nov
Only room for one at the top
The results of RMIT's (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) independent testing are in. The results of RMIT's (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) independent testing are in. Zhik® is the market leader in waterproof durability with a new standard that replicates the real world sailing environment and conditions. It is an astounding four times more so than the previous leader.
Posted on 28 Nov
Parlier reigns supreme in Hydrofoil Worlds
The south westerly breeze kicks over the land mass over north facing beach, making for flat water despite strong wind. Whatever the shortcomings of the Fremantle Doctor on the first day of competition, were made up for in spades on day two, when the wind kicked in early at 15 knots and quickly built to 18 with gusts as high as 26. The Rockingham course is perfectly suited to such conditions. The south westerly breeze kicks over the land mass over the north facing beach, making for flat water despite strong wind.
Posted on 27 Nov
Fourth Blog from on board Perie Banou II
Oh no - not the coffee cup Oh no - not the coffee cup - Jon keeps us all entertained as he approaches Reunion Island. The B&G chartplotter tells me since leaving the pleasant mid Western Australian town of Carnarvon (by world standards, an isolated town), that I have sailed some 2559 NM and have 751nm to go to Le Port Reunion Island. French. Reunion is a Suburb (department) of Paris. Population 844,000.
Posted on 23 Nov
Third Blog from onboard Perie Banou II
Wind over the last week has been quiet and mild - Trade Winds from South East and South South East. It is 0830am here. 1030 in Western Australia. Windy. Rather Windy. Wind over the last week has been quiet and mild - Trade Winds from South East and South South East. Barometer 1018 to 1020 whatever they are. Last night I tapped the barometer and it sorta went oops. 1015hPa. Blimey.
Posted on 18 Nov
Second Blog from onboard Perie Banou II
This is day 13 since leaving the mid Western Australian town of Carnarvon. Remote region. Beautiful town. This is day 13 since leaving the mid Western Australian town of Carnarvon. Remote region. Beautiful town. Kept cooler by the strong south winds, which make the trees bend and grow to the north. Carnarvon is nice, especially the months of September, October, November, and December. The wind is strong. Often near gale strength, with squalls and blue skies.
Posted on 15 Nov
NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic - Day 14 - A dramatic final day
After a week of light winds trades finally returned on last day of NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic to provide pulsating end After a week of light winds the trades finally returned on the last day of the 2016 NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic to provide a pulsating end to the event, which saw Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / Ezzy / MFC) defend his single elimination crown, while Sarah-Quita Offringa fought her way back through the double elimination with be crowned the women’s Aloha Classic Champion.
Posted on 14 Nov
NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic - Day 13
After another lay day NoveNove Aloha Classic could all boil down to tomorrow, which is final day of possible competition After another lay day in Maui the 2016 NoveNove Aloha Classic could all boil down to tomorrow, which is the final day of possible competition.
Posted on 13 Nov
METS - TorqueLite 2.0 to be released by Future Fibres at METS
Future Fibres' TorqueLite furling cables have helped change the way that yachts are sailed in the modern era. Since its inception in 2000, Future Fibres' TorqueLite furling cables have helped change the way that yachts are sailed in the modern era. Using the continuous winding process originally developed for America’s Cup and Open 60 campaigns, TorqueLite unique torque transfer enabled yachts to handle their large reaching sails much more easily and began to push towards larger and faster sails.
Posted on 11 Nov