Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tie up your boat like an old, salty mariner!

Actually, it’s not that hard. The average trailer-boater will be tying up using cleats (whether on the boat or the dock) and a rope with a loop in one end, which is the way ropes are typically sold. As such, there are really only two knots to learn. The first is how to tie, or "make a line fast", to a cleat with a loop in the end of the rope. The second is how to tie to a cleat without a loop in the end of the rope.

With a loop in the end of the rope, it really doesn’t get any simpler. Take the loop and pinch it closed. Next, pass the loop through the open hole in the middle of the cleat - the "base". Pull the loop through the base just far enough to open up the loop and hook it around the ends - the "horns". Finally, pull it tight're done!

Without a loop, there’s a few more steps but it is still quite easy. Since the rope that you would buy is only going to have a loop in one end, it might be good to know this way, as well! You’ll need about two feet of rope to do this, so leave yourself some slack. Wrap the end of the rope around one horn, then the other. Depending on your perspective, the rope should look like either a "U" or an upside down "U" going around the cleat. Next, wrap the rope "over and around" one horn, then "over and around" the other horn. Lastly, you’re going to go back around the first horn, but add a twist. Flip the rope under itself as you hook it around that horn to "lock it off". Pull the free end tight and your done.

So, to make it a little easier, here are two videos for your enjoyment!

Better yet, stop by the store and I’ll be more than happy to show you in person! Mastering these basic knots - and teaching them to others in your "boating clan" - can make your time on the water that much more enjoyable.

By the way, a scrap 1-foot piece of wood with a cheap cleat screwed onto it can make for an easy way to practice at home and teach the kids before going on the water!

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