I thought this was a bit too basic, but I’ve been asked for a tutorial for beginning boaters tying to a cleat, so here goes! First of all, more is not better! As you look at the feature photo, this tie-up has the required loops — in fact it has about a gazillion of them. If you’re ever tied up somewhere with current rushing by where you need to get lines unattached quickly, this could be a major complication! Captain Ron would probably agree saying “if it’s going to happen ….”
Ummm…no … merely wrapping the line multiple times around the cleat has nothing to stop it from working loose.
The first time in a critical situation where I was required to jump off the boat and loop a line over a cleat, not only did I totally MISS the cleat because my hands were shaking so bad, I also dropped the boat hook overboard and left David onboard by himself to maneuver the boat back around to the T-dock and re-dock in some serious current and wind. Obviously I learn the hard way.
Here’s how David taught me to tie to a dock cleat, now it’s second nature and I don’t even think about it when we return to a dock.
First loop the line around the cleat.
Continue to loop the line around until it crosses itself.
Bring the line over the top of the cleat as shown.
Around the end and over the top, making lines on the top cross — or form a figure eight.
Now comes the tricky part for me — form a loop with the end that you’re going to put over the other end of the cleat — notice that the bottom line of the loop is parallel with the figure 8 already on the cleat.
And pull it taunt — note the two parallel lines under the top line … apparently this is the “correct” way — or so I was taught. I’m sure everyone does it differently, but since we were asked, this is what you get! 🙂
Now you’ll likely have line left over — rather than wrapping and re-wrapping it around the cleat, it’s easier to let loose if you just coil it alongside the cleat. Some people like a twisted almost braided look display of their extra line, but that’s far too complicated for me to learn! I understand it falls apart when you pick it up and it does look lovely, but not for me! 🙂
That’s it, that’s all. I’m sure someone will be critical saying they do it some other way, but in our minds the most important things are: first, will the line stay on the cleat and not let loose even under windy or current conditions. The second most important thing is that you can let the line loose instantly in an emergency. Before we leave a dock, David usually changes the lines so they’re just looped around and all I have to do is pull them back aboard – or if we’re leaving a dock which we’ll return to soon, just throw or use the boat hook for the boat end of the lines onto the dock or piling.
Anyone do it differently? Any ideas for those first learning to tie to a dock cleat? Please leave a comment and share! CHEERS! Jan