Let­ters

Yachting Monthly - - INSIDE THIS MONTH - Christo­pher Barker

• Win­ter furler dam­age • A hitch that grips • Heads block­age • A long wait

I have found that a sim­ple vari­ant of the rolling hitch makes it much more ef­fec­tive.

This un­der-used knot is a sim­ple fric­tion hitch, used to re­sist move­ment in a sin­gle di­rec­tion of pull. It'll take the load off a sheet while you clear a jammed winch or block. It’ll tie a line sewn into a flag's hoist to a hal­yard with­out the knot rid­ing up and col­laps­ing the flag in the breeze. It’ll hold your main­sail hal­yard out to a shroud in har­bour to keep it from frap­ping against the mast. It’ll even hold a fender up a ver­ti­cal bar such as a shroud or stan­chion on a boat with­out guardrails.

But rolling hitches don't al­ways hold well – es­pe­cially with stiff and slip­pery mod­ern fi­bres. Sure, there are fric­tion hitches that pro­vide more se­cu­rity – check out the ex­cel­lent ici­cle hitch if you re­ally want to get into knots – but I have found a sim­ple way to in­crease the grip of the rolling hitch with­out mak­ing this com­mon knot more dif­fi­cult to re­mem­ber or to tie.

The ba­sic hitch con­sists of two turns around the rope or bar to be pulled, crossed over the stand­ing part away from the de­sired di­rec­tion of pull, fol­lowed by a half hitch made in the same sense of turn.

Here’s the trick. To in­crease the fric­tion on your ob­ject, sim­ply add an ex­tra turn or two to the first part of the hitch. So in­stead of hav­ing just two crossed-over turns, you've got three or four, be­fore you fin­ish with the half hitch. It's not in the books, it's sim­ple and it works.

Add a few ex­tra round turns to make your rolling hitch grip any­thing

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