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What is the proper way to tie a cleat

     I may be stepping on hallowed ground with this subject, agree or disagree, it's up to you.

         Generally, I only use cleats for two things.  #1 to quickly secure the boat when coming into a slip or float.  #2 to permanently tie the boat.  This may  seem like the same two things, but they are not.

        When coming into the dock under adverse conditions, the crew may have only a split second to secure the line and move to the next line before the wind or current drags the boat out of reach.  Sometimes skippers come in too hot and snagging a wrap on a beefy cleat may be necessary to stop the boat from crashing -- another split second job.

        Once the boat is under control, #2 comes into play where I go back and redo my cleating for a permanent job.

      The accepted way to cleat a line is as follows:

         Run the line under the far horn, around the base, and then around the base under the near horn.  Do not double wrap the base.   Your line should look like a loop was dropped over the cleat.  Next take the line up over the middle of the cleat and around the far horn again, repeating figure eights across the cleat.  Finish it off, with one or more half hitches (single twist) on the horn(s).

Drawing of line tied to cleat the correct way

        The reason for not using complete or multiple wraps around the base is so that the extra  line cannot ride up during a moment of slack and then pinch tight on itself creating an overwrap that cannot be undone under load.  Sailors that have experienced an overwrap on a heavily loaded jib sheet winch will recognize this potentially disastrous situation.
        Use up any extra line with more figure eights or lead the line back to the boat, but don't leave a trip hazard across the float.

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