1. Make Friction Your Friend

Tie a bowline knot to a rail, lifeline, or stanchion and you can counton lateral (side) slip. This can cause excessive chafe. Many supersecure knots--like the rolling hitch, anchor bend, or round turn andtwo half-hitches--lead off with a round turn. 

This extra pass grips the rail or piling like a barnacle on a boatbottom. And it keeps the knot in place to reduce line-killing chafe.If you need a knot like a bowline to stay put without slipping,start off with a round turn. Then tie the rest of the knot.

2. Develop "Spill" Awareness

Clove hitches and bowlines can untie from being worked back and forth.This constant strain and slack can cause them to "spill", or untiethemselves. And that could lead to a dangerous situation.

Did you know that you can spill a square (reef) knot after just 19tugs? In comparison, the double becket (sheet) bend needs about 36tugs to spill. By the way, the square knots fake cousin--the "Granny"knot--spills after about 3 tugs!

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

3. "Take Ten" to Boost Sailing Knot Security

You won't always want to take the time to retie a knot. But you canmake it more secure and it takes just ten seconds or less. If you needto make any knot super secure for the specific application, add halfhitches to the finished knot. 

Start the knot with lots of extra bitter end (12" to 18"). After youfinish the knot, remove all slack. Pull on the bitter ends andstanding part. Add one, two or more additional half-hitches with theexcess bitter end. Again, work the slack out of the half-hitches andslide them up beneath the knot. 

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