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How To Tie A Halyard Hitch Knot

Joe Appleton by Joe Appleton Updated on July 14, 2020. In Nautical Knots

How To Tie A Halyard Hitch Knot

Knowing how to tie a Halyard Hitch Knot should be a fundamental sailing skill. The Halyard, also known as the halliard, is a special rope that sailors would use to hoist an object. These objects could be a mainsail, a flag up a flag pole, a ladder, or a yard. In fact, it’s the latter that gives the Halyard its name: to haul yards.

The Halyard Hitch Knot is a knot that secures a line to a shackle with a strong, secure, and trustworthy connection. It doesn’t make a specific appearance in the Ashley Book Of Knots, but it’s a variation of both #1912 and #1913.

It’s very similar to the Stevedore Stopper Knot, but rather than forming a stop in a line, it’s attached to a shackle or ring instead. It’s also similar to the Buntline Hitch too.

Uses

The Halyard Hitch Knot is a nice and compact knot that makes it ideal for halyard purposes. When used with braided rope it can slip a little bit, but once it’s pulled tight it is very difficult to undo. In fact, there are times when you may have to cut it off rather than untie it. Most sailors will agree that the actual rope that it’s securing will wear out long before the Halyard Hitch Knot, so you shouldn’t ever have to untie it but simply discard it when you replace the line instead.

It’s for that reason that it’s such a popular choice for a halyard.

This legendary knot is important to learn; not only is it incredibly practical, but it’s also an important part of maritime history. So, without further ado: here’s all you need to know about tying it!

How To Tie A Halyard Hitch Knot

To tie the Halyard Hitch Knot, you’ll need a length of rope and a shackle to tie it to. Once you’ve gathered materials, you’re ready to get started.

Step One: Pass the working end through the shackle, and wrap the working end around the standing end twice.

Step Two: Next, take the working end and pass it through the loop that you’ve just made next to the shackle.

Step Three: Pull the working end tight.

Step Four: You can now trim any excess line from the end. It’s also a good idea to heat-seal the end for added security and protection too.

Note: there is a slightly different way of tying this knot, but we’ll mention that in more detail below.

Other Things To Consider

The Halyard Hitch Knot is very simple once you’ve mastered it. However, full mastery comes from knowing when best to use it, what precautions you might need to take, and knowing when to use suitable alternative knots instead. Here’s a little extra information to keep in mind.

Warnings

It’s important to remember that it’s physically impossible to tighten a Halyard Hitch Knot around some objects. For example, large poles and wide objects won’t be able to give the knot the grip it needs to form a secure knot.

Also, some rope materials aren’t ideally suited to the Halyard Hitch. Since a true Halyard Hitch will require trimming and heat-sealing, modern rope materials such as Kevlar, Twaron, and Technora aren’t ideal since they can’t be sealed properly. They can still be used, but never for critical loads.

Lastly, it’s worth remembering that Halyard Hitch Knots can’t be tied or united under load. This is a useful feature, but it may not suit your purpose.

Variations

Depending on who you’re talking to, there are two ways to tie the Halyard Hitch. Essentially, both ways are the same apart from how the knot is finished. The second variation is the same as the first, except that at the end the working end of the rope is fed downwards through the first two wrap arounds. It’s tightened by pulling the working end parallel with the rope.

This method isn’t recommended since it’s possible for the working end to come undone over time. It’s unlikely, but possible nonetheless. For the best results, we recommend the method listed in the steps above instead.

Alternatives

The Buntline Hitch is often listed as a suitable alternative to the Halyard Hitch. It’s an effective alternative but for halyard purposes, nothing beats the Halyard Hitch Knot. Some boaters will recommend using a Bowline as a Halyard Hitch alternative, but it’s not really the right not for the job in hand.

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