Saturday, March 29, 2008

Killick Hitch

Killick Hitch

Applications : Use the killick hitch to tow long loads through water or drag them overland. It works well on rough objects, such as tree trunks, but can slip on smooth spars.

Method : Begin by making a timber hitch (fig.1).Three tucks or turns were enough to do this using vegetable-fibre rope but more may be prudent when using today's smoother braids. In hawser-laid rope it is traditional to dog the turns the same way as the lay. Arrange the direction of pull to preserve the twist of the timber hitch. I personally always make the half-hitch so that the end emerges the same way as it does from the initial knot (2). Note that the half-hitch, with its elbows, almost certainly reduces the breaking strength (70%) of the initial timber hitch.

History: The killick is essentially a timber hitch with an additional half‑ hitch to give direction to the line of pull. The timber hitch is an old knot, mentioned in A Treatise on Rigging (c. 1625) and illustrated by Denis Diderot in his Encyclopedie of 1762. It has been used since time immemorial. The killick hitch was illustrated and named by David Steel in Elements and Practice of Rigging and Seamanship (1794), a killick being a naval term for a small anchor (or even a rock used as one). Thus the killick hitch used to be an anchor knot for a boat, buoy or lobster pot.

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