The taut-line hitch is an adjustable loop knot for use on lines under tension. It is useful when the length of a line will need to be periodically adjusted in order to maintain tension. It is made by tying a rolling hitch around the standing part after passing around an anchor object. Tension is maintained by sliding the hitch to adjust size of the loop, thus changing the effective length of the standing part without retying the knot.
It is typically used for securing tent lines in outdoor activities involving camping, by arborists when climbing trees, for creating adjustable moorings in tidal areas, and to secure loads on vehicles. A versatile knot, the taut-line hitch was even used by astronauts during STS-82, the second Space Shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
The adjustable loop forms of the rolling hitch and magnus hitch, in addition to being called either of those two names, have also come to be known variously as the taut-line hitch, tent-line hitch, rigger's Hitch, adjustable hitch, or midshipman's hitch. These knots are generally shown as being based on one of three underlying hitches: two variants of the rolling hitch (ABOK #1734 and #1735) and the magnus hitch (#1736). These three closely-related hitches have a long and muddled naming history that leads to ambiguity in the naming of their adjustable loop forms as well. See the image to the right for an illustration of these related knots.
The use of the Ashley reference numbers for these inconsistently named hitches can eliminate ambiguity when required.
Ashley uses the name midshipman's hitch for this variation. Based on rolling hitch #1735, this version is considered the most secure but may be more difficult to adjust after being heavily loaded.
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