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le Voyageur

A better solution to the girth hitch

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This runner is an old school technique re-discovered when studying an 18th century sailing manual. It was shown being used with block and tackle to move spars, and cannons. Though it had no name, other then being a "adjustable loops with blood knots", hence, my name, Man O' War to reflect it's orgin. Been teaching, and using this runner for several seasons on Blue Ridge's High Knoll program. It's more secure then either the girth hitch, or the frictionless hitch.

Unlike, the girth, and frictionless hitches, the Man O' War can be backed up, and made redundant for additional safety.


The two knots to master are the Grapevine, and the Figure 8. Overall, it's very simple. However, it cannot be tied with webbing. For this anchor, I use a Bluewater II static line; 13mm (7/16) for rescue work, and 10.5mm for repelling and belaying stations.





Begin with two bights (note, when tying into trees, the min diameter must not be less then 8 inches)




The first Grapevine knot




The two Grapevines, note the "x" and "o" which denotes the knot is correct.




The Grapevines dressed, and ready for the next step




The upper loop snugged tight to the anchor




Showing the runner snugged, and ready for the next step.




The lower loop tied with the Figure 8 knot. On the L., a lightduty self rescue pulley; center, a steel rope thimble for shear reduction; and, on the right, a non locking Oval carabiner.




Fully rigged, and ready to go for z-drags, or 3 to 1 pulley systems. Note the rope thimble in the eye of the Figure 8 which prevents the rope being pinched when weighted. This reduces the shearing forces by maintaining a consistant radius. On the left, is a locking D carabiner which would off axis the pulley. Under stress, this D could cross load and fail. For hauls that would generated a considerable amount of force, aluminum carabiners should be switched out for steel. The gold standard for steel carabiners is the Petzl Kador.

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