Captain Dave with GetMyBoat demonstrates how to tie a basic cleat hitch for a recreational boat of about 50 ft. The boat used in this video is a J170 sailboat.  

Follow the steps below to learn how to properly tie a cleat hitch.  

Step 1: Wrap the line under the horn of the cleat, around the backside of the cleat first, then the side furthest away from the opposite attaching point.  

The angle of the line from the cleat to the other attaching point should be less than 90 degrees.  

Step 2: Turn the line ¾ of the way around the base of the cleat. Do not cross over the line under the horns that goes towards the opposite attaching point.  

Step 3: Lift the line over the cleat, crossing the top, and then wrap the line under the horn. It should look like the beginning of a figure 8.  

Step 4: Pull the line back over the top towards the opposite cleat horn, crossing over the line that was just wrapped around the cleat horn.  

Make a small loop in the line and place the loop over the opposite cleat horn. Pull the line tight.  

It is important to spin the loop properly so that end result is one line over two perpendicular lines. If the loop is spun correctly, the line will easily unload when needed.