What is a Monkeys Fist ?


It is a knot added to the end of a light-line or heaving line. This knot usually incorporates a small stone or similar weight, to allow the end of the line to travel farther when being thrown. When approaching a jetty or another vessel, sailors will throw a heaving line, to establish a link with the shore or other boat. The heaving line can be easily thrown a distance of 20 m (60 feet) or more. One end of the heaving line is then secured to a heavier line, or hawser, which is pulled across and used for towing or securing.


The Monkeys Fist is traditionally tied on the end of the heaving line, with a small weight being inserted within the knot, prior to final tightening. This makes the heaving line easy to throw, by carefully coiling the length of heaving line in one hand, and throwing it in a side-arm manner, making sure to hold on to the free end of the heaving line.


Alternatively, the Monkeys Fist knot can be finished off with a short loop of rope. This will allow it to be easily attached to some twine or other light rope as required. For example, it could be used when wilderness camping, to assist in getting a strong rope over a high tree branch, so that the food bag can be hung out of reach of animals.