Originally Posted by northoceanbeach
Why wouldn't a second anchor be better than tying to shore?
Isn't it kind of the same purpose? A second stern anchor, maybe on very short scope, would do the same thing, but you wouldn't have to carry(and purchase!) 350 feet more rope. You could also anchor further from shore, and if the wind or current was running a different direction than into shore, you could face anyway you wanted? So why stern tie? I"m sure you are right, I just don't know why.
The problem with anchoring in the middle of a bay with a stern anchor (or second anchor) is that you now make it very difficult for anyone else to anchor there that isn't going to completely replicate your situation. If boat anchors nearby, swinging free and expecting you to do the same, you could both be in for a rude awakening at 3 am. Also stern lines are immediately obvious, second anchors not so much.
Many of these bays are VERY popular and the use of sternlines maximizes everybody's utilization. Some bays are simply too small for typical two anchor situations. It's considered rather rude to set yourself up in a cove in such a way as to prevent anyone else from joining you. Most of our marine parks provide rings and/or chains to use as shore line termination points so you can avoid damaging trees - and the parks people will definitely chase you off any Arbutus (aka Madronna) trees used for tieups.
A stern line is much easier to deploy and retrieve than a second anchor, although you do need some sort of shore transport to set it up (dinghy, kayak, or a swimmer)
The stern tie requires a JUST as , if not more, securely set anchor in the event of cross current or cross wind and in fact can be a bit stressful if it decides to blow hard overnight across the boat... however the practice is very common and fortunately most summer nights the wind dies down unless a big system is coming in. In 30+ years we've only been blown out of an anchorage in summer a couple of times... but we tend to choose well....