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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 05-27-2007
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Stern line.

I will be cruising in the Pacific NorthWest this year in my new (to me at least) boat. What size of line and what length should I have for stern tying on a Niagara 31?? Thanks ahead of time. P.S. How much extra line do people carry on their boats in general??
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Old 05-27-2007
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What will you be using the stern line for? A stern dock line of 35' or so would be useful for docking. If you're talking about a stern anchor line, then you probably want at least 12' of chain and 150' or so of rope.
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Old 05-27-2007
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In some anchorages, it's customary to put the anchor off the bow, and then tie a stern line to shore, around a tree or something similar. I think the length will depend on the area you are cruising in, as to how close to shore you expect to anchor/depth of the water, tide, amount of protection in the anchorage, etc. I would think 200' would be the minimum size line for this purpose, though there are times you might need more, times less would suffice.
Frank.
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Old 05-27-2007
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We carry a spool of 3/8 poly 600' long. It's very common to have to anchor offshore and back in and secure the stern line onshore, especially in Canada. It's handy to have a way to hang the spool off the stern rail so that it can reel off while you are rowing ashore in the dink. Sometimes it's the only way you can anchor if the shore is steep and drops off to several hundred feet. It's good to practice this when you are in a secluded bay to get the routine down, before you try it at a crowded anchorage on a busy weekend(Pirates Cove). It's best to take the stern line around a tree or an eyebolt in the rock and then back to the boat(why you need so much line) so when leaving you can release it from the stern and pull it through from onboard(you'll be pulling your bow anchor at about the same time).
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Old 05-27-2007
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The last couple of issues of Ocean Navigator have shown boats with spools of polypropylene mounted on deck for just this purpose. Get far enough down a fjord with a steep drop off at shore and you can make a "spider web" of four lines holding your boat in one spot...in addition to the anchor, but sometimes you can't get to a decent bottom, it seems, in places like Patagonia.
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Old 05-28-2007
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A good floating line, about 3/8 and 3-400 feet long usually suffices. In some spots it's enough length to allow going through a ring or around a tree and bring the line back to the boat so you can release it without going ashore, at other times you'll simply tie it off.

BTW if you do tie around a tree, try to put a secure loop of old line loosely around the tree and run your shoreline through that - it avoids "sawing" through the bark as the boat swings or as you pull the line in.

In many BC marine parks there are eyebolts installed in the rocks ashore for easy tie up spots. They are usually flagged by a slash of bright orange or green paint.

This is common practice here, as the depths are sometimes excessive and/or the cove too small (or too crowded) for adequate scope and swing room.

Just be sure that you avoid, if you can, a situation where you have strong wind, and/or (especially) tide across the stern-tied boat.... The loads can get extreme in a hurry and the anchor is the weak point. If it lets go then your stern line drags you right onto the beach. Tie it in such a way that you can slip it in a hurry if you need to. This is rarely a problem though, and stern tying is, as mentioned, very common.
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