How to anchor with "stern-tie" single handed - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.

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Old 09-04-2009
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I am back now from Desolation sound area (went a bit further too), and all went well. Did a fair amount of stern-tying, and followed the advice here ... made sure to take my time and it was not too hard although a lot of scrambling when single-handed. The main thing was just to pay attention to the wind/current -- I dropped the anchor so that the boat would naturally drift where I wanted it to be, the conditions held the boat where I wanted temporarily while I got the stern line secured.

Overall I'm not a big fan of the stern-tie. Several times after I got the whole thing setup the wind and/or current shifted so that they hit the boat on the beam, and this seemed to put a lot of strain on the anchor.

Held fine though. Biggest threat may have been that a bear sniffed and then played with my stern line one afternoon, funny little guy but I'm sure if he wanted to he could have severed the line!
1980 S2 9.2A (30') in Anacortes, WA
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Old 09-04-2009
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Nice to hear you report back.. we've had a great summer in this part of the world.

Ending up with a strong beam-on wind or current is indeed the bane of stern tying. With experience in various places you'll get to know where that's likely or not likely to happen. Should such a situation occur, the safest approach in the event of the anchor letting go is to quickly free the sternline... your boat will swing away and in all likelihood the anchor will reset itself. (hopefully there's room to do this) Retrieve the shore line once your secure again.

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".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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Old 09-04-2009
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Do you have a lunch hook on board? A small anchor or grapple, or something you can use as one?

In BC you may find that your stern is tied ashore but your bow anchor is in 100++ feet of water, it is often a rather steep drop into the water from the shore.

So, if you anchor your bow, and then literally THROW something into the trees on the shore, just to "hold it steady" until you can row in and do better, that may be all the help you need.

With any kind of line, I'd rather take the line ashore and then run it BACK TO THE BOAT, so that I can cast off without going off deck again.

Just remember that trees often are not rooted as deeply or as well as you might think, if you are tying off to one, or around one, make sure it is going to stay put.

In a lot of those coves and anchorages, the water is dead calm (DEAD CALM) and mirror smooth if the wx is good, making the single-handing much safer and simpler. If the wx was up...that would be something else again.
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