SailNet Community banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Sparrow Girl
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I'm looking for recommendations regarding line diameter and length for performing stern ties to shore. I would be doing this in the San Juan Islands (WA), Gulf Islands (BC) and possibly up to Desolation Sound (BC).

My boat is a Sparrow 16, mini-cruiser with a cabin, 16' 4" LOA, displacement of 1100-1200 lbs fully loaded, has a 2 foot draft with a fixed shoal-draft keel.

I've seen many recommendations that indicate the line to use is 300' to 600' of 1/2" yellow polypropylene. These recommendations tend to be for much larger boats then mine.

With my smaller size, room for storage of line is an issue. So I'm wondering how much smaller, both in diameter and length, of line I can use and have it still be strong enough for my sized boat.

With my smaller size and draft will I be able to anchor closer to shore? Will 3/8" diameter or even 1/4" diameter line be strong enough?

Thanks!

Christine
 

Attachments

·
first sailed january 2008
Joined
·
1,409 Posts
No! Do not anchor close to shore. I went the same places you did last year and it's very deceptive. I anchored close to what looked like a vertical cliff with 25 feet in the bow at high tide. Ten feet later, the next morning, while drinking coffee, I looked beneath my rudder and saw a fallen rock wall about two inches beneath my rudder. I got the hell out of there. So you just never know, and if you get there at high tide you can't see a stray boulder that's sticking up in the middle of nowhere. So stay away from the walls, even if other people are doing it.

I just used "found" rope. I think 150-250 will be ideal for you. Most people recommend double because they double up the line. They tie one end to the sailboat, take the other end around the tree or more often, sunken ring already inplace and then bring it back to the boat. So in the morning they can just untie one side and it comes free so they don't have to go back and untie it. You can halve it by just tying one side.
 

·
no longer reading SailNet
Joined
·
2,309 Posts
I used 3/8" (might have been 5/16") Samson float line on my 7000lb cruising boat, 1/4" will be more than enough for you. We had a 450' roll and used the full length once, but most of the time a shorter length would have been fine. It started as a 600' roll and some of the other parts were used as a dinghy tow painter and as general purpose short utility line.

I always surveyed the area using a depth finder and charts before anchoring and didn't have the trouble that northoceanbeach mentioned. Stern ties are my favorite way of anchoring because they let you localize the swing and know where you will be.
 

·
Master Mariner
Joined
·
9,075 Posts
Though 1/4" polypro will certainly hold your boat. it is very small to handle and grip comfortably. It has amazing stretch and could allow you to move some distance without parting, in a blow, which might not be your best solution with your stern to the rocks.
Just for ease of handling and far beyond the strength you need, 3/8" 3 strand nylon would be a pretty good way to go. With a 16' boat, I can't imagine you'd need any more than 50 to 100'; it's not like you draw 6' of water is it? You can wade ashore, never get your shorts wet and still not hit bottom!
It could also double as a spare or second anchor rode, with a thimbled eye in one end and had a short length of chain and anchor aboard.
 
  • Like
Reactions: sparrow16

·
no longer reading SailNet
Joined
·
2,309 Posts
Samson MFP has a polypro cover, but the core is something lower stretch. The stretch characteristics aren't that bad, in fact it is less stretchy than the Cajun Ropes dacron doublebraid that some Sailnet members like to recommend as halyards.

Product

It floats nicely (which makes life a lot easier for a stern tie line) while 3-braid nylon will not.

I do recommend having enough to loop back in a normal anchoring situation. 200' of 1/4" would work nicely and pack down pretty small and lets you anchor within 100' of shore.
 

·
first sailed january 2008
Joined
·
1,409 Posts
Though 1/4" polypro will certainly hold your boat. it is very small to handle and grip comfortably. It has amazing stretch and could allow you to move some distance without parting, in a blow, which might not be your best solution with your stern to the rocks.
Just for ease of handling and far beyond the strength you need, 3/8" 3 strand nylon would be a pretty good way to go. With a 16' boat, I can't imagine you'd need any more than 50 to 100'; it's not like you draw 6' of water is it? You can wade ashore, never get your shorts wet and still not hit bottom!
It could also double as a spare or second anchor rode, with a thimbled eye in one end and had a short length of chain and anchor aboard.
Sometimes you can wade ashore but I wouldn't count on it. Often you are stern tying because there isn't a gradual sloping beach, but a sheer cliff. I don't think it matters whether you draw six feet of two. It's the tides up to 12 feet you need to worry about. The shore looks vastly different with a twelve foot change.

Floating rope is best, but I don't think it matters too much, I always had mine tight enough that it was either up out of the water, or had a bow to it so it was resting on the water.

Don't get close to those rocks, I'm telling you, unless you have a sonar with complete view of what's under you, which I doubt you have on a small boat, just anchor farther and stay away.

Looking at the stern tie area at Tenedos in Desolation sound, at high tide the cliff looks even and flat, at low tide, there are a few areas where the was a mini rockslide and there is an area of rocks. If you were the one unlucky enough to end up over it....

I also don't like to be close because so many of these stern tie areas are small, but deep. You can't have much scope out, but your anchor could be in 25 feet of water. So if it's high tide, let's say you put out two to one and snug the stern tie reasonably tight. At low tide, you have fifty feet of lone in 12 feet of water, now if you were too close to the rocks, you're hitting them.

Just stay as far out as you can and then you don't have to worry about it. It's really not hard, I'm not trying to make it out to be. It's a lot of fun, very peaceful, and like others said, a nice way to spend the night, knowing where you are and not worried about swinging in circles.

Once you cross into canada the anchorages get way tighter, smaller and more crowded.
 

·
no longer reading SailNet
Joined
·
2,309 Posts
Once you cross into canada the anchorages get way tighter, smaller and more crowded.
My favorite thing about anchoring in Canada was that I found the opposite.

The popular anchorages are much more crowded and tighter as you've said. Often going around the corner gets you a stern tie anchorage that fits only one boat but which you can have to yourself. You might have to row a little farther to the good hikes, but it's worth the tradeoff.

On the US side of the Salish Sea there are tons and tons of really nice anchorages, but few tiny ones where you get to be the only guy there.

Be careful with making your stern ties too tight. You don't want them to be supporting the weight of your boat when the tide is fully out. A slightly loose stern tie generally works just as well as a fully tight one...the goal is to keep the boat in the same general area, not to keep it from moving at all.

In some areas we found it helpful to run two ties, a stern tie and a side tie. 200' would also allow for that (without looping back), where a shorter line would not.
 

·
first sailed january 2008
Joined
·
1,409 Posts
My favorite thing about anchoring in Canada was that I found the opposite.

The popular anchorages are much more crowded and tighter as you've said. Often going around the corner gets you a stern tie anchorage that fits only one boat but which you can have to yourself. You might have to row a little farther to the good hikes, but it's worth the tradeoff.

On the US side of the Salish Sea there are tons and tons of really nice anchorages, but few tiny ones where you get to be the only guy there.
Not to get argumentative, you're advice is some of the best in gear and maintenance, but you quoted me, then said you found canada to be the opposite of what I described, then described the anchoring situation in Canada my quote portrays, crowded, small and tight. So....the popular ones are more crowded, so you go around the corner and find a small one:).

But whatever, it's one of the two reasons to stern tie, the other is bottom contour. It's got positives and negatives, the negatives being you're often closer to your neighbours. Where anchoring gives you that nice buffer zone. That circle is mine!

All this stern tie talk is marking me miss canada. I miss the gulf islands too, even though I said they weren't my favorite. Maybe it's just how we remember things fondly. I don't know.

OP you'll have fun. If you have space issues, just take a thinner shorter line in a small coil. It's easy to get line. Now I remember what I used. I used the lone from my stern anchor. 150 about the thickness of your pinky(or my pinky at least). Do you have a backup anchor? They're a good thing to have, and now you've got your stern tie. Just make sure if you tie it to a tree to put a towel under it or something so it doesn't get chafed.
 

·
Sparrow Girl
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
...

OP you'll have fun. If you have space issues, just take a thinner shorter line in a small coil. It's easy to get line. Now I remember what I used. I used the lone from my stern anchor. 150 about the thickness of your pinky(or my pinky at least). Do you have a backup anchor? They're a good thing to have, and now you've got your stern tie. Just make sure if you tie it to a tree to put a towel under it or something so it doesn't get chafed.
Thanks to you (and everyone else's) advice. This giving me a lot of confidence for when I'm presented with a stern tie situation.

To answer your question regarding anchoring gear, I have 2 anchors; an 10# Manson Supreme with 16' of chain and 200' of nylon 3-braid line and a Danforth (~7#?) with 16' of chain and 150' of the same line as for the Manson. I'll be getting (really donated to me) 200' of 1/4" polypropylene line too. I'll be glad that the 1/4" line should do the trick for me.

Thanks!

Christine
 

·
first sailed january 2008
Joined
·
1,409 Posts
Oh yeah you're perfect. Don't forget that none times out of ten there's not much wind so you're either lazily drifting in circles, or being pushed in a direction from the tide. But it's not normally blowing enough that it even begins to test you anchor tackle. You just want to be ready in case it does, and it sounds like gear wise you definitely do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,264 Posts
I have no experience with stern tying so take that into account. But it seems to me that a 1/8" amsteel line would give you plenty of strength (2500lbs), and since it is so small would make carrying a large roll of it easy.

You might get away with a 600' spool of Lash-it 1.7mm with a breaking strength of 400lbs (1lb weight) and then get a kite spool to carry it on.
 

·
no longer reading SailNet
Joined
·
2,309 Posts
That's an interesting idea Greg. The downside of Amsteel (and Lash-It) is that it is hard to tie knots into that will hold, especially if you want to untie them later. However it's really tiny and inexpensive and floats, which are all good properties. It would be an interesting thing to try on a small boat. Stretch is normally considered a positive property of the stern tie line, but I'm not sure how important it really is.

I didn't mean to be argumentative Scott, and I think you misunderstood my point. Stern tying let me anchor the boat in small anchorages where floating a circle wouldn't work. For instance we anchored between two large shoals in Roffey Cove where the boat could swing 30 degrees on the anchor, but 360 degrees would have caused us to hit the bottom. There was only room for one boat there and the anchoring was tricky, but we got the whole thing to ourselves. All of the good hiking and fun exploring was a short row away, and we didn't get any of the noise of the two popular Prideaux Haven anchorages.

If stern ties were allowed everywhere on the US side of the Salish Sea I think we could find similar little nooks and crannies to anchor out in. Since it isn't we share the big anchorages with everyone else.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,378 Posts
When stern-tying, do not rely on your depth sounder. Use a lead line to verify the depth under your keel and under your rudder. Account for the rise and fall of the tide.
 

·
first sailed january 2008
Joined
·
1,409 Posts
That's an interesting idea Greg. The downside of Amsteel (and Lash-It) is that it is hard to tie knots into that will hold, especially if you want to untie them later. However it's really tiny and inexpensive and floats, which are all good properties. It would be an interesting thing to try on a small boat. Stretch is normally considered a positive property of the stern tie line, but I'm not sure how important it really is.

I didn't mean to be argumentative Scott, and I think you misunderstood my point. Stern tying let me anchor the boat in small anchorages where floating a circle wouldn't work. For instance we anchored between two large shoals in Roffey Cove where the boat could swing 30 degrees on the anchor, but 360 degrees would have caused us to hit the bottom. There was only room for one boat there and the anchoring was tricky, but we got the whole thing to ourselves. All of the good hiking and fun exploring was a short row away, and we didn't get any of the noise of the two popular Prideaux Haven anchorages.

If stern ties were allowed everywhere on the US side of the Salish Sea I think we could find similar little nooks and crannies to anchor out in. Since it isn't we share the big anchorages with everyone else.
Oh, no, I know we weren't arguing, I was just clarifying, since sometimes I think my mood doesn't come across right in my typing, so I seem like I'm arguing, so I'm just sensitive to trying to make sure people don't take me the wrong way online.

Are stern ties not allowed on the US side? I didn't know that. I've only seen it done once, in Friday harbor on the Fourth of July when it was super crowded. Of you remember last year, I was hesitant to try it at first, but loved it once I did.

I also like the idea of amsteel. Good points about it being super strong and pack able. Does it matter whether it's got some stretch to it? As I said, I was using my back up anchor line, and I liked having some springiness to it. It made me feel like it was being gentler on my boat, and that's probably why was able to tighten it like I did, without it ever getting to tight. But even with amsteel, you should still have the forgiveness of the bow anchor line, so it's not like your boat is locked in place.

I think I'm going to stand by my recommendation of using your stern anchor though. It's something most people have and then it's one less piece of kit you have to carry. Better than those really big garden spools of yellow line. They look bad on the stern and they take up a lot of space.

Alex, I think you might have more stern tying guts than me. I saw some people packed into some insanely small nooks that I would never have the courage to try.
 

·
no longer reading SailNet
Joined
·
2,309 Posts
Foreshore access laws appear to be handled differently in BC and WA, and might make it illegal to do stern tie to private land in WA. I don't know for sure. On public land (like the WA State Parks that dot the San Juans) it should be legal.

Getting comfortable with anchoring in tight spaces does open up a lot of opportunities, so it is a set of skills that I've worked to develop. I'm very careful about doing so, but love getting into spots that others have ignored.

I was thinking a bit more about Amsteel as a shore tie line. One nice property of the yellow float line is that it is extremely visible and people know not to cross it in a dinghy. That would not be true of a very thin dyneema line, which would be invisible in the water. They do make a version of the Lash-It in bright yellow, but being 1.7mm in diameter it still might be very hard to see at twilight. We do have a reel of shore tie line, but keep it in the laz when we aren't using it (not on the stern rail as some boats do).
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top