This cruising malarkey is still a newish concept to hubby and I. We’ve nailed the typical cruiser stuff of pulling into a dock and heading for the nearest pub but we are definitely rookies when it comes to some of the more complex cruiser maneuvers like anchoring – especially stern tying.
For the uninitiated, it’s common in anchorages here, for boats to anchor and then run a line off the stern to shore that goes around a tree or something and then the boat is tensioned between the anchor and the line.
So after drying out from the rainstorm that blew through last night we headed over to Squirrel Cove to give it a try – we were extra excited as we have finally bought a proper stern line so not only do we now look the part (In the past we’ve looked a disaster with our sheets knotted together!) but it should be easier.
I’ve had lots of excitement on boats in my time. From climbing the yards on tall ships to crazy knockdowns while racing keel boats …but I have to say that this particular maneuver rates up there in the ‘gosh, this is more excitement than I bargained for’ stakes.
First you anchor – always lots of opportunity for calamity and marriage discord there, although today we managed without too much angst.
Next the anchor person (aka: not the driver.) leaps into the dinghy with the end of the stern line and rows as fast as possible to shore while the driver keeps the anchored boat from swinging.
Once at shore this person leaps athletically out of the dingy taking care not to fall in the water nor to loose the dingy (which would be an afternoon highlight for the others watching around the anchorage). That person then scales a rock cliff or two in search of a tree to pass the rope around. Once done this person scrambles back down the cliff, into the dinghy (gracefully, ideally looking as if one has grown up completing this manoeuvre) and rows expediently back to the boat where they can exit the dinghy and tie both the dingy and the stern line up in their respective places.
Now I’m sure you appreciate how easy this is and how effortless I must make it appear…. Well, apparently the elderly couple that came over in their dingy to ask me if I needed their help didn’t think so. Oh well, better luck next time.
My learning from today? The biggest mistake was that I thought that the rope would roll off the reel, around the tree and come easily as I rowed back. Not so much. Twice I ended up yanking myself back to shore as I tried to pull slack in the line. Meanwhile I could hear A. Saying, “Ok people. Now settle down.” Where he got that little phrase from, I have no idea!