Thursday, April 30, 2009

Stern Anchoring

Do you like to “beach” your boat, but would prefer to keep the hull from being scratched? Do you ever anchor your boat when you’re close to other boaters? Stern anchoring can help in both of these situations. It will keep your bottom-side nice and shiny and also help to prevent your boat from swinging into others. If you’ve ever boated at places like Lake Wallenpaupack, Beltzville Lake or Blue Marsh Lake here in Eastern PA, you know how popular they can be on the weekends. Ensuring your boat doesn’t swing around in the wind and into another boater can give you peace of mind.

Normally, the best place to anchor is off the bow. However, if you want to keep your boat in a fixed position, you’ll need to put a second anchor in the water. Having an anchor off both the bow and stern will accomplish this.

“Beaching” the boat is a term used to describe pulling in close to shore, typically letting the bow nudge into the sea bottom. You can then hop out of the boat and set-up for a game of horseshoes on the shore edge. Some things you just can’t do very well on the water! If you want to avoid the scratches, you can let an anchor off the stern before you get to the shore. Have someone drop the anchor and then let the rope pay out until you get to your desired “closeness” to the shore. At that point, go ahead and tie-off the stern anchor. Next, someone can jump onto shore and tie a line from the bow cleat to something on shore (or use something like a dog stake). Adjust the two lines as needed for a perfect fit!

The same technique can be used while out in the middle of the lake to keep the boat from swinging. To make things easy, you’ll need two helpers for this. First, drop the anchor off the stern before you get to your anticipated anchor point. Next, pay out the rope as you go past your final anchor point to where you can drop the bow anchor. Lastly, put the boat in reverse as someone pulls in the stern rope and your other helper pays out the bow rope. When you get to the middle point between the two anchors, cleat the ropes and your done! It might sound confusing, but once you do it once or twice you’ll find it’s actually quite simple.

A little bit of advice: While stern anchoring can be a beneficial "tool" in your arsenal of weapons to help make boating more enjoyable, it should only be used in calm, protected areas. If you do this in open water, you run the risk of taking water in over the transom as the boat is not free to swing in response to wind and wave action. In open and/or rough water, only anchor off the bow. Save yourself the possibility of capsizing by stern anchoring only where favorable conditions permit it's safe use.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good post Dennis. I use this technique when beaching out at Blue Marsh Lake. I have not scratched a boat bottom yet.