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Old 08-28-2013, 12:59 PM   #1
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Stern Tie...

Wrote this up for another forum, but figured it may help, or spark conversation here to. Enjoy!!
*************************************

In the areas we boat, there are a lot of small, narrow and shallow inlets and bays and coves you can tuck into for a night or three. But rarely is there room in these to swing, so stern tying becomes a must. It's not a difficult process once figured out - and we've got a system that works extremely well that's been honed from methods others have told/taught us - figured I share so others may be a bit more inclined to try it.

The Boat
32' (35' LOA)
Twin engine
Windlass controls at upper helm (and on bow)
Ladder to the cockpit

Ground Tackle
32 lb Bruce anchor
200í chain, 100í rope

Stern line
600í 3/8Ē yellow twisted floating line on a hose reel. Line has no knots or loops Ė just a lengthy back-splice on the butt-end. Sounds like a lot of line - but it's looped on shore and brought back to the boat for making fast. This saves a trip back to shore in the morning to untie it.

The Method - setting
When Iím going to stern tie, Iíll do my best to run parallel to shore and scope out a good tree/eye-bolt or non-sharp boulder to run the stern tie line around/through. Sometimes this is not possible, so a slow pass with a good set of binos will find what you need. When I choose the spot, Iíll head perpendicular to it (away from shore). Iíll do a quick mental depth calculation so I can figure out roughly how far I should go out to end up with a 7:1 scope when allís said and done. At least this is the plan - doesn't always work out, but ya gotta start somewhere.

When I choose my spot for the anchor, Iíll lower the anchor and after Iíve got approx. 5 Ė 10í of chain sitting on the bottom, Iíll start to back down towards shore Ė letting rode out as I go.

When I get to a ~~ 5:1 scope, Iíll stop the windlass and set the anchor. If the anchor does not set within about 20í, Iíll pull it back and repeat. When the anchor does set, Iíll back down again, continuing to let out rode and stop when the stern of the boat is about where I want it Ė perhaps back from where I want it by about 10 Ė 15í, and perhaps as close to shore as 10' (if I have enough water). If I'm too close to shore, I can always climb back up the rode for 20' or so and sit there instead - adjusting it back later. When I get where I want to be, I stop letting out rode, leave the engines in reverse, and let the anchor stop me again. All going well Ė the anchor holds. If not Ė repeat. When it does hold, Iíll leave both mains in reverse and sit there for a minute or two, taking bearings off shore objects to assure I'm indeed stationary.

When IĎm comfortable that the anchor is solid and the boat has not moved, Iíll come off the helm, prepare the dinghy and the stern tie reel. While I do this, the boat is still in reverse (both engines). Iíll push my crew off with the butt-end of the stern line and they make their way to shore, up the beach, and take the end of the line around the securing-point. I'll feed the line out, spinning the reel as needed (or stopping it if they pull too hard).

All the while, the boat is in reverse. And typically it does not move. In fact, that's one of the things that makes this method so nice - the boat will stay where you want it to stay and not swing around while you're trying to deal with the stern line. It's a bit strange leaving it in reverse and then leaving the helm - but I can get back in about 3 seconds - so not a big deal. However, if, during this time the boat does move due to a cross wind or current, one engine into neutral will cause a slow sway back to where you want to be. I've never had the anchor slip backwards when I'm doing this - and it won't if it's set properly to begin with on a 5:1 scope, where you now have a 7:1 (ish) scope. Also as a side note - sometimes to achieve this scope, when I lower the anchor, I literally have by bow 2' off the opposing shore... sometimes you need to be creative

Once the stern line is around the tree/loop/rock (if using a rock, make sure you the rope does not slip down and get pinched on your retrieve) theyíll then peel off enough line to get the butt-end back to the boat. If itís a sandy beach, the line is flayed on the beach. If itís an ugly beach, the line is flayed into the bottom of the dinghy. I hold the reel, they hand-over-hand back to the boat.

When I get the but-end back, I then make the stern line fast to the boat with a bit of slack (10í), hop back to the helm, and pop the boat into neutral. The boat springs forward on the rode, the stern line tensions and the boat settles. When Iím comfortable, Iíll shut the engines off and adjust the line as needed Ė though itís rarely needed.

We then open appropriate libations, and take pride in the fact that we were not the eveningís entertainment for the others in the anchorage .

The Method - retreiving
When ití time to go, I fire the mains, and then hop back into the cockpit and release the stern line, pulling the line back around the tree/loop/rock and into the cockpit. When I get it in the boat, Iím back up on the helm and retrieving the anchor rode.

Because I set the anchor hard and put the tension on it I did, itís usually set really well Ė which means itís not happy coming free. I simply come over top of it, add a little tension, and wait (a minute). Then a bit more tension, and wait again. It never takes more than three or four of these and the anchor pops free.

While Iím idling out of the anchorage, the Admiral re-spools the stern tie line and away we go Ė once again, leaving the masses un-entertained (we hope!)
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:22 AM   #2
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:16 AM   #3
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We haven't stern tied much as we've only had our boat for 10 months, but it sure is handy in tight quarters and in areas where the bottom drops off really fast.

I've heard that having a 300' smaller line can really speed things up; the person going ashore takes both lines, attaches them behind the anchoring object, then the person aboard the vessel can pull the smaller line back pulling the stern line with it. In addition to speeding things up, the person going ashore doesn't run the risk of pulling too little stern line, and getting pulled up short coming back to the boat.

Here's a photo of us happily stern tied on a slope so steep the sounder read 35' under the helm and a weighted line read 25' under the swim step;
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:24 PM   #4
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Nikko:
Nice, and that is the preferred stern tie procedure of lots of boaters in the Desolation Sound area.
In my case, however, I rarely get the opportunity to have such a peaceful event as you describe, as the places that I choose are usually small and can be expected to be tight, so there is less room, there is almost always a current, and my First Mate will NOT climb the rocks to put the line around a tree. My modifications to your described method:
One engine in reverse to hold against the current. FM can add or reduce throttle as needed for position holding, but if the current /wind effect is too fluky and she can't manage to hold position, I will abort and try somewhere else.
The whole line goes ashore with me in the dinghy in fluky conditions, so that an abort is easy, if required. Otherwise, I have my line in a milk box (holds 200') or two, with an extra 100' loose for running around the tree. The line in the box in the bottom of the dinghy pays out by itself on the way back to the boat. If position holding has been easy, FM is there to grab and cleat the lines, if not, I have cleats where I can reach them from the dinghy.
We managed this on one engine this summer, by watching the tide and going in at slack water, so all we had to compensate for was the light wind. Still modified the technique by using all 500' and letting the boat drift on its anchor, then hauled in the considerable excess sternline.
I don't think I have ever been in a spot where I could get 5 to 1 scope, let alone 7. That is simply dreaming.
One spot we chose was with the stern 20' off the rockwall, 35' under my midship TDucer, anchor 2 boatlengths off the bow (that is all the room there was) in 97'. Held well.

We tied to a friend who had a different method: FM on the bow with the end of the spooled line, he nudged the bow into the rock shoreline, she climbed off, around the nearby tree, back onto the bowsprit. He then backed away, spun the boat around, pulled away to the anchoring spot, THEN dropped the hook and backed down on it while FM wound in the spool on the swimgrid. COOL! This wouldn't work on a shallow slope.

Those of you with singles, how do you do this? I don't think I have ever seen someone stern tie a single screw boat without help (I will jump in the dinghy and help when I see someone with a single screw contemplating a stern tie, and the help is always appreciated).
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:36 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Nikko View Post
Wrote this up for another forum, but figured it may help, or spark conversation here to. Enjoy!!
Excellent Post! Detailed, interesting and very informative. Thanks!
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Old 08-29-2013, 02:12 PM   #6
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Excellent posting. Hope lots of people see this as I've see some near fiascos.

Some anchorages are rocky and the only way to get the anchor to hold is to not swing so it can unhook. Keep some tension on it with the shore line and there won't be any trouble.

I have a single screw but my wife, FM, does the shore bit.

We tried the reverse one time, long ago, and the anchor was holding fine untill I went ashore. Maybe I didn't wait long enough or let out enough line but I thought it was set and had been for several minutes. The anchor had other ideas so it was a scramble. So now FM does the shore bit.

I too leave the engine in reverse to minimize swinging about.

Our minor modification

My line is in three pieces of 200' each with a carabine in the braided eye. One eye each end. Flaked out on the back deck so feeding is easy.

Yellow so others can see it.

FM goes ashore with the carabiner end and wraps the line about the tree/rock and snaps the carabiner on the standing part of the line and returns to the boat. No fighting with the line on the way back.

I then go back with another piece with FM feeding the line out, from the opposite side of boat, and she will cleat her end with slack when I get to the tree. I usually attach the new piece to the carabine hook before releasing from the standing part and then we are done. A bit more work maybe but once the boat is secured with even the one piece it's is not going anywhere and we will adjust to suit.

No, I have not done the shore tie single handed. I've thought about it but haven't done it.
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:01 PM   #7
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Single screw boat.

I will put a stern line ashore when ever I can. I always sleep better.

Generally:
1. Set the anchor first. Try to get 3:1 or better scope, .
2. Dinghy is already down and being towed, so it is just a matter of hopping in and grabbing the stern line and head to the beach.
3. This season we switched to a Poly/nylon webbing for the stern line. I keep 300' on a hose reel.
4. Drive the dinghy to the beach while holding the stern tie. Beach the dinghy.
5. The Admirial will control the line coming off the reel. I will loop the line around the tree or other anchor point and tie a bowline far enough out to be in the water at low tide.
6. have the admiral pull up the slack.

The entire procedure usually takes just a few minutes. Once in awhile it may take 6 or 7 if I can't get to the tree easily.


When I am ready to leave after starting the big boat, I will pull myself by hand in the dinghy along the line to the knot. The Admiral will slack the line at the boat and I will untie the knot. She then can reel me back to the boat. No need to even start the dinghy motor for that.

When we are anchoring around an area, we will typically tow the dinghy behind us.
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Old 08-29-2013, 05:02 PM   #8
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Great post!! Thanks for sharing
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:53 PM   #9
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I have no interest in getting into discussions on the active board anymore, but this thread needs an addendum that more should see than I can PM.

Regarding stern tying, we have our own procedure that is somewhat different than those already described and that works extremely well regardless of current or wind. But one thing anyone who stern ties in the PNW and BC, regardless of the method used, should be aware of if they aren't already is not to run the line around a live tree unless you have no other choice. Particularly an arbutus (madrona). (photo)

A line run around a live tree can damage the bark, particularly if the line is doubled and hauled back aboard the boat from the boat. It can take very little damage to the bark to kill a tree or weaken it.

There have been a number of articles over the last few years here and in BC about the plight of the arbutus in the PNW and BC. Their health is failing in a number of areas and more and more are dying. There are a number of reasons for this. One of them, as improbable as it may seem, is the loss of trees near the water in bays and anchorages where boaters are running stern lines around them.

While a line around a tree with pressure on it can damage bark, the real damage comes when the boater departs and hauls the bitter end of the line back around the tree and back to the boat. It is this sawing action, which can occur with a line or a strap, that does the most damage.

I can't speak for other PNW boaters, but we and the boaters we feel are worth hanging out with think the arbutus, like the eagle, is almost a symbol of the region. It would be a shame to see them disappear, particulary when there is at least one thing boaters can do to help preserve them.

Stern tie to rings or eyebolts if available, boulders if they are condusive to having a line run around them, or dead trees and stumps. If the only choice is to put a line around a live tree-- and we've had to do this on a couple of occasions-- protect the bark with towels or mats and don't haul the line back to the boat by pulling it around on the bark. The arbutus in particular has a trunk surface that is easily damaged by this practice.

I am fully aware that there are plenty of bozo boaters out there and on this forum who could give a crap and believe that once you've seen one tree you've seen them all. I have no interest in debating the topic with them. The only reason I am putting this post on the open forum is for the newer boaters in this area who may not be aware of this issue.

Stern tying is often a necessity in the waters between here and SE Alaska. We use a stern tie fairly frequently. There's no reason it can't be done responsibly.
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:20 PM   #10
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Marin, sometimes simple solutions can cross over activities. Off road vehicles are another passion of mine and similar tree bark damage from winch and recovery activities has been mitigated for over 20 years now through the use of tree straps.

A simple solution to a complex problem and almost every winch equipped off road vehicle has one now. Not only do they protect the trees, they actually simplify winching operations and protect your expensive equipment.

http://www.warn.com/truck/accessories/tree_straps.shtml
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marin View Post
I have no interest in getting into discussions on the active board anymore, but this thread needs an addendum that more should see than I can PM.

Regarding stern tying, we have our own procedure that is somewhat different than those already described and that works extremely well regardless of current or wind. But one thing anyone who stern ties in the PNW and BC, regardless of the method used, should be aware of if they aren't already is not to run the line around a live tree unless you have no other choice. Particularly an arbutus (madrona). (photo)

A line run around a live tree can damage the bark, particularly if the line is doubled and hauled back aboard the boat from the boat. It can take very little damage to the bark to kill a tree or weaken it.

There have been a number of articles over the last few years here and in BC about the plight of the arbutus in the PNW and BC. Their health is failing in a number of areas and more and more are dying. There are a number of reasons for this. One of them, as improbable as it may seem, is the loss of trees near the water in bays and anchorages where boaters are running stern lines around them.

I can't speak for other PNW boaters, but we and the boaters we feel are worth hanging out with think the arbutus, like the eagle, is almost a symbol of the region. It would be a shame to see them disappear, particulary when there is at least one thing boaters can do to help preserve them.

Stern tie to rings or eyebolts if available, boulders if they are condusive to having a line run around them, or dead trees and stumps. If the only choice is to put a line around a live tree-- and we've had to do this on a couple of occasions-- protect the bark with towels or mats and don't haul the line back to the boat by pulling it around on the bark. The arbutus in particular has a trunk surface that is easily damaged by this practice.

I am fully aware that there are plenty of bozo boaters out there and on this forum who could give a crap and believe that once you've seen one tree you've seen them all. I have no interest in debating the topic with them. The only reason I am putting this post on the open forum is for the newer boaters in this area who may not be aware of this issue.

Stern tying is often a necessity in the waters between here and SE Alaska. We use a stern tie fairly frequently. There's no reason it can't be done responsibly.
Thanks Marin, for the post.
Totally agree, we do not tie to a live tree , lots of other options. We have two reels of 600', never had too use the second reel but you never know........
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