Can you moor Stern-To in the Med
Stern-to mooring on anchor is tricky. People watching, crowded harbours, novice crews, all add up to put you off. A few basic rules and a little advice will ease the tension for the skipper and crew. Of course if you are flotilla sailing then the permanent leaders will sort you out. If you did the job well award yourself a badge as shown below.
1. The skipper should be on the helm and should request silence from the crew except in emergency. This will ensure a clear exchange by hand sign or voice to the bow anchor crew.
2. Fenders should be arranged to the stern and also to sides as appropriate. Stern lines should be prepared for the stern crew or for the skipper to step off if short crewed. If there is any appreciable cross wind plan to secure the windward stern line first.
3. Drop the anchor 2-3 boat lengths from the quay. The choice depends on the conditions and the anchor scope, in a well-protected crowded harbour 2 is OK. If the quay is susceptible to an on-to shore swell or if the scope is a combination of chain and line then select 3.
4. Drop the anchor directly in line with the position or gap you plan to fill. There are two reasons for this. Firstly is to avoid fouling mooring lines of adjacent boats. Secondly if you are not in line then squaring the boat at the quay side can be quite difficult. When you drop the ancrhor in line the boat need not be pointing straight back into the selected spot and could be manoeuvring since the anchor position will be the final squaring factor when you tighten up.
5. When the command fo anchor release is given it should be continuously fed by the winch man and not selectively stopped except in emergency or by instruction. We must avoid the anchor taking hold and stopping the boat before the quay because steerage will be lost.
6. Steer back positively into the gap of the order of a speed of ½ to 1 knot. You must ensure that the anchor chain or the anchor taking hold do not stop or control the boats approach. If you approach too slowly the anchor or the chain may stop you to then be left wallowing with no steerage. Unless there are adjacent boats to grab you then have little choice but to restart the manoeuvre.
7. Approximately 1m from the quay sign or call for the winch man to stop and simultaneously cut the drive. The boat will stop almost immediately due to the chain weight and will be close enough to step off or allow the stern crew to step off and fix the shore lines, windward line priority.
8. Tie off before tightening on the anchor and adjust the lines to position the boat to suite a stern plank exit, or to move off the quay in cases where swell may become an issue.
9. Finally, should we accept advice from the quay side regarding our selected spot and approach; or an offer to handle our lines. Well, I think that could be the subject of another blog!