Stern-tie angst

Even the smallest anchorages can feel expanssive when all vessels stern tie. (Photo by Wilf Ratzburg)

There are times, chatting with other cruisers, when someone says, sometimes as a confession, sometimes defiantly, that they don’t stern tie.

You take a deep breath, or you don’t, depending on your nautical politics, and you ask: “Why?”

The answer usually falls somewhere in between two responses, which can be loosely interpreted as: “it’s too much trouble” or “I got here first. Get your own anchorage.”

In some tight anchorages, it’s selfish. You are first to arrive, you own the little cove, swinging like a big bird and making it impossible for late arrivals to find secure moorage, whether stern tied or not.

In Desolation Sound, in the park, they make it easy. The government, and good folks like Marine Parks Forever, pound metal rings into the rock from which they sometimes hang chains, making it so simple, even morons like me can stern tie, though many still don’t.

In the Broughtons, it’s a little less paint by numbers, with no rings pounded into rock and painted electric lime telling you to “tie here”. It requires you to have a sense where to tie given the forecast winds. And unlike farther south in the Salish Sea, the wind seems to be blowing here more often than not, mostly from the northwest, though often from the southeast, sometimes with brute force.

So no matter where you are in the Broughtons and nearby, you are thinking generally about protection from the northwest, while knowing where you can find shelter from southeast winds if necessary. The beauty of stern tying is that you can pull up into the lee of the tiniest islet to protect from whatever direction the wind is forecast to come.

Read the full post of Salish Sea Pilot.

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