How to choose your spot How to drop the hook

Yachting Monthly - - EXPERT ON BOARD -

The pi­lot books will spec­ify where iron loops are al­ready in­stalled in the rock so, if you haven’t got any bergskils, you can still moor up. You may need binoc­u­lars to spot them. The best choice is a place that is shel­tered from the pre­vail­ing wind but it can get jolly warm in the sum­mer so you might want to choose a place that is open to a gen­tle breeze, pro­vided you’ve checked the fore­cast and it’s not go­ing to blow a hoolie while you’re there. Ei­ther way your ap­proach needs to be bow- or stern-to the wind to pre­vent the bow blow­ing off while your crew is try­ing to get onto the rock and se­cure a line.

Next, scout the lo­ca­tion, slowly. Gen­er­ally the wa­ter is clear enough to see any rocks that could cause trou­ble and your crew at the bow will be able to as­sess the slope of the rock un­der wa­ter to find out if there is any risk of touch­ing. This is where newer boats with plumb stems are at a dis­ad­van­tage. A raked stem lets you get closer to the rock with­out hit­ting it.

Hav­ing iden­ti­fied where you want the bow to end up, mo­tor up or down­wind some 3-4 boatlengths off, keep­ing an eye on the sounder, to work out where to drop the hook and roughly how much ca­ble you need. You’ll also be able to as­sess any cur­rent that could in­ter­fere with the manouevre.

If the wind is fore­cast for squalls or longer pe­ri­ods of strong winds while you're cruis­ing through an area of sk­er­ries, you can of­ten find a snug lit­tle nook in which to moor with four lines ashore for ab­so­lute se­cu­rity. The crew has pre­pared two bow lines at the bow and the helm has the stern an­chor ready to go. Ap­proach as slowly and as straight as you can and throw the an­chor over the stern at the cho­sen spot. Let the rode run out, you may need to pull out some slack if the reel is stiff, and when you know the an­chor is on the bot­tom, give the rode a turn round a winch and con­tinue your ap­proach slowly let­ting the reel run out. Ask the jumper to ad­vise dis­tance off us­ing hand sig­nals. Around 5m off, snub the rode on the winch to make sure the an­chor’s set and to con­trol your ap­proach. Again, keep an eye on the crew ad­vis­ing dis­tance off with agreed hand sig­nals as they’ll be look­ing for­ward and you won’t be able to hear them speak. Stop the boat by idling against the snubbed ca­ble when the crew jumps off, and cleat or tie off the rode.

They’re not al­ways easy to spot against the rock so you may need binoc­u­lars to find them

Kieran throws the an­chor over the stern and the reel pays out as the boat moves slowly for­ward

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