How to choose your spot How to drop the hook
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