Monday, February 8, 2010

Anchoring to Trees

Hal Roth's great book Two Against Cape Horn describes anchoring in far southern Chile, "where all vessels - unless they are large enough to keep up steam and have crew to stand anchor watches - take lines ashore. Unfortunately, in the beginning you doubt the necessity of tying ashore. My anchors are better. My anchoring techniques are good enough. My judgment is adequate. Lines ashore? Mooring to trees? Humbug!" Experience shows him, however.

Roth's technique was to take two lines ashore, say at a 90 or 120 degree angle from each other, and secure them to boulders or trees or great logs, or to anchors jammed in rocks. Then he carried out a third anchor line to a heavy kedge. "If all this sounds complicated, it is; but such a scheme is the only way of survival when the hurricane winds begin to blow. And exactly half the time the winds start at night which means you are quite helpless in the pitch black because you can't see anything . . . With a couple of lines to the shore and a little thought about protecting the rope from chafe, however, your vessel can withstand any strength of wind. The noise may be wearisome and the heeling from the gusts may upset your nerves a little, but you and your vessel will be safe."

I cruised once along the north shore of Lake Superior, for three weeks. We often anchored in tiny coves with no swinging room, to three lines taken ashore. It was very secure!

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