Sketchbook: Stern Anchoring

Publish date:
Social count:



Stern anchors, or kedges, are used to moor bow-to the shore. Drop the anchor three or four boatlengths out and then gently motor in using the stern line as a brake. If you run out of line, try accelerating and dragging the anchor slightly. Step ashore and make the bow fast with a couple of lines. Tension the stern line. To stop your boat from blowing sideways, tie a line from the other quarter and rolling hitch this to the anchor cable, so that they form a bridle.


Ideally, some form of fairlead is needed at the stern to reduce wear and help the anchor cable to pay out smoothly. Some boats stow the kedge cable on a drum, because an amazing amount of line can be stowed in a quite a small space. It should pay out and be retrieved easily, which is handy if you are using the kedge in an emergency situation. Protect the line from sunlight damage with a cover secured by Velcro. Some people don’t use any chain.


On many boats the line is just flaked down into a big box or onto the cockpit sole. Mind your feet on release.

On this boat the chain is lowered into a strong bucket hanging on the quarter. The kedge is then hung on the rail. When the kedge is let go, the chain chafe is taken by the edge of the bucket, and the line then snakes out after it.

Some people simply hang the chain over the stern.


This system has been refined into a special box that fits snugly over a stern fairlead.


A strong, fold-down, self-stowing anchor roller at the stern combined with a cable locker is a neat idea.

Some skippers use a very strong tape wound onto a reel to pay out the anchor rode.

When attaching lines ashore, look out for any cut lines that may have been left behind. These can indicate a very hurried exit that may, in turn, have been caused by poor anchor holding off shore.


J & K
A mooring ring or chain prevents damage to trees.

Some no-anchoring signs can be hard to see.

In some places, it is common practice to swim or ferry the kedge cable or stern lines ashore and secure them to trees.

In some places, it is common practice to swim or ferry the kedge cable or stern lines ashore and secure them to trees.

Dick Everitt has sailed thousands of miles in various parts of the world. He has been an illustrator, journalist and engineer for more than 40 years

January 2016



Paine Surfs his Finn in Cadiz

Check out this onboard footage of U.S. Olympic bronze medalist Caleb Paine surfing downwind in 30 knots of breeze during the recent 2018 Finn European Championships in Cadiz, Spain. Paine, who only recently returned to Finn sailing after taking a break following the 2016 Games in more


The ICW North Bound Migration Begins

As the northbound migration begins, we are getting some early reports on conditions along the ICW. The overall impression this spring is that after the damages caused by the hurricanes, the winter storms have apparently not made too many additional changes. There is even some more


Charter: Historic Croatia

Heaps of history—that’s not usually what comes to mind when you plan a sailing charter, but if you like a bit of culture mixed with your cruising, Croatia is the place to go. Caught between two worlds, (the whitewashed laid back vibe of the Mediterranean and the brash demeanor of more


Gear: Pan-Pan man-overboard Locator

There He Goes!The Pan-Pan man-overboard locator won a Pittman award for 2017 as a great idea, and now it is in production as the Weems & Plath CrewWatcher. It’s a two-part system that employs a smartphone app to locate a small personal beacon that triggers automatically should more


SAIL 2018: Reader's Photographs

Are you out there sailing, cruising and living the sailing life? If so, we’d love to see it. Send your sailing photos to sailmail@sailmagazine.comAnd don’t forget to sign up for our free eNewsletter.Check back for updates!This was taken from half way across the 26 mile crossing more

Landing Page Lead

The Volvo Returns to the Southern Ocean

Since the Volvo Ocean Race’s inception, the Southern Ocean has made it what it is. And no part of the race says “Southern Ocean” like Leg 7 from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajaí, Brazil. The 7,600-mile leg, which starts this Sunday, is not only the longest of the event, but far more