Five minute briefing - Med mooring stern-to

Five minute briefing - Med mooring stern-to Top tips on stern-to mooring

Top tips on stern-to mooring

Mediterranean mooring is usually stern-to and occasionally bows-tothe quay. Boats usually moor stern-to the quay or pontoon for ease ofaccess ashore; however when unsure of the depth, going bows-to will keepyour drives in deeper water. Alongside berthing is normally onlyavailable at fuel or waiting pontoons.

Stern lines areused to stay close to the quay or pontoon, whilst either the anchor or aline from the bow holds the boat away. A passerelle or wooden plank,carried by the boat, is used to go ashore.

Lazy lines

Lazy lines are used in busy harbours and marinaswhere multiple anchors would become fouled. Instead of the anchorholding the bow away, the bow is connected to a heavy bow line, which ispre-attached to a concrete block on the seabed. The bow line is alsoattached to a lighter ‘lazy line’, which is led to the quayside/pontoon.The lazy line is retrieved from the wall and led to the bow and theheavier line hauled in and tied off.

Lazy lines

The approach:

  • Rig up fenders on either side and at the stern.
  • Rig two stern lines - they should be long enough to go ashore and come back to the boat.
  • Reverse towards the quay/pontoon.
  • Connect windward stern line to quay/pontoon first (i).
  • Pick up the lazy line, lead it to the bow and tie off.
  • Connect second stern line.
  • Adjust bow and stern lines (ii).

    (i) To hold the boat in position once the windward stern-line is attached use small nudges ahead on the leeward engine. If you have a single engine boat, turn the wheel to windward and use ‘ahead’ to keep the bow up to wind.

    (ii) Often the stern lines are eased and the bow line is re-tightened, then the stern lines are hauled in taught. A tight bow line reduces the chance of the stern bashing the quay or pontoon. Springs which are diagonal lines from either quarter to the quay can stop the stern moving sideways.


Anchoring - stern-to

Anchoring – stern-to

The approach:

  • Rig up fenders on both sides and a large fender on the stern.
  • Rig a stern line from both quarters.
  • Prepare the anchor to drop.
  • About four boat lengths away from the quay drop the anchor and ease out chain.
  • One boat length from the quay, stop easing the chain so that the anchor digs in. Be ready to ease out more chain if required.
  • Connect the windward stern line to shore, followed by the leeward stern line.
  • Once positioned the correct distance from the quay, take the strain up on the chain. To ensure the stern stays away from the quay/pontoon - often the stern lines are eased and the chain tightened, then the stern lines made taught again.

In a crosswind it may be necessary to reverse intowind initially to get steerageway. When slightly upwind of the gap,drop the anchor and reverse into the space. Ensure the leeward side iswell fendered in case you drift onto the downwind boat.

Onshore wind
Ifthe wind is on the bow, treat the stern-to mooring as a normalanchoring exercise. Drop the anchor four-boat lengths out and gentlyreverse into the gap with the stern lines ready. One boat length awayfrom the quay, snub the anchor so that it digs in, then connect thestern lines.

Crosswinds - Onshore wind


Written by: Simon Jinks on behalf of the RYA
Pictures: Courtesy of Sarah Selman