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Preview: How to Build and Use an Outhaul to Anchor a Boat

July 30, 2015

Here is a system that allows you to disembark from your boat or dinghy when you are unable to land ashore.  It also secures your boat so that a drop in the water level won’t leave it high and dry or banging against the rocks. Whether you call it a clothesline or an outhaul, it’s slicker than moss, and it’s easy to do.

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– [Geoff] You look at some place like that, it’s going to be really hard to land.

– We may talk a little bit about setting up an outhaul in a situation like this?

– Well, I think so, because a lot of folks are going to be in boats. Or, you might be in a boat that really isn’t big enough to carry a dinghy. What we’re going to try to do now, is setup the good anchor holding the boat. And then, an outhaul line that will have one end anchored to a tree, maybe, over here. And, the other end on the boat. And, we’ll be able to move the boat in or out, as we need.

– [Geoff] And, there’s a fairly simple buoy that will work really well for that system. We need a float, which the real anchor is tied to one end. And, our continuous loop haul in, haul out line fastens to the other end. And, I’m going to make a quick and dirty one out of this lovely 4 foot chunk of 2 inch thick cedar. The theoretical design of this is, I’m just going to make a cross. If your buoy is a floating cross, it’s stable on the surface then it won’t spin and twist up the line. So, I’m going to whack this in half. And then, left with the half left joint, let the two sides into each other. So we make a cross. Center line. Three inches on either side. And … Went to the lumber room, shopping ideally, for fairly sizable timber. Cedar, which is great because it’s very lightweight. So, it’s not a pain to carry around in the boat. And, it floats really well since it’s lightweight. Practically rot resistant. So, if it’s a good piece of boat gear, it’ll be around for a while. Oh baby! So, there’s why we did what we did. Now we’ll have, imagine, floating on the surface a buoy that’ll stay on the surface. And, won’t roll on itself like a ball, or a tubular buoy. And, if we anchor one end of an anchor line to a big anchor down there, and tie it off, then it becomes, essentially, a temporary mooring. And since this is going to be having line fed in and out of it, and I’m going to be walking on it in the boat, and so forth, I’m going to countersink the heads. I’ll pick a screw length that won’t stick out the other side, for me to get caught on. I think for hardware, so to speak, on the arm to which the anchor line is going to be fastened, I’m just going to drill a one inch hole. With a forstner bit. And, relieve those corners. And, just use it as a hole to tie the rope to. Why add hardware if we don’t need to? It saves time, it saves money. And the simpler it is, the more reliably it works. Often times, with the tides in Maine, if you don’t happen to have, as you noted, this beautiful, gently sloping beach, it’s the only way you can keep the boat accessible. And, what this allows us is, imagine, our anchor and anchor rode made off here, at the appropriate depths. Then, we’re going to rig a long piece of line through here. Tie it’s ends to our bow line. And, that becomes our haul in and haul out.

– [Cameraman] Our clothesline, so to speak.

– Our clothesline. This is a temporary mooring buoy. Let’s have a look at this in a diagram. We’ve got a beach, and a bold shore we’re talking about. We’ve got a little tree over here, on this rocky outcropping. We’re going to place our outhaul cross in water depth suitable. And, all we’re doing, is anchoring that to the bottom. With our fisherman. Anchored cross. And, it’s simply a clothesline from the other side of that outhaul cross, around that tree. Which, we tie the painter of our boat off of. And, we can haul and retrieve, as we need it. Well, let’s set it up and give it a try.

– Yeah, let’s put it in the water.

– All right. I’m going to create a bowline, right here. That is going to be the point at which the boat, is attached to the haul out line. And, I’m leaving myself a long tail. Because, as it is now, I just have a long line tied to the bow of the boat. But, as soon as I take this tail, and attach it to the other end of the line with a sheet bend, I now have a big, continuous loop. So, we’ve got our anchor pinned and ready. We’re going to be rowing, so this can only be right here. And I’ll …. Yeah, we’ll be able to use this regular rode. A well tightened shackle always being, perhaps, more reliable than not. It’s certainly less chafe. And, we’ll give this a little love, just to be sure. My daughters call my shiny pocket tool my leather girl. So I think, Eric, since we’re going to set this up to be able to land on that gnarly shore, we’ll pick out, maybe that first tree. As…

– Here?

– Someplace to make off our line on the shore end. So, we want to set an anchor out here in water deep enough, that at low tide we’ve still got water. The boat’s floating. So, however the wind changes in the night, we’re not bouncing on any rocks that are under there. We’re not getting blown up onto the beach. And so that, it can’t drift into that. What might be called a bold shore line, right there.

– Sure. So, we’re going to set our fisherman out here. I guess we’re about half tide now. The tide’s ebbing. 11 foot-ish tide, it might go out another five feet. So, we want to be sure we’re in at least 10 or 15 feet of water. Basically, with any anchor, the idea is that with the bottom … Anchors are meant to have, kind of, as near horizontal pull as you can. Whether it’s a danforth or a fisherman, a bruce, a CQR. A nice, horizontal pull from your boat, on that anchor, is going to set it. So, we have a shore here, sandy beach. Wherever we drop our anchor, we want to make sure that the scope we pick, the amount of anchor rode that we let out, will allow us to swing freely. Without hitting the shore, or any other obstacles. Any rocks maybe, at high or low tide. Now, I’m afraid to kiss the barnacles, so don’t do anything too dramatic. Cool. So, able to bring the boat right ashore.

– Pull her back out.

– All right.

– Make her up fast on the …

– Haul her back out. And, we’ll make off the end, shore end, to a tree or something. She should sit right there, on her mooring buoy for the evening.



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