The Bahamian moor is a useful way of anchoring in strong tides, but it takes some practice, as Theo Stocker discovers

Holy Island causeway

Holy Island causeway

Tides at Holy Island

Holy Island is joined to the mainland by a causeway. The flood tide fills the harbour from seaward to the east until the road is covered. The tide can then flow in from the north west for the second half of the flood. On the ebb, the tide runs north west until the causeway dries, when the stream switches and the last of tide ebbs more

Posts mark the traditional causeway for pilgrims to walk to the island slowly eastwards. Anchored off The Heugh, the effect is that the tidal stream changes direction not twice but four times a tide.


Learning the Bahamian moor

We have rarely done anything but simple anchoring on Grace, a Hallberg Rassy 31. While the bower anchor sees regular use, the kedge anchor has stayed snug and dry in a locker for several seasons. We had been advised that because of the rapidly changing tidal streams, a Bahamian moor would help prevent us dragging anchor.

We entered the harbour on a flood tide, so laid our main anchor uptide, to the east, in around three metres’ depth. Going astern, we laid out the full scope of Grace’s chain, just shy of 40 metres. As the wind was at 90 degrees to the tide, this was a little tricky. Once there, we dropped the kedge anchor from the stern, and took the warp forwards to the bow.

Hauling in on the main anchor until we had roughly equal scope on both anchors, we finally lashed the kedge’s rope to the main anchor’s chain and lowered both a couple of metres, to stop the rope getting anywhere near our keel or propeller. Once there, we motored gently in both directions to dig both anchor in.

It would have been useful to have a longer scope on Grace’s main anchor to allow us to set the anchors further apart, so we are looking at adding chain or warp.


Retrieving the kedge anchor

Retrieving the kedge anchor

Recovering the ground tackle

When it came to weighing anchor, the kedge anchor came up easily enough but the main anchor was less willing, evidently preferring the company of the countless other lumps of metal on the sea-bed. After half an hour of effort, a quick prayer, a last

shove of thrust astern and a heave on the windlass, the anchor came free, amazingly all gear intact.