ShoreFasts—Part 1, When to Use Them

Morgan's Cloud hiding from ice by using shorefasts and an anchor in a small cove in East Greenland. (No ice visible in the shot, but there was a bunch of it washing around in the fjord, so this gave us a nice respite after two weeks of ice watches.)
Over the years, members have asked me to do an article on securing a boat with shorefasts as a replacement for, or adjunct to (more common), anchoring. So here we go. But before we get into what gear we need and how it's done, let's look at when we should use shorefasts and, more importantly, when we should not.
The answer is not often, and only when there is no other choice.
I know, that came as a surprise since I'm sure most of you thought that a sailor with my some 25 years in the high latitudes would be lacing his boat into a snug cove at every opportunity. 
Nope. In fact, I will go a step further and say that using shorefasts is often poor seamanship and sometimes downright dangerous, and it's almost always a last resort.
Why? Simple physics coupled with common sense. Let's take a look:

  1. Introduction
  2. 4 Vital Anchor Selection Criteria and a Review of SPADE
  3. SARCA Excel Anchor—A Real World Test
  4. SPADE, SARCA Excel, or Some Other Anchor?
  5. Resetting Failures With Rocna and Manson, and Thoughts on Vulcan and Mantus
  6. Some Thoughts On The Ultra Anchor, Roll Bars and Swivels
  7. Specifying Primary Anchor Size
  8. Kedge (Secondary Anchor)—Recommended Type and Size
  9. Third Anchors, Storm Anchors and Spare Anchors
  10. Anchor Tests—The Good, The Bad, and The Downright Silly
  11. Making Anchor Tests More Meaningful
  12. We Love The Way Our Anchor Drags 
  13. Things to Know About Anchor Chain
  14. Selecting a Chain Grade
  15. Anchor Chain Catenary, When it Matters and When it Doesn’t
  16. Anchoring—Snubbers
  17. Anchor Rode Questions and Answers
  18. Q&A: Hybrid Rope And Chain Anchor Rodes
  19. Anchor Swivels, Just Say No
  20. A Windlass That Makes The Grade
  21. The Perfect Anchor Roller
  22. Install A Wash-down Pump—And Save Money!
  23. Anchoring—Kellets
  24. Anchoring—Chain: Stoppers, Termination and Marking
  25. 20 Tips To Get Anchored and Stay Anchored
  26. Choosing an Anchorage
  27. Choosing a Spot
  28. 15 Steps To Getting Securely Anchored
  29. One Anchor or Two?
  30. Two Anchors Done Right
  31. It’s Often Better to Anchor Than Pick Up a Mooring
  32. Yawing at Anchor, The Theory and The Solution
  33. Surging at The Anchor, an Alternative Proven Cure
  34. ShoreFasts—Part 1, When to Use Them
  35. ShoreFasts—Part 2, Example Setups Plus Tips and Tricks
  36. ShoreFasts—Part 3, The Gear
  37. How To Use An Anchor Trip Line
  38. Gale And Storm Preparation, At Anchor Or On A Mooring
  39. Storm Preparation, All Chain On Deck

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 18 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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