There are so many variables and yacht compromises on this subject of TRS anchoring techniques that I can only give advice on “ideal” solutions and let the mariner adjust to his own actual situation.
My best advice
is that your yacht should have its primary ground tackle, retrieval gear
and strong points sized to handle the shock forces and strain of Hurricane force winds combined with about 5-8 ft waves on your displacement
. You should not need to play with Tandem, kedges or double deployments!
In my opinion, if you can not trust this basic gear with your life in those conditions then I think you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself.
IF you are more of a racer/cruiser and weight prohibits that, then you should consider not being in an area of TRS during their season. However, I do not advocate leaving a potential safe haven 4 days before predicted arrival to try and create separation from a tropical revolving storm as tracks and speed can become very irregular, breakdowns can happen during transit and it takes time to properly prepare if the storm follows you.
in the Philippines
, where out of the approx 25 Typhoons each year in the Western Pacific.... we get about 8 a year down “Typhoon Alley”...so these comments illustrate the specific realities I have to live with.
Choosing a “location” is often wishful thinking as we can get a Typhoon in any month so wherever we are cruising I research
the nearest typhoon hole’s reputation.
My biggest concern is how popular it is with local ships and ferries? If it is popular, can I put some very shallow water between them and my anchorage?
For example, if any of you know Puerto Galera, that beautiful anchorage will often have over 25 small Ro-Ro ferries/ships/barges crammed in. If the storm passes nearby, many end up being dragged aground and luckily where you see the yacht moorings near the bottom we have a finger reef to catch most of them. But I have experienced in 90 knot
winds a 200 ft car ferry
passing within 10 feet of me before running aground further in. (I no longer stay there anymore in a typhoon because of its popularity)
Next to protecting from local ships and having faith in my primary ground tackle, I try to drop it in a hole so that it needs to pull up in any direction. If I know how busy it will get, I would rather put up with more Fetch and discomfort rather than allow myself to be crammed in with too many other boats in the very best area. I like room to swing and have put up with too many last minute frightened arrivals who want to park on your hip.
Once the anchor has been given time to bury on initial set I then do a heavy test using full rpm and surge to try and break it out. I have made up a very heavy duty deck bridle
to be used in these storm conditions rather than my normal snubber. As someone else said commercial
heavy duty fire hose material works well for chafe protection and from my towing days, I soak the line in oil
before covering with chafe gear.
MarkJ asked that I repost my previous notes on how I would use the second anchor:
Again, this is based very much on the actual circumstances so how you deploy depends a lot on neighbors, holding conditions, swing room, yachts tendency to sheer and anchorage topography.
Once I lay out my primary anchor at maximum scope to keep me off anticipated dangers I make sure that the remaining chain can be run out easy and I put a lighter line on the bitter end so that it can break away easy if I need to let go due to a barge or ship dragging down on me. (Tip: I put a bright yellow named float on a line from the anchor so that it marks its position for others to see where I have dropped and hopefully keeps them well clear. Also helps monitor the shape of your anchor bight if wind goes 180)
Well before any real wind comes, I lower my secondary anchor to full extent replacing any faded marks, then retrieve it back while carefully laying the chain in the locker so that no snags can happen if I need to run it all out in the storm.
Then when the anticipated wind settles in, but before it builds too much, I lower the secondary anchor at my stretched out position so that it just drags the bottom
The reason is that most Typhoon holes are in Mangrove areas and the shallow bottom can be muddy slurry.
My goal is to reduce and slow down the sheering tendency that could break out the primary anchor and if the topography is steep hills or cliffs around you, it will slow down the effects of rebound gusts.
If swing room is limited and the eye passes close by as the wind starts to go 180 I then deploy my second anchor using engine
and clocking angles to lay it out at an angle away from the primary anchors bight.
I don’t believe in committing both anchors before the TRS shows its hand, since they can fool you, but I do like the second one in the water and ready to use for any scenario.
Some other on-board preparations tips not mentioned:
Fill water tanks
in case you do go aground or the anchorage is too dirty to make water after storm.
As well as removing all sails
, I unhook the toping lifts, lash boom aft ends to deck
and use vang and extra lines to use boom as aft brace for Mast
as well as a steady support if you need to be on deck.
Tension all halyards and topping lifts for additional support of masts and make sure no slapping against the masts can happen.
Safety Lines set up on deck.
For each of us, prepare mask / snorkel and bicycle helmet for emergency
deck work. (I also have a thin diver’s hood
to protect face and ears from wind pressure.) Fins are nearby in case we needed to abandon into the water.
Lash poly beach line on stern ready for deployment (I have actually used this to catch another yacht slowly dragging close by and help hold them…they had a Y set up that fouled)
A mechanical lock on the wheel
to centre the rudder
helps to slow down sheering during surges.
I personally don’t believe in using the engine blindly to relieve strain on the holding gear. There can be too much flotsam in the water from fish
nets to poly line to foul the prop. Also if you get it wrong in a wind sheer you can over-run the chain and then come back very hard.
Hope some of this helps.