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Old 20-09-2010, 08:21   #16
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If we don't know what the drill is in a new port, we idle up to the first cruising boat we see with someone on it and ask...its a good way to make new friends. Sometimes the answers are surpising, like in St Croix where the new mooring balls which were crowding the anchorage marked on the cruising guide were free for for the use of transient boats.

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Old 20-09-2010, 08:36   #17
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Before sharing my thoughts about the anchoring side of this question, I'll share the comment overheard from the tourist visiting Boothbay Harbor, Maine. "You can tell these people take great pride in their harbor by noticing that they all park their boats facing in the same direction."

When we anchor in a popular spot where space is limited and we will be near other boats, we first motor slowly near a vessel with people aboard and ask about the length of their rode. Our plan would be to lay out a similar length so that we would expect to swing in a similar arc. Just as important, it allows us to politely greet our potential neighbor and give them an opportunity to express their concerns or share such info as dinghy docks and such. We do note that multihulls and power boats will not follow the same dance steps when the wind opposes the current, so we select our neighbors as other keeled sailboats when possible. When space is tight and all the vessels are pointed in the same direction, it's usually appropriate to drop the hook at near the distance equal to the water depth off the port or starboard quarter of the established boat and then fall back at the matching rode length in a protected harbor without wind and current issues. When the wind and current is opposed the lighter boats with the fins or winged keels may swing about far more than the heavier full keeled boats. When anchoring among boats of different design or when conditions are slack with all vessels pointing in different directions, it's less wise to anchor as close and best to drop at near two rode lengths away from a neighbor.

Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 20-09-2010, 08:37   #18
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Originally Posted by FatBear View Post
What do you do when entering a new anchorage? One with other boats about and perhaps in front of or near a nice town. How do you pick a spot? How do you know if it is OK to pickup an empty mooring buoy? Etc.
Before I enter a new anchorage I've spent some time with a chart, cruising guide, or chatting up other cruisers. I want a spot that's not too deep, has good holding, not too rolly/noisy, and a bit of a breeze. I tend to stay away from shore as I enjoy the quiet far more than the sounds of civilization.

As I enter the anchorage, I give a general hello on 16 and see if anyone has any current info on the anchoring or mooring situation. I cruise through the area of interest I've picked and see if it's for me. If not, I cruise about a bit. When I think I've found my spot, I double check that I won't get too close to the boats around me, that they're using chain/nylon rode the same as I do, and then anchor.

Mooring buoys are tougher. Many are private and others not well maintained. It helps to have local knowledge about which colors are for rent. As a general rule, if there's a name on the float other than "rent me", I consider it private. It is not advisable to simply grab the nearest mooring - unless you know for certain that it's for rent, it's not, and therefore not a place you should be. Many mooring fields have moorings set out for specific sizes of vessels and others have bow and stern moorings, so it's important to know what the rules are.

I dive my anchor and I always dive the mooring. I have far more faith in the integrity of my ground tackle than someone else's idea of secure.
Capt. Douglas Abbott
USCG/MCA IV/M.I./C.I. 500-ton Oceans
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Old 20-09-2010, 09:06   #19
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I anchor behind other boats. Picking up a mooring is fine in some places but they will kill you in other places, so investigate locally.

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Old 20-09-2010, 09:32   #20
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Google Earth gets my vote!

Not only for yourself, but it may help make your wife more comfortable when she can 'see' the location.

On Google Earth you can (generally) clearly see where boats are anchored (look for cruising boats by the little dinghys out back!), you can see Marinas and how their docks are set up, even where the office is, etc.

Google Earth even lets you see stuff like dinghy docks, access to the main roads, closest supermarkets etc.

Have a look at it and get used to a good view

Notes on a Circumnavigation.

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
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Old 20-09-2010, 09:56   #21
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The answer to your question about docks (as opposed to anchoring) will vary in different countries. In many european countries, you either call ahead (the channel will be in the pilot book) or take a position on the welcome pontoon, or failing that the fuel pontoon. In Italy, someone will come out to you. In France - just squeeze in where you can and go to the office. It varies a lot. In Malta and Southern Italy they're really crap at answering a woman on the VHF (which is a major drag for RG, with just the two women on board!) But you find these things out as you go along. Your pilot book is key so get good ones, and then use places like these forums and so on to get the most up-to-date gen.

As for entering a foreign country - which one, and where are you coming from, what national ensign do you fly and what passports do your crew carry. All these (plus whether you have a pet) will affect the answer, so you need to check it out at the time you're moving. Noonsite is good (esp if you are a US citizen on a US boat), or join the Cruising Association for good european info.

One of the best bits of cruising is arriving in new places.
Sarah & Pip
s/v Roaring Girl
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Old 20-09-2010, 20:10   #22
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Good advice, daddle. A few years ago we spent two weeks on the Nivernais canal in France. 143 locks, 4 (I think) lift bridges that we had to operate. Lots of bridges to squeeze through. Docking and mooring to canal banks, etc. It was a very intensive course in boat handling and I was pretty good by the end of it. I'll have to make my own course for the sailboat.

Wow! I just noticed that there is now a page 2 and it is chock full of great pointers. Thanks to everyone!
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Old 20-09-2010, 20:22   #23
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Hi Roaring Girl,
That's weird that they might not answer a woman on the radio. I actually used to be on the land-end of a harbor control radio (in the Navy) and always preferred to talk to women because their voices came across more clearly. And women tend to have better foreign (and probably native!) language skills. I guess some things just never change. And to think I was counting on my wife to "man" the radio...
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Old 20-09-2010, 21:36   #24
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Originally Posted by FatBear View Post
Hi Roaring Girl,
That's weird that they might not answer a woman on the radio....
In my experience, women asking for information/help are more likely to receive helpful advice/assistance. For men, the underlying tone of a response is "what's with this fool/incompetent?"
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Old 16-11-2010, 21:40   #25
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fatbear, I cant imagine sailing with my wife, we'd kill each other. Alright who's wearing the pants today. Watch out!, don't go over there! Oh, those people look creepy (and turn out to be the best you ever met), and on and on. Go where the wind blows. And whatever happens, happens

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anchor, mooring

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