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Old 12-12-2015, 09:04   #16
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

It is possible that the anchor buoy can lift the anchor but only if the line is too short and/or if the buoy is too big. Use a very strong light line and a small buoy.

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Old 12-12-2015, 09:10   #17
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

Having dived on my anchor once or twice, and having seen that thread "photos of anchors setting" I am even more convinced of the importance of knowing the holding ground and whether or not the anchor has really set. I have to disagree with my peers here who may say that it's ok to let the anchor set on its own without really forcefully setting it. You might be amazed how a boat may feel set if it is only allowed to drift back on a long length of chain. (I once anchored to go diving in about a 15 knot breeze. Certain my anchor was well set I thought I'd just check it while on my dive. I was shocked to see the anchor was not set at all but one link of chain had snagged on a rock outcrop!) The weight and drag of the chain alone can hold a surprising amount. Now it may be true that 9 times out of 10, or maybe 99 out of 100, laying an anchor down like that with lots of chain will eventually set the anchor, but I'd be uncomfortable doing that unless I could clearly see the anchor has landed in a large area of sand clear of anything that might foul it and I know I am not going to be moved around by current or wind (which might pull the chain around the anchor and foul it before it set.) At least where I am it is not unusual for the wind to pipe up in the middle of the night, sometimes opposite to the breeze you rode in on, and/or a tidal current may surprise you. Also where I am there can be loose kelp masses that lay on otherwise clear areas of sand. I have caught my anchor not setting a few times due to snagging those which were unseen because of poor visibility. And I would not have caught that were it not for having been pulling a stern anchor against the bow, or reversing on the bow with a lot of throttle.

1962 Columbia 29 MKI #37
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Old 12-12-2015, 10:16   #18
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

I nearly always down wind anchored my previous two cats. Lived aboard and lots of anchoring. Furled the jum, reeled down ti two to three knots, deployed 8 feet or so chain. Just above the spot, deployed 2 depts of chain. Enough drag to turn the boat. As she turns, deploy 3 to 5 more boat lengths, always keeping drag on the chain. When she stops, drop the main and attach bridle. Dive the setup, anchor is nearly buried.

Make up a good story, I claim strong thrusters.
Capt. Stuart Bell
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:19   #19
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

Backing down on an anchor is more to test the holding power of the anchor and the bottom than to set the anchor. Any anchor worth it's weight will set as soon as there is a pull on it, IF it is going set at all. When dropping the hook under sail because of a failed or no engine, you'll probably be just fine whether you sail it in or not. Of course you won't know whether it has a hope of holding in a 30k blow until it does. Backing down on the anchor under power will at least tell you that it will hold under the thrust of the engine.
Peter O.
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:23   #20
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

It's good to learn how to do things under sail. Vital. But the romance and the reality are different.

* There are areas where navigating under sail is illegal (certain canals, under certain bridges). This is generally posted in the Coast Pilot.

* The notion that navigating under sail is more dependable is, well, silly. Not sayin' it isn't wise to have sails and anchor ready.
  • You engine is THAT unreliable? I suggest engine maintenance. Failures of any important kind should be many years apart, and they don't magically happen near bridges.
  • My first 2 boats had no engine, I sailed them through cuts and around marinas, and I know very well how to go forwards, backwards, sit still, and turn. But I also know that the wind underneath bridges and around buildings are unpredictable.
  • You may be able to navigate the narrows under sail, but what about the guy who crosses right in front of you, with no room for you to turn or brake with sails?
  • Waiting for the bridge to open, in the current, is going to be fun. You are optimistic and rude if you think the other boats are going to stay clear while you futz around under sail. The bridge operator may also refuse service if you cannot proceed in a timely manner when there is traffic.
  • Rigging occasionally jams under sail. At least as common as engine failure, except it may be more akin with having the engine jammed in gear and running.
Gear Testing--Engineering--Sailing
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:46   #21
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

Thinwater's post above is absolutely correct IMO. Well stated, too.

Further, for those who advocate letting an anchor "settle in" on its own in preference to setting it with some load on the rode, I'd suggest a careful perusal of Nolex's lengthy thread on anchor usage photos. There you will see numerous examples of anchors that are simply lying on the surface of the seabed, and hours after dropping. You will also see photos of anchors that have dragged for amazing distances without setting.

To blithely assume that one's anchor is doing its job on its own is foolhardy. Giving it a good pull, under power or at least with a backed sail is the only way to be reasonably sure that it will hold at all, let alone in a blow.

Oh... as to being the "star of the show"... if I should see you sail in and drop in front of me without setting the hook by some means or other, I'll likely move and "star" wouldn't be how I was thinking of you!

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II now northbound, lying Camden Haven for a couple of days, awaiting better winds
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Old 12-12-2015, 14:13   #22
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

Sail upwind, drop anchor, back down. With plenty of scope you can backwind the jib and that will really put a strain on the anchor line. Most folks put too much power in reverse to set their anchors. Causes them to dig one fluke or turn sideways. Wind blowing on your boat will set the anchor.
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Old 12-12-2015, 14:26   #23
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

Originally Posted by four winds View Post
Atom voyages is good stuff.

You'll get some good feedback on this topic soon.

Or you can try this.... neglect to lash your anchor then sail along nearly dragging the rail and have the anchor self deploy. If the bitter end of the rode is secured well that'll set the anchor very well.

On second thought, don't do that, especially in the middle of the ICW like I did.
it is a neat tactic, but no tone to be recommended with a modern rocmantus unless the boat is a good o'l heavyweight tank or you could find the upperworks carrying on whilst the under belly crumpled and the keel fell off. CQRs and Deltas would be just fine according to the 'sperts and would hop and skip merrily along or plow their own farrow.
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Old 12-12-2015, 14:52   #24
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

For many of the anchor setting videos that I have created, I used boat momentum of about 2 knots to initially set the anchors. This should be similar to setting an anchor while sailing/drifting downwind.

Videos of Anchors Setting

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Old 12-12-2015, 14:53   #25
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

One way to do it is to use two anchors, bow and aft.
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Old 12-12-2015, 15:23   #26
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
I've read in quite a few different boating forums that it is a practice of the French skippers to anchor by motoring or sailing downind and letting the anchor go. Tends to whip the bow around a bit, though.
Yes that is the practice of setting an anchor under sail in very light winds, less than 2 knots.

Recall that the standard method of setting anchor is to select the spot.
Then go around and arrive back at your spot moving forward at less than 0.5 knot under main only allowing the contrary wind or current to slow your forward motion and to move you aft to stretch out your anchor chain.

Then drop anchor there and release chain of twice the depth. and allow the wind or current, whichever is strongest, to move the chain off of vertical until it starts to take up a curved shape and is comes to lie in a fore/aft direction.
Hold out the boom to weather to achieve this.

Then release a further length of chain equal to the depth and wait for it to stretch out and lie along the fore and aft axis using windage and backed mainsail as necessary.
Repeat this until you have the desired length of chain out.

This activity may take ten minutes, but it does stretch out the chain in one direction along the bottom and will set the anchor very well and reliably.

If there is very little wind and even less when luffed up, it is necessary to get the anchor to bite so it is commonplace to sail up to the chosen spot under jib only at a speed of less than 2 knots and drop the anchor,
It will bite and the rest of the chain can be released as before but it will take a longer time.

The modern practice of dumping chain, as opposed to careful release, and motoring back on it is not as reliable as the methods used in pre engine times.
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Old 12-12-2015, 18:55   #27
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

Thank you!
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Old 13-12-2015, 19:27   #28
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

I sail single handed most of the time. I sail on and off the hook regularly. in light wind I sail down wind on the main, go forward and deploy the anchor a good hundred + feet ...depending on depth...before I get to my desired location, then I take a bite on the cleat. the boat takes up the slack and spines around as I'm heading back to loose the main. Be carful tho as once ... a time or two or more I've miscalculated my speed and almost took a tumble when the boat came to a dead stop and spun around ;-) In good wind or current, others have covered that aptly. I never use less than 7:1 scope usually 10:1...I don't like to drag. add the hight of the bow off the water to the depth when calculating scope. If the anchorage is tight Bahamian moore or anchor stem and stern, I use the dink to take out a second anchor and winch it in against the previously set anchor. I won't say I've never drug, but it is rare. 3 or 4 times in the last 20 years living aboard. $**t does happen.
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Old 16-12-2015, 08:40   #29
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

Before you get in a situation of anchoring without engine, be sure your ground tackle is effective and safe. Do your research and make sure you have the correct anchor & rode for the area & seabed your anchoring in.
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Old 16-12-2015, 08:57   #30
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

It doesn't hurt to have the engine ON, in neutral, the first few times, just in case you do run into trouble.

I used to leave my engine ON in neutral while sailing up to my dock in a busy marina (POH in Kingston, ON, Canada). After a few times, just left it off, since I never needed it. But it made the wife feel better if it was running. One time I did need it...the jib furler would not furl...but after a momentary panic, I just let the sheet fly and kept going, no problem. Once I was safely tied up, I could figure out the trouble with the furler...and thats a whole nother thread.

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anchor, engine

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