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Old 11-12-2015, 18:16   #1
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help me understand setting anchor without engine

I am enamored with the Pardys, and their simplified style. I also like atom voyages, and I really like traditional wooden boats and sextants too! These do not always go together with a 40hp diesel under the companionway.

when it comes to anchoring, my materials and research show it seems firmly setting/testing the anchor with a pull of the engine in reverse after the initial set is a preferred method.

how would a person apply this kind of firm pull without an engine? or even with a low horsepower outboard? is backing a sail enough?

Please understand I have very limited real life experience. I am taking lessons, and I am looking for my cruising vessel now. I appreciate any help you can give.
Thank you
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Old 11-12-2015, 18:38   #2
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

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.
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Old 11-12-2015, 19:07   #3
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

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Originally Posted by nematon785 View Post
I am enamored with the Pardys, and their simplified style. I also like atom voyages, and I really like traditional wooden boats and sextants too! These do not always go together with a 40hp diesel under the companionway.

when it comes to anchoring, my materials and research show it seems firmly setting/testing the anchor with a pull of the engine in reverse after the initial set is a preferred method.

how would a person apply this kind of firm pull without an engine? or even with a low horsepower outboard? is backing a sail enough?

Please understand I have very limited real life experience. I am taking lessons, and I am looking for my cruising vessel now. I appreciate any help you can give.
Thank you
Using the engine to bed the anchor just makes the process faster (generally).
The anchor will still set by drifting, though it may take a little more time to settle in and find its happy place. It will bed faster in stronger winds as there is more pull on the rode.
Where you may find more of an issue is in a "drifter" when there isnt enough reverse motion to get it to settle in. It may drag across the bottom a little more.
But yes, you could simply back the main and sail in reverse.

Tip, try to anchor and weigh anchor under main only. The Jib will just get in the way of anyone working on the bow and is more likely to make the bow blow off.
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Old 11-12-2015, 19:58   #4
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

Easy... assuming you sailed up to the anchorage... leave your mainsail up and then backwind it by pulling/pushing the boom to windward after you drop the anchor and let it settle. Stop before you start heading off in a direction that might pull out the anchor

Its the same technique we used to use to sail into our slip when we wanted to stop the boat.
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Old 11-12-2015, 20:04   #5
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

I blew a cooling hose coming into a small, protected harbor on the BC coast one day and lost my engine which I had started because I was single handing at the time. My old boat, an Ingrid 38, was under full sail when the engine began to overheat as I entered the tight little harbor. I came in under full sail, cutter rig, no engine, went forward to prepare the anchor and dropped the head sails but still under full main, came into the wind with a fair bit of way under, steered directly into the wind and as I lost all way, sprinted for the forward deck, dropped the hook and led the anchor line back to the cockpit. As she gained speed backwards under a luffing main I payed our about 10-1 scope, wrapped the anchor line around a winch and hardened her down. The bow dipped signaling I had a good hold so I reeled her in until I had about 6-1 scope and lowered the main and went below to pour myself a stiff one! Came back on deck to applause from the others in the harbor! Fortunately, there was a maintenance foreman from a local pulp mill close by who waved me over. We had a couple of runs and he congratulated me on anchoring singlehandedly with no engine. When I explained my plight he said I may be able to help me out. Sure enough he had a piece of hose about a foot longer and right diameter that I needed and came back aboard with me, replaced my blown hose in a jiffy while I poured us both another rum! That is cruising! Phil
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Old 11-12-2015, 20:30   #6
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

When coming to an anchorage I will have my chain on deck ready to deploy (no windless) with several wraps around the Sampson post. I generally anchor with the wind and or current. I aim for about 12-15 foot depth (depending on tide) and have 75 feet of chain on deck.

I have the boat moving at ~2 knots, luft the jib and or main, walk forward and drop the hook, letting chain out hand over hand, very quickly and carefully. Being mindful that the feet are not near the chain.

I find that the boats momentum does a fair job of setting the anchor.

I do this under power too. I like a bit o way on the boat to deploy the anchor. If the winds are predicted to be under 20 knots. That's it. For over 20-25 knots, I'll put a snubber on. I find that under 25 knots that the chain never gets pulled taught. But then I try for short fetch at every anchorage.
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Old 11-12-2015, 23:11   #7
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

Having done this a few times I would say there are a few ways to do it depending on conditions and your plans. For me, if I am planning to stay the night I'll sail around the anchorage until I find the spot I like, using markers around the anchorage to judge the location, then I'll sail back and round up to that spot, trying to judge it that the boat will lose headway right over the spot. Then I'll let bow anchor go (I have 50 feet of chain and then nylon rode) slowly so it doesn't foul the anchor. At this point I drop the main because , even with the main sheet out quite a bit, it will often end up tending to drive the boat which is counterproductive. (If I had a mizzen, I'd definitely leave that up and drop the rest.) I'll let out enough to cover double the scope needed. Then I'll drop the stern anchor as I pull up on the bow. Once in the middle I pull the anchors against each other. You can feel how they are setting that way too. Then if you want, you can run the stern line to the bow for a Bahamian mooring. (Or I've seen some folks will do this but drop the two anchors from the bow.) On my smaller boat, with a more mobile anchor and rode, I'd sometimes move my bow anchor and chain to the stern prior to entering the anchorage and let the nylon part of the rode stay run to the bow. I'd sail in with the jib and when I passed over the spot I wanted for the bow I'd let it go and let it pay out (from the stern) till I had 7:1 or so and cleat it off (at the bow) which would spin it around pretty quick. A 5 or 6 thousand pound boat going 2 or 3 knots has plenty of force to set an anchor very well. If it didn't set under those conditions I knew something was wrong with the holding ground right away and I'd pull up the bow and start over. I liked that technique if I knew I was not going to set the stern anchor, if I was just staying for the day. This can be done with a stern anchor on a larger boat (as long as your stern anchor is as large as your bow, which I'd recommend,) and then run the anchor rode to the bow to be cleated there (if it is not all chain.) It means you'll have to pull up on the stern when you are leaving which might be difficult if it is blowing or bumpy, but it is probably the best way IMO to be sure you are setting the anchor well under sail if you are only setting one anchor. For an anchor that was jammed in rocks, (I had buoyed the anchor with a trip line on this occasion fortunately) I cast all 300' of rode off the boat, sailed past the buoy, snagged it and yanked the anchor out backwards quite easily. Then I just retrieved all the chain and line and sorted it out once I was clear of the anchorage. Now, this all works only if there is an adequate breeze blowing. If you are just ghosting in and there is some kind of a current, you need a new plan, using the current to be your driving force. If there is no current and no wind, then plan C for me, and my boat is small enough to make this feasible, is a pair of oars, or some folks use a single scull off the stern, to slowly get the boat to its spot. In this case I'd set two anchors and pull them against each other.
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Old 11-12-2015, 23:27   #8
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

BTW I can recommend a boat like mine, Columbia 29, or a Triton, or Tartan 27, maybe a Vanguard, or some other old school boat in the 26-32 foot range, for what you have in mind. Big enough to cruise in and yet small enough to do the kind of stuff we are bringing up here relatively easily. (I know they aren't wood, but they were the offspring of wooden designs!)
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Old 12-12-2015, 07:38   #9
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

Do it all the time. My boat is 36 ft and 14000lbs disp, but I upgraded to a 45lb Bruce and 150 ft of 5/16 BBB hi test chain. Hefty gear = restful nights!
Bag the jib, use just the main, choose a spot, luff up, drop the hook, let the wind push you astern and pay out the chain until you have at least 4 to 1 scope, then snub it.
I have rigged the Vang with a snap shackle, so I can Vang the boom to the rail and keep the main out to whichever side is appropriate. once set, pay out to 5:1.
Avoid deploying the hook while sailing forward as you'll destroy your bottom paint as the chain saws away at the the forward edges of hull and keel.
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Old 12-12-2015, 07:57   #10
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

The advice you have received is excellent. The secret of sailing is planning ahead for all the things that can, and will go wrong, and practicing. Find out if you can sail on the main alone, so before anchoring you can furl, or drop and tie the headsail to the rail. Do not remove it as you may need it if things go wrong.

Flake out on the deck the initial length of rhode you will need. 3 times depth. Make the end secure.

Practice in a bay with lots of room and keep your engine on.

Choose your spot. Practice sailing to it, and coming head to wind, waiting until the boat start to go backwards., If there is a current work out if your boat will be more affected by the wind or current.

If there is a strong current opposite to the wind, and you have a full keel you may need to anchor down wind. If so, you drop the main first and use the jib to go down wind and then, when you are coming to the spot, let it fly or furl it.

As mentioned by the other writers, if anchoring into the wind, backwind the main to get reverse motion so the anchor digs in.

Let out more rhode, depending on the conditions and how long you plan to stay.

Take 3 bearings on points on the land and check you position every few minutes until you are secure that the anchor is stationary.

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Old 12-12-2015, 08:23   #11
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

I would sail on and off of anchorages all the time, single handed, or with just my small kids for crew (more helpful than you may think). Like others have said, preperation is the key. Its good to practice sailing around tight places, like anchorages, so you know how your boat behaves. Never cut across a bow, always the stern. When you find your spot...and don't rush it, its a lot of work to move after...round up into the wind. I would usually come in under jib alone, or even half a jib. Like I was saying, round up, roll up the jib, walk calmly forward (this is no time to fall overboard or stub your toe), and drop the hook, slowly releasing rode as the boat starts drifting back. With about 10:1 out, snub, and see if it holds.

Sailing about an anchorage is very pleasant, you become the star of the show, you know all eyes are on you. Its a good time to buzz some sterns to say hello and ask for local knowledge. Just keep control, keep the weather advantage, don't cross bows, and watch out for dinghies on long painters. The quiet of sailing makes it much nicer coming in.

If possible, dive on your anchor to be sure.

Sailing off is even easier. The only time I had trouble was when I was sailing off with the main up, and the hook was snagged on an underwater cable. What a bother.

Engines are overrated. Most of us are so obsessed with sailing fast that we never learn to sail slow and controlled. My marina did not like that I often sailed into my slip. The local lift bridge did not like me sailing through. But if you know your boat, the sails give much greater reliability and control, without all that noise and pollution.
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Old 12-12-2015, 08:30   #12
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

Other thoughts:

I always use an anchor Buoy in case the anchor gets snagged and i have to pull it up backwards. It also helps confirms ones position relative to other boats.

I plan out the exit compass courses in case I have to leave in a hurry or at night.

Practice reefing, steering with your emergency tiller, quick anchoring in a channel in case the engine fails, man overboard and heaving to.
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Old 12-12-2015, 08:38   #13
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

anchor marking buoy--a real cause of dragging anchors. love watching, as it is so much fun/
setting anchor under sailis not difficult, as beni sed.
is good to know when your transmission fails and you donot know how to anchor in forward gear. also fun to watch. had to guide someone , a friend, into an anchorage like that--he didnt know anchors can set in forward gear.
ok..
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Old 12-12-2015, 08:41   #14
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

Maybe even drop a marker bouy at the chosen spot during practice sessions.

Then as you practice rounding up and losing way at the spot the marker will provide accurate feedback on your turning decisions. Using other anchored boats moving around on their anchors against distant landmarks may provide less accurate feedback.

I don't routinely anchor under sail but practice this a few times per year. Then in the event of engine problems coming to anchor doesn't increase any more the anxiety of the event.
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Old 12-12-2015, 08:55   #15
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Re: help me understand setting anchor without engine

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--he didnt know anchors can set in forward gear.
ok..
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.
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