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Old 08-08-2018, 09:46   #1
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Most Sailors Can't Anchor Properly!

We are, once again, cruising full time and the old ghosts are still haunting the house. It is appalling apparent that the majority of sailors/cruisers we encounter do not have the slightest clue what they're doing. If we are the first into an anchorage with room for ten boats, the next boat in drops his hook as close to us as possible. The pattern follows suit in every anchorage. We see sailors trying to set a hook in reverse at high speed, dropping their hooks over another boat's anchor rode, cutting across our anchor rode with their keel as they're looking for a spot, setting inappropriate scope for the depth of an anchorage, and setting/resetting their hooks for no apparent reason. In most cases, we never even go to the "choice" anchorage but choose a spot that is equally suitable based on bottom characteristics and protection to avoid this madness but that is no guarantee these "sailing goons" won't be knocking on the door. What gives? Is it possible that so many people with very expensive boats are so incompetent? Perhaps someone on this forum has an explanation? It seems nothing has changed in the last 30 plus years. In not so quiet desperation . . . Rognvald
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Old 08-08-2018, 09:55   #2
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Re: Most Sailors Can't Anchor Properly!

It's not exclusive to sailors or even the size of the boat. Some folks anchor well, some do not.
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:16   #3
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Re: Most Sailors Can't Anchor Properly!

In my experience, with exceptions of course, is that the people with big shiny fancy new boats are the one who worked too long and hard to hone the “sailor” skills. But they sure had the money to buy the boat!
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:17   #4
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Re: Most Sailors Can't Anchor Properly!

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It's not exclusive to sailors or even the size of the boat. Some folks anchor well, some do not.
Kindly said. When I started out I was an idiot too

Cruising in areas where there are a lot of charter boats or weekenders is pretty hilarious. I think they anchor near the first boat because they think that that is a "good" place to anchor...we prefer to go out in deeper water waaay at the back. It's a longer row to shore etc. but fewer disturbances.

I spend a lot of time in the 1000 Islands these days. Anchoring is a process not an event as I said elsewhere. I have had very experienced sailors tell me that anchoring around here is "Impossible!" because of weeds/whatever.

No, it's because they lack patience and insight.
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:21   #5
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Re: Most Sailors Can't Anchor Properly!

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Is it possible that so many people with very expensive boats are so incompetent?

Yes...
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:21   #6
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Re: Most Sailors Can't Anchor Properly!

It can be a pain, especially the part about people dropping the hook right next to you when there's no one else in the anchorage. What gives with that? I never have words with other sailors over anchoring issues. When someone plops down too close to me, or I see a dangerous situation evolving, I just sigh, up anchor, and move. I admit, sometimes it's really inconvenient- especially with late arrivals; but this is just my solution, and it's not for everyone.
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:22   #7
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Re: Most Sailors Can't Anchor Properly!

Sadly, I have to agree that many of the skills I consider to be necessary for basic cruising seem to be lacking in large numbers of cruisers, anchoring being one of the most often observed by my wife and me. Granted, I see anchoring as something of an art and I have to admit that when I first started cruising, I had a lot to learn. (We were in our first boat, many years ago, trying to anchor off Santa Cruz Island, when someone anchored near where we were attempting to drop our anchor, yelled, "Why don't you go somewhere else?")

To overcome my lack of knowledge, I observed and read. Earl Hinz's book, The Complete Book of Anchoring and Mooring was helpful as was Steve and Linda Dashew's chapter on anchoring in their Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia. Regardless, even among veteran cruisers, I rarely see anyone go to the lengths that my wife and I go through when we drop the hook. It's entirely possible that what we do is overkill, however, in the last 48,000 miles of cruising, we've only dragged anchor once (Flame Bay, New South Wales - very soft mud) and no one has asked us to 'go somewhere else'.

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Old 08-08-2018, 10:29   #8
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Re: Most Sailors Can't Anchor Properly!

For the most part, I ignore it. I anchor is extremely crowded anchorages. Even if there is room, there is no point arguing about someone didn't need to anchor so close. Within a few hours, there will be 10 more boats packed in the same space anyway.

I do mention if someone is clearly in my swing radius. I'll advise how much length I have out and point out that in their current location, should we swing around to 'x' heading, we will be on top of each other. If the other person decides to thank me and relocate (LMFAO!!!!! Who are we kidding! that NEVER Happens!) then great. I'm usually met with indifference and an occasional attitude. I then thank them for their time and go back to what I was doing.

If we swing around and they're on top of us, they're on top of us. If it's close enough to hit, I'll offer them to raft up if they don't want to move.
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Old 08-08-2018, 11:07   #9
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Re: Most Sailors Can't Anchor Properly!

I developed a coping mechanism for those who would anchor around me in my idyllic location as I got tired of folks anchoring around me in an area that could be utilized in a more spread out fashion. The only thing that makes sense to me is those assume I know the best location to anchor, then copy what I have done.

So what I do is this: I look for the worst location I can find in a small bay and anchor. Then like moths to a flame, the others anchor around me. In the evening, just as the sun is setting (folks are afraid to move during the night), I go to the location I wanted and anchor.
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Old 08-08-2018, 11:36   #10
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Re: Most Sailors Can't Anchor Properly!

I'll admit that I'm probably one of those who can't anchor properly.

The vast majority of my time sailing has been spent, well, sailing. Even when we go out for a week-long cruise (still working), i'll spend the whole day sailing and only a tiny amount of time actually choosing a place to drop the anchor and setting it.

What is the proper etiquette? How do I know how much room to leave between me and other boats around? I understand that an anchored boat can potentially occupy any space within the circle centered at its anchor whose radius is determined by the amount of scope, however is it practical/possible that all boats at anchor occupy non-overlapping circles? Anchored boats typically swing together, so perhaps maintaining such a large separation is less important? It may be hard to judge from being on the water, but it definitely seems like boats are packed pretty tightly in most anchorages I've seen. Moreover, even if this is the preferred distance, it's not always so clear where the limits of this circle are. For instance, if the wind is light, it seems like an anchored boat can drift quite a bit, and may not always be at the edge of its circle, bow pointing at the anchor.

I actually find anchoring to be one of the more stressful aspects of sailing. Anchorages (at least where I've sailed) are generally very crowded, and it's at least a little unclear how close is 'too close.' I'd love to hear any thoughts on this matter.

You now have the full attention of one of those 'sailors who can't anchor properly.' Short of staying on land/at the dock/at a mooring ball, what should I be doing when I pull into the anchorage where you've already dropped the hook?
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Old 08-08-2018, 11:56   #11
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Re: Most Sailors Can't Anchor Properly!

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I'll admit that I'm probably one of those who can't anchor properly.

The vast majority of my time sailing has been spent, well, sailing. Even when we go out for a week-long cruise (still working), i'll spend the whole day sailing and only a tiny amount of time actually choosing a place to drop the anchor and setting it.

What is the proper etiquette? How do I know how much room to leave between me and other boats around? I understand that an anchored boat can potentially occupy any space within the circle centered at its anchor whose radius is determined by the amount of scope, however is it practical/possible that all boats at anchor occupy non-overlapping circles? Anchored boats typically swing together, so perhaps maintaining such a large separation is less important? It may be hard to judge from being on the water, but it definitely seems like boats are packed pretty tightly in most anchorages I've seen. Moreover, even if this is the preferred distance, it's not always so clear where the limits of this circle are. For instance, if the wind is light, it seems like an anchored boat can drift quite a bit, and may not always be at the edge of its circle, bow pointing at the anchor.

I actually find anchoring to be one of the more stressful aspects of sailing. Anchorages (at least where I've sailed) are generally very crowded, and it's at least a little unclear how close is 'too close.' I'd love to hear any thoughts on this matter.

You now have the full attention of one of those 'sailors who can't anchor properly.' Short of staying on land/at the dock/at a mooring ball, what should I be doing when I pull into the anchorage where you've already dropped the hook?

Hi, B, Thanks for your honesty. There are countless books, articles and shared knowledge among cruisers how to properly anchor. Then, you need to practice these techniques in a real-life situation. We try to avoid "popular" anchorages whenever possible and locate "alternate" anchorages that are just as good and don't show an anchor on the chart or guidebook. I am greatly opposed to government regulation but there should at least be a basic test required for beginning boaters to demonstrate elementary knowledge and competency. Any idiot can buy a boat. Many do and remain idiots after the purchase. Good luck and safe sailing . . . Rognvald
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Old 08-08-2018, 12:19   #12
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Re: Most Sailors Can't Anchor Properly!

I agree, most boaters don’t know how to anchor properly. Up our way, most of the boats that look like cruisers DO seem to know how to anchor. It’s the weekenders and marina hoppers that I mostly worry about.

I gotta say though, sounds like a lot of the issues you folks are having is b/c you’re in areas of dense boater population. I spent a few years in the 1000 Islands; lovely area, but some of the anchorages are like parking lots. And yes… the weeds can be incredible.

Most of my cruising has been in areas where few boats travel, and even fewer anchor out. Lake Superior and now Newfoundland. We almost never even share an anchorage with another boat, let alone worry about being too tight. So maybe the best way to avoid the bad anchorers is to get even further off the beaten path.
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Old 08-08-2018, 12:27   #13
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Re: Most Sailors Can't Anchor Properly!

funny to read these... when i started out i was 7 yrs old. we learned something each time sailing. anchoring was age 8., in a line squall on hudson river. no issue. used a fishermans anchor aka herreschoff hahahahaha in sandy mud of river it was perfect. sailed the eleanor with captain phil from 1955 thru 1969. then i lived way too far away for regular sails. oops. my bad.
now i watch as trawlers try to cut across my rode and relocate my anchor.. funny but the ones trying to anchor perpendicular to my set rode are trawlers not sailors.. ok trawl away but leave my rode tf alone.
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Old 08-08-2018, 12:49   #14
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Re: Most Sailors Can't Anchor Properly!

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Hi, B, Thanks for your honesty. There are countless books, articles and shared knowledge among cruisers how to properly anchor. Then, you need to practice these techniques in a real-life situation. We try to avoid "popular" anchorages whenever possible and locate "alternate" anchorages that are just as good and don't show an anchor on the chart or guidebook. I am greatly opposed to government regulation but there should at least be a basic test required for beginning boaters to demonstrate elementary knowledge and competency. Any idiot can buy a boat. Many do and remain idiots after the purchase. Good luck and safe sailing . . . Rognvald
Thanks. I'll give the book mentioned above a read. I suppose that the question of 'how best to anchor' is far too broad to be answered in a few lines.
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Old 08-08-2018, 12:50   #15
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Re: Most Sailors Can't Anchor Properly!

I guarantee you that I have a lot to learn about anchoring. But in some cases people with their anchor already set are just being unfriendly. And I understand that -- we generally go sailing to get away from it all.

One time we were coming into a bay on a windy day, with a fairly small area protected from the waves by a spit of land. There was another boat there, with bow and stern anchors set. We started to anchor what I thought was a respectful distance from them and they went ape****. We couldn't have swung into them, even if we weren't using bow and stern anchors -- and we both were. Rather than piss them off any further, we moved off and anchored in the less-protected part of the bay. We had a very uncomfortable night, and no doubt the guy on the other boat was still pissed off that he had to share *his* bay with us.
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