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Old 13-08-2014, 05:29   #1
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Tacking at Anchor

Hoping some of you sailors can help out this perplexed stinkpotter.

The other night I was in a well-protected anchorage with about 6 sailboats and one other power boat. Holding was extremely good and winds were calm to very light. Most of us were lined up along the middle of a shallow channel.

All the boats, sail and power, more or less faced the same way, and none moved more than a few yards from their original position. Except one.

A nice-looking canoe-stern sailboat, maybe 32-35', was busy all night, plying back and forth across the channel, maybe 50-100 yards each way, never moving up or down the channel. Never saw anybody in the cockpit, and the tiller was stowed up and covered.

My first thought was WAY too much scope on all-nylon rode, which I confirmed with binoculars. The rest of us were all on chain. But why the tacking back and forth?

Anyone else ever seen this?

I wouldn't sleep well on the boat next to this one, wondering what would happen if the wind changed 90 degrees. On the other hand, if he's tracking total miles sailed, this boat must have logged 50 miles that night while the rest of us slept.
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Old 13-08-2014, 05:31   #2
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Re: Tacking at anchor

Maybe there was a bit of below decks shenanigans going on...

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Old 13-08-2014, 05:41   #3
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Re: Tacking at anchor

Some boats are balanced like that. Our Beneteau 423 sails back and forth and it is annoying. Maybe it is the scope on nylon rode issue that you mention, though the same thing happens when we are on a mooring. Our high freeboard and bimini are likely contributors. To reduce the tacking, we tie off short "snubbers" with rolling hitches from the rode to the port an starboard forward cleats. This helps a lot. We are thinking of buying a riding sail to help as well.
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Old 13-08-2014, 05:41   #4
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Re: Tacking at anchor

I'll share something with you. The first boat I went offshore cruising on was a budget baby and I had 30 feet of chain and the rest was rope rode. Sailors who knew us called me "pinball" because in light airs I was all over the place while the others on chain simply stayed sitting as if on a mooring buoy. One night my wife looked out the window and said..oh my what a lovely full moon tonite. A minute later I gave thought to it and knew it wasn't anywhere near a full moon and went out side and we were slowly drifting by a boat with round windows. It is completely normal for this to happen in light air with rope rode. Later I got a 20# lead ball and put it down the rode and it improved things a lot but as you know nothing beats all chain.
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Old 13-08-2014, 05:53   #5
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Re: Tacking at anchor

tha boat moving around so much YAWING as it is called, may not have been using a bridle for snubbing, as well as rope rode, which will not settle a boat in anchorage. rope is not heavy and will not keep boat still, as does chain.
this yawing will cause increased chafe, which, in turn, will cause loss of boat if rode not inspected frequently and religiously.
this is how boats are lost in la cruz de huanacaxtle anchorage.. the excess chafe parts the nylon or whatever it is rode, and bye bye--look on the rocky beach for your home. oops.
a boat riding on rope rode takes up a lot more room in an anchorage than does a boat on all chain rode. it also needs saving when the chafe parts the line. good luck. keep a good lookout.
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Old 13-08-2014, 06:38   #6
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Re: Tacking at anchor

Mine sails on the anchor as well, I thought that was either a sailboat thing, or a full keel thing? sometimes putting the rudder hard over and locking it down helps.
I have rope and chain rode, I'll get chain once I can afford a windlass, I'll get a windlass once I can afford an autopilot

What is a riding sail?
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Old 13-08-2014, 07:08   #7
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Re: Tacking at anchor

A riding sail is a small sail set at the stern of the boat. It works like a feather on an arrow to keep the bow pointed into the wind. Here is an example:

http://www.sail-world.com/photos_201...RidingSail.jpg

My understanding is that if they are not rigged or designed correctly that the the noise can be a bit annoying as they tack from side to side. One design is supposed to reduce this by presenting more of a wedge profile to the wind.

https://www.bannerbaymarine.com/inde...ct_detail&p=25
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Old 13-08-2014, 07:14   #8
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Re: Tacking at anchor

a ketch or yawl has mizzen..this is a proper riding sail in a split rig sailboat.
sloops and cutters can present with a triangle on backstay .. i have seen a ketch like mine with a triangle on the mizzen topping lift.. worked as well as a riding sail with less sun damage for the mizzen sail.
dont know what the owners of freedoms and split backstay boat owners do to rig this, as i have yet to see their version.
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Old 13-08-2014, 07:24   #9
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Re: Tacking at anchor

A64Pilot....we have a comedian in the crowd! Quite funny actually. Our boat is all chain and sails like crazy at anchor in heavier winds..we are going to be trying a wedge riding sail because we have a windless and an autopilot.
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Old 13-08-2014, 07:35   #10
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Re: Tacking at anchor

Been doing a little re-search into the topic, seems like a heavy weight lowered down the rode and kept just off the bottom may be the ticket, replicates the weight of chain I guess
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Old 13-08-2014, 07:46   #11
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Re: Tacking at anchor

I wasn't trying to be a comedian, add a bottom job to the list, while doing the bottom job, be foolish not to replace the Cutlass bearing, if your doing that, ought to pull the shaft to check for wear, bet it's worn, buy new shaft, if your replacing the shaft, what better time to go with a dripless seal? Oh, and I have a few blisters too.
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Old 13-08-2014, 07:57   #12
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Re: Tacking at anchor

We had this issue with our 22' sailboat. If we raised the retractable keel, it would swing back and forth on the mooring. Keel down, it didn't do this at all. So ever since we first discovered this, we've been leaving the keel down all season. Only reason we thought we'd raise it after sailing and leaving it until the next sail was due to reducing growth on it.
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Old 13-08-2014, 08:15   #13
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Re: Tacking at anchor

I have all chain rode and depending on how I rig my snubber, will or will not sail.

If I run the snubber straight over the bow roller on the sprit then the boat points straight into the wind and doesn't move an inch. If I run the snubber through one of the bow chocks then the boat sails around the anchorage like it's on a mission.

Haven't had a chance to try rigging the snubber as a bridle to go out both chocks to see how that works.
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Old 13-08-2014, 09:22   #14
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Re: Tacking at anchor

The Coast Guard recommends that storm drogues be attached from the stern to prevent this type of yawing action (and minimize resulting loads).

http://jordanseriesdrogue.com/pdf/dr...uardreport.pdf See section 6.6.

Here is an interesting write-up that asks "Have you ever tried anchoring from the stern?"

Jordan Series Drogue - Mooring and Anchoring
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Old 17-08-2014, 05:24   #15
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Re: Tacking at anchor

All chain rode, long full keel and we discovered to our dismay in certain tidal situations we will move at speed during the change. Riding sail did not help. We observed other boats with similar configurations engage in the same behaviour. Never found a cure. This only happened in area of fairly stiff current. When faced with that situation, we stand anchor watch and made certain there was lots of room for our swing. We are now in a non tidal situation and boat rides steady.
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