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Old 15-03-2019, 02:53   #16
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Re: Motoring against the wind at anchor in a storm

I’ve motored, in reverse (for a couple of hours), whilst docked at Cat Cay (Bahamas), during the Christmas storm of 1993 (50 - 60kt wind, 85kt gusts). Kept me from destroying my bow, and the dock.
Don’t recall ever trying it at anchor.
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Old 15-03-2019, 03:31   #17
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Re: Motoring against the wind at anchor in a storm

One problem with motoring to relieve anchor pressure is that the need to do this occurs in the wee hours of morning on a moonless night. This makes it really difficult to see how hard to push the throttle while you are still holding the bow pointing into the winds. I've used motoring into it at anchor twice, one time as a prelude to picking the anchor up and getting out of the situation in the middle of the night with lots of dragging boats near by and boats anchored on my stern. It was effective to give us extra time to work out an exit strategy.
The other time was in bright sunshine in the San Blas islands when a rare hard westerly came through. In daylight with fairly consistent wind direction and a reef beside and behind us to help the helmsmen concentrate it worked well in reducing strain on the anchor rode.
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Old 15-03-2019, 06:48   #18
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Motoring against the wind at anchor in a storm

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Have had three occasions where I sat in the cockpit, with engine running, but have not yet had to actually engage the transmission.


I to have sat in the cockpit with the engine in neutral during Santa Ana winds. In my experiences, 30-45 knot winds, when things got bad enough I chose to drop the anchor rode and head out to sea. The buoyed rode was easy enough to retrieve later.
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Old 15-03-2019, 08:57   #19
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Re: Motoring against the wind at anchor in a storm

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Originally Posted by Tayana42 View Post
I to have sat in the cockpit with the engine in neutral during Santa Ana winds. In my experiences, 30-45 knot winds, when things got bad enough I chose to drop the anchor rode and head out to sea. The buoyed rode was easy enough to retrieve later.


Two of the three times I’d done this, I had he anchor float ready and my knife close at hand (as it always is). These were situations with 50 sustained (and higher gusts). The third event was a sudden tornado which came on too fast. Made me think about changing where I store my anchor buoy.

I should add, my anchor didn’t drag. In fact one of these events was the very first time I used my new Rocna. It sure proved itself right out of the gate.
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Old 15-03-2019, 09:08   #20
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Re: Motoring against the wind at anchor in a storm

It's a common technique to lessen the pressure. I have used it in the PNW in winter squalls a couple times, years ago. Maybe keep it to minimum so no rode slack. One problem is if you are too close to shore on a sandy bottom, the sand can get stirred up and into the sea strainer causing engine cooling/impellor failure.
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Old 15-03-2019, 09:11   #21
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Re: Motoring against the wind at anchor in a storm

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I to have sat in the cockpit with the engine in neutral during Santa Ana winds. In my experiences, 30-45 knot winds, when things got bad enough I chose to drop the anchor rode and head out to sea. The buoyed rode was easy enough to retrieve later.
Yeah, I tried it one night in the Sea of Cortez when the Santa Ana came up hard right into the bay. I thought the pumping bow was going to pull the cleats right out of the boat, finally pulled anchor and headed out into the Sea all night long. Ughh.. But a lot better than in the washing machine anchorage. It was that harbor where the ghost town is... Baja side, forget the name.. we were the only boat there.
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Old 15-03-2019, 09:22   #22
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Re: Motoring against the wind at anchor in a storm

First, thanks to all for their comments, suggestions and especially reports of their experience trying this.

Have been reading carefully and trying to digest the details. One thought that occurs to me, perhaps I was giving the engine too much power, moving the boat forward and creating slack in the line which then allowed the bow to fall off and catch the wind.

Also the comments about having the engine fired up and ready to go just in case I have done before but want to make sure I keep that in mind for future reference. This however brings up another question. If it hits the fan and you do have to bail out under power, with a typical, adequately powered boat (in my case 42', 12 tons, 58 HP) up to what wind speed could one motor and control the boat?

Certainly 40-50 kts, probably 70 kts but I doubt at 120 kts? At what point will the wind completely overpower the ability of the boat to motor and maneuver? Has anyone had to motor in really strong winds?
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Old 15-03-2019, 09:27   #23
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Re: Motoring against the wind at anchor in a storm

I guess it depends on the boat and the use of the throttle but .... I did it for over 24hrs when trapped with NW force 10 winds in Allans Pensacola Cay. The forecast was for NE and I figured I was in a good spot for that.

In over 22,000hrs of cruising this was my worst night by far. I had three anchors out and went to the throttle when two of them broke loose. I'm convinced my boat would have been lost had I not stayed on the throttle.
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Old 15-03-2019, 09:28   #24
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Re: Motoring against the wind at anchor in a storm

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
First, thanks to all for their comments, suggestions and especially reports of their experience trying this.

Have been reading carefully and trying to digest the details. One thought that occurs to me, perhaps I was giving the engine too much power, moving the boat forward and creating slack in the line which then allowed the bow to fall off and catch the wind.

Also the comments about having the engine fired up and ready to go just in case I have done before but want to make sure I keep that in mind for future reference. This however brings up another question. If it hits the fan and you do have to bail out under power, with a typical, adequately powered boat (in my case 42', 12 tons, 58 HP) up to what wind speed could one motor and control the boat?

Certainly 40-50 kts, probably 70 kts but I doubt at 120 kts? At what point will the wind completely overpower the ability of the boat to motor and maneuver? Has anyone had to motor in really strong winds?
In a microburst squall situation in S Florida, my low windage 47 footer would not move forward in 70 mph wind at full throttle. (anemometer pegged at 70) 85 HP engine. No real sea action in harbor. The only thing that saved the boat from the beach was a Fortress thrown over at the last minute that luckily setup hard immediately. That same squall blew over two 18 wheelers on the freeway.
It was one of those situations where having the Fortress setup and ready on a bracket on the bow pulpit finally paid off! So many times you do those type of things and years later have never needed them.
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Old 15-03-2019, 09:41   #25
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Re: Motoring against the wind at anchor in a storm

During Hurricane Sandy we were anchored in the Navasink River near Red Bank, New Jersey. With the radio reporting gusts in the 90plus knots in the wee hours of the morning, I felt our anchors (I had three out on a bridle on our 38ft Manta catamaran) slipping on the heavy gusts. The anchors managed to hold in the soft mud bottom until the extreme gusts and we were slowly dragging towards a dock.
I started our two engines and as a heavy gust came I engaged them and pointed the bows ever so slightly away from the shore, but was careful not to overshoot the anchor bridle - strictly by feel, as the visibility was near zero despite the near constant lightning flashes. After about three hours at the helm in the driving rain and howling wind, with docks and boats drifting past, we were OK.
I would do so again were I in that kind of situation.
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Old 15-03-2019, 10:11   #26
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Re: Motoring against the wind at anchor in a storm

During my previously described experience (Comment 3) I continually adjusted my throttle to adjust for gusts, and slipped into neutral occasionally during lulls. Visibility was poor - except for the breakers behind me. I focused on motoring with the "force" as my guide not to overpower and ride up on my all chain rode. With all my windage aft (dodger, bimini, two posts (one wind generator, the other post radar/backup vhf radio antenna) I would have really had to throttle up to make appreciable headway.
As to the "force", adrenaline and somewhat extreme conditions are rather good in focusing the mind to pick up cues from your surroundings. A quick run to the galley to grab a handful of coffee beans (another reason to grind your own) was the only stimulant I could make use of.
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Old 15-03-2019, 11:07   #27
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Re: Motoring against the wind at anchor in a storm

Not strictly the same but during the recent Medicane Zorba we were anchoring in the large bay on the western side of Lefkas (name escapes me but it's huge) when we ended up dragging despite a well set and tested 33kg Vulcan (proving even big new generation anchors will drag).

Our 40ft Bavaria dances around on the anchor swinging a good 160degrees and the frequent squalls always seemed to hit us broadside. With the wind veering through over 100 degrees eventually the sideward pull broke us free. Thankfully we didn't hit anyone and managed to get the hook back up quickly.

Trying to motor into the 40+kts was tough going, especially turning through the wind. Now this is in a sheltered anchorage with very little wave action going on. Motoring downwind was quite literally a breeze and a chance to catch the breath. Once we'd located a decent space to redrop, with no need to check the anchor was set as she stopped on a 6pence (dime to Americans).

However the swing was vicious. In an attempt to reduce it I spent the rest of the morning helming into the wind as we swung back and forth. With a bit of practice I was able to drastically reduce the swing and keep the bows much more head into wind. Purely from the water flowing over the rudder without the engine (which was standing by just in case).

It might not have reduced the strain on the 50m of 8mm G70 I had out (4:1) but it did reduce the strain on me as we stopped broadsiding and heeling sharply.
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Old 15-03-2019, 11:22   #28
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Re: Motoring against the wind at anchor in a storm

A thought on a monohull's bow swinging/slewing side to side while at anchor in a blow, I have hung a 5 gallon weighted bucket off the bow and that reduced the swing simply by being a drag force to resist sideways motion of the bow. The real problem is all the windage up forward; anchoring from the stern can really help steady the boat, and you might want to secure the rudder on centerline so it can't crash back and forth to the quadrant stops.

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Old 15-03-2019, 11:53   #29
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Re: Motoring against the wind at anchor in a storm

I have only needed to do this twice. The first time was when an unexpected storm came through with 90 mph winds. I was one of only 3 boats that did not drag anchor. The key is to take the stress off without creating slack.
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Old 15-03-2019, 13:27   #30
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Re: Motoring against the wind at anchor in a storm

Dollars to peanuts you have roller furling headsails. That, in combination with a keel that is neither fin nor full, and a skeg hung rudder miles behind the prop and rather above the flow of the prop water, will make this "dodge" a tad dodgey in a Pearson 422 or any other "modern" cruising boat. It's fine in grown-up ships and in most commercial fishing vessels I know of because of their entirely different hull configuration and their windage aloft being distributed in an entirely different fashion. But there are lots of things that just don't translate from real life to yachting. This is one of them.

You CAN use the technique but you need to have what the Germans call "Fingerspitzengefühl", i.e. you have to be ABSOLUTELY in tune with what the boat is telling you, for successful use of the technique in a "racer/cruiser" depends on NOT permitting the rode to go slack. You need to be CONSTANTLY juggling the helm and the throttle, and there is no room for messing up. You tell me, please, how you can do that in a three or four foot slop! The moment the rode goes slack the head will fall off under the influence of all that windage of the roller furl of the headsails, and there is no forefoot on a 422 to impede the falling off. In some boats you can "catch it" with a quick blast of prop wash across the rudder, but judging by the 422's profiIe, I would doubt that you can get that to work for you.

What we think we "know" about anchoring is in many cases stuff that's been handed down from days or yore, and it needs rethinking due to the way "cruiser/racers" have, over the last half century, evolved away from the sort of boats whence the "knowledge" came.

My boat was designed by someone who'd drunk the cruiser/racer KoolAid, and she was then further compromised by a PO having installed roller furling, head and main. In addition her rudder is too small. In consequence, she doesn't anchor (in the conventional way) worth a tinker's cuss. No a problem, really. You just have to develop a remedy. In my case the remedy is to anchor over the stern. Do that and she becomes a gentle lamb.

What about taking seas over the stern, you say? Yes, that's the danger when you anchor over the stern. Recognizing that leads to a raft of design considerations that are not normally catered to in the design of "cruiser/racers" — the Jacks of all trades in the yachting world, and the masters of none.

As for me: Here in the Salish Sea it rarely blows hard enuff, and the fetches are not really long enuff, that anchoring becomes difficult, and there is rarely more than a few miles between hidey-holes, so in practice the technique of "holding 'er on the prop" is rarely called for. The upshot of that is that few people develop a facility for doing it.

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