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Old 19-10-2011, 16:44   #1
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Catamaran Charter in Antigua - Anchoring

Hello,
a few friends and I are planning a sailing holiday in Antigua in December. One of our concerns is regarding the significant amount of overnight anchoring required around the island.
We have sailed quite a bit around the UK and also a couple of charter holidays in Greece. Mooring in these areas has primarily been in marinas, on mooring buoys or stern-to. Obviously we have anchored for lunch etc, but we have little experience of anchoring over night.

Our concern is the prospect of having to take watches through the night to ensure the anchor doesn't drag. Sailing a catamaran would also be new to us - I gather they can have a tendency to sail around their anchor. I was wondering if anyone with experience of the island (and anchoring obviously) could offer some insight and perhaps comment on whether our concerns are well founded? Are we being too paranoid about the issues or do you routinely take watches through the night while at anchor in Antigua?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Kind regards,

David
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Old 19-10-2011, 16:59   #2
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Re: Catamaran Charter in Antigua - Anchoring

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Are we being too paranoid about the issues or do you routinely take watches through the night while at anchor in Antigua?
You are being way too paranoid. We have anchored in pretty much all the available anchorages around Antigua and have never taken a night anchor watch. The holding is generally quite good sand and the anchorages generally quite well protected.

The only possible 'risk' is that a few of the anchorages can be crowded and you may need to use shorter than optimal scope - if so just test the anchor well.

I presume the charter boat will have appropriate sized ground tackle, and the bottom is generally good, so the only remaining question is do you know how to anchor?
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Old 19-10-2011, 17:11   #3
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Re: Catamaran Charter in Antigua - Anchoring

Thanks Estarzinger,
that's put my mind at ease.

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the only remaining question is do you know how to anchor?
We've read the books and done the training courses but with anchoring not playing a big part in most of our sailing to date, practical experience is limited. I guess we'll have to learn sometime so we'll take your advice and make sure the anchor's well set!
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Old 19-10-2011, 17:21   #4
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Re: Catamaran Charter in Antigua - Anchoring

Its a lovely destination. Enjoy yourselves.
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Old 20-10-2011, 05:57   #5
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Re: Catamaran Charter in Antigua - Anchoring

You can find free anchor alarm apps for your smartphone, too. That might give you a bit more peace of mind.

For a little debate on the virtues of anchor alarms go here: Love My Manson, but My Delta Is Incredible !

and here: Anchor Alarms
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Old 20-10-2011, 06:07   #6
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Re: Catamaran Charter in Antigua - Anchoring

David, most cats actually sail around less under anchor than most monos. I'm sure the boat will be equipped with it and you should use a bridle from the rode back to the forward mooring cleats. Get a decent amount of scope (although as Evan suggests, you will be limited by the number of boats in the anchorage), let the anchor set a bit with the wind and then, as Evan recommends, set it and test under power in reverse. The trades can be pretty strong in late December, but there are a large number of anchorages on Antigua that are well protected.

Enjoy!

Brad
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Old 20-10-2011, 08:19   #7
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Re: Catamaran Charter in Antigua - Anchoring

The anchorages in and around Antigua have pretty good holding in relatively shallow water. Most cheap GPS units have an anchor alarm mode and it is worth getting one of those instead of holding anchor watches. I've only had anchor watches aboard when the wind was over 25-30kn and a front was passing through.
What I've seen is that some charter boats don't have much chain and it can be impossible to set out sufficient scope, but apart from that I wouldn't worry. Oh, and you won't have to worry about tides, either
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Old 20-10-2011, 09:18   #8
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Re: Catamaran Charter in Antigua - Anchoring

Welcome to the forum David....hope you have a lovely trip.
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Old 21-10-2011, 02:10   #9
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Re: Catamaran Charter in Antigua - Anchoring

More great info, thanks for the input guys. Looking forward to it now.

Cheers,

David
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Old 21-10-2011, 12:29   #10
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Re: Catamaran Charter in Antigua - Anchoring

We were in Antigua on a charter cat last November and had an amazing time! Antigua is truly a magical island. So much so that we are already planning our next trip there. Don't overthink all the things that can go wrong. Like the other posters have said, there are plenty of well protected achorages there. Ask the charter company to let you practice setting the anchor properly under their supervision the first time and you should be good to go. We always set ours and then give it a good jolt using the engines in reverse. Make sure you have the bridal on before doing this. You don't want to torque on the anchor winch. Then crack a beer and enjoy a beautiful sunset. Enjoy your trip!
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Old 21-10-2011, 13:21   #11
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Re: Catamaran Charter in Antigua - Anchoring

dont forget to jump in the water with a mask and check your anchor set. This is no hardship in Antigua except maybe in Falmouth or English Harbours where I didnt really want to go for a swim with all of the boats in there.
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Old 22-10-2011, 06:52   #12
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Re: Catamaran Charter in Antigua - Anchoring

The water in Falmouth is pretty bad and visibility is terrible (I had to dive on my prop as I'd had a fish trap line wrapped around it. Holding is generally very good in Falmouth, with just one area of coral in the middle (close to the shoal waters in the centre of the harbour that aspiring racers training before the Antigua Race Week always manage to ground on). The outer English harbour has good holding as well and more water movement so it would be possible to dive on the anchor. I've made it a habit to dive on my anchor each and every set when under 30 feet or in good visibility as it is good exercise and greatly assists in a deep and untroubled sleep.
Of course a catamaran makes things easier, as you can get into shallower water than we deep-keelers.
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Old 24-10-2011, 00:15   #13
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Re: Catamaran Charter in Antigua - Anchoring

Couple suggestions that we follow...after your set, back down on your anchor with RPM's up to 16-20 for a minute or so while checking your position on your GPS and your visual land points to make sure the anchor doesn't drag....second we always dive our anchors. And if we still have any concerns due to conditions, as mentioned, set your anchor alarm. We too will be sailing Antigua and Barbuda for a few weeks at the end of November.
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Old 24-10-2011, 05:18   #14
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Jolly Harbour is nice spot as well. Also, it is worth noting that, Antigua has 365 beaches, one for each day of the year.
You are going at a good time of the year. The hurricane season should be over by the end of November. The busiest time is in April around Race Week, and the month or so leading up to it.
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Old 30-10-2011, 20:29   #15
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Re: Catamaran Charter in Antigua - Anchoring

Its no problem, if you know what you are doing(unlike most in English harbour/Antigua)
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