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Old 02-07-2013, 18:39   #1
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Anchoring

So, I graduated from a home-made 8-foot Phil Bolger catboat ("Nymph") to my new Montgomery 23 Offshore Cutter. I've been sailing the Cutter since last fall and, in preparation for some cruising (as opposed to my day-sailing), I went out today with the intention of learning how to anchor. I did not set any sails and went out under motor, put the little diesel in neutral and let the boat settle down, wanting to see how it points (or doesn't).

With no sails up, she wants to lie with the bow about 120 - 150 degrees off the wind. I made one attempt to lower the anchor off the windward side of the bow (a 7lb Danforth with double the recommended chain) and the line really payed out rather fast as the boat drifted down-wind.

I wondered, "hmmmm, should I be setting the anchor off the stern?"...and I halted my anchor-deploying for the day and went back to the books. The common wisdom appears to be that deploying the primary anchor off the stern is a supremely bad idea. OK I get that.

So, by myself in windy conditions, I should deploy the anchor from the bow and let the natural drift of the boat set the hook? I can tie the anchor off at the bow and then make my way to the cockpit, at which point I can motor and try to get the nose into the wind...or just let (hope) the anchor bite which should get the bow pointed into the wind.

That sound right?

In calm conditions, I should be able to lower the anchor off the bow, return to the cockpit and set the anchor by gently motoring in reverse.

Comments/Advice appreciated.

Jerry W
Kinsale Marina
off the lower Potomac
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Old 02-07-2013, 18:53   #2
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Re: Anchoring

A 7 lb Danforth is about 1/2 the size you need for a mini cruiser like you have. What was recommended for your chain? Practicing is a very good idea.____Grant.
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Old 02-07-2013, 19:00   #3
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Re: Anchoring

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Originally Posted by JerryW View Post
So, by myself in windy conditions, I should deploy the anchor from the bow and let the natural drift of the boat set the hook? I can tie the anchor off at the bow and then make my way to the cockpit, at which point I can motor and try to get the nose into the wind...or just let (hope) the anchor bite which should get the bow pointed into the wind.
Welcome to the forum!

You are right to be concerned about the drift. One of the disadvantages of lightweight anchors such as your Danforth is that if there is significant drift it might never reach the bottom, but rather trail straight out behind you. Kinda like a fishing lure when you're trolling too fast.

One solution is to hold the boat in place with the engine. The other would be to get a second anchor for windy condition, one more likely to find the bottom.

I looked up your cutter before replying, by the way. Gorgeous!
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Old 02-07-2013, 19:12   #4
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I'm mostly posting to follow.
It never occurred to me to practice setting an anchor, but hearing it said it makes total sense.

Looking forward to learning more about this
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Old 02-07-2013, 20:41   #5
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Re: Anchoring

There are lots of How To Anchor sources on the web and folks have actually written books about it. Gee, who woulda thunk???

The West Advisor: Anchoring Techniques
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Old 03-07-2013, 05:37   #6
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Re: Anchoring

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Jerry W.
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:45   #7
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Re: Anchoring

Thanks Bash

I looked at the chart in West Marine and then went with a chain that was double the recommended length (12' vs. 6' IIRC) and also went with a slightly heavier chain - so I don't think I'll be trolling, but the weight of the anchor itself is surprisingly light. Mine is a 7lb Fortress Guardian.

Reading my "Annapolis Book of Seamanship" this morning - they suggest I can attach the anchor rode to the bow.....lead the line back to the cockpit (outside the stays, etc.) where I can deploy it from there in windy conditions. I didn't think of that yesterday in my practice session!

I also practiced hauling my nice new Weems & Plath anchor Lamp up the jib forestay. Good thing I didn't haul it up too high as it needed a down-haul to pull it back down. That would have been an interesting "situation". I do have a down-haul for my hanked-on foresail, but just used a 2nd, lighter line for the lamp.

Jerry
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:54   #8
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Re: Anchoring

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Originally Posted by oblivionboyj View Post
I'm mostly posting to follow.
It never occurred to me to practice setting an anchor, but hearing it said it makes total sense.

Looking forward to learning more about this
It's very important especially if you are tired and want to sleep. (and) if you don't have too much room to leeward.

I have limited experience also, (on heavy sailboats) but having a 20lb CQR Plow with lots of chain and line helps. So far ,I have just tossed the damn thing overboard (actually I just let it drop from the bow where it sits) and let out a lot of line until I like the angle, then cleat it off. When it catches, I'm happy but still watch things for the next hour or so.

a smaller version of this one:

Used 35 lbs CQR Plow Boat Anchor Galvanized | eBay
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:54   #9
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Re: Anchoring

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Originally Posted by JerryW View Post
Thanks Bash
Reading my "Annapolis Book of Seamanship" this morning - they suggest I can attach the anchor rode to the bow.....lead the line back to the cockpit (outside the stays, etc.) where I can deploy it from there in windy conditions. I didn't think of that yesterday in my practice session!
This probably the twentieth time I have seen reference to the Annapolis Book of Seamanship in the last week.
I bought the book used on Amazon this morning.
I figure if a book is mentioned this often by the people who sail, it is a book I need to have
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Old 03-07-2013, 13:36   #10
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Re: Anchoring

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Originally Posted by oblivionboyj View Post
This probably the twentieth time I have seen reference to the Annapolis Book of Seamanship in the last week.
I bought the book used on Amazon this morning.
I figure if a book is mentioned this often by the people who sail, it is a book I need to have
Great book. You'll love it!

kind regards,
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Old 03-07-2013, 13:44   #11
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Re: Anchoring

The 7lb Fortress Guardian is not the same as a 7lb Danforth and is enough anchor for your boat. With the aluminum anchor it will like to sail in the water if you don't get it to the bottom and your heavier chain ought to get it down there. So it's always best to be "dead in the water" before easing it down to the bottom. Let out about 3 to 1 rode and then set it it and let out to about 5 to 1. I generally don't back down on the engine unless it doesn't set very well. The well set anchor will pull your bow back into the wind. Don't forget to take into account current and what's on the bottom.
kind regards,
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Old 03-07-2013, 13:52   #12
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Re: Anchoring

Indeed, great book, lots of great info. Also lots from other sources. The technique of leading the rode through the roller or chock and bring the anchor back to the cockpit to deploy in heavy air can work but your boat then has to come a long way astern until the anchor is even level with the bow, let alone far enough ahead of the boat that there is enough scope to give a decent 'angle of attack' with the bottom.

Try just coming up into the wind under way, putting the engine in neutral and keeping the bow into the wind for as long as you have steerage. Once you're just about to lose steerage, nip up to the bow and drop the anchor. The bow will naturally catch the breeze and bear off to leeward but that's ok. Make sure you're letting out enough rode before trying to set the anchor; don't just let it hit the bottom and then cleat it off. The fortress anchors like to 'fly' through the water and can often go the wrong way (back under the boat) which is not great. They also don't like it if you cleat the line off suddenly and expect them to grab instantly. Instead, with a boat your size you can probably hold it in your hand and ease it out under tension, allowing the bow to come back up into the wind as you do so. If you struggle with this, take a turn around a cleat (without losing your fingers) and surge the line. By the time you're happy with the scope the bow should already be into the wind from the resistance that the anchor has provided and it will be well and truly set. Nice anchors, lots of holding power but they do need to be set carefully and in the right bottom type. What kind of bottom do you have by the way? (yes, i realise that could be taken the wrong way............... i dont' mean it that way!)
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Old 03-07-2013, 14:32   #13
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Re: Anchoring

What DefinitelyMe said.

Danforth types including both steel and aluminum ones will sail in the water quite well but they also will 'plane' on top of soft mud, grass and hard bottoms. They will also foul by getting a bit of weed, rock or shell jammed between the flukes and the shank, usually with the fluke to shank angle such that they won't set. And usually when you really needed them to set the first time.

That's why cruisers use them as secondary anchors mainly for use as kedges. Anchors like the Fortress generate tremendous holding power in sand and are also light enough to swim out or dinghy out into position for kedging. Kedging being the technique of pulling yourself off a sandbar by winching the boat up to the anchor. I'd suggest looking at local cruising sailboats and take a mini survey of what types they use. They'll know the local conditions best.

For primary anchors, most cruisers choose a plow type. i.e CQR, Bruce, Delta, etc. with lots of chain (minimum of two boat lengths and usually a lot more). Some books recommend 2lbs of anchor per foot of boat length but I find that excessive unless you're outfitting for world cruising.

Personally I prefer the Bruce but to each his own. My last boat, an Ericson 38, had a 35lb Bruce and the Tartan 34 we had prior to that also had a Bruce and they never let me down here in Florida or the Bahamas. We used a big Fortress for a second hook. If you carry two or more anchors it's better to carry at least two different types rather than two of the same type.

But that said, technique is everything. Motors make it easier but if there's room you can do it under sail. However anchoring under sail is not something to do in a crowded anchorage.

More scope is better and if you can swim down to the anchor and see how it's set that's mo' better still. Sometimes you can manually reposition an anchor or dig it in deeper by diving on it.

Also pay attention to your deck gear. The cleats or loggerheads or whatever should be strong enough that you could hang your boat out to dry on them.

Reading the books is good. Practice is better, learn from the mistakes and practice until you can do it properly in your sleep.

And watch your bottom ...

Good luck, you're on the right track.
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Old 03-07-2013, 16:53   #14
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Re: Anchoring

Thank you all for the great advice. This is exactly what I was looking for.

The Potomac area, where I intend to do most of my sailing, has a mud & sand bottom, which is why I chose the Fortress. I guess I called it a "Danforth" in my first post as it's in the Danforth family, at least to my eye! I will do a little survey at my marina and find out what anchor types they are using!

As for swimming down to look at the anchor - that's a great (and fun!) idea. Right now the water is thick with jellyfish, but I might give that a try anyway. I'll bring my snorkel gear!

For now, I wanna get some experience, but a 2nd anchor with a proper length of chain sounds like a good idea and the extra weight in the bow wouldn't hurt me a bit.

Again - thanks to all!

Jerry
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Old 03-07-2013, 17:10   #15
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Wear some skin protection panty hose work but you will get laughed at. No one is diving their anchors on the bay with much success. Be calm let the anchor down. Use a bit more chain then suggested. Pay it out as the boat falls off. Sideways is fine. When your at a good place cinch up and wait. Back down on it. Now calculate a good amount of rhode. Any where from 5 to one to 8 to one. Really depends where you are weather conditions who is around and who you listened to.
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