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Old 29-06-2012, 03:52   #1
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Anchoring and Dragging

Just woken up from an entire 4 hours sleep after being on anchor watch last night so had to vent a couple of things.

Firstly, what is it with people wanting to anchor so close? It was bad enough just for the sake of swinging but if something started to drag? In no time at all your in all sorts of problems!

Secondly, why oh why do people goto sleep in a busy anchorage with NO LIGHTS at all on? Never mind an anchor light, a cockpit light or even something shinning through a porthole would do! This is directed especially at those who for some reason think a boat shouldnt be white and have dark blue hulls, like the Bene' 40cc and the UK flaged ketch anchored in Portinatx last night, you know who you are! Nearly motored right into the Bene' as I had no idea he was there!


The reason im asking these (admitedly retorical) questions is that last night the wind picked up big time from the land where I was anchored and lots (including ME!) started to drag! I tried to reset several times but because the boats where so close together, I couldnt safely let out all of my 40m of chain (id originaly set 20m in 4m of water) for fear of swinging into them if the wind shifted. Therefore, I was forced to leave my spot and retrete to the far side of the anchorage so I had more room.

So, question for you, would you rather risk a longer ride to shore in your dink or put yours and others boats at risk just for convienience? It really has amazed me how many people take the second option.

The pic shows what it was like late afternoon, a couple more arrived soon after!
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Old 29-06-2012, 04:24   #2
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Re: Anchoring and dragging

I agree with you completely about the anchor lights. On too many boats they are too dim or nonexistent. Rude and dangerous.
Boats can be very like sheep sometimes and will annoying anchor close when there is plenty of room with identical conditions. I do think some allowance needs to made however in a crowded bay. It's amazing how close people can anchor safely. If we could convince them to use decent anchoring gear it would be a big improvement.
On a practical level I usually snorkel over the anchors of boats in front of me when strong wind is forcast. With a bit of practice you can predict from the anchor type, set bottom structure and scope what kind of wind speed they will likely drag. I then set the wind speed alarm to a bit below this level( and our own anchor alarm) and get a good nights sleep ( or sometimes move). The gps next to my bed is reassuring and it also shows which direction he wind is fom so I know which boat or boats are in front of us.
Despite these precautions I usually get hit by a dragging boat about once a year.

Don't forget a powerful torch and foghorn you often can wake up the dragging boat, before they hit.
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Old 29-06-2012, 04:34   #3
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Re: Anchoring and dragging

Why do people anchor so close? My reasoning: the boat that arrives first in the anchorage naturally goes to the best spot. The next boat knows that you must be in the best spot since you are the only one there. He wants to be as close to the best spot as possible. Etc etc.
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Old 29-06-2012, 04:37   #4
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Re: Anchoring and dragging

Ever notice how all boaters except for you, do things wrong or are a-holes?

Just saying we let these things get to us too much.
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Old 29-06-2012, 06:22   #5
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Re: Anchoring and dragging

Years ago I,came to the conclusion,that Anchorages are dangerous places,Having a 2 am squall come thru one night in the Bahamas and having to pick up and move to avoid dragging boats,next morning 4 boats ashore hard aground.After that I,always anchor farther out set out at least 10 to 1 scope and display 2 anchor lights battery powered one on each forward lower about 6 ft above deck no fancy arrangement just electrict tape to the lowers,mast head anchor lights are not seen who looks up in the air when approaching an anchorage,I,don't.Late arrivers,some who have had a few sundowners before anchoring add to the mayhem,No sense getting all worked up when its easier to avoid the sitituation.
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Old 29-06-2012, 06:38   #6
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Re: Anchoring and dragging

People are herd animals. Look at the traffic on highways--big groups of cars all bunched up and then stretches of empty roadway. Look at people walking down the sidewalk--same thing as on the highway. People like to bunch up. It's just human nature.

And as much as common sense will tell you that it is safer not to be in the middle of the crowd in the anchorage, on the highway, or even on the sidewalk, there are precious few people who will let common sense over-ride human nature.

If you're into the anchorage early then you can be sure that late-comers will want to anchor close to you. That's just the way it is, has been, and always will be. If you arrive late then you have the option of anchoring away from the crowd (and "the crowd" will usually be pretty obvious).
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Old 29-06-2012, 06:39   #7
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Re: Anchoring and dragging

Crowded anchorages and wind shifts are a form of entertainment here! I really miss my metal boat!
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Old 29-06-2012, 07:16   #8
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Re: Anchoring and dragging

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
If you're into the anchorage early then you can be sure that late-comers will want to anchor close to you. That's just the way it is, has been, and always will be. If you arrive late then you have the option of anchoring away from the crowd (and "the crowd" will usually be pretty obvious).

It's not that everyone wants to anchor next to you, just that the reason you anchored there was because that was the best location. And of course the first boat there dropped anchor right in the middle of the spot.

I went into an anchorage a few weeks ago. The cove was big and I've been there lots of times. But with the wind that day and expected that night where was only 1 area with some protection. The only other boat there gave me a nasty look as I anchored around 100 feet from him, but hey that was the best I could do for some some protection and room.
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Old 29-06-2012, 07:24   #9
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Re: Anchoring and dragging

As a side issue, what's the etiquette on scanning a flashlight or a spotlight over an anchorage when arriving at night? I've only arrived in the complete moonless dark once or twice, and did not want to disturb other boaters with a monster spotlight. But as mentioned above, a dark boat can be nearly invisible. I suppose it's better to light people up briefly than to bump into them. Is there an accepted practice on this?
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Old 29-06-2012, 07:34   #10
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Re: Anchoring and dragging

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As a side issue, what's the etiquette on scanning a flashlight or a spotlight over an anchorage when arriving at night? I've only arrived in the complete moonless dark once or twice, and did not want to disturb other boaters with a monster spotlight. But as mentioned above, a dark boat can be nearly invisible. I suppose it's better to light people up briefly than to bump into them. Is there an accepted practice on this?
If you come into an anchorage at night, the best practice is to anchor a bit behind the leeward boats. It may be deeper and further to shore, but you can move in the morning and if you do drag you aren't going to hit anyone.
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Old 29-06-2012, 07:40   #11
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Re: Anchoring and dragging

best thing about a catamaran is you can anchor in less than 5 ft of water,try it then watch the keel boats try and anchor on top of you!
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Old 29-06-2012, 07:45   #12
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Re: Anchoring and dragging

But us cruisers can entertain each other with anchoring stories for evenings on end without repeating. It sure makes better dinner conversation than problems with the head!
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Old 29-06-2012, 07:48   #13
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Re: Anchoring and dragging

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Originally Posted by Cormorant View Post
As a side issue, what's the etiquette on scanning a flashlight or a spotlight over an anchorage when arriving at night? I've only arrived in the complete moonless dark once or twice, and did not want to disturb other boaters with a monster spotlight. But as mentioned above, a dark boat can be nearly invisible. I suppose it's better to light people up briefly than to bump into them. Is there an accepted practice on this?
The accepted practice is called "radar." Coming into a dark anchorage with your monster spotlight blazing pretty much convinces those who have already settled in for the night that you don't have a clue. (Or perhaps that you're a powerboater in sheep's clothing.)
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Old 29-06-2012, 07:58   #14
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Re: Anchoring and dragging

I should've added "if no radar on board."

My inclination is to use a regular power flashlight just to avoid the dark boats.
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Old 29-06-2012, 07:59   #15
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Re: Anchoring and dragging

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The accepted practice is called "radar." Coming into a dark anchorage with your monster spotlight blazing pretty much convinces those who have already settled in for the night that you don't have a clue. (Or perhaps that you're a powerboater in sheep's clothing.)
Radar is great. Just find a hole in the middle of a bunch of targets. Use the VRM to determine how space you have. After you set the anchor, use the VRM to confirm you swing room.

Works well in fog as well.
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