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Old 05-03-2014, 19:40   #1
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Cruising plans... How do you plan Anchorages/Moorings?

For all you cruisers who head out for a week, two, three or more..whether towards a destination or just cruising around.

How are you planning each night's mooring, anchorage or dock/slip? Are you planning the whole thing out up front or are you just winging it and pulling out the charts and getting information on where to anchor/moor area when you arrive? Are you planning everything out on your charts and highlighting your "option" locations?

I've always wondered about this.. What is your process? How often will you rent a slip for a night or two (for water/power/rest)?

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Old 05-03-2014, 20:08   #2
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Re: Cruising plans... How do you plan anchorages/moorings?

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Originally Posted by KeepInTune View Post
For all you cruisers who head out for a week, two, three or more..whether towards a destination or just cruising around.

How are you planning each night's mooring, anchorage or dock/slip? Are you planning the whole thing out up front or are you just winging it and pulling out the charts and getting information on where to anchor/moor area when you arrive? Are you planning everything out on your charts and highlighting your "option" locations?

I've always wondered about this.. What is your process? How often will you rent a slip for a night or two (for water/power/rest)?

Signed,
Intrigued.
We've developed an inventory of places we'd like to visit, where we'd be comfortable staying. We do somewhat plan our trips, but total flexibility. We have a data base though of all the locations and ports we'll be passing so that when we find ourselves somewhere we can select the intended area or others from our list easily.

Active Captain is a great tool to assist in quickly seeing information too.
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Old 05-03-2014, 20:11   #3
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Re: Cruising plans... How do you plan anchorages/moorings?

Based primarily around the places we want to go with the second factor being how long we think the fresh water will last. We generally plan on a marina stay when we think we will need to replenish the fresh water. Having said that the cruising grounds around here have multiple marinas, and or anchorages within 2 to 4 hours of sailing so you can stop as often or as little as you like. As a side note I love Google earth and its distance tool for doing initial planning,
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Old 05-03-2014, 20:13   #4
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Cruising plans... How do you plan anchorages/moorings?

I don't cruise for long periods of time just yet, a few days here and there or maybe a week, two at the most is all I can get time for. I typically plan out a rough idea of where I will be staying ahead of time. However I do factor in plenty of alternative options as well.

Leaving for a week long cruise I will almost always plan my first night's anchorage. Every anchorage after that is subject to change based on any number of factors including weather, density of boats in an anchorage, or just plain preference or whim.

I do look up almost every viable anchorage along the way ahead of time. This allows me to duck off somewhere if needed, even though I will have a preferred spot that I would like to reach. This also allows me to change my plans at will, giving me the freedom I enjoy so much.

In short I tend to be very go-with-the-flow in terms of concrete planning. But I do my homework ahead of time like any responsible mariner.

Reprovisioning is a minor concern on such short cruises for me as my boat can carry plenty of food and water for several weeks. Solar panels and an obscenely low power consumption rate extend my away from dock time as well. With a dink there is almost no reason for me to ever grab a slip at a marina.
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Old 05-03-2014, 20:18   #5
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Re: Cruising plans... How do you plan anchorages/moorings?

Unless I've absolutely positively had to be at a certain place at a certain time (the antithesis of cruising or except to avoid named storms) I've always pulled out a chart and looked for what looks appealing. What makes a place appealing is subjective to individual opinion.

A side benefit of closely studying a chart is you become intimately familiar with the depictions. Very probable is you will notice many places you had previously overlooked. By off track exploring the most wondrous adventures are gotten.
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Old 05-03-2014, 20:39   #6
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Re: Cruising plans... How do you plan anchorages/moorings?

When entering a new cruising area maps, pilot books, cruising guides and even google earth are used to locate potential anchorages.

Depending on the forecast etc it is normal to leave one anchorage with a specific goal as the destination. As others have said flexibility is important and it is not unusual to make changes on route.

Cruising sailors vary considerably on how much they use slips/docks. I prefer anchoring so it is not unusual for me to go 12 months, or even a couple of years between tying to shore (other than an occasional stern line to rock in a narrow anchorage). On the other hand some sailors prefer marinas and will spend every night docked. Most are between these two extremes. There is no one right answer, just individual preferences.
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Old 05-03-2014, 21:00   #7
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Re: Cruising plans... How do you plan anchorages/moorings?

I mostly. Just wing it . my first trip from the Chesapeake the Florida I made complicated plans. Then I found out that was not necessary
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Old 05-03-2014, 21:15   #8
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Re: Cruising plans... How do you plan anchorages/moorings?

We might plan to go somewere, when we leave, but wind and conditions decide how or when or ever we will get there !! We carry charts both paper and electronic, to cover all the possibiltys in the trip, so we can plan from day to day where we will anchor or if we will make a serveral days at sea. Say we leave from home, to Belize, we will have all of cuba, jamaica, and surounding areas inculding mexico and the bay islands. better to have to much then not enough!! The same for food, we always try to have 2 weeks at the least! aboard! (with our can goods we have stored away we have much more LOL)Water, is the real bummer, lots of places we stop the waters good for washing and not much else, so we have a water maker, which makes our trips a lot easier!! works for us !! But we will say we have ended up a long way from where we started out for, lots of times !!!
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Old 05-03-2014, 21:54   #9
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Re: Cruising plans... How do you plan anchorages/moorings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
When entering a new cruising area maps, pilot books, cruising guides and even google earth are used to locate potential anchorages.

Depending on the forecast etc it is normal to leave one anchorage with a specific goal as the destination. As others have said flexibility is important and it is not unusual to make changes on route.

Cruising sailors vary considerably on how much they use slips/docks . . .
+1

Lots and lots and lots of study and preparation for a new area before the cruise starts, with a list of "I'd like to go there" spots. Using multiple sources.

But then no rigid plan in the event. It's pretty impossible anyway, because when and how far you move depends on the weather, and how long you stay in a spot depends on how much you like it. A rigid plan would not only be basically impossible, but it would kill the fun of cruising.

But that's not to say that you "wing it" -- by no means! Lots and lots of thorough preparation are key to making it work smoothly.

I've got three (3) different plans for this summer's cruise, for example. I've got 5 weeks. Our home port is next to Southampton, in the Solent. Plan 1 is to head West down the S coast of the UK until we get a good weather window, then head W out of the Channel and across the Bay of Biscay to La Coruna, then spend a few weeks poking around the Spanish Rias, then back the long way via the coast. I've got a long list of places to stop and alternative ways to make all the miles involved (crossing Biscay is a pretty fur piece across some pretty challenging water), and by now (although there's more than 6 months to go) I know them inside and out.

As to how long you stay -- depends on your own style of cruising, and where you are. My first few years I made the mistake of trying to see too much and moving too often. I gradually settled down to a rhythm of staying two or three days, and moving one day, staying longer in cool places, and bugging out of places which don't seem interesting. Making miles in long overnight or multi-day passages instead of trying to break the whole trip up into day sails.

If you're not working and have all the time in the world, like Noelex (where's that "envy" smiley?) then your rhythm will be different. I get four or five weeks at a time max, so I can't hang out as long in one place as he does.

Like many others, I tend to anchor out more than go into ports, but that also depends on where you are and what kind pace you are on, and whether or not you can make your own fresh water. When I was cruising SW Florida, there was nothing whatsoever interesting about the marinas, so I anchored ALL the time, going in just for water maybe once a week. Here in Europe, you have not just marinas but some wonderful ports which are interesting in their own right, so I stay in port more often -- a couple of times a week, maybe, and some ports are worth spending many days or even weeks in. When I'm cruising in the Channel, for example, I love to spend several days in St. Malo or St. Vaast at the end of the cruise, gorgeous places with wonderful ancient ports right in the middle of the towns.

There's never enough time, of course, and a month on the water seems to go by like a long weekend
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Old 05-03-2014, 22:03   #10
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Re: Cruising plans... How do you plan anchorages/moorings?

Are most of you using ActiveCaptain for anchorages and mooring information and planning, or are there other services that you rely on?
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Old 05-03-2014, 22:09   #11
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Re: Cruising plans... How do you plan anchorages/moorings?

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Are you planning the whole thing out up front or are you just winging it and pulling out the charts and getting information on where to anchor/moor area when you arrive?
Yes

All planned precisely then changes in a morning , every plan cast firmly in sand. Weather and who you meet possibly the biggest factors in the change. Plus what breaks along the way


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Old 05-03-2014, 22:29   #12
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Re: Cruising plans... How do you plan anchorages/moorings?

we are currently planning a 6mo or so cruise from tunisia to sardina to rome to sciliy to venice to croatia to albania to sciliy to tunisia for the winter

going thru cruising guides and things we find on line i set up a tenative plan such as our 1st stop and then any major destination after that such as where in rome will we dock or venice -- between i pick out places to anchor for the night or for a day or 2 depending on what we find and the weather conditions -- if a bad front is coming and anchorages are iffy we try to find a marina to duck into and have lots of options from previous study
each night i sit down and look at where we are and where we are headed what the weather is forecast to be and work out a plan for the next 3-4 days-- each morning i again check the weather to make sure it has not changed a lot and if the plan still if viable

- sometimes we get somewhere and really like it so we stay a while and sometimes we get somewhere and do not like it an move on immediately -- sometimes the cruising guides are wrong and anchorage is now a mooring field and full -

for us it is a constant planning process given distances, anchorages, weather and what we want to see - and of course timing
we never yet made a harbor in the dark but have made a couple of anchorages in the dusk so we do take miles and timing into account and by the way we plan everything on 5k -- can we go faster - sure -but we would rather get in early than try to make an approach in the dark
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Old 05-03-2014, 23:13   #13
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Re: Cruising plans... How do you plan anchorages/moorings?

Follow the precept of Helmuth Von Moltke : “No operation extends with any certainty beyond the first encounter with the main body of the enemy.”
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Old 05-03-2014, 23:17   #14
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Re: Cruising plans... How do you plan anchorages/moorings?

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Are most of you using ActiveCaptain for anchorages and mooring information and planning, or are there other services that you rely on?
We use Active Captain plus other regional sites or books. For instance, in Bahamas a guide for Bahamas. Along the east coast cruisersnet and waterwayguide have a lot of information. But we also do other research on our own, from google earth to web sites. We use marinas primarily so we'll go to their site, confirm the information we have. Whether marinas or anchorages we read all the reviews we can.

Now we also use sites like tripadvisor and local sites by entering "Location Attractions" to see those things we want to make sure to see in areas. We talk to other boaters along the way. And along the US coast for local knowledge the tow boat operators are great help. Plus if mooring or anchoring near a marina or needing navigation knowledge, the marinas and dockmasters are often helpful.

I know it sounds like a lot but we enjoy the learning and information gathering. We do it even when we don't have a trip to an area planned. We started looking at the St. Lawrence route to Montreal months ago and we might not go there for a 15 months or even 30. But nice to know what is and isn't there.
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Old 05-03-2014, 23:51   #15
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Re: Cruising plans... How do you plan anchorages/moorings?

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SNIP

As to how long you stay -- depends on your own style of cruising, and where you are. My first few years I made the mistake of trying to see too much and moving too often.

SNIP

There's never enough time, of course, and a month on the water seems to go by like a long weekend
The most dangerous thing you can have on a boat is a calendar. It is important to have access to the best weather information possible. In the US CH2 is usually monitored first thing. Also have a receive only SSB and a program on the laptop to get the weather fax.

Guides, paper/electronic charts, what ever are helpful, but a wind shift may well mean changing where you have anchored to the other side of the island. I think it is very important to have a Plan B, and perhaps C, D, E, and more. What happens if the weather changes or you have motor problems, or other issues requiring a change of plans.

Part of cruising is being able to adapt to things like the sudden appearance of the Swedish Bikini Team on a boat anchored next to you when they plan to stay there for a month or so.
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