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Old 08-10-2013, 16:16   #61
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Re: Does constant anchoring wear you down?

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Originally Posted by monte View Post
Anne, Oliver, this is the one I use on Iphone..I dont use it to call me if I drag, although it has this functions, I primarily use it to see where I am swinging at nigth or check if we are near the limit of chain or if we are dragging. The vessel shows the track and shows where you have hovered. I also use it to point out where my anchor is if someone comes to anchor nearby. Often with current and wind our anchor is 10m behind us. Unless we use an anchor buoy we have no idea, and newcomers have no idea. More than once I have had people try to anchor directly on top of my anchor. Also it integrates with google maps so you can actually see how close you will swing to landmarks. It doesnt rely on cell phone signal, it uses the inbuilt GPS. Similar to leaving the plotter on, but much less power use and much more convenient. its not a substitute for proper anchoring skills, just another gadget to make life (and sleep)easier...
Anchor


BTW, the guy that said to only anchor in a protected cove from all wind directions obviously hasn't sailed in the Med much! I wonder where that place is?!
What's the app called?
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Old 08-10-2013, 16:22   #62
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Re: Does constant anchoring wear you down?

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Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
We have been at anchor for just over 2000 nights in the last 6 years .

I would not go into a marina if you paid me LOL (apart from antifouling). Swinging at anchor is just so dramatically different to being tied to shore. At anchor I have the sensation that the boat is my armchair and the anchorage my vast 'room'. In a marina I feel like I am living in a caravan park.

At anchor I also have ever changing multi-million dollar waterfront views. I am aware of every tiny shift in the breeze and change in wind strength. Most nights I am gently rocked to sleep. I have almost total privacy.

Gale force winds add a little necessary tension to life, it lifts me out of complacency. Too much of a good thing actually dulls off the experience. That contrast is needed.

I must admit though that the best improvement to this cruising lifestyle occurred when we upgraded our anchor. Sitting up during storms is one thing, but sitting up during frequent gales is a PITA.

We also have an anchor alarm on 24/7 regardless of wind strength giving added peace of mind. It is a low power draw unit next to the bed so that each time I roll over I can open one eye and take a quick reassuring glance at our swinging arc.

Also knowing the anchor is well set helps tremendously - I apply full revs in reverse for 10-20 sec and as soon as the engine is cut I am in the water for a snorkel to check the set. All possible care and precautions are taken.

Worrying about other boats is another matter. Luckily in the eastern Med we can easily find spots where we are alone at anchor even in summer during peak season. We have been known to set wind alarms in crowded anchorages when we have a poorly anchored boat ahead.

The boat is rarely left unattended, apart from during occasional dinners ashore. Even these are generally in sight of the boat though.

Yes, there are limitations, but I think the benefits dramatically outweigh these .
Over 1200 nights in 3 1/2 years for us. Dragged twice, both in the first year, and both times it was my fault - insufficient scope for the tidal range.
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Old 08-10-2013, 16:43   #63
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Giving your ground tackle a "Stress test" is one way to develop confidence in it. My wife and I spent the summer working as a Stakeboat for the America's Cup. 31 days on station in 80' +-, between the leeward marks and the finish line(Great fun and quite the show). Staying as close as possible to our assigned GPS coordinates was important. I purchased a 33kg. Rocha for our 40', 21,000# Caliber LRC last year and had spent 6-8 nights in relatively protected spots in the S.F. Bay up until this summer. Like others, the Admiral had also questioned the need to upgrade from a 50# Manson, CQR clone, not anymore. With a scope of a pinch more than 2.5:1 (210'), 100' 5/16" chain and the rest 5/8" nylon, it didn't move an inch after it hit bottom. Usually we were on station for 3+ hours, 31 knots was the highest wind speed we noted, combined with 2-3' swell and maybe another 1' of wind wave. Strong ebb and flood tides and a couple of days with a strong tide with an opposing wind. Add to that some pretty good chop from the ferry boats that seemed to take pleasure from seeing how close they could get to us as they passed. I know it's not Pitcairn Island, but after a while I finally figured why keep worrying, we haven't moved yet. Now, with a good bottom and proper scope, I have the utmost confidence in its ability to stay where we put it. It also didn't hurt to get that much practice putting it down and picking it up, the Admiral was already good at driving up to the anchor during retrieval, now she's good at doing it in a less than calm anchorage and she can do the anchor handling too.
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Old 08-10-2013, 16:44   #64
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Re: Does constant anchoring wear you down?

Anchoring downwind isnt only a French thing, it is common for engineless boats (like my first) as the only way in light air to get the chain to pay out in a reasonably straight line. Had to use the windlass break to put some kind of pressure on the hook to set. I usually was the one anchored out beyond the pack. If things didnt go well I had some room to bail out. If the winds were heavier, I would round up and drop, and then use the brake to pay out the chain, without letting the boat get too sideways. My next 2 boats had motors , but not all chain, so things were different. I must say that backing down should not hurt any properly sized windlass. If your brake slips or you are worried about pulling out of the deck, then you have a fundamental problem, not a bad practice. This is just another opinion, but what causes failure of anything in the anchoring system is not a prop in reverse, but chop or waves that have you snatching your chain bar taught. That will put many times more strain on your ground tackle than an engine in reverse ever could. That is what snubbers are great for. to take the impact. I dont know how to post a link, but maybe someone can post a link to the anchoring in Pitcairn video. I think everybody planning on cruising should have a look at that video. I understand that they had major windlass damage after that episode. It is lucky that they had a boat at all after that episode. My 2 cents worth.______Grant.
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Old 08-10-2013, 17:56   #65
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Re: Does constant anchoring wear you down?

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Originally Posted by Nostrodamus View Post
A-ha me hearties, pin back yer lug-holes and quiet them parrots. We have tales to tell.

I know everyone is different so any thoughts may help me or others in the coming years.

This cruising year we anchored about 98% of the time. We were getting used to anchoring and the advantages it could bring. We were staying in the most beautiful out of the way places sometimes not accessible by land and it was not costing us a penny. The disadvantages were that we had to constantly watch our power consumption and the level of the batteries. We also had to monitor the fresh water we were using.

For me sleep didn't come quiet as easy knowing that anchors do come out and if it did we may find ourselves on a beach or battered on rocks. With so many boats anchored together, often only a few meters apart, there was the constant worry of swinging into one of them during the night. I found myself waking with wind shifts and sea changes but I thought that would change as I gained more faith in our ground tackle and our ability to dig it in well.

I also found that I was loathed to leave the boat and explore our surroundings in anything but the most benign conditions. (Luckily my wife made me go ashore everywhere as I would have been more than happy to stay on the boat and I would have missed so much). When we did go I always had the weather, swell and other considerations in the back of my mind. It really was hard to relax.

To be honest the fears never did completely subside and over the year this lack of proper sleep and constantly making sure we were somewhere safe in the weather conditions really wore me down mentally and physically.

Now we are in our winter berth it is only now I realise just how much it did take out of me. I was totally drained but on the other hand we would never have been able to continue financially if we had gone in marinas and we would have missed some amazing places.

So how do you learn to relax being constantly at anchor? I know I worry too much but then again we have come through yet another year and several thousand miles safely.

Tales of our anchoring and places we have visited are being updated on our blog at Home Cygnus III Cygnus III.

I think you have some reasonable concerns, especially about other boats dragging. You can put a really good anchor alarm on and sleep with it right by your head, but it won't warn you about the other boat.

I don't know what the answer is. The last time I anchored out I got hit by a squall, the chain apparently wrapped around the shank, and in about 20 minutes I dragged 500 feet as I repeatedly felt the try to grab and release. I didn't have a second anchor ready which was really stupid. I could have just dropped it off the bow and let the dragging set it, but I had just lost my backup anchor and didn't have the replacement set up. I also shouldn't been anchored that night, but that's a long story.
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Old 08-10-2013, 17:58   #66
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Re: Does constant anchoring wear you down?

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
A good topic.

I spent my first decade of cruising lying to an abominable (and misnamed) CQR anchor, so my introduction to anchoring was by way of complete insecurity, knowing that if the wind were to blow up during the night, we would likely drag. I didn't know there was any other way to do it, so I got used to sleeping with one eye open and never, but never leaving the boat if there were the slightest chance of any weather blowing up.

Then I discovered other anchors. I have another decade of cruising on Spades, a Rocna, and a Delta, and never dragged one single time with any of them, in all kinds of conditions. A revolution. I did drag with a couple of times with fake Bruce anchors on two different charter boats, but never on my own boats once I got rid of the hideous CQR.

But the habit of sleeping with one eye open really dies hard. I've gotten a little better in the last couple of years, and sometimes when I really need sleep I just take a sleeping pill and conk out.

I usually don't leave the boat even for an hour without leaving someone behind on anchor watch, but that's probably not really necessary. With really good ground tackle and technique built over years of experience, you start to have enough data points to know that your boat is really not going to drag during a few hours on a shoreside expedition (you will laugh at me, but I leave the VHF on when I leave, so that I can ping the boat with a DSC position request from my DSC handheld to verify that she's still there -- ridiculous, I know, but makes me feel better ). And if it does, for God's sake, you have insurance, after all -- so relax already -- I keep telling myself


So I hear you, brother! All I can say is perfect your anchoring technique, and try to train yourself to relax. It's a long, long process, judging from my experience


I think your DSC idea is brilliant.
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Old 08-10-2013, 18:02   #67
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Re: Does constant anchoring wear you down?

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Darn, ... that means another 8 hours playing with buttons and menu's until I can find a way of doing it... then again I could read the manual but that is not a male way to do things!

Do you know a 12 year old? He or she can figure it out in two minutes flat.
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Old 08-10-2013, 18:13   #68
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Re: Does constant anchoring wear you down?

Great discussion.
After 4 yrs of 98% anchoring out in Pacific Mexico, it sure is more work than Marina cruising, but we loved it and learned to deal with the added stress. We opted for a 100lb anchor when perhaps a 80lb would have been ok and we really learned to trust our anchor. Power...well living at anchor 98% of the time puts a huge stress on the batteries and we just had to live with running out Honda 2000 generator to keep the bats charged and for making water at anchor. But the money we saved by anchoring out literally added a full year onto our cruise. We also tended to hang out in anchorage friendly places for longer periods, like estuaries where anchor living was easy.

We now are living aboard back in the states on a mooring ball and it is just second nature. Sure we pay more attention to the weather, but somewhere in year two it went from being more tiring to more relaxing. Hang in there and you will gain more comfort at anchor and have a big pillow case full of Euros to show for it.
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Old 08-10-2013, 18:19   #69
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Re: Does constant anchoring wear you down?

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Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post
Great discussion.
After 4 yrs of 98% anchoring out in Pacific Mexico, it sure is more work than Marina cruising, but we loved it and learned to deal with the added stress. We opted for a 100lb anchor when perhaps a 80lb would have been ok and we really learned to trust our anchor. Power...well living at anchor 98% of the time puts a huge stress on the batteries and we just had to live with running out Honda 2000 generator to keep the bats charged and for making water at anchor. But the money we saved by anchoring out literally added a full year onto our cruise. We also tended to hang out in anchorage friendly places for longer periods, like estuaries where anchor living was easy.

We now are living aboard back in the states on a mooring ball and it is just second nature. Sure we pay more attention to the weather, but somewhere in year two it went from being more tiring to more relaxing. Hang in there and you will gain more comfort at anchor and have a big pillow case full of Euros to show for it.

Morro Bay -- one of my favorite places. I'm jealous! Does your mooring field include any amenities, like showers, pump out, even shore-to-boat shuttles such as Dinner Key Marina has? Even if you have to do a lot of extra work to live there I can see where it would be worth it. But I also think being in a well maintained mooring field eliminates a lot of worries. All the boats will move in the same direction; you are well secured in a storm are two that come to mind immediately.
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Old 08-10-2013, 18:59   #70
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Re: Does constant anchoring wear you down?

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I used to be really worried, now i sleep alot better. I use a bruce for all my anchoring and a 20lb kellet. I anchor our boat half the year (instead of moorage) and it never drags. And we usually use our boat about 30+ times throughout the year and always anchor.
26' grampion on the west coast of Canada.
Here's some interesting information on Kellets...
Sinking a Myth – The Anchor Kellet
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Old 08-10-2013, 19:19   #71
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Re: Does constant anchoring wear you down?

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Originally Posted by canadianllama View Post
I used to be really worried, now i sleep alot better. I use a bruce for all my anchoring and a 20lb kellet. I anchor our boat half the year (instead of moorage) and it never drags. And we usually use our boat about 30+ times throughout the year and always anchor.
26' grampion on the west coast of Canada.
I like the concept and practice of using a kellet, but it seems to be best suited for you guys out in the PNW or other places where deep water anchorages are more common. I typically anchor in 12 to 20 foot depths on the US Est Coast and a little more rode is a greater percentage of the depth and does not increase my swing radius significantly. I favor their application in your conditions, but they are not always worthwhile.
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Old 08-10-2013, 19:48   #72
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Re: Does constant anchoring wear you down?

We have never had a New Modern Anchor! All Ive ever used were Danforths, and I tryed CQRs with no luck at all! And to be truthful about it, except for extreme wind changes Ive never drug a danforth! When it was properly set and had enough scope. I have been lucky in always haveing all chain rode on my boats ! Sure a well set danforth will pull out in 180 deg wind shifts, I agree, but over the years of worrying about my anchors, Ive somehow learned when to wake up in changeing wind conditions. The Cat we going to see in another week, has a manson anchor aboard, with all chain rode!! I look forward to getting a chance to try it out !! I hope to get to try it during the sea trial! LOL Ive never really had a draging problem with my danforths, but if the new anchors are as good as everyone on here says they are, Im looking at getting even better sleep at anchor!! And more sleep is good for everyone !!
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Old 08-10-2013, 19:58   #73
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Re: Does constant anchoring wear you down?

Nostrodamus, you have probably realized you are not alone by now. I also had the exact same thing happen last year when I entered the Med. The anchorages had little protection, the bottoms were weedy, and the Mistral would come up at night quite unexpected. I dragged twice, once almost loosing the boat on shore before we could bring it under control. It's amazing how fast you drag once broken free.

After the last dragging, I didn't leave sight of the boat for 10 days straight. And I agree, it really wiped me out. So at the end of the season I determined we needed a better anchor. You don't have that issue so no help.

But, the best stress reliever I have for sleeping is my Watchmate AIS anchor alarm. We tied it to a house alarm that is toned down by a potentiometer. It will wake everyone up if it goes off. It's incredibly accurate and easy to set.

I also agree with the comments that you have to just let it go. The boat is insured. We have done all due diligence with keeping the boat safe. You have to be able to leave it.

A few more comments, its seldom the wind that causes dragging, more likely its the waves. So I spent much more time this year in protected anchorages. I use Google Earth to locate good spots then cross reference that with a pilot book. I don't worry too much about others dragging into me. If it happens we will deal with it but anyone who has spent much time in Med anchorages realize you just can't worry about it. Boats drag all the time and your surrounded by them.

Who ever made the comment about French anchoring techniques - spot on!
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Old 08-10-2013, 20:19   #74
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Re: Does constant anchoring wear you down?

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Thank you for all the replies and the benefit of your experience.

Before we set of cruising I did change the anchor to a Manson Supreme and before buying it spoke to them about the size. They were very, very helpful and suggested a size of anchor for our boat. They then said although it would hold us well it would be beneficial to oversize. This we did.
Just make sure you are not putting too much strain on your windless with the extra weight and half a continent it sometimes brings up.

I have also painted the roll bar with florescent paint which makes it so much easier to see and helps identify if it is buried in properly.

I tend not to use a tripping line as other boat may swing into it and inadvertently trip it.

As a Brit we anchor like a cat finding somewhere to sleep. We often manoeuvre around the anchorage looking for the ideal spot where we can put out some decent chain (the length of chain you actually put out is more important than the anchor in my humble opinion).

Unfortunately other nations are often getting the dingy out or diving from the boat before the anchor hits the bottom. The French in particular often anchor by motoring forward whilst dropping the anchor.

Learning to drop the anchor manually and quickly rather than by lowering it on the windlass makes a difference as the anchor hits the spot you want and saves battery life.

I also want to know why when I find the perfect spot to anchor does the next boat that comes in have to anchor a cigarette paper away from me when there is space everywhere.

All these things help .... but... I still sleep like a cat on a hot tin roof.
It isn't generally a good idea to let your anchor free fall although you can get away with it in shallow water around 4 or 5m.

The problem is that chain free falls faster than any anchor other than a rock pick which I doubt you would be using. In deeper water the chain will hit the bottom first and the anchor is liable to be fouled by it. If the anchor lands on top of the chain then a tug on the chain could well break the anchor free of the bottom at an inopportune moment.

If you want to save the windlass when lowering try a handbrake by grabbing the chain wearing some gardening gloves - works for me.
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Old 08-10-2013, 20:39   #75
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Re: Does constant anchoring wear you down?

Savior, if your hands are stronger than your windlass brake, then you have an inadequite (sp) windlass. That is a good way to lose fingers. To each his own. ____Grant.
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