Jack, you say you aren't ready to spend a bunch of money
yet on 'full on cruising tackle'. Up to a point, fair enough, I don't know the area you're talking about but the anchor is a major safety
item if you're going to use it. Maybe better to spend some money now and have a good nights' sleep en route
I can't comment on American regs for anchor lights, but as long as you have an all round white light, even if it's hauled up a backstay, practically speaking you'll be OK.
With the previous caveat that I don't know the area you're talking about, I'd seriously suggest that if you're going to use a line/chain or all rope
combination for the anchor I'd personally use a scope
of 7:1. All chain I use 5:1.
As far as anchoring
technique is concerned there are many ways to skin a cat, but, sorry John, I have to say tugging on the anchor line isn't one of them. I'm cruising full time (in Spain
, Galicia, at the moment). The technique I use is to get the way off the boat, let out twice the depth initially to allow the anchor to 'bite', then pay out my 5:1 scope
. THEN (because I don't want to wake up somewhere else) I go into reverse (about 1/4 power) to put some tension on the anchor chain & see what happens. If that's OK I go fully astern for about 20 seconds and if that holds then the chances are I'm going to have a peaceful nights sleep. I then come fairly slowly out of astern and then watch for a while. Take note of something on the shore, and look at your relationship to it (called a transit bearing, if you haven't come across the term before). Obviously, this may change a bit with tidal flow or windshifts, but basically this will tell you if you're dragging or not. John is correct, if you feel a vibration in the anchor rode it means it's probably dragging. Be prepared to re-anchor if you aren't certain if the anchor is set or not, don't 'hope for the best'. If this all seems a bit of bother, remember that you want to sleep at night without worrying too much about the anchor. Why would you want to have somebody on watch all night unless the conditions are bad? If you get into the habit of doing things thoroughly now, before you start cruising properly, then you won't have to unlearn bad habits later. By 'cruising properly' I don't mean full time or even going long distances, I mean staying overnight on your boat, laying at anchor as opposed to being in a marina.
Personally, I've found rum
'bends the space/time continium', but I couldn't possibly suggest that you drink alcohol, now could I