I agree with the guy who posted the "pee anchor alarm system." I'm one of those - a three-a-night check every night regardless. We are full time liveaboards and spend 90% anchored. We sail the Caribbean
Basin so rarely are we without wind, sometimes swell (rolly). Often biggest concern is other boats and their ability to properly anchor.
In over 100 consecetive nights at anchor we have never dragged after being confident the anchor is set. On two occasions the anchor failed to set properly, once it was fouled by a towel at the bottom of Simpson Bay Lagoon
in St. Maarten. The second was in Roseau, and the anchor failing to bite in seagrass. After three attempts it properly set and never dragged the next three days.
Tips to successful anchoring:
1. Read books
by experts, such as Fatty Goodlander, Ralph A(something of Annapolis) great tips on methods and ground tackle.
2. Know your abilities and don't be over confident.
3. 7 to 1 scope has never failed me. I rarely deploy less even if the weather is benign because oftentimes it changes at 2 am in the morning. If the wind gets above 30 kts frequently as it does in the Eastern Caribbean
10 to 1 is better insurance
4. Oversize ground tackle (experts will tell you this also) play attention to rodes, swivels, shackles and windlass
. Three anchors on board of various sizes and functions is good insurance
. Understand how to deploy them and practice when its not an emergency
especially if needed to deploy two anchors for tidal conditions or swing issues.
5. Know what to check, Know what questions you need to be able to answer, Know how to confirm holding status. A big part of successful anchoring is knowing what to check. This means what type of bottom are you anchoring on? Types of boats in your area that could potentially drag down on you, attempt to gain an understanding of how they are anchored and their ability. Is it a charter
boat for example. Did they deploy a lunch hook when evening squalls are forecast
? Often telltale signs will give you insight into another captain's anchoring ability. Obtain bearings that can be read in total darkness. Have an exit strategy.
Certainly the five tips above are not everything you need to know but if you follow each of these the chances of dragging is greatly reduced.
Let the following drive your decision making and you will more likely than not be fine "At the end of the day, if the boat drags it is the Captain's fault - period."
If you are dragging once or more a year, then you are dragging too much!