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Old 14-06-2011, 17:40   #46
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

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Originally Posted by svcambria View Post
Stop pulling his leg! You are supposed to tie the bitter end to yourself, then you will never lose the rode, you will always know where it is...

Michael
dang--i thought was spozed to hang on to it while tugging back to set hook....LOL......
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Old 14-06-2011, 17:57   #47
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

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Originally Posted by Boracay View Post
Before you fly down to collect your charter buy all the maps and guide books that you can afford. Study them carefully, making mental notes of the most desirable places.
When you pick up the boat don't just pick the brains of the briefing person. Totally clean out every nook and cranny. Make careful note of the type of anchor, the length of chain and the length and type of rode. Verify that the rode is actually secured to the boat.
When you get to the the anchorage (under power!) make a note of how the boats already there are sitting and any wind and current.
Do a circle of the anchorage with a crew member holding the chart and keeping watch on the depth sounder.
In a crowded anchorage the ideal is to drop the anchor just behind the stern of the boat immediately in front. In general this means coming alongside them, having a chat to get their opinions on life, the universe and correct anchoring practices for where you are.

My preference is to drop the anchor, let out 3x depth of rode, and to have a cup of tea while I see how the boat sits. This is where the local knowledge that you got from your briefing is essential as all places differ.
In general I don't like doing this, but then we use a big Manson Supreme and all chain. Again, this is something that you must check at your briefing.

See above

I've found that anchoring under these conditions is very unpleasant. You should be able to get enough information from your charts, guide books and the briefing to avoid them.
If you must go to this sort of spot then try to arrive before 11:30 am, pay for a mooring, have a nice cup of tea and settle back to enjoy the show.

This probably depends on the windage and weight of the boat along with the wind, current and other prevailing conditions.
In general I prefer to use the windlass just enough to get the boat moving forward, then as the chain goes slack I wind it in.
I'd normally only motor forward if there was a strong current or wind pushing the boat back.

Again depends on the conditions. Under 10 knots offshore breeze, good holding and away from other boats I don't worry much.
I do like to make a GPS note of my position when I first anchor and do a chart of readings, first every half hour then every hour. By the time bedtime comes I have normally forgotten about it.
My belief is that anchoring close to close to shore should be avoided if at all possible. This is where all those guide books that you paid a small fortune for should justify their existence.

My general rule of thumb is that if I expect the wind to go over 15 knots where I am then choosing an anchorage that is secure becomes my highest priority.
Again, these would be good conditions to pay for a mooring.
Boracy,

Thank you for this detaled repsone!

Q: You said "My preference is to drop the anchor, let out 3x depth of rode, and to have a cup of tea while I see how the boat sits. This is where the local knowledge that you got from your briefing is essential as all places differ."

Why stop at 3x for a while.. doenst this risk not setting the anchor and draging out of position.. req another drop?

Thanks
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Old 14-06-2011, 18:30   #48
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

It sounds like you've certainly had a few bad experiences that have you spooked. It also seems that that particular area may have been unusual given the steep drop offs. I share your trepidation when coming into a really crowded anchorage. It takes a bit if voodoo to try to find a good place and visualize where your hook should go when you can't see everyone else's hook. Especially in light winds, there's really no way to know where the other anchors are or how much scope anybody has out (the chains will be hanging straight down and the boats will be swinging around the point where the chain first touches the ground, not around the anchor). And the other boaters will probably not have that much of a clue either, even if you ask them.

Personally, I look for the biggest gap in water less than 60' deep (preferably less than 40'), then try to put my boat there. I then watch the other boats and hope for the best. You don't need to stay out of everyone's swing circle, because you should all swing together. Stay further away from the mooring field, though, as the boats won't swing on a mooring.

Local knowledge is super important. This might have helped you in Croatia where you weren't sure how to handle the steep drop-off, for example. You should never anchor so close to shore that you'll be aground if the wind shifts. Even with an anchor watch you won't get the engine going fast enough to stay afloat. You're better off staying at sea with a watch on.

As an example of how local knowledge is important, in the PNW we have tight anchorages that are well protected, deep, crowded, and have good holding. It is common for everyone to be on about 3:1 and that works here (though when there's space, I prefer 5:1). Somebody in the middle of the field on 7:1 would be creating a hazard and there's just no reason for the extra rode as it just never blows in these anchorages in summer.

We also have areas where it is super tight or where it drops off very steeply. The solution in these cases is to stern tie to shore around a tree. In your Croatia situation, if you could have anchored a little ways from shore and then backed towards shore to set it and placed a line ashore you would have been fine. On a steep drop off, you need to have the anchor pulling "up hill" to stay set. Boats in these parts carry 300' of floating line on a spool for stern tying.
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Old 14-06-2011, 18:39   #49
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

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Originally Posted by sdeese View Post
Do people really motor up and ask "how much rode you have out?" Is that normal?
Absolutely! If Boat XYZ is in 2 fathoms of water and has 20 fathoms of rode out, that's a really good thing to know before you park off his beam, especially if you're only planning to put out 10 fathoms of chain.

(And don't even get me started on how jerkish it is to go 10-to-1 in a crowded anchorage when the nearest typhoon is 4 months away.)
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Old 14-06-2011, 18:56   #50
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

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As an example of how local knowledge is important, in the PNW we have tight anchorages that are well protected, deep, crowded, and have good holding. It is common for everyone to be on about 3:1 and that works here (though when there's space, I prefer 5:1). Somebody in the middle of the field on 7:1 would be creating a hazard and there's just no reason for the extra rode as it just never blows in these anchorages in summer.

I was in the well protected anchorage called Montague Harbour about 10 years ago, in the summer. When the wind started to pick up several boats dragged. I was on 4:1 (my minimum) and as soon s the wind picked up I l laid out more chain, and sat an anchorage watch for a while. BTW that was in July. I have also been in gale force winds in Plumper Sound in the summer.
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Old 14-06-2011, 19:55   #51
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

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Q: You said "My preference is to drop the anchor, let out 3x depth of rode, and to have a cup of tea while I see how the boat sits. This is where the local knowledge that you got from your briefing is essential as all places differ."

Why stop at 3x for a while.. doenst this risk not setting the anchor and draging out of position.. req another drop?
My main knowledge is of anchoring in Sydney Harbour/Port Jackson/Parramatta River and Broken Bay/Pittwater.

This is what I've done there with my gear, and it has "worked".

Use of 3:1 is common round here, and we do get times when an anchorage has more in common with a sardine can than anything else. I notice power boats with several multiples of my windage and about my weight using what looks like a tiny toothpick with 3:1 for overnight anchoring, and they're still in the same place next morning.

Mostly its heavy mud, and I know my anchor goes nicely in heavy mud. When I pull up the anchor I usually observe that the mud only goes about 2/3 of the way up.

Powering back strongly to set the anchor is not common here. I would not be surprised to find that an anchor would pull free under heavy reversing.

I'd expect that where you're going there could be a fair bit of coral sand. This could require a different type of anchor, chain and rode to what I'm used to. This is why its very important to get local knowledge.

The boat you charter should be set up to anchor in the conditions that you may encounter, and if its not they should tell you. The guide books should have information on the best technique.

It would not surprise me to find that coral sand requires more scope than mud. Other members have much more experience than me in these conditions and I hope they can chime in here.

I've read several reports of cruisers diving down to check the set of their anchor. If you have snorkel gear and the waters not too deep this could be a good idea. I don't do it here as I can't dive as deep as I used to, the water is cold, murky and there have been several shark attacks recently.

If you do decide to anchor somewhere deep, then I'd suggest looking for a sheltered windward shore, well clear of other boats so that if you drag a few hundred metres further out its not a problem. This is the situation where I'd be tempted to use lots of scope, but not so much that a wind change could put me in danger of grounding.

The other aspect of scope that I've never seen discussed is that you need to have enough so that if you do drag into deeper water there's still enough chain/rode to keep the anchor firmly on the bottom.

In terms of anchoring etiquette its good to be the first in, as this confers the right to gesture with your sundowner while giving well meaning advice to an acutely embarrassed skipper as you gently fend him off.
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Old 14-06-2011, 20:23   #52
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

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Originally Posted by SkiprJohn View Post
Hey Boasun, How'd you learn that one?

I've heard many stories, some bad, and some just plain hilarious. I've never lost an anchor or rode that way but have met a few folks that have.

kind regards,
I use to teach sailing many years ago. And the students sometimes don't hear everthing I've told them...
A good reason to carry a grappnel to snag any free flowing anchor rodes.
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Old 14-06-2011, 20:35   #53
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

A good simple method to anchor in a crowded area for a night might be to go ahead and find a spot where others already anchored won't swing into you (assume everyone has 15 to 1 out - they won't of course, but now you know your a safe distance when you account for a huge swing) then:

Put motor in neutral, come to stop, slowly begin to reverse (reverse comes first so the chain doesn't pile up when you drop it)
Drop hook, let out 10 to 1 scope
Slowly reverse without trying to set hook until the 10 to 1 is paid out
Kill motor
Drop stern hook with 4 to 1 rode flaked on the aft deck ready to pay out (watch for tangles with deck hardware - careful)
Pull in on the windlass till you have 6 to 1 on the front hook, 4 to 1 on the aft hook - remove chain rode from windlass and hook to snubber
Wrap the nylon rode that's on the aft hook around a sheet winch, and crank it in till it's bar taut and you are sure the front hook is set (as well as the aft)
*Leave the aft rode taut and watch it for 20 minutes - if it slacks up you aren't set

That ought to do it, your set and in control of your swing - if it doesn't - just try again.

Leave both hooks down (remember, you made sure you were far enough that no one would swing into you), you're not going anywhere and you now have a few options if others begin to act the fool in the anchorage. You can always pull the aft hook up at any point once you are sure you're set if need be.

Best of luck!

Edit: Forgot to mention - before you drop the hooks pick which way you want to face, to the wind, to a current, to the waves, to powerboat wakes, etc..
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Old 14-06-2011, 21:10   #54
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

sdeece, you have gotten some excellent advice. I think all of it is relevant.

What I'd like to add is that I have been in your shoes - completely. I've chartered three times in the BVI's and only anchored twice during them. On one, the only reason I didn't drag was my anchor wrapped around a big chunk of coral.

I would encourage you to anchor 1/2 the time if your feel comfortable doing it. You ultimatly need to learn to be comfortable at anchor. My analogy is that now, I feel better at anchor then on a mooring.

Look for the sand under you. It's the white stuff. Then motor over it and don't be in a hurry. As Mark said, take a wander around the bay to see what's available before making a choice. IMO you don't need to back down hard, but it is good to backdown for a period of time. 1 minute is really long if you actually time it. Watch to see if your moving then it's set, no worries.

I would add that the biggest pure rookie mistake I made was recently in Anse Marcel on St. Martin. When I anchored, there was plenty of room between me and my neighbor. But, then the wind died and we both started to drift around. We drifted at different rates and directions and I seemed to constantly be backwinding compared to him. We never hit, but I'd say we only had 10' between us at one point.

With a charter boat, they typically don't give you 300' of chain. So, you may want to pay attention to the depth. But there's nothing wrong with using 200' if you need to. Your windlass won't complain.

One last point, you said your going soon. This is a slow time for sailing so mostly you'll have plenty of room. I'll be there from July 11th to the 22nd. Say hello if your there at the same time. Have fun.
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Old 14-06-2011, 21:13   #55
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Good points... I suggest once the anchor road it fixed you put your hand on the road as you back down. The vibration will almost stop when the anchor is set.
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Old 14-06-2011, 21:20   #56
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

Since there is such good advice here, does anyone have some for how to handle it when your in a small crowded anchorage and you are getting backwinded and the boat next to you isn't? I'm thinking I should have pulled anchor and went substantially further out but it was 11:00pm and my thought was more damage could be done trying to motor out through the crowd then staying put. But it wasn't good when my anchor neighbor said "What the F*^%" that late at night.
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Old 14-06-2011, 21:48   #57
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

Get out a couple of fenders and watch what happens. You may have to fend off.

BTW - who anchored first? - they have "rights".
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Old 14-06-2011, 22:18   #58
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

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Since there is such good advice here, does anyone have some for how to handle it when your in a small crowded anchorage and you are getting backwinded and the boat next to you isn't? I'm thinking I should have pulled anchor and went substantially further out but it was 11:00pm and my thought was more damage could be done trying to motor out through the crowd then staying put. But it wasn't good when my anchor neighbor said "What the F*^%" that late at night.
You really only have four options:
  1. Up anchor and move.
  2. Reduce scope to reduce your swing room (if you feel that you have more than enough out- don't risk a drag)
  3. Alter your boat's behaviour in the wind by hoisting a riding sail on the backstay (stormjib hanked on backstay or some other improvised solution). This may get your boat behaving more like your neighbour's.
  4. As Jackdale said, watch what happens and hope for the best. This isn't an emergency, but you'll want to either be comfortable by the time you go to bed or post an anchor watch.
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Old 14-06-2011, 22:35   #59
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

Don't worry about a thing there are moorings in the BVI everywhere....
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Old 14-06-2011, 22:36   #60
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

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... Alter your boat's behaviour in the wind by hoisting a riding sail on the backstay (stormjib hanked on backstay or some other improvised solution). This may get your boat behaving more like your neighbour's.
You can tie the helm off to one side if you have current, tie the anchor snubber off to one side, drop a second anchor at 1:1 scope to stop swing, stern anchor if others have them, etc etc etc which become familiar the more you practice anchoring...

Michael
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