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Old 03-03-2013, 13:42   #1
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Anchoring in a Gale

I had an unhappy experience in a strong squall, a max of 52kt was seen. Normally my boat will sit stable up to 25kt of wind. At 30kt, she will sail about a bit. I could see it was going to be a nasty one and when this squall got up and before the anchor sailing started I thought I would try to do something. I put the engine into slow forward gear to reduce the anchor load, but as I now realise it actually made the sailing and load on the anchor worse. Really bad. It felt close to a 180 deg swing. Luckily, the wind abated quickly before any harm was done. I won't do that again.

Maybe the best way is to actually go into reverse as I suspect this will improve stability? The extra load on the anchor from the engine will be a lot less than the extra load from swinging. Maybe I should be anchoring from the stern instead. The boat is naturally stable from that end (OK, major practical issues), but shouldn't all boat be anchoring from the stern? I could try an anchor riding sail too?
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Old 03-03-2013, 14:03   #2
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Re: Anchoring in a gale

I think engine in reverse is better. But engine in reverse tends to make the boat sail round her anchor slowly due to prop walk.

You can drop a heavy object off the bow so that it will be dragged across the bottom if the boat starts sailing about. Maybe (?) a bucket off the bow would work like a small drogue too.

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Old 03-03-2013, 14:16   #3
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Re: Anchoring in a Gale

I'm just guessing here without experince because my heavy full keel boat doesn't sail about at anchor, but what would be the result of dual snubber lines on the rode with one pulled back to a point further aft and under more load to present the bow slightly off the wind? You might know of this technique to set the boat at a different angle when anchored in a rolling sea. My thought is that you might effect a balance with the angle that is not so harsh as to increase the drag much, but no longer dances with the wind more full to starboard and then port. Others may know,- I've neverr tried this.
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Old 03-03-2013, 14:20   #4
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Re: Anchoring in a Gale

Easy solution is to drop a second anchor, ideally at least 45 degrees away from the first.
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Old 03-03-2013, 14:30   #5
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Re: Anchoring in a Gale

Some CF threads that might help.
Anchor Riding Sails - Do They Work ?

Weaving Back & Forth at Anchor

Article about riding sails -Good Old Boat - Quit Horsing Around article

Good luck,
Erika
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Old 03-03-2013, 14:47   #6
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Re: Anchoring in a Gale

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean Girl View Post
Some CF threads that might help...
And, similar to CaptForce’s suggestion (post #3):
Anchor Spring Lines
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Old 03-03-2013, 14:49   #7
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Re: Anchoring in a Gale

I made up an anti-sail drogue that I first used while riding out Hurricane Earl. Deployed from the bow it seems to work pretty well:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: LESSONS FROM A HURRICANE: AN ANTI SAIL DROGUE
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Old 03-03-2013, 14:50   #8
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Re: Anchoring in a Gale

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
Easy solution is to drop a second anchor, ideally at least 45 degrees away from the first.
ABSOLUTELY! This method has worked very well for us in 60+ shifty winds. Our boat (fin keel, windage from two furling sails forward) tends to sail a lot at anchor. Putting the second anchor out makes a huge difference.

In the 25 yrs. of our cruising, we have never tried to use the engine to stabilize the boat, just laid to the anchor or anchors. YMMV
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Old 03-03-2013, 15:17   #9
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Re: Anchoring in a Gale

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I made up an anti-sail drogue that I first used while riding out Hurricane Earl.
Interesting idea. Did you have any issues with it tangling with your anchor rode?
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Old 03-03-2013, 15:35   #10
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Re: Anchoring in a Gale

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
ABSOLUTELY! This method has worked very well for us in 60+ shifty winds. Our boat (fin keel, windage from two furling sails forward) tends to sail a lot at anchor. Putting the second anchor out makes a huge difference.

In the 25 yrs. of our cruising, we have never tried to use the engine to stabilize the boat, just laid to the anchor or anchors. YMMV
There have been a couple of boats I've heard of that got fouled up when they started using engines in storm anchoring situations. One that's still up on its side over in Baja at the moment.
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Old 03-03-2013, 15:44   #11
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Re: Anchoring in a Gale

Quote:
I put the engine into slow forward gear to reduce the anchor load, but as I now realise it actually made the sailing and load on the anchor worse. Really bad. It felt close to a 180 deg swing. Luckily, the wind abated quickly before any harm was done. I won't do that again.
There is either a thread on here or SSCA about the problems of doing that. It actually is worse, as you found out, and increases the shock load on the anchor as the bow tends to fall off putting the hull broadside to the wind and waves. Come to think of it, it may have been an article in one of the magazines and related how the boats that tried that during a hurricane ended up on the shore.
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Old 03-03-2013, 15:47   #12
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Re: Anchoring in a Gale

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Originally Posted by SVNeko View Post
Interesting idea. Did you have any issues with it tangling with your anchor rode?
None during Hurricane Earl as the anchor chain is usually well forward in a blow. I did have it wrapped around around the anchor chain when I used it at the mooring during Hurricane Irene. Though it that case I attached the anchor chain to the mooring chain and had not been able to visit the boat for two weeks after the storm. So I don't know when the wrap occurred but, the drogue was still under water. You can see the situation in the last picture in this post:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: BACK ON BOARD POST IRENE
The drogue was still three feet under water despite the wrap. Same thing during Hurricane Sandy except then my boat mooring and all got dragged over a thousand feet across the harbor because of the tidal surge. Drogue was still working though.
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Old 03-03-2013, 15:57   #13
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Re: Anchoring in a Gale

Starting your engine and having it ready to go in case of dragging is another thing. Just leave it out of gear.
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Old 03-03-2013, 16:09   #14
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Re: Anchoring in a Gale

Don Jordan (inventor of the Jordan Series Drogue) did some work on this before he passed away. He found that your intuition is right. The shock loading of a sailboat tacking at anchor is much higher than one that stays aligned to the wind.

His conclusion is that you should anchor by the stern (assuming that you are anchored in a place where you are protected from breaking seas).

Here's a summary:

Jordan Series Drogue - Mooring and Anchoring
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Old 03-03-2013, 16:19   #15
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Re: Anchoring in a Gale

You know now that I think about it that anchoring from the stern makes sense from a aerodynamic point of view. Shapes for best airflow have the blunt rounded end forward and the sharp trailing end aft. Never really thought about it before but it makes perfect sense. Now everyone is going to think I am nuts in the anchorage lol and I will have to move the windlass aft!
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