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Old 04-05-2015, 15:52   #16
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Re: Single-handed question on anchoring

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Originally Posted by KeepInTune View Post
Great replies and thanks.


in 15 knts +- of wind, will any of you use auto pilot while in forward gear as you are at the bow weighing in the anchor?
Yes, depending on various factors and the boat.
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Old 04-05-2015, 16:00   #17
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Re: Single-handed question on anchoring

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Never. With that much wind, you need to goose the engine to get way over the rode, then haul it in when slack.

Being at the bow with no idea where the boat is going is dangerous.

Thinking that the ap will steer straight in those conditions is also dangerous (thinking). How do you STOP?

Think it through. Also read a singlehander's book about anchoring. Richard Henderson's is agreat.
On my 33 foot monohull, I would give just enough throttle to more or less neutralize the wind, then haul in the chain. The tension would keep the boat going straight. I also had a handheld remote to the AP, for when the anchor cleared the bottom. Worked like a charm.

On my 45 foot cat, the wind needs to be really strong to keep the boat from going forward, even with the throttle as low as possible. But, if the wind is that strong, then yes, I take the load off with the engine. However, what generally works much better than the autopilot, is raising the full main and sheeting it right in so that acts like a weather cock, rather than driving the boat. That's assuming the anchor is directly upwind. A monohull, which will sail a bit closer to the wind, would probably start sailing when the cat still just stalls and puts the bow up into the wind, and that could get fun!

cheers,
Tim
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Old 04-05-2015, 16:11   #18
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Re: Single-handed question on anchoring

For me, it depends a bit on the wind, but generally my princess for hauling up is:

1. Open the locker get the control ready. Note if I'm straight on the chain or not.

2. Go back and drive straight up the chain a bit, run forward and bring in as much as I can.

3. Settle back on the chain. Repeat, until the anchor is loose, at which time I just keep bringing it in.

4. Drive straight over it to unhook if necessary.

If the wind is mild, then I just get a bit of boat motion and keep bringing it in.

For me, trying to keep it in forward rarely works, as I usually end up heading off to one direction or the other.


Someday, I'd like to have a small trawler with a forward opening door and forward cockpit for this reason.
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Old 04-05-2015, 16:27   #19
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Re: Single-handed question on anchoring

Since 99% of my sailing is single handed and I only come dockside for topping off I have had a fair amount of single handed anchoring and retrieval.

Of course you need to think ahead on where to drop the anchor, the tide range, and the weather forecast etc.

I sail on a 36' fractional rig with a Maxwell vertical windlass and all chain. I use a 1" braid on braid nylon snubber w/ mooring compensator and and a ss chain hook which is actually a reefing hook and nicely and securely grabs the chain link.

I drop the proper scope... using a cockpit switch for the windlass. Helm is locked headed to wind. As I can't tell how much chain it down, I estimate and them go to the bow to let the final scope out. I then attach the hook to the chain... and tie the bitter end to a cleat and let out more chain until is slack and the snubber line is taking the load. I run the snubber line around the windlass drum so it leads fair to the bow roller and the cleat.

Next I watch the compensator to see that it stretches a bit... unwinds. The tells me the anchor has set and there is tension on the chain. A dragging anchor WILL NOT cause the compensator to "unwind" and stretch a bit. With little to no wind I have to us the engine to back down and then observe the stretch... which I can usually see from the cockpit.

The compensator is a tell tale that the anchor has set and is hold the boat.

++++

To retrieve I have the engine idle in neutral and helm locked... and go to the bow and use the foot switch to begin the retrieval. First the snubber line is pull in over the bow roller and I unhook the chain hook. There is no tension on this line... the chain is taking the load.

In no to light winds I simply press the up foot switch to remove the catenary in the chain... the boat begins to make way toward the anchor. I continue pressing the up switch removing the catenary and this chain weight pulling a catenary keeps the boat going toward the anchor. As the bow comes close to being over the anchor there is little catenary and the way is sufficient to bring the boat over the anchor and the windlass is able to rapidly raise the anchor... Usually unless is very deeply set or snagged. The forward motion usually will trip the anchor.

In more windy conditions this the above takes more time... and the boat will also shear about thru the eye of the wind. It takes some time to get the boat moving toward the anchor and keep the bow from blowing off. The catenary weight is often not as strong as the wind pressure pushing the hull aft. The windlass may have enough power to pull the vessel forward and with the catenary weight I can usually get the anchor up.

But the windlass is really meant to pull up the chain WEIGHT not the vessel weight from the wind pressure. In heavy winds the windlass cannot move the vessel forward.

In heavy winds I do the retrieval with a burst of forward dead into the wind and race forward to take the snubber line in. I have to essentially repeat this power forward and cockpit chain retrieval when the bow is eye to the wind. The bow must be reasonably close to the eye of the wind for the chain to run over the bow roller and not pull against the cheeks of the bow roller assembly.

The above is OK in winds to about 20k. But it takes more time and patience the windier it is.

Windlass is mission critical with both bow and cockpit up and down switches... all chain and a snubber.
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Old 06-05-2015, 03:03   #20
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Re: Single-handed question on anchoring

Lots of good points in the answers above that I won't bother repeating. I do have a couple additional points to consider:
- Windlass control (wired in parallel to the foot switch or wired remote at bow) mounted at the helm (and anchor wash switch if you have one) makes it much easier and avoids a lot of rushing back and forth (I think it's much safer also)
- Chain counter also helps as you have a much better idea where you're at and when the anchor should be letting go
- All chain reduces the issue of tangles that the OP was concerned about (Seriously, I don't want to start anything, but I can't understand not running all chain on a cruising boat.....this is just one more reason)

Our 53' Amel Super Maramu is set up as above and while I normally have someone at the bow, I do occasionally bring up (and drop) the anchor solo when we're leaving early in the AM or if the crew is busy with other things. To avoid running over the anchor, and keep straight behind it, I find putting the boat into fwd (amount of throttle depends on wind and comes with practice) for short periods then shifting to neutral, bringing in the resulting slack on the anchor chain until the windlass loads up when the chain tightens (again, recognizing comes with practice, but the change in sound and speed is noticeable), then repeating until you've got as much chain out as depth indicated. Now you're tyoically free and still at the helm, so you're still in control as you start moving. Again with a good chain counter you also know when the anchor should be coming up to the bow so you can slow down and bring the anchor into the rollers a bit at a time.

I know the extra switches and chain counter are additional items to maintain, but if you're handling the boat singlehanded they'll make life a lot easier, plus with the reduced food and alcohol budget you'll likely be able to more quickly pay for them!

Just my opinion. YMMV
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Old 06-05-2015, 03:42   #21
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Re: Single-handed question on anchoring

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandero View Post
Since 99% of my sailing is single handed and I only come dockside for topping off I have had a fair amount of single handed anchoring and retrieval.

Of course you need to think ahead on where to drop the anchor, the tide range, and the weather forecast etc.

I sail on a 36' fractional rig with a Maxwell vertical windlass and all chain. I use a 1" braid on braid nylon snubber w/ mooring compensator and and a ss chain hook which is actually a reefing hook and nicely and securely grabs the chain link.

I drop the proper scope... using a cockpit switch for the windlass. Helm is locked headed to wind. As I can't tell how much chain it down, I estimate and them go to the bow to let the final scope out. I then attach the hook to the chain... and tie the bitter end to a cleat and let out more chain until is slack and the snubber line is taking the load. I run the snubber line around the windlass drum so it leads fair to the bow roller and the cleat.

Next I watch the compensator to see that it stretches a bit... unwinds. The tells me the anchor has set and there is tension on the chain. A dragging anchor WILL NOT cause the compensator to "unwind" and stretch a bit. With little to no wind I have to us the engine to back down and then observe the stretch... which I can usually see from the cockpit.

The compensator is a tell tale that the anchor has set and is hold the boat.

++++

To retrieve I have the engine idle in neutral and helm locked... and go to the bow and use the foot switch to begin the retrieval. First the snubber line is pull in over the bow roller and I unhook the chain hook. There is no tension on this line... the chain is taking the load.

In no to light winds I simply press the up foot switch to remove the catenary in the chain... the boat begins to make way toward the anchor. I continue pressing the up switch removing the catenary and this chain weight pulling a catenary keeps the boat going toward the anchor. As the bow comes close to being over the anchor there is little catenary and the way is sufficient to bring the boat over the anchor and the windlass is able to rapidly raise the anchor... Usually unless is very deeply set or snagged. The forward motion usually will trip the anchor.

In more windy conditions this the above takes more time... and the boat will also shear about thru the eye of the wind. It takes some time to get the boat moving toward the anchor and keep the bow from blowing off. The catenary weight is often not as strong as the wind pressure pushing the hull aft. The windlass may have enough power to pull the vessel forward and with the catenary weight I can usually get the anchor up.

But the windlass is really meant to pull up the chain WEIGHT not the vessel weight from the wind pressure. In heavy winds the windlass cannot move the vessel forward.

In heavy winds I do the retrieval with a burst of forward dead into the wind and race forward to take the snubber line in. I have to essentially repeat this power forward and cockpit chain retrieval when the bow is eye to the wind. The bow must be reasonably close to the eye of the wind for the chain to run over the bow roller and not pull against the cheeks of the bow roller assembly.

The above is OK in winds to about 20k. But it takes more time and patience the windier it is.

Windlass is mission critical with both bow and cockpit up and down switches... all chain and a snubber.
What's this compensator thingy
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Old 07-05-2015, 02:01   #22
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Re: Single-handed question on anchoring

When I solo which is most of the time I make sure I anchor well away from any reefs or lee shore this gives me lots of time to retreive and store the anchor.Only problems I have is when other boats park on top of my anchor almost had my bowsprit in a cats cockpit last time managed to shorten chain right up and motor the anchor out in reverse.
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Old 07-05-2015, 03:49   #23
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Re: Single-handed question on anchoring

Plus one on planning ahead. Take into account wind shifts, lee shore and obstructions. You can never know who is going to show up and clutter up your egress routes. On retrieval I am a fan of getting the rode in and anchor off the bottom and then motoring into deeper water and more sea room before wrestling the anchor up over the roller. The ol' CQR will normally come up backwards and being properly sized it takes alot of force to turn it around straight. If the boat is slow ahead the boat speed will rotate the anchor into a flukes aft position for retrieval. Manual windlass in my case. I am looking at getting a large rechargeable drill motor with adapter for chain retrieval if not dead lift.
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Old 07-05-2015, 04:08   #24
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Re: Single-handed question on anchoring

Sometimes on boats (as in life) the answer is simply don't..... And suck up the fact that is inconvenient.

With anchoring that means not anchoring somewhere that will be difficult to weigh anchor. Or not weighing anchor until conditions are more favourable.

Plus being organised helps.
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Old 21-05-2015, 22:30   #25
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Re: Single-handed question on anchoring

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Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
Ive been hauling anchor as a single hander on my Caliber 40 for over 20-years at many hundreds of anchorages. Careful analysis of dangers and exit courses is essential. A well thought out plan that is kept firmly in mind is critical. As with all aspects of single handing slow, methodical, and safe is absolutely necessary.

Some observations:

- plan for your departure before dropping anchor. Are there obstructions near by, is there a clear path to deep water, will there be a problem if the wind reverses, will changing currents be a problem, will other boats anchor near you and make it difficult to safely haul anchor and leave? You may find yourself pulling anchor in unanticipated conditions so plan for those conditions.

- have a chain stopper or easy to use chain hook/line/cleat for quickly and securely snubbing the chain while retrieving it

- an anchor buoy helps you know where the anchor is but is also prone to tangling with the anchor chain if you are in an area of reversing winds and/or currents. I have had several such occurrences that require many hours to untangle the anchor buoy line and the chain.

- remote control or a long control cable to windlass is very helpful

- an anchor locker with chain fall that allows retrieved chain to stack but not castle is very useful (My boat does not fit this requirement. I need to knock over the castle every 50-feet or so and it is a real PITA)

The exact anchor retrieval technique depends on the situation but usually involves something like:

- make sure engine is warm and running well

- ensure you know the depths of water and locations of obstructions in a full circle at least mile around boat

- ensure you know the path to clear water

- ensure everything on bow needed for anchor retrieval is in place, clear of obstructions, ready of immediate use

- test engine & transmission in forward and reverse before starting anchor retrieval

- plan for procedure to be used when anchor breaks free. Will you be able to stay on bow and keep hoisting anchor or will the bow blow off, due to current or wind, and head the boat into danger?

- engage forward and let boat gain some momentum moving forward over the chain (this is where the anchor buoy is useful). On my boat I want it moving fast enough that it will continue forward (this depends on local wind and current) for at least 15-seconds after putting throttle to neutral

- put transmission in neutral

- run forward to bow (or step up to side deck with remote control) and retrieve chain while boat continues to move forward. If you time it right and control the windlass speed correctly you can keep the boat slowly moving forward while the windlass retrieves the chain with little strain.

- if the wind and or current stops the boat while pulling chain you need to decide if the strain on the windlass is more than appropriate. If so, then use the chain stopper or chain hook to secure the chain and return to the cockpit to put engine in forward and start procedure over again

- once anchor is off the bottom employ the PRE-PLANNED technique for retrieving the anchor

- if in calm conditions, no current, little wind, OR the boat is safely clear of all obstacles then keep pulling the anchor and secure it on deck

- if the boat is headed toward danger (other boats, rocks, shallow water, breaking waves) then pull anchor far enough off the bottom that it will not engage the bottom or obstructions while you motor to safety. Firmly secure the chain so it will not lower as you motor to safety.

- once well clear of all danger either stop the boat (calm settled conditions) and secure the anchor and clear the foredeck. Or, engage the autopilot and slowly motor to clear water while you clear up all anchor related equipment on the bow
this is fantastic advice for us newbies..
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Old 21-05-2015, 23:58   #26
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Re: Single-handed question on anchoring

I am a single handed sailor and mostly agree with the advice suggested. I had a few dramas a couple of years ago while retrieving my anchor. Hope you enjoy the photo.
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Old 22-05-2015, 00:03   #27
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Re: Single-handed question on anchoring

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Originally Posted by Ray Perry View Post
I am a single handed sailor and mostly agree with the advice suggested. I had a few dramas a couple of years ago while retrieving my anchor. Hope you enjoy the photo.

Is the chain fouled, or is that actually a photo of your home made anchor?
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Old 22-05-2015, 02:54   #28
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Re: Single-handed question on anchoring

My beautiful Manson anchor is still on the bottom. What you are looking at is the scope wrapped around a wooden log. I was leaving at first light and Murphy's law said you will be here for a while. I had to eventually cut the wood away with a hacksaw leaning over the bowsprit so as to not damage my chain.

Great memories!!!!

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