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Old 21-02-2011, 21:03   #1
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Offshore Anchoring

prparing to make my first trip, i am stoked!! norfolk va to galveston.. going on a budget and do not want to stop at a bunch of marinas. the question, is it safe or a general practice to anchor out offshore at night in say 10-20 ft ?? if not, then how do you solo guys do it?
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Old 22-02-2011, 05:26   #2
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Re: Offshore Anchoring

I'll take a stab and just say use common sense, avoid busy lanes, or areas, lights are good, we keep the anchor light on but also mount the solar powered garden lights at bow and stern and both sides. If possible use the right anchor fo rthe area and 7/1 scope I like a fair amount of chain to help keep the anchor on the bottom, and we use an anchor alarm in the cabin that will wake either one of us if we move outside the anchors swing radius.

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Old 22-02-2011, 05:43   #3
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Re: Offshore Anchoring

Umm, you will not find 10 to 20 feet of water "offshore".

You will not want to just anchor anywhere where you can find appropriate depths. Besides the right depth, you also need shelter from wind and swell. Anchoring between a shore and where the wind is coming from -- that is, off a lee shore -- can be extremely dangerous.

You should have a pilot book of the areas you will be passing through -- this will give you a guide to appropriate anchorages.

And you should read up on anchoring techniques.

Good luck and be sure to post here about your adventures.
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Old 22-02-2011, 05:57   #4
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Re: Offshore Anchoring

Anchoring "offshore" in an unprotected area could be quite dangerous. Seas tend to build up in the shallow zone near a beach. A sizable swell can come up quickly and you would risk getting overwhelmed by the waves. In 10-20 feet you also run the risk of bottoming out in the troughs. If you anchor at night out of the danger zone, your risk of getting run down at is just as great or greater than if you were sailing far off shore.

I think there are many protected spots along the ICW where you can safely anchor.
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Old 22-02-2011, 06:07   #5
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Regarding lights on the boat, check the uscg regs to ensure you are using appropriate lights and placement of them when anchored. The uscg knows that lights for can be confusing for boaters; hence the regs. They seek to standardize the lights and placement thereof.
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Old 22-02-2011, 06:09   #6
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Re: Offshore Anchoring

When I was young and inexperienced, I tried it off of the East coast, in moderate off shore winds. I then experienced the long Atlantic swell in a way that was "different" from when I was under way. The large but gentle, rhythmic, S L O W up and down, was making me sick! I headed in the next inlet...

On other occasions, however, I've done the same offshore anchoring in the Gulf of Mexico, close to the beach. I was in the wind lee of land this time! It was fine. No different than anchoring in the lee of islands, which we all do regularly.

If you do it off of the East Coast... Be aware that South bound traffic may be hugging the coast to avoid the Gulf Stream, so Have TWO anchor lights! (Mine are 8' above the deck in a swinging housing) The fact is, that mast head anchor lights, from close enough to matter, look like a star.

BTW.. I have run the East Coast ICW 6 times, and I never use marinas, (with 3'4" draft I have hundreds of options). IF your boat is small / shallow draft, consider the ICW and just anchor out. (Get the books "Waterway Guide", and "Anchor Bob's", something or other)... It list all the appropriate spots, and the average draft ICW boat, (5') can use these. There is barge traffic at night, so be out of the channel, and WELL lit!

It isn't until S Fl, that you run into legal restrictions. (Like Boca Raton)

BTW... When really hugging the coast at night, be super vigilant of inlets. Their channels have LARGE buoys that can be many miles out to sea. (Like Port Royal SC)

Good luck! Mark
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Old 22-02-2011, 20:39   #7
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Re: Offshore Anchoring

i appreciate all the rplies, this was really helpful
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Old 22-02-2011, 22:25   #8
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Re: Offshore Anchoring

I have a friend that did what you want to do. He lasted about 3 or 4 nights anchoring every evening in about 15 to 20 feet of water off the coast of Louisiana heading for Galveston. After a few nights he had to duck into the ICW because he, and I quote, " ran out of anchors". Because of how rough it was he was unable to retrieve his anchors and had to cut the boat free.

I have at least 13 gulf crossings and traveled the ICW from Brownsville to Florida a few times, I cannot imagine anchoring in the gulf. The cross currents, short waves, submerged rigs, and rough lee shore make it a recipe for disaster(just my 2cents). Dont be lulled by a sweet sunset and calm seas, it will change in a heart beat.

But addressing your original post, you can anchor (in a way) by using the Hove to technique. I would only do this with healthy sea room including being free from the oil rigs and rig traffic, but it can allow the shorthanded vessel a little rest.

When sailing, especially single handed, keeping clear of a lee shore is very important.

Hope this helps. Congrats on your boat purchase, have fun getting her back to Texas. We will leave the light on for ya
Erika
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Old 23-02-2011, 09:42   #9
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Re: Offshore Anchoring

What Erika said. I would never consider anchoring out in the Gulf, if I didn't have to.

You can run the ICW in LA and TX.
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Old 23-02-2011, 09:47   #10
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Re: Offshore Anchoring

I agree - heaving to is anchoring in a sense. I can't imagine anchoring (with an anchor) in the Gulf or Atlantic. You'd have to be close to shore to get shallow water, and that's not where you want to be.
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Old 23-02-2011, 10:32   #11
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Re: Offshore Anchoring

Take the Intracoastal Waterway--you'll have a much better trip, especially as you are "learning the ropes," so to speak. You'll still have to do some offshore sailing across the Big Bend in Florida, but you can make that an overnighter.
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Old 25-02-2011, 11:20   #12
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Re: Offshore Anchoring

I've anchored while fishing in the Lee of the jetties. I haven't gone through a full tidal cycle though. It's just as easy to slip in to an anchorage that is protected on at least 3 sides, as anchoring near the jetties that is only protected on 1-1 1/2 sides. Plus the jetties always have a lot of traffic, usually high speed, usually at about 3 or 4 in the morning as fishing boats race each other 10 feet from your boat at full throttle to see who can get to the best fishing spot first. In most of the Texas coast there is a good well protected anchorage in easy reach of almost all of the inlets. There are some places on the coast, and some times of the year where an off the beach anchor would be safe. The downside is you will have a Lee shore unless there is a north wind, and then it won't be comfortable or safe.
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Old 25-02-2011, 12:06   #13
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Re: Offshore Anchoring

Quote:
Originally Posted by jyoung View Post
prparing to make my first trip, i am stoked!! norfolk va to galveston.. going on a budget and do not want to stop at a bunch of marinas. the question, is it safe or a general practice to anchor out offshore at night in say 10-20 ft ?? if not, then how do you solo guys do it?
It might be good to ask questions about setting alarms every X minutes, sleeping more during the day, and radar proximity alarms.
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Old 25-02-2011, 12:22   #14
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Re: Offshore Anchoring

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Originally Posted by bene505 View Post
It might be good to ask questions about setting alarms every X minutes, sleeping more during the day, and radar proximity alarms.
I'm with Bene505 - if you go outside, be sure you know where and when you can duck back in. If the weather is good and forecast to remain so, set your auto-tiller or auto-helm and take a 15 minute nap. I use two alarms, one set at 15 and one at 30 minutes; when the first goes off, I reset to 30 and check the second for 15 minutes left. 5 up/15 down will get you 6 hours of sleep from 2200 to 0600. If you're fried, go in under daylight (if possible) and find a safe anchorage.

Don't try to set a speed record - try to establish a safety record.

John
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Old 25-02-2011, 13:04   #15
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Re: Offshore Anchoring

Just to touch on the rules:

Technically if you're under 23' and not anchoring in an area normally transited by other vessels you don't need to show any anchor lights, although it's a wise idea to. It doesn't need to be fancy. It's actually stated in the rules that an anchor light need not be placed all that high. If you're over 23' and/or in an area normally transited by other vessels, you need to show a single all around white light, but again it doesn't need to be all the way up.

Obviously the higher, the brighter, and the more often you use it at anchor, the better.

You're also required, regardless of vessel size to put a black ball up forward (on the forestay).

If you're under ~66 feet and in a "designated anchoring area" as specified on the chart, you don't need to show any shapes or lights.

The vast majority of pleasure boaters however follow a convention which is not in accordance of the rules. They put the anchoring light on whenever the hook is down regardless of a designated area or vessel size, and never put up the black ball. In the former case it's a little on the safe size, on the latter it's unsafe.

If you decide to follow the rules you will be going against popular convention a bit, and if you go with popular convention you'll violate the rules. Just be aware that the rules are out there. If another vessel hits you and you were found to be in violation, defending yourself by saying that "well no one else puts up a black ball!" might not cut it. If you get hit while anchored because it's not a transited area, the fact that you got hit might be enough to indicate that indeed it was a transited area.

Rule 30 specifies a lot of this, and it's pretty easy reading:

http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=Rule3031
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