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Old 09-03-2015, 12:35   #1
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Could Not Weigh Anchor Today

Wanted to do a four hour hop through the ditch to the next bay eastward today. But I couldn't get the anchor up. (25lb Manson with 70 feet of G3 on 13,000lb 32 foot sailboat.

Wind was supposed to be 10 knots but it's actually 18 (estimated).

The only way to make progress was to haul during mid swing as the boat sailed back and forth. This was working maybe three or four feet each time until the scope got short. Haul time became two or three seconds including recleating. And my fingers became at risk while only gaining inches.

I tried idling in gear next but that just set the rode at right angles to the bow.

I rested twice, so three atempts. Not because I really had to go anywhere but because I realize I have a new safety issue to deal with. Didn't seem to have this trouble with 30 feet of smaller chain and three strand in the past. Recalling success in over twenty knots a few years ago. Must say though I just turned 57 and I think getting weaker though not an overweight American. Boat life keeps me trim.

Don't have a budget so won't be adding an electric windlass. Maybe a used manual at flee market prices goes on the wish list.

Can you wise old salts think of anything an aging single handed boat bum could have done to help today?

Find an anchorage, remove the sails and add the blue tarps ain't gonna happen. Ever.
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Old 09-03-2015, 12:42   #2
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Re: Could Not Weigh Anchor Today

Idle never works. You must AGGRESSIVELY motor up over the anchor. Wait until the boat is into the wind, run up a boat length, engine back in neutral, haul. Repeat.

I do this all the time, , I'm 69. 34 foot boat, similar to yours, no windlass, just me and my aching (too) back. I have rope rode with 35 feet of chain, haven't run over the rode yet.

Good luck, it's very doable.

Usually happens to me 'cuz I wait too long to weigh anchor - should have done it when there was no wind.
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Old 09-03-2015, 12:46   #3
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Re: Could Not Weigh Anchor Today

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Originally Posted by four winds View Post
Can you wise old salts think of anything an aging single handed boat bum could have done to help today?
I'm not necessarily an old salt, but did you ever get the bow of the boat directly over the anchor and pull? That's how you break it out. Did you have an anchor buoy out?

I've done the idling (or idling plus) technique also but usually recleat the anchor line as I made progress. That way you can take rest breaks until you get over the anchor. This worked in 20 knot winds and 2' to 3' waves. (yeah, nice sleeping on those nights also!)

Other than anchor pulling technique, you might try working out a bit or buy a smaller boat!
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Old 09-03-2015, 12:58   #4
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Re: Could Not Weigh Anchor Today

Without a windlass one thing you can do is tie on (or chain hook on) a snubber long enough to reach back to your primary winches in the cockpit. Use the winch to bring in the rode as far as you can. Then secure the rode (chain stopper, chain hook to bow cleat or whatever works for your situation) reposition the snubber farther down the rode and repeat as many times as necessary. An alternative is to use two long snubbers, one to port and one to starboard, and alternate winching in one and then the other. Good luck, save your back and enjoy sailing.


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Old 09-03-2015, 13:08   #5
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Re: Could Not Weigh Anchor Today

So glad I posted.

Thanks Stu, I like your idea. I can see that working. I've told others the heavier the wind the more aggressive one must be (close quarters, docking, etc). Didn't think to apply that here.

Thomm, I tried my best to get it on top of the anchor hoping wave action would do the rest. Just came up a little short. Until last October I was walking several miles every day and felt great with no excess body fat. Been on the water full time since then and gained a few pounds over the winter laying around on the boat too much. Six feet at 180 pounds right now so could be worse I guess, at least by American standards.
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Old 09-03-2015, 13:15   #6
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Re: Could Not Weigh Anchor Today

Well, that Manson does really dig in and isn't so easy to unstick sometimes. I'm on a 36' with a 35# Manson Supreme. 100' of 5/16 HT, and a 100' of nylon, and no windlass. I'm 63 years old., 5'6", and 135 lbs.

I really respect you single handed guys when it comes to anchoring without a windlass. Many times, I have my wife drive forward to break the anchor loose, because there is no way I can get free otherwise. Just curious if you are using the rock slot? Anyway, just get the timing right and drive over the anchor once most of the chain is aboard and cleated, go to neutral, and run up to retrieve your anchor.

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Old 09-03-2015, 13:27   #7
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Re: Could Not Weigh Anchor Today

I suggest you take in all the rode until the bow is nearly vertical over the anchor. Do this by motoring up to anchor location. If necessary, get the boat moving, then neutral and go forward pulling in rode.
The last attempt, with the rode cleated fast, motor over the anchor, the boat will pull/flip the anchor over making it easy to retrieve.
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Old 09-03-2015, 13:29   #8
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Re: Could Not Weigh Anchor Today

Tayana42, thank you for that response. I could use my current snubber with chain hook and my spare anchor three strand to do as you suggest. Good because that gear is onboard already. Just switched to the new anchor and all chain this past fall so had something new to learn here.

I feel better about this issue now. Don't think I'll be stuck with no solutioin in an emergency goin forward.

Yes on saving my back, too. Had an incident during Katrina ten years ago that changed everything in regards to physical work. I've learned to respect my limits or suffer the resuts for days afterwards. I feel a little stiff right now.
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Old 09-03-2015, 13:38   #9
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Re: Could Not Weigh Anchor Today

four winds, WADR you can ignore the "did you get the boat over the anchor" comments, while well-meaning, they didn't address your issue.

Another little trick I have is this: Singlehanded Anchor Retrieval & Chain Hook Flix

Click on the link in reply #4 for how to use the winch.

I find that incredibly useless. Why? Cuz it complicates motoring up on the anchor, and if you have enough wind to make it necessary, it is slow, tedious and demoralizing. Think of it this way: If you had a real windlass, you'd motor up over the anchor anyway, right? It's just plain hard to do. I used it twice, both times because once I was over the anchor it still wouldn't come up. Why? BOTH times I caught a g-d cable!!!! Really. Same anchorage, too, but years apart.

Sometimes I find that 'cuz the boat is veering so much that I can't tell when straight ahead should be. A trick is to watch the waves. Another is to deliberately go offset, so you're kinda making a loop, and the rode will be to one side of the boat. Works for the first few tries until you get closer to "over."

Also, new gen anchors always come up. They are well designed to hold with proper scope, but once you get close they should come up. Covered in my link(s).

Good luck, stay young. 180 at your height is what I wish!!!
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Old 09-03-2015, 13:45   #10
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Re: Could Not Weigh Anchor Today

Haven't used the rock slot. Only mud or sand where I've been so far.

But sure 'nuff the Manson will be stuck good in sticky mud. I've had to pull up over the anchor and cleat it straight down to use the motor to break free several times back in Ingrams bayou. Thought I would do that today but could not get it all the way over the anchor. Started to try to just drive away anyway but was tired and didn't have to go.

I have found I can pull it free in sand if I pull it up over the anchor and continue to hold steady pressure. It will ease out in a few seconds.
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Old 09-03-2015, 13:56   #11
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Re: Could Not Weigh Anchor Today

Good point. We have mostly sticky mud here, all around. Based on my comments in the link, that's what I have to do also. Just don't hurry and you'll be fine. I bring my coffee mug up forward with me. But only if I do it before the wind pipes up! In reality, by that point the wind is HELPING but pushing the bow around and will actually help in getting the anchor unstuck. Really. If it's windy, once I get close the boat starts to drag.
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Old 09-03-2015, 15:18   #12
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Re: Could Not Weigh Anchor Today

It's a bitch to get an stuck in anchor up with a blow and chain and no windlass. The problem is to drive the boat and retrieve the rode at the same time... especially when she's shearing about.

My hunch is that you need to motor the boat to where you think the anchor is... then get out and haul the chain in hopefully so that the bow is pretty much right over the anchor.

You should be then able to motor the anchor out and get underway into deeper water where you have room to lift the anchor and the remaining chain.

Frankly I think single handing with chain and no windlass is not very prudent.
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Old 09-03-2015, 15:23   #13
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Re: Could Not Weigh Anchor Today

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Originally Posted by Tayana42 View Post
Without a windlass one thing you can do is tie on (or chain hook on) a snubber long enough to reach back to your primary winches in the cockpit. Use the winch to bring in the rode as far as you can. Then secure the rode (chain stopper, chain hook to bow cleat or whatever works for your situation) reposition the snubber farther down the rode and repeat as many times as necessary. An alternative is to use two long snubbers, one to port and one to starboard, and alternate winching in one and then the other. Good luck, save your back and enjoy sailing.


S/V B'Shert
Or the halyard winches on the mast.
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Old 09-03-2015, 15:44   #14
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pirate Re: Could Not Weigh Anchor Today

In restricted space my technique may not be much use but I'll put it out anyway.. first prep your foredeck/chain for hauling..
Raise your main to the 50% reef and set it (I use full main on coastal anchorages).. centre the tiller/wheel, start the engine and leave it in neutral the centre then boom, tighten the mainsheet and move forward.. by the time you get there the boat should be starting to move forwards taking the weight off the chain.. haul in until it gets difficult the lock off.
The boat will reach its limit and start falling off on to the opposite tack.. start hauling again as the load comes off.. repeat process until the boats more or less over the hook.. if you can, try to save breaking her free till she's fallen onto your favoured tack then haul the rest in and tie off as soon as it clears the water.
Head back to the cockpit.. put the engine in gear and make your way to clear water, set your AP then head back up and tidy up at leisure..
A lot depends on your strength and mobility but I figure if a skinny 70kg 66yr old can haul a 64ft racer on rope rode in 15kts you should cope with yours..
If you decide to try it.. do it in open water a coupla times to get the feel of your boat.. they're very predictable
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Old 09-03-2015, 15:55   #15
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Re: Could Not Weigh Anchor Today

Ive used a line hooked into anchor chain led to cockpit winch
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