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Old 06-12-2015, 14:20   #31
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Re: Fastracking to a PhD in Anchoring

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Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
We don't have huge amounts of other boats around here, and when there is I generally head elsewhere, so I tend to anchor more with regards to weather and topography.

Defensive anchoring begins with assessing the risks and minimising them. I generally assume I will drag at the worse possible time, so I look at my run out space and options. If I can I like a big sandy beach behind me rather than Rocks, or better yet wide open ocean.

Look around at the topography and envisage how the wind will funnel around the land. The lean of the trees can be handy, and wind often whistles down a valley and around hills.

Watch the sounder and ideally plant the anchor in a hollow so it's always pulling uphill. Try to get clear of major currents or tidal flows. If not be aware of the changes and the state of tide.

Plan a midnight escape if needed, Or if that isn't possible make sure things are very bombproof, maybe Extra anchors or shorelines. Anticipate windshifts, swell making etc and have a plan ready. If things are dodgy I like to have the boat ready to go to sea, dink on deck, reef or three in the main. Maybe even an anchor watch, or doze at the chart table.

Then again other anchorages are very safe with no real bad consequences if the anchor drags, and I am happy to relax if the forecast is settled, with a good anchor drag alarm and and the snubber off (but ready) so I can hear the chain if the wind picks up or shifts.
Very helpful - thanks
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Old 06-12-2015, 14:38   #32
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Re: Fastracking to a PhD in Anchoring

Yower,

Like Snow Petrel, we always plan an exit strategy. Sight across the compass to determine what course will get you safely clear. Write it down, and set it on the nav station so you remind yourself if you have to leave in the dark.

When you are anchoring, after the hook is down, and you have backed down till the slack is out of the chain and/or rope, then look approximately at right angles to the lie of the boat, pick trees or light standards in front of buildings or another tree, and then back down hard on the line. If those ranges retain their relationship to one another, you're good. If they open and continue opening, you're dragging, and will want to find another spot. Often, the holding quality of the bottom varies with even minor changes in your location. Do not trust boat masts for ranges, because boats surge on their anchors, they are not stable like a telephone pole.

Another technique that can help when you don't have a good range is to use the binoculars and look at the background with them. That can tell you if you're dragging, too, during the final anchor setting. Sometimes you'll move a bit during the process, usually that's just finishing straightening the chain. Rope rode is more elastic, and requires more scope, but it, too, should hold the boat at the recommended setting revs.

Hope this helps.
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Old 06-12-2015, 15:17   #33
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Fastracking to a PhD in Anchoring

Ok yower. You have some good anchoring options and also some good free mooring buoy options there.
Antigua
Jolly harbour - lots of space beside the channel to anchor, I'd suggest the north side (mosquito cove)in about 3m of water. Pretty consistent breeze so swinging Into the neighbours isn't too big an issue. Good holding on sand, let out about 20m of chain. You can also head into the inlet and take a mooring at maybe $20/night
English harbour - a nice challenge. Shifting currents can have you stern to stern of your neighbours. Anchor to the east of the channel anywhere between the reef and the beach but slow lots of room to swing. Good holding in 4-5m but you may be limited to 20m or chain if it's crowded. It's difficult to judge where other yachts anchors are here. They may be under their boat or behind because of the currents, so it's best to ask as you enter and anticipate possibly reanchoring after your boat has settled in with the general swing of things. Have your game plan organised here because half a dozen boats will be watching you while you anchor don t worry about the guy standing on his bow with his hands on his hips glaring at you, he's in every anchorage. If anyone tells you they think you've anchored too close, reassure them you are staying on board to keep an eye on things and will move if it's required.
After you drop the anchor always gently back down on it, then slowly increase the revs (hold the helm tight if the props are behind the rudders to avoid rudder slam. A couple of minutes at fairly high revs gives you and the neighbours decent confidence in the set. Have a snorkel and take a look at the anchor to increase confidence x2 ( not really possible at jolly harbour as its murky sandy water.
Nonsuch bay - one of my favourites, good free park mooring buoys. Generally well maintained. Try pick the one just off the beach. It's also possible to anchor between the beach and the first mooring buoy in about 4m. You can also anchor just SE of the first buoy, between the channel and green island. Also you can sail into the bay and anchor of the resorts with plenty of space (some great restraints there)

Guadeloupe - deshais has the strongest moorings I've ever seen. They're also free. You can also anchor outside the Channel either side in 7m with good holding. If you want to head further south of deshais, pigeon island offers some great diving and snorkelling with a nice protected anchorage off the mainland beach. Good holding over sand in about 5m

Hopefully the Deshais Dolphins will pay you a visit as they did us http://sephinacat.blogspot.com

Also, download an anchor watch app for your iPad or iPhone before you go. Good for a sound nights sleep. Use it on moorings as well. We like anchor watch from http://www.luky.nl

There's lots of other beautiful anchorages in the area. I wouldn't really recommend jolly or English as beautiful anchorages. More they are suitable for checking in and out and provisioning at jolly.
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Old 07-12-2015, 07:27   #34
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Re: Fastracking to a PhD in Anchoring

Try and select a location either behind another boat or well off their quARTER
1) Check your depth.
2) Don't let too much chain out initially ( don't cover anchor with chain)
3) Back down / drift back slowly.
4) Let chain / rhode out slowly as anchor starts to grab.
5) Once 5:1 (chain), 7:1 (chain/rope) is achieved back down hard
6) Pick beam reference point and check that you are not going backwards while under high reverse. If moving, retrieve anchor and go back to step 1.
7) Shut her down and have a cocktail!
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Old 07-12-2015, 15:50   #35
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Re: Fastracking to a PhD in Anchoring

One other suggestion is observe the water closely for sand spots. You will see light and dark spots on the bottom. Light is sand and usually dark is weed. If you take your time you can drop the anchor in the sand and get a good set right away.

Also, while you do have a charter boat and they usually have small anchors and not much chain, don't be afraid to anchor in deeper water if possible. 95% of boats fight to be in the shallowest and probably calmest spots, but another 200' further out there are no boats. Usually this distance isn't going to change the amount of chop you get so try it. Just let the appropriate amount of chain out, more is better if your all by your lonesome.
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Old 07-12-2015, 16:24   #36
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Re: Fastracking to a PhD in Anchoring

Where we boat we can only dream of being in an occupied anchorage on anything over 5:1 scope. If the conditions are favourable (light winds, good shelter) and the anchorage is crowded I will back down on longer scope - 6:1 or 7:1 if possible - and then once the anchor is set I will retrieve chain to as short as 3:1 but ideally at least 4:1. We always attach a bridle after we're sure that we are well stuck and then I will drop 20 or 30 feet of chain which acts as a kellet. I was told to look for the biggest boat in the anchorage and try to get behind him. That doesn't always work but its my general rule. I like to get slightly ahead of where I want the anchor to land and then set up a slow, unpowered drift astern. That way when the anchor lands the chain naturally pays out along the seabed with no chance of fouling the anchor.
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Old 07-12-2015, 17:56   #37
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Re: Fastracking to a PhD in Anchoring

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Originally Posted by YOWER View Post

We are going to Antigua and possibly do a run over to Deshaies Guadeloupe.
Just remember if you don't supply full details you will mainly get stupid answers to your questions.

Antigua and Deshaires are all nice easy to read sandy bottoms. The winds are all Trade Winds so will always come from the NE thru SE. There is no tide and no current in any anchorage I know except Barbuda and that will not be too strong.

On a charter boat you usually get 45meters of chain. So the advice to let out 5 x scope is just not happening, nor would it. (5 x scope is a new 'construct' that has eroniously come in from the sailing ship novels of the last few years). The proper advice is 3:1 and more in a storm. But if you use too much you hog the bay. Include the distance from the water to your bow roller in your depth to work out scope.
The newer charter boats have quite slow electric windlasses (dunno why!) so they pay out chain very slowly.
You are best with most of the chain out, but in some shallow water you may get away with a bit less, but remember, the chain on charter boats isn't marked for depth anyway.

Because there's no tide nor changing currents you don't need Bahamian anchoring or anything weird.

I just drop my chain in, let the boat drift back in netutral till the anchor bites (if you stand in the balls of your feet you will feel it easier) and then when its in I will put the boat in slow a stern for 1 minute and after that increase the revs a lot
Then I dive on the anchor to see if its stuck deep in.

Remember, there are lots of boats around so you can not be selfish, everyone needs to share the bays
Also, really work hard on the anchoring and don't go to shore in till you KNOW the anchor is set, secure, holding and happy I always sit on deck for 30 minutes.

Finally: watch out for the large sandbank in the middle of Falmouth harbour in Antigua! (Falmouth sux anyway... English Harbour is much prettier).
Jolly harbour is fine; St Johns is black mud, don't dive the anchor, but very well worth the stop; Barbuda to get away from it all; English harbour very tight; Deshires quite deep but has a wonderful French patisserie when you walk off the dinghy dock. The supermarket has cheap booze - French Bordeaux for $4
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Old 07-12-2015, 19:03   #38
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Re: Fastracking to a PhD in Anchoring

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Just remember if you don't supply full details you will mainly get stupid answers to your questions.

Antigua and Deshaires are all nice easy to read sandy bottoms. The winds are all Trade Winds so will always come from the NE thru SE. There is no tide and no current in any anchorage I know except Barbuda and that will not be too strong.

On a charter boat you usually get 45meters of chain. So the advice to let out 5 x scope is just not happening, nor would it. (5 x scope is a new 'construct' that has eroniously come in from the sailing ship novels of the last few years). The proper advice is 3:1 and more in a storm. But if you use too much you hog the bay. Include the distance from the water to your bow roller in your depth to work out scope.
The newer charter boats have quite slow electric windlasses (dunno why!) so they pay out chain very slowly.
You are best with most of the chain out, but in some shallow water you may get away with a bit less, but remember, the chain on charter boats isn't marked for depth anyway.

Because there's no tide nor changing currents you don't need Bahamian anchoring or anything weird.

I just drop my chain in, let the boat drift back in netutral till the anchor bites (if you stand in the balls of your feet you will feel it easier) and then when its in I will put the boat in slow a stern for 1 minute and after that increase the revs a lot
Then I dive on the anchor to see if its stuck deep in.

Remember, there are lots of boats around so you can not be selfish, everyone needs to share the bays
Also, really work hard on the anchoring and don't go to shore in till you KNOW the anchor is set, secure, holding and happy I always sit on deck for 30 minutes.

Finally: watch out for the large sandbank in the middle of Falmouth harbour in Antigua! (Falmouth sux anyway... English Harbour is much prettier).
Jolly harbour is fine; St Johns is black mud, don't dive the anchor, but very well worth the stop; Barbuda to get away from it all; English harbour very tight; Deshires quite deep but has a wonderful French patisserie when you walk off the dinghy dock. The supermarket has cheap booze - French Bordeaux for $4

Many lessons learned here including the need to provide sufficient details to get the right kind of answer. Got it!

Do rest assured - especially if you are sailing in Antigua in the first week of January - that once the anchor is set, I have no intention of running off to the beach or wherever (since this point was raised a few times). Happy to chill and confirm we are staying put...

$4 Bordeaux & fresh baguette - say no more - I'm in.

Finally, thank you all for taking the time to write and share your knowledge.

Best
YOWer
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Old 08-12-2015, 04:21   #39
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Re: Fastracking to a PhD in Anchoring

There's another strange phenomenon that occurs when cruisers anchor. When the first boat arrives they make a choice to anchor in a specific place by their judgement,- maybe experienced and maybe not. The second arrive sees the first and judges that to be the "anchorage". The third boat arriving judges that the best spot must be between the first two and soon there's a cluster that might not be formed by any true wisdom.

We often find good locations that are a bit away from the crowd.
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Old 09-12-2015, 13:08   #40
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Re: Fastracking to a PhD in Anchoring

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We often find good locations that are a bit away from the crowd.
You're not the only ones, Hudson! Us, too.

Look for us in the deeper water, at the end of the mob, not in the center. Crossing the Pacific, it occurred to us as a strategy: first anchor where you want the mob to be, then up hook and anchor where we normally would have chosen. But, too much work.

Interestingly, we had an annotated by friends we respected cruising guide to a low traffic area. We found that, independently, Jim and our friends' anchoring positions in a given place were quite consistently almost identical. One can only hope this is a "great minds think alike" sort of deal.

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Old 09-12-2015, 13:19   #41
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Re: Fastracking to a PhD in Anchoring

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There's another strange phenomenon that occurs when cruisers anchor. When the first boat arrives they make a choice to anchor in a specific place by their judgement,- maybe experienced and maybe not. The second arrive sees the first and judges that to be the "anchorage".
That's what I do. Especially in a new anchorage. Normally the boats are clustered in the 'right' spot.

I just bumped into a guy just arrived here and I mentioned if he moved 100 meters he won't roll. Yhats why he was parked by himself are we are all in kissing distance.

Apart from that I park on the magenta hook on the chart


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Old 09-12-2015, 13:39   #42
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Re: Fastracking to a PhD in Anchoring

Another thing that may be obvious is that when I anchor I am sure I am not dropping my anchor on top of someone else's AND, once set, my boat is not over someone else's anchor. And then check, if you drift will you be over someone's anchor and if so do you have enough room to get out of their way if they have to leave? In other words, be sure you have an exit plan and you allow for others to if needed. If someone places their boat over your anchor, and you have to exit, you will have to wake them up to move their boat up on its rode so you can get your bow anchor up from under their boat. Have a really loud horn ready for this! And if you hear a really loud horn in the middle of the night, don't run out in your underwear yelling obscenities! It could be someone trying to help you! (You can probably see why I prefer the secluded, quiet, empty, lonely anchorages now.) All these posts probably seem like a lot, but it will all be pretty clear once you start anchoring.
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Old 09-12-2015, 17:45   #43
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Re: Fastracking to a PhD in Anchoring

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Another thing that may be obvious is that when I anchor I am sure I am not dropping my anchor on top of someone else's AND, once set, my boat is not over someone else's anchor. And then check, if you drift will you be over someone's anchor and if so do you have enough room to get out of their way if they have to leave? In other words, be sure you have an exit plan and you allow for others to if needed. If someone places their boat over your anchor, and you have to exit, you will have to wake them up to move their boat up on its rode so you can get your bow anchor up from under their boat. Have a really loud horn ready for this! And if you hear a really loud horn in the middle of the night, don't run out in your underwear yelling obscenities! It could be someone trying to help you! (You can probably see why I prefer the secluded, quiet, empty, lonely anchorages now.) All these posts probably seem like a lot, but it will all be pretty clear once you start anchoring.
I am enjoying the diversity of posts and advice provided. Its great!

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Old 13-01-2016, 13:07   #44
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UPDATE Re: Fastracking to a PhD in Anchoring

Greetings CF

Given all the good advice received, I thought it only appropriate to provide an update - post Antigua - of my anchoring experience. In short all went very well but we had a few technical issues that help build that 'real world anchoring experience'.

The first was of course, on the first try to anchoring our catamaran. We had paid out an appropriate scope and felt the anchor bite and now needed to attach the bridle. On our Orana 44, this means you need the hands of an 8 year old to hook the hook on to the chain and then maintain tension on the bridle hook with a secondary light line until the tension is taken up by the bridle. Problem was our secondary line was way too short and once we let go if it, the hook on the chain displaced, bridle fell away and we were swinging around our chain to no avail. One, two and three more tries before we figured out we needed to extend the secondary line and maintain tension - which is what we did thanks to the good advice of a nearby sailor who came to see if we needed a bit of advice. Yes and thank you.

All subsequent anchoring went splendidly until the last night. We were in Hermitage bay and the wind whistling. We moved into the cove, dropped and set the anchor and dragged. "Hmmm that's weird - let's try that again". Pull up the bridle (through the now oft used secondary line) hoist the anchor and retry. Same deal - dragging.

I said let's move elsewhere and try again and it was only when we tried to raise the anchor fully that we noticed a lovely u shaped rock/corral head(?) on the anchor. Perfectly positioned to sit there no matter the amount of nudging we tried to dislodge it. I was also quite upset that we might have disturbed some corral but we were in an approved anchorage and told afterwards these lies around at times.

With no means of dislodging the rock and the wind whistling, we needed to find a calmer spot to figure things out. I deployed our secondary anchor over the bow roller which held immediately. When confident we were holding, we shut down our motors, got in the dinghy and went to investigate. #1 son was able to maneuver the rock as we slowly lowered the anchor and after a few tries we were 300 lbs lighter. Hoisting the secondary anchor was a manual affair but with little problems. from there we went back into the bay and anchored without issue.

Throughout the 10 days, I reminded myself of your collective good experience. We avoided lee shores, always had a bail out route, properly positioned ourselves amongst others and always enjoyed being surveilled by the guy on the deck with his hands on his hips.

I wont profess being anywhere near a PhD - but now, slightly more experienced than on arrival.

Thanks again and belated happy new year to all!

Best
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Old 13-01-2016, 13:36   #45
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Re: UPDATE Re: Fastracking to a PhD in Anchoring

YOWer,

Thanks for letting us all know how things went for you.

It sounds like you had a great time.

Do you have any 'lessons learned' to share with others that might encounter the issues you successfully dealt with?

Here's to more chances to gain experience!

Cheers!

Bill
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