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Old 30-03-2015, 16:40   #31
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Thanks for the continued thoughts! The only casualty from the thunder cell was my cell phone charger, so I've been a bit out of touch (just got it fixed today).
I've anchored with Bruce and chain in the BVI often, and that's why I chose this combo. Granted it was on much larger boats, with heavier and more chain, but I never saw the catenary stretched out even in winds up to 30 knots. I think the weather report is based off the KW airport, which is sheltered from the North, their recorded max was 33 so I imagine we may have had a bit more especially within the cell. The chain size and Bruce size (yes it is a genuine Belgium) is one size over recommended, at least according to the sources I read, which is why I thought I was golden! I'd also read noelex's thread and many other CF anchor threads before buying my ground tackle, and thought I had a pretty good understanding, and chose what I thought an appropriate length of chain based on my bottom depth being generally <10 feet. But apparently the simple adage "buy a new gen" didn't get through my past experience!
I dove the anchor again this morning, and the issue is not so much the weed, it was that the bottom is a fine, light silt. The anchor was well set, but it had still plowed a furrow rather than burying, until eventually fetching up on the roots of a weed ball, again, just waiting to break out. If I was a farmer, I literally could have planted corn in the track of the plow. I actually had this same experience in Lake Tashmoo in Martha's Vineyard with a CQR.
Some additional thoughts: with a dragging Bruce, the anchor is still 'set', it's just plowing furrows in these conditions. The result is that the boat literally drags beam onto the wind, this was my experience and was confirmed by another report I read. Obviously this complicates hoisting the main as one can't point the boat upwind, and simply increasing windage without getting a tight sail may be even worse. Frankly, lacking a third reef, I was a bit scared to even try hoisting the main which is why I went for the engine. However for a single hander, a main that can self tack is probably more useful than the engine. I will reach for the main first next time and see what she can take.
Because the anchor is still set and the windage of a beam on boat is large, pulling it up by hand without assistance is simply not an option. The other thing I tried this morning was sailing her under a scrap of jib off the anchor, and that could get me a little above a beam reach so that is another possibility to get out of the way quickly.
I do keep a second anchor (the Danforth on rode) at the top of the laz at all times. It was just that in my desperation, I deployed it too soon leading to the entanglement. I had not realized how scared I could be in this situation, so it was good to experience it here where I was out of the way of other boats.
I think second anchors, Kellets, drogues, riding sails, etc. are like reefs, better to put them out/in before you need them!
Thanks again for all the help and advice, it has given me much to think on and experiment with.


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Old 30-03-2015, 16:42   #32
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Also I do often use a sentinel, but in these conditions I think the size I have would not have had any impact on the rode. However, a larger sentinel is cheaper than more chain or a new anchor, but I think the same effect is achieved by letting out more rope rode as scope, no?


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Old 30-03-2015, 16:48   #33
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Oh, and one other thing I discovered about this boat as I did some tests this morning is that with the main in tight and tiller lashed to center, in winds above 15 she won't stall or tack herself, she'll just keep on sailing at a high speed close to the wind. My sonar, on the other hand, would just sit and fluff about in those same circumstances, meandering slowly from tack to tack. All part of learning a new boat I suppose.


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Old 02-04-2015, 14:51   #34
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Oarsman,
I believe sailingcouple13 provided good advice. When you have foreknowledge that a storm/front is approaching, you need to refer to your charts and find an area with sand/clay, gravel mix with protection from the prevailing storm winds. Key West is synonymous with thin sand over bedrock or seagrass. These seabeds are not storm anchorages.
Secondly, once you have found this spot, you need to be certain you are not close to other boats and lay out 10 to 1 scope if you have chain and rode. Set your anchor a little at a time with your motor, say: 5 to 1, 7 to 1 and then 10 to 1. The wind will do the rest.
The fact that your boat sails at anchor, as mine does, is not necessarily a detriment but a potential positive since it allows your anchor to bury deeper into the seabed. You can play with your tiller/wheel at various angles to the wind to see what setting decreases the sailing. The problem with setting two anchors at 45 degrees off the bow is that if you have a strong windshift(which is quite common in a passing front) you'll twist your rodes and really only one will be buried since and the other will have tripped in the wind shift. Also, if the anchorage becomes untenable and you have to move, it is much more difficult to pull two anchors than one.
Finally, in regards to changing anchorages(as I mentioned above) you do not have to be committed to Key West and could easily sail back to the Summerland Keys or Newfound Harbor for better protection if you have the time. Otherwise, find an area with good sand, even if a little more exposed, and you'll sleep well for the night.
We have, many times, sat through 40 to 60 knot winds on one hook and held perfectly. We even sat through 70 knots in Factory Bay/Marco with a brutal blast that almost lasted 10 minutes and held. Choose a good spot based on bottom characteristics, use adequate scope and keep that lucky horseshoe grandma gave you handy. Good luck and good sailing
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Old 07-04-2015, 20:53   #35
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Thanks for the additional advice, Rognvald! I think you're right that choosing a good anchorage can be as important as choosing a good anchor set up. I had some time before leaving key west to talk to a few of the local anchor outs. Turns out they are lying more on semi-permanent moorings (40 lb anchor and 300 lb Kellet for a 30 ft boat) than on anchors.
I have also been experimenting with different anchor set ups. Currently in Bahia Honda between the two bridges which sees strong reverse currents similar to the Bahamas (I can really pick these anchorages!). Hence, laid out a Bahamian moor with anchors 180 degrees apart. The second anchor has a fender attached to the end of its rode so I can skip it very quickly if things go hinky.
Right now the boat is doing something really weird. Its 5 foot fin is foiling with the current, so the wind is from almost dead behind me. The wind is trying to push me down, the current is trying to push me up, and neither seems to be winning. Usually I've been lying beam on to the wind out of the east as the current pushes north/south due to the foiling. Have been secure like this two days, even through another small storm.
Since you know the area, maybe you've had a similar experience to this. Lying with my stern to the active bridge, I see the passing cars through my companion way. Since I'm used to seeing fixed points of light, it gives the most ridiculous feeling of vertigo, like the stern is swinging around almost impossibly fast!
I also spent two days in the summerland anchorage, and it is a great storm anchorage if anyone ever needs one. Protection from almost all sides, and a nice bottom to grab onto that's 4+ feet deep in all directions. Plus, there's hardly anyone in it since there's no real public dinghy dock on summerland.
One last question: winds at 35 mph, trying to raise the anchor, would you raise the main to the second reef and risk some possibly violent heeling, or unroll a small bit of jib to use to sail off?


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Old 08-04-2015, 14:39   #36
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

In almost any wind, I would raise the anchor without any sail, then hoist / unroll a jib to leave the anchorage and come to a close reach to hoist the mainsail.

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Old 09-04-2015, 10:07   #37
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

I think this is right, to use the engine. Just tried raising the main while sitting beam on to the wind due to current, and couldn't tack her across the wind despite trying a number of things such as running up speed, luffing her, and turning her over; sheeting in tight with the tiller over; and even just hauling in rode!


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Old 09-04-2015, 14:15   #38
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Until now, I have never been forced to use the engine because I would have been sitting beam to the wind due to current: in this situation, I raise the anchor first, then hoist the jib and leave the anchorage, then hoist the mainsail.

Sometimes, it's necessary to use the engine, when the anchorage is so narrow that there is no room to tack.

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Old 09-04-2015, 14:19   #39
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

I see, I had misread your post. That is an idea, to haul in the anchor and then let out some jib. It might even be possible to haul the anchor mostly in and then raise sail and haul it the rest of the way as you take off. The current does make it much more difficult.


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Old 09-04-2015, 14:35   #40
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Yes, as soon as the anchor is aweigh, the current doesn't exert any force on the boat. But you need to get steerageway as soon as possible. In fact, if the wind is strong enough, I have steerage with just the wind pressure on the transom.

Of course, I try to hoist a jib as soon as possible but it's better to wait for the anchor to be out of the water. My bower anchor is a Rocna and it is tricky to recover with some headway, because of its large area.

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Old 09-04-2015, 16:26   #41
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

I have to agree with everyone, good job saving your boat and yourself! I'd only echo that 70 ft of chain out only under those conditions was a little too short. I know you were worried about wrapping a rope rode around something, but the advantages of letting out a bunch of nylon at that point outweigh the risks IMO, and nylon is great for absorbing shock load that can jerk out an anchor and a kellet can help absorb shock, but does have limitations. Having to haul up a kellet and an anchor when things are rough makes life more difficult. By the way there was a good thread a while back about the pros and cons of kellets. No one has mentioned (I think) advantages of buoying anchors when holding ground is in doubt. Where I cruise, Channel Islands, folks generally anchor bow and stern and anchorages can get crowded. Sometimes you want to escape, not because you are dragging, but because someone else is (or may.) If you can get upwind of the bow anchor it is much easier to yank it out backwards of course. In extreme cases you might have to just abandon it all and come back for it later. This is only in emergencies of course because you are leaving a hazard that others can foul on. At least where I am it is possible to anchor nearby (somewhat) and come back when things calm down. Anyway sounds to me like you probably know all this stuff already.
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Old 09-04-2015, 18:16   #42
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Thanks Don-there's knowing and there's intuition though, and hearing it again helps the intuition settle I recently experienced the value of intuition by hydrolocking my engine! I've started buoying my second anchor to make it less painful to slip, I can't believe people would leave them out there, those buggers are expensive!
For leaving this current filled anchorage tomorrow I've developed a plan. I'll wait for the favorable current to put me in the right direction (my problem today), and then raise the main. I should sail right onto my anchor rather than away from it. Experiment tomorrow!


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Old 09-04-2015, 18:50   #43
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Get a 15 kg Rocna with 75 feet with chain and your problems should be over...
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Old 09-04-2015, 19:02   #44
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Would someone, anybody, explain how using a jib instead of a main first in ANY conditions would help?
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Old 09-04-2015, 19:02   #45
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Quote:
Originally Posted by brownoarsman View Post
Thanks Don-there's knowing and there's intuition though, and hearing it again helps the intuition settle I recently experienced the value of intuition by hydrolocking my engine! I've started buoying my second anchor to make it less painful to slip, I can't believe people would leave them out there, those buggers are expensive!
For leaving this current filled anchorage tomorrow I've developed a plan. I'll wait for the favorable current to put me in the right direction (my problem today), and then raise the main. I should sail right onto my anchor rather than away from it. Experiment tomorrow!


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Yeah having the anchors buoyed helped on more than a few occasions. I did on one occasion just let it all go (Danforth was lodged on a rock) and sailed back (this only works when you can sail around the anchorage safely of course) and snagged the buoy and pulled the whole rode + anchor up backwards while sailing. (Yeah, I wouldn't leave it all behind! But if it is reasonable to go back and get it later, that seems to me better than wrestling with it at night in 30+ knots.) It all came up easily in that particular case, but it requires a stout buoy line. I am of the club that prefers to raise the jib than the main myself until I am clear of stuff. Good luck! We have all here have had our various anchoring issues I bet! By the way, I know that Danforths aren't so popular anymore, but I have never had one (properly set) drag, and that is more than I can say about a CQR. Haven't tried the Rocna or Mantus yet but I am very open-minded!
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