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Old 30-05-2009, 10:16   #16
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I should have added that if the wind is light and Janet's busy below, I will do the whole anchoring/retrieving bit myself. However, having no windlass if it's blowing 20 or better, it sure is good to have someone at the helm besides just an autopilot and an engine when retrieving the hook!

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Old 30-05-2009, 10:20   #17
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Interesting topic. I always go up and handle the ground tackle while my wife's on the helm. I usually drive around checking depth in the area, then pick the spot, walk up to the foredeck and give hand signals for final positioning. On the last boat there was no windlass, so it was an easy pattern to get into. 14 years ago this seemed to be the norm on most of the cruising boats we met. Interesting that most of the posters so far seem to do it this way.

This year while in South Florida watching the flocks of boats heading back from the Bahamas, we noticed the exact opposite, at least 80% of the hundred or so boats we saw anchor, sent Grandma up to the bow to handle the ground tackle.

It just struck me as a little peculiar. That and all the cruisers who now wear life vests while riding ashore in the dinghy, but that's another topic...

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Old 30-05-2009, 10:47   #18
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I do all the work, drive, drop and set, while my wife decides where to anchor. I care more about how it gets done; she cares more about where it gets done.

The fight is usually when it's time pull up the anchor. We have a manual windlass and all chain rode. Neither of us is young. We fight about who works the windlass because we both want to do it; each figuring we need the workout on account of our not-so-young status.

Pretty goofy system, eh?

I do find that the communication is pretty good when one person handles all the driving, dropping, and setting.

Communication concerning where to anchor is coming into good relief too. When she says "OK" or "here," that's an indication of where she wants the boat to end up after the set, not where to drop the anchor. My job is to choose the anchor drop location to ensure acceptable final boat location.

About every tenth drop we switch roles, just so she remembers how to do it.

Now, when my one of my sons is on board, they seem to be able to understand hand signals pretty well, so they operated the engine during the set.
John, sailing a custom 36' double-headed steel sloop--a 2001 derivation of a 1976 Ted Brewer design.
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Old 30-05-2009, 11:11   #19
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We have a remote windlass control at the helm, so I drive where I want to be and drop the anchor myself. I know that 40 seconds on the down buttom means 100 feet of chain, and then adjust according to the depth.

Finding the exact spot to drop the anchor is an art which takes into account depth, bottom quality, the surrounding boats, wind, and current. Even after doing it for 15 years I still have to pull things up and retry about 20% of the time. I am usually told that 'I told you so' when we have to move.

When picking up the anchor I have to rake the chain as it falls into the locker, so I am up front. In less than 10 knots I pulll the boat up to the anchor with the windlass. In more than 10 knots, the admiral drives the boat forward according to my hand signals.
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Old 30-05-2009, 11:13   #20
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I do all the anchoring myself. If the wind is not to strong, I find my spot, put the engine in neutral, and walk to the bow to let the anchor down with the windlass. After letting out about 2:1 scope, I stop paying out chain and let the wind bring the bow back up, which digs the anchor in a bit. When the proper scope is out, I lock the chain, walk back to the cockpit and set the anchor with the engine, gently at first. If the wind's blowing hard, I'll stay in the cockpit to keep the bow steady while lowering the anchor using the windlass switch mounted on the steering pedestal.

To bring the anchor up, I use the windlass in light winds, making sure not to load it too much and letting the chain catenary do most of the work. If the wind's up, I put the engine in forward at idle speed so the boat creeps forward, and use my autopilot remote while standing on the bow, guiding the boat up the chain, while bringing it in with the foot switch. Once the anchor's up, I can turn the boat downwind and keep clear of other boats with the remote.
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Old 30-05-2009, 12:23   #21
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Anchoring and mooring the stronger person should be up front handling the gear... WITH headsets on both. No way is hand signals superior unless both people are the primary boat handlers. Words when actually heard always beat signals and can convey more information.

I often single hand and the point is moot. When I have my most frequent crew, hand signals will work in good light but not at night and generally poorly in bad weather. Since I more frequently have changes in crews for a few days or weeks at a time, hand signals never work well.. some people just don't care to learn a new language and everyone has a different set of signals making those who use different signals a real problem. The head sets are wonderful.

I make it a point to enjoy watching the mooring and anchoring habits of near by boaters and I should add bringing a boat into a slip... it is far better than any TV show I've ever seen.

By far, the most capable people I've seen with out regard to signal method is when the stronger person, generally the guy is handling the anchor or lines and hook for mooring. While the mate is doing the helm work. Spots are best pre-selected and the final call is by the person at the bow not the helm. What I see from most charter people is the guy always at the helm screaming at the Admiral who is fighting the lines / anchor. Almost anyone can "drive" a boat but it is far harder to make a grab on a mooring or get the anchor in the best spot and play out the correct scope with the proper considerations.

ALSO..IF the MATE says you are Too Close to another boat... YOU probably ARE. Few reasons exist to get in on top of a boat already in position and it is also rude, if not hazardous to everyone.
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Old 30-05-2009, 13:11   #22
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ALSO..IF the MATE says you are Too Close to another boat... YOU probably ARE. Few reasons exist to get in on top of a boat already in position and it is also rude, if not hazardous to everyone.

If there was a float out on the previous boat' anchor you might already know you are too close, and the Admiral would not have to advise you.....Now don't get mad I am just funning a bit....kinda pulling your leg......i2f
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Old 30-05-2009, 13:31   #23
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Originally Posted by Fishspearit View Post

It just struck me as a little peculiar. That and all the cruisers who now wear life vests while riding ashore in the dinghy, but that's another topic...
Nanny gummint made it a LAW. I generally thumb my nose at it unless a water cop is likely to be nearby.

What's next? Wearing a helmet while I walk on concrete?
Apologies for the thread drift.

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Old 30-05-2009, 15:57   #24
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I think, as others have said, communication is the key. There is no polite hand signal for "The snubbers jammed in the anchor chain stopper".
I am a little wary of the reliability of the headsets and their performance in high winds so I have attached an old handheld radio, that was not working due to an expired battery pack, directly to the winch controls. It is powered from the winch supply and as a bonus it gives a backup VHF that is not going to let me down with flat batteries.
It is important not to clog up the VHF channels, but we always use low power, and still use hand signals for most routene comunication
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Old 30-05-2009, 18:10   #25
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I would think anchoring, like everything else on the boat needs to be a full team projects with everyone playing the most in the role they are best at. It's really up to the two of you to figure out who's (really) better at what. Especially since a nick in someone's pride costs a hell of a lot less to repair than a nick in the paint or glass, or (hopefully not) someone else's boat.

I don't really like the idea of saying men do this and women do that as it's really sexist and I know a lot of worthless men and a lot of women who could kick my ass.

But I also can't help but think back to my experience in the Army. I'm glad I got to work hand in hand with women, but it was always so frustrating to here them insist that they were equal in every way and to be treated as such (no prob in my book) but to then have them immediately turn around and expect the men to take over with anything that was dirty, heavy, hard, etc.

I will never forget how black and purple my arms were after an obstacle course where we had to get the squad over a wall. The two guys had to climb and pull them selves over, then pull 5 of the 6 women over as well (it was HIGH and climbing it was HARD!).

I really hope this isn't coming off as sexist, because I'm more of a feminist than half the women I know, but the point I learned to always keep in mind is that we are built differently. Our bodies are designed in different ways and when we divvy up the work in any situation, the pros and cons of our bodies need to be taken into account as a very important factor.

So yeah...depending on your setup, if your mate can handle the chain and anchor and lines and wants to do it, why not. But if she can't physically cut it, then compliment her on her efforts and figure out a respectful way to let her know that the safety of the boat and crew means you need to do the heavy lifting.

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Old 01-06-2009, 11:54   #26
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We use hand signals but the most important thing is to use our differing positions and perspective to pick the best spot to drop. sometimes my wife will come back to my window and we discuss the plan.
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:27   #27
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On our boat..

Originally Posted by Hud3 View Post
I do all the anchoring myself. .
Amen! I was beginning to feel like a an extra terrestrial and the only one who anchors solo.

On our boat the roles are.

Wife begins to make cocktails, dinner etc..

I anchor the boat...


P.S. We have a manual windlass so I don't use it. I let the inertia of the boat break out the anchor once the rode is vertical and snubbed.
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:35   #28
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"I pick the spot and drive to it. Upon arrival, wife is absolutely convinced we're too close to the nearest boat/mooring/whatever even though she readily admits to having poor depth perception. I then .... explain that we're not going to hit..."

Sounds familiar, except then once the hook is down the wind shifts, and Yes I misjudged the 150 ft of rode the newbie boat nearby has out in 12 feet of water, and yes I look like a fool and have to pull it up , while she has a cold one...
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Old 01-06-2009, 14:43   #29
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Anchoring routine on Points North

When approaching anchorage, Admiral takes helm while slave unsecures anchor and engages windlass to have anchor hanging from the bow. Slave returns to helm and assumes (nominal) control.

We pilot through the anchorage checking out spots and asking how much rode other boats have out and select location.

Slave pilots boat while Admiral heads forward to drop anchor. We use hand signals. Normal extra scope as I back it down routine. Let anchor settle, set it and join Admiral forward to ensure no dragging. Engage cocktails.

To leave anchorage, Admiral pilots boat while slave retrieves and secures anchor.

Slave assumes (nominal) helm control while Admiral tells him where to go.
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Old 03-06-2009, 08:20   #30
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Let me start by repeating what some of you already may know. When we met some 25 years ago, my wife was the boater, I was the good-looking, no nothing, significant other.

Over time, my red corpuscles renewed and somehow sailing got in my blood, but that is another story.

On to anchoring roles. YMMV. We decided early on that most activities need to be able to be handled by either of us in case one of us in unable to perform the task (sick/tired/hurt/trapped in the head, etc). Of course, we have a powered windlass with up/down controls on the bow AND at the helm, so the strength/exercise thing is never in play. We also use hand signals almost exclusively and they have worked flawlessly.

We are the only people I know who have received applause from other cruisers when anchoring due to our silent, but efficient method.

Again, this is what works for us. Lots of people out there do it differently and it works for them - but lots are stuck in the "I must do it this way because...." routine.

FWIW, the Marriage Saver Headset folks are great advertising for this product. They really work.

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