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Old 31-08-2015, 14:33   #1
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Safe Anchoring in Crowded Harbors

With Labor Day weekend coming up, many anchorages are going to be very crowded. Obviously if boats are anchored too closely together, there is a danger of collisions if the wind shifts or even fouling a neighbor’s anchor and then dragging.

The conventional wisdom is to make sure your swing circle doesn’t intersect that of neighboring boats. Clearly that is impossible in many places, on many weekends, so many people are obviously ignoring the conventional wisdom. Since they don’t get into trouble in most cases, people must be using some other way of guess-timating safe separation distances …. ?

So I would like to know how people determine how close is too close when they are anchoring? Rules of thumb?
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Old 31-08-2015, 14:54   #2
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Re: safe anchoring in crowded harbors

There is no rule of thumb but if you're going to hit your neighbour if the wind shifts or the tide turns you're too close. A lot depends on the location and the prevailing winds and your familiarity with the area. In locations with strong currents where wind can oppose the tide even more separation is required.
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Old 31-08-2015, 16:15   #3
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Re: safe anchoring in crowded harbors

That's what experience, being able to calculate distance from other boats, the probability of where there anchor is on the bottom, etc. will give you. Then there is the swing determination with a mix of different ground tackles. The movement of a low profile keel boat with 3-1 all chain rode is way different than a multihull with 7-1 rope rode. A range finder will help in measuring distance off surrounding vessels. That's something I never seem to able to do with reasonable accuracy by eyeball. Practice and getting sworn at a few times will help to hone your skills.
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Old 31-08-2015, 16:41   #4
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pirate Re: Safe Anchoring in Crowded Harbors

Buy more fenders...
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Old 31-08-2015, 17:04   #5
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Re: Safe Anchoring in Crowded Harbors

Get a good look at the anchorage before dropping. What is the potential for varying tidal currents at tide change? is the wind currently blowing everyone in the same way or are some spots blowing boats a different direction? etc. You may have to drop anchor fairly close to another boats stern....which should work out if your boats move in tandem with changing wind etc. But it's disconcerting....


the Captain Ron rule is to anchor closest to those giving you the squinty eye while looking around!
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Old 31-08-2015, 17:09   #6
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Re: Safe Anchoring in Crowded Harbors

So many issues here. Of course you could arrive before the crowds and find someone too close or with too short of scope. What to do... tell them to move?

Try to find a spot with either no one in front of you... (to drag into you).. or no one behind you... if you drag ;-) Not much you can do and if the wind pipes up... bots will drag because many weekenders are not great at anchoring.
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Old 31-08-2015, 17:13   #7
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pirate Re: Safe Anchoring in Crowded Harbors

Or.. be like me and have a Steel boat...
Scares the **** outa plastic fantastic's..
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Old 31-08-2015, 17:20   #8
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Re: Safe Anchoring in Crowded Harbors

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
....
the Captain Ron rule is to anchor closest to those giving you the squinty eye while looking around!
Yep..Nervous skippers are great at keeping a good night watch.

Boatie.... I especially like the ones that have all their fenders out!...
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Old 31-08-2015, 17:35   #9
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Yep..Nervous skippers are great at keeping a good night watch.

Boatie.... I especially like the ones that have all their fenders out!...
Yup... they're usually the ones that know how to anchor...
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Old 31-08-2015, 17:50   #10
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Re: Safe Anchoring in Crowded Harbors

There's no real trick to it other than keeping a good watch and not being afraid to yell instructions to nearby boaters who don't know what they're doing.

Unfortunately, no matter how good you may be at anchoring, you don't have any control over the guy next to you, and that's whose going to hit you when his undersized lunch hook drags across your chain, catches, and swings him into you.

I prefer a fore and aft anchor for close quarters, but you can only do that if everyone else is doing it too--and incompetent boaters have never even heard of it. Shallow anchorages are a bit easier as your swing circle is much smaller, and that's mostly what we've got here in San Diego.

If someone nearby really looks incompetent with the anchoring, I'll offer to raft them to me. It's safer for me, and they're always grateful and carrying plenty of beer. One memorial day we rafted a boat to each side. They made great fenders :-)
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Old 31-08-2015, 17:55   #11
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Re: Safe Anchoring in Crowded Harbors

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Originally Posted by barnes021547 View Post
.... So I would like to know how people determine how close is too close when they are anchoring? Rules of thumb?
Forgive the joking, but it is such a subjective question with so many variables that there are no rules, but here are some tips.

1 If you have a radar, it can give you a good overview of spacing and offset pattern to help you find a space.

2. Try and anchor around similar type boats who will behave the same as you as the wind/tide changes.

3. If windy and crowded, favour anchoring near the stern (and slightly offset) of an all chain boat whose rode is stretched out.
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Old 31-08-2015, 17:58   #12
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Re: Safe Anchoring in Crowded Harbors

When the wind changes and a chop enters the anchorage, and If you love awaking to hearing the wooden toe rail being shredded by the boat rafted up to you, you are going to love rafting!
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Old 01-09-2015, 09:17   #13
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Re: Safe Anchoring in Crowded Harbors

Tie up stern to shore.
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Old 01-09-2015, 09:55   #14
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Re: Safe Anchoring in Crowded Harbors

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Or.. be like me and have a Steel boat...
Scares the **** outa plastic fantastic's..

Or fender boards with spikes😉.


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Old 01-09-2015, 09:55   #15
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Re: Safe Anchoring in Crowded Harbors

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Originally Posted by barnes021547 View Post
With Labor Day weekend coming up, many anchorages are going to be very crowded. Obviously if boats are anchored too closely together, there is a danger of collisions if the wind shifts or even fouling a neighbor’s anchor and then dragging.

The conventional wisdom is to make sure your swing circle doesn’t intersect that of neighboring boats. Clearly that is impossible in many places, on many weekends, so many people are obviously ignoring the conventional wisdom. Since they don’t get into trouble in most cases, people must be using some other way of guess-timating safe separation distances …. ?

So I would like to know how people determine how close is too close when they are anchoring? Rules of thumb?
Great question.....it can be very difficult to judge when someone is too close. Since you are there first it is the later boat who has the responsibility for their swing. Asd the first boast you can do little other then tell the other boat thqat they are too close and may hit you.
Sad to say I have experienced many captains who just don't give a dam.
You can then then move or should you carry a second anchor (and you should) lay out that anchor on the opposite bow to pull yourself further away from the offending boat. It's called a Bahamian moore.
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