I hauled the anchor on my first boat (26' Laguna) by hand for 4 years and never had an issue with it until the last time.
I got caught in Hood Canal
by a strengthing wind
and increasingly nasty chop and ran for Dabob Bay. It took me a while to get into the lee of some land and when I did I found it not quite so nice there either. I decided to try to get into the Quilcene marina only to find a bar exposed across the entrance during an extremely low tide. Needless to say, at this point I'm tired, cold, wet and uuummm shall we say paying very close attention to what has evolved.
I start to head
out of the harbor to try to get someplace safe and the winds again start to increase to a point where I'm seriously questioning my reasoning abilities when it comes to plastic, winds, water
and my life.
I made the decision (right or wrong) to try to find the calmest waters in the bay and get an anchor down (25 lb danforth, 50 ft of chain and 100 ft of nylon
rode). I singlehand and was comfortable with setting/retrieving anchor on and off sail, by hand. I actually thought I was pretty slick at it. The setting of the anchor this time under power went well and I thought I could catch my breath and maybe get some tea in me while I waited this out.
As I went below (engine still at idle) I felt the boat lurch aft and I hauled butt back into the cockpit
to see my landmarks I used slide past my reference point. Not good. I sat there for a minute hoping that the anchor would reset
itself but I was not in the gods good graces at this time apparently. The boat is bouncing all over the place, the winds are not subsiding and I now have to raise the anchor and get out of Dodge before my little plastic tub comes to rest against some floating oyster
Under calmer conditions I had raised the anchor by hand using the bow roller while sitting. I was not about to sit on that deck under these conditions. As I pulled the anchor up, the wind
and waves would drive the bow towards the oyster
beds. I would madly tie off what I had raised and scramble to the cockpit
to get steerage speed only to have the anchor catch on something and require me to repeat this process yet again. The whole time this is happening I'm getting closer and closer to the oyster beds. On the third attempt I was able to steer the boat into deeper waters, point her into the wind and retrieve the rest of the anchor.
I eventually tied off to a six foot round steel mooring
ball used by commercial
boats. I went below to make my tea and fell fast asleep at the settee with the tea kettle on and the winds howling around me. I sold
that boat shortly after this happened. I realized I didn't have the right tool for what I was doing.
My hands by the way were torn up. I felt the power being transmitted through that anchor rode and knew it could take a finger or even a hand off or at the least seriously flay it should I misstep be taken.
My point to telling this is that in calm waters you may be right in assuming you can man (woman) handle an anchor and rode aboard. During that one percent of the time when things just aren't going your way, beware of the UnderToad!