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Old 21-07-2010, 14:10   #1
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Not Talking Big Waves Here-Is It Acceptable Seamanship to be Anchored on a Lee Shore?

The answer to this question seems to be no. Remember... you are only probably 1 minute away from losing or badly damaging your boat if something goes wrong.
But I do this often.
If I ask what people do if the wind changed in their anchorage overnight and put them on a lee shore ...Many say its unacceptable, you must go to sea.
I seem to remember reading some magazine article a month or so ago by Fatty Goodlander (spelling?) where he went to sea in these circumstances and wrote as if it was unacceptable to do anything else.
I dont want to go to sea, as I view my anchor system as part of my safety equipment and emergency equipment.
My emergency equipment is not there for the good days, its there for the times when the S**t hits the fan.
So one of the things I expect my anchor to do is keep me off a lee shore in these situations. And if it doesn't then its not really safety equipment, its more convenience and saving marina costs on good days equipment.

What does the panel think?
thanks John
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Old 21-07-2010, 14:20   #2
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It depends on the situation. I might not put to sea, but I probably wouldn't go back to sleep either.
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Old 21-07-2010, 14:48   #3
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I don't want to split hairs, but in nearly any harbor you're anchored "on a lee shore". I've woken up with the boat spun around much closer to the shore than I would have liked, but we lived. I'd be more concerned with that sort of situation. Where you've got a ton of scope, the wind switches up at night, and all that scope lets you slide onto the beach (if you're lucky it's just sand). It's especially the case in small nook coves.

I think the "don't anchor off a lee shore" is more implying "don't anchor off a lee shore with some nasty wind and weather or a possibility of such, especially without a watch".

There was a storm a few years ago in Mexico where the beach became a lee shore. I think something like 20/25 boats dragged and ended up on the beach, 2 stayed put, 1 tried using the engine and lost power ending up on the beach, and the two who got away sailed off.

So sorry to equivocate all over the place, but for me it depends.
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Old 21-07-2010, 14:50   #4
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I've probably spent 100's of nights anchored on lee shores, when a front passed to the North of my location, clocking the weather 'round.
Usually, not really "stormy", nor heavy weather, just "on" weather side of Island.
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Old 21-07-2010, 15:21   #5
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As always - it depends.
If I think my boat/home/lifestyle is at risk, then I take steps to minimize that risk. Being right or doing what is considered as aceptable is never considered! I do what needs to be done to minimize the risk!
I always know the compass heading for the open sea, when at anchor, I note the position of other boats in the anchorage, the key is always in the ignition. If / when you wake-up with the keel banging on the bottom, your options are very limited.

There are two types of cruisers who anchor - those whose anchor has drug, and those whose anchor will.
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Old 21-07-2010, 15:26   #6
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As most have said, it depends. I would not do it in many places but in some I have. Fetch is a big factor as is the severity of the storm. If it's a few squalls, not too much fetch and a short lived system not usually a problem. If it's a big system and lots of fetch, get out of there.
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Old 21-07-2010, 16:20   #7
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It's not the lee shore that is the first problem. It's the windward weather. Just recently I was anchored just to weather of a shoal coral head. By that I mean it was 6 feet from munching the rudder when swung that way. Figure it's 10 seconds away. Weather was moderate 15kts and chop. Slept, but not well. One eye open for squalls.

I don't think it was unreasonable to stay.
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Old 21-07-2010, 16:54   #8
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is all good until the bottom hits the rudder or keel--then we leave and run to somewhere else--even if just 40 yds to sea..lol. and 3 ft deeper.....
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Old 21-07-2010, 18:21   #9
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I have anchored many times off of a lee shore, but I only had 1/2 mile of fetch to weather. Like many have said, it all depends. the trick is knowing what it depends on.

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Old 21-07-2010, 18:27   #10
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yup - depends, however, I will never anchor in a fetch on a lee
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Old 21-07-2010, 18:29   #11
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yup - depends, however, I will never anchor in a fetch on a lee
You'll miss many interesting places.
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Old 21-07-2010, 18:33   #12
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The problem is not the lee shore so much as the skipper's thinking. Most anchorages are temporary affairs and provided you are prepared to move this is not a problem. Maybe useful to have another backup haven if the weather changes but if not just pack up and sail. Better than having an anxious night as a result of inertia. I do think professional skippers understand that this is just part of the deal whereas we pleasure-seekers tend to just hope it will be OK and hang on. Have seen many a newbie partner put off sailing but this self-imposed discomfort and anxiety of sitting out a wind-change. Bit like one's approach to relationships maybe - sit it out and hope it will get better or just leave!
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Old 21-07-2010, 19:53   #13
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From daddle -
Quote:
It's not the lee shore that is the first problem. It's the windward weather.
If the problem was a lee shore, you couldn't really anchor anywhere in San Francisco Bay - or the Delta - there's always a shore behind you.
On the Pacific side of Mexico are squalls called Chubascos, pretty strong stuff, advancing as a squall line but with discrete downdrafts inside that carry the wind. You can't tell if the nearest downdraft will be to the north of you, or the south, the east or the west, so you can't tell which way to go in putting out to sea to not run right into it. You just anchor well and keep a watch when the weather is up until you have enough confidence to just ride it out without loosing sleep. An anchor alarm on the GPS also helps...

Michael
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Old 21-07-2010, 20:01   #14
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During our circumnavigation, I never got up at night and left the harbor because of bad weather or a shift in wind direction. There were plenty of times I had an anchor watch, and once I ran both engines all night to take the strain off the anchor.
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Old 23-07-2010, 04:22   #15
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Good judgement

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Originally Posted by maxingout View Post
During our circumnavigation, I never got up at night and left the harbor because of bad weather or a shift in wind direction. There were plenty of times I had an anchor watch, and once I ran both engines all night to take the strain off the anchor.
Sounds like you used good judgement in selecting your stops.

Had a stint on a fishing boat in Victoria/Tasmania, Australia - area with usual rolling highs and lows with weather changes. Often would make a judgement to catch a sleep, knowing full well that we would have to move later. Other times just have to move to better protection cos wind shifts. Nothing wrong with this approach either - just part of the deal.
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