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Old 04-01-2021, 11:44   #1
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About NOT power setting the anchor

Let's start with this:


Chotu

"I [can't] see why everyone else uses their engine to pull on the anchor to try to set it. I literally throw mine overboard and dump out 10:1, or at worst case, 8:1. Nature does the rest. Never dragged once in my life and I’ve lived at anchor more nights than on land in my life...."


I've written about power setting, and often there are good reasons. You don't know the bottom texture, firm vs. very soft. You wonder about weeds. Maybe it is hardpan. Often there is not enough wind to "let nature do" anything.

On the other hand, when the wind changes, the anchor will eventually turn to meet it (how much wind that requires varies considerably--separate topic), and as many have posted images or video, the anchor will surface to some extent in the process of turning. Even if deeply set, it will come up near the surface. Some anchors just shuffle flat. Some tip to some extent and then reset. So whether aggressively powerset or left to nature (assuming enough wind to get the fluke mostly buried), it still ends up near the surface.

Is it better to have the anchor...
  • Lightly set, ready to rotate. Some anchors are really good at this.
  • Really powered in, which might result in a violent trip when the wind rotates enough to pop it loose. Maybe it will be jammed with mud, or maybe it won't reset due to rapid boat drift (it took a tight rode to rotate it). Might as well set the Fortress deep, of course, since it doesn't shuffle for beans.
I'm not advocating just "throwing the anchor overboard." There are sensible methods for laying an anchor under sail. You should know how to do this. There will come a day when you will need to.

And no calling "idiot." I'm a long way from an anchoring idiot, I'm just trying to start a challenging conversation. Is a deep set anchor inherently safer than one more lightly set?


One case will be soft mud, where a lightly set anchor is just in the mush and won't hold beans. Weeds are a dicey case anyway you look at it. If yawing is a problem deep is better... but you really should fix the yawing.


Another case is sticky mud and a very rapid wind change(violent squall), where the anchor was likely powerset in the wrong direction, and now will trip loaded with mud. Maybe letting the wind rotate it would have been better.
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Old 04-01-2021, 11:48   #2
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Re: About NOT power setting the anchor

In my mind, it's better to give it a good power set. Not because it necessarily has a positive impact on later performance, but because it tests the bottom. A good power set confirms that in the current bottom, the anchor was able to set and develop at least some known quantity of holding power. That gives me confidence in its later behavior.
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Old 04-01-2021, 13:02   #3
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Re: About NOT power setting the anchor

Generally the wind force will do an excellent job of setting the anchor.

The real problem is without power setting the anchor there is no way to test the holding power. Even otherwise uniform anchorages can have patches of poor substrate such as smooth rock, and then there is the risk of debris (unfortunately generally man made rubbish) fouling the anchor. There are an awful lot of towels and bathing costumes that end up in the water, blown away when pegged out to dry. This is just one hazard that can stop even the best anchor designs from working.

The setting procedure used on most yachts of something like 30+ seconds of full reverse only produces the equivalent depth of bury of the anchor as around 25-30 knots of wind will induce. You can therefore expect (hope ) the anchor will be able to bury significantly deeper should strong wind conditions develop.

So power setting only provides a test that the substrate and anchor is capable of reasonably modest holding power, but I still think it is useful confirmation that the anchor has not landed on top of debris or that the substrate is not exceptionally poor.

Below is an example of a substrate that is relatively smooth rock. You can see the long scrape mark made by the toe of the Delta anchor. For anyone competent in anchoring the lack of holding would (or at should) have been apparent with a power setting test:
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Old 04-01-2021, 14:25   #4
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Re: About NOT power setting the anchor

Agree completely with both of you.


So how hard should we power set?

  • Maximum expected wind?
  • Enough to bury the fluke, but light enough so it can pivot?
  • The suggested 25- to 30-knot equivalent might be a good compromise. In fact, that is my normal compromise, generally on the low end.
Again, just a discussion starter. I'm sure the answer varies. For example, early hard setting in soft mud is a mistake for other reasons.
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Old 04-01-2021, 14:48   #5
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Re: About NOT power setting the anchor

I owned a 600 hp “ gentleman’s motor cruiser “ for a while , I could drag the anchor in idle !
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Old 04-01-2021, 14:53   #6
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Re: About NOT power setting the anchor

I usually go for 900 - 1000 rpm in reverse on both engines. Judging by rode tension, 1000 rpm is more pull than 25 - 30 kts of wind, but I haven't actually measured it. I figure that's plenty of pull to confirm that the bottom is good regardless of how much wind I'm expecting. If it's just a day stop at very short scope, I'll sometimes only pull at idle (700 rpm).
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Old 04-01-2021, 14:59   #7
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Re: About NOT power setting the anchor

Only didn't power set/check my anchor once.

That night got lucky to discover we were dragging before going into the rock jetty. The 1am fire drill resulted in my wife smashing her thumb which it still deformed 12 years later, and blood all over the place.

Since then have always power set the anchor and have never dragged in the last 11 years even during gails and mini tornado.

I don't care what other do as long as they are down wind of me.
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Old 04-01-2021, 15:01   #8
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Re: About NOT power setting the anchor

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
"I [can't] see why everyone else uses their engine to pull on the anchor to try to set it. I literally throw mine overboard and dump out 10:1, or at worst case, 8:1. Nature does the rest. Never dragged once in my life and Iíve lived at anchor more nights than on land in my life...."

I've written about power setting, and often there are good reasons. You don't know the bottom texture, firm vs. very soft. You wonder about weeds. Maybe it is hardpan. Often there is not enough wind to "let nature do" anything.
Yes, let nature do the rest........see attached picture

I've known some damn experienced boaters who insist power-setting is not necessary. I think it's nuts not to powerset, but where otherwise credible boaters seem to recommend it, it's muddy bottoms such as Chesapeake.

Peter
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Old 04-01-2021, 15:18   #9
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Re: About NOT power setting the anchor

We tend to anchor in two steps. We have a 25' long bridle style snubber from Mantus, a 55 pound Rocna, and 200 chain followed by 150 rope. I have a Danforth secondary that lives in a locker with 20' chain and 200' rope.

If the plan is to put out say 100' of chain for the night we'll set out 75' initially using just the wind to drift the boat away from the anchor. So long as there is more than 5 knots of wind we can normally sit in neutral and once the anchor is on the sea floor just pay out enough chain at a time that it doesn't pile on top of itself. Once we stop paying out the chain the bow, which has fallen off at this point usually pointing 40-90' away from the anchor drop point, will start to point back at the anchor drop point and the boat will stop. Step 1 complete, time for a coffee. We shut down and let nature do some of the work for us slowly digging in our Rocna.

30 minutes later, we bring out the snubber/bridle and pay out the remaining amount of chain and do a quick power back if the winds are less than 10-15 just to ensure there won't be any dragging. If the winds are howling I will skip powering back, and also get the snubber on much sooner skipping the 30 minute break.

We are fortunate that most pacific NW anchorages are mud bottoms which are easier to get a good set in. In deep anchorages (50'+) we will aim for 3:1 at high tide, in shallower anchorages 4:1 at high tide is normally fine unless in storm conditions when I let out more out of an abundance of caution. Tidal range we see is anywhere between 10-15' on average.

Our current boat likes to sail at anchor much more than our previous one did. The 25' long bridle/snubber has really helped dampen the swinging to where we no longer are the first boat moving with the wind shifts but more in the middle of the pack.
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Old 04-01-2021, 15:20   #10
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Re: About NOT power setting the anchor

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
Yes, let nature do the rest........see attached picture

I've known some damn experienced boaters who insist power-setting is not necessary. I think it's nuts not to powerset, but where otherwise credible boaters seem to recommend it, it's muddy bottoms such as Chesapeake.

Peter
Attachment 229958

The problem with this anecdotal picture is that you didn't tell us the whole story.
  • Bottom type. Patches of weed, hard pan, or other trash?
  • Depth
  • Scope
  • Weather and waves. Were breaking waves a factor?
  • Rode size and type, including snubber.
  • Anchor size and type
  • How was the anchor deployed. We're only assuming it was not power set.
  • Did the wind shift?
Very likely it is impossible to know what the cause(s) was (were).



There are many possibilities. Power setting only tests one direction up to a certain wind speed. For example, a few inches of sand over hard pan can give a false impression even when power set. I regularly anchor some places where this is a hidden hazard (and we get boats on the beach).
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Old 04-01-2021, 15:22   #11
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Re: About NOT power setting the anchor

Hey! Why am I the star of a thread that I didn’t even start or post in? LOL.

We are starting threads just to argue with me when I am not even present?

I don’t care what any of you say. It works perfectly. You’re all theory. You have probably dragged before . I never have in my entire life. Over 30 years on boats. Much more of it spent at anchor, not even at the dock, than on land. My experience proves you all wrong.

And this isn’t about building things. I don’t know much about building things other than resin infused hulls. Damned if I know anything about cabinets or doors or any type of carpentry.. But what I do know is how to use a boat.

And I’d wager I’ve spent more nights at anchor than most of you have. By a long shot.

This thread is a bunch of crap. I shouldn’t be dragged into something like this. And nobody here knows what they are talking about. I can admit I don’t know things about cabinetry or whatever. But I damn well know everything about anchoring. I’ve lived most of my life swinging from an anchor and never once ended up somewhere other than where I dropped the anchor.

Do you know how I learned this technique? Trial and error. I used to have a CQR. That damn thing would not set EVER when I backed down on it. It just dragged along the bottom.

So I tried something different. I just dumped it overboard and it set! It worked every time. Every time I backed down on it, it dragged.

So I started doing that from then on.

It’s absolutely ridiculous to claim an anchor can reset without using your engine , but not set without using your engine. It’s completely illogical.

If it can reset without the engine, it certainly can set without the engine. Makes absolutely no sense to say it any other way.

The anchor basically does its job. When there is no wind, it’s just sitting there on the bottom. When the wind pipes up, it digs in the right amount to resist the wind. When the wind pipes up more, it digs in more. When the wind changes direction, it resets.

How hard is this to understand?

You don’t need to show pictures of boats that are washed up on shore. To try to prove some point that you can’t even prove. That has nothing to do with the situation. You’re just posting emotional BS to put fear into people.

You are claiming that the anchor can’t reset at all if you are claiming it can’t set without the engine. I guess everyone is using a fisherman. Maybe it’s time to upgrade.
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Old 04-01-2021, 15:22   #12
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Re: About NOT power setting the anchor

The number of times I've backed down on the anchor and ended up moonwalking the boat through the anchorage will not convince me to stop doing it.

1) We once had the tip of a Rocna land on an old T-shirt sitting on the ocean floor. Even though I backed down, the anchor wouldn't set. We pulled it up and found the T-shirt. It was preventing the tip from digging in.

2) Several times have managed to drop and had the chain foul the anchor. Maybe we still had a little forward momentum trying to drop in a tight spot. Maybe the chain just landed funny (we don't dump a pile of chain and then back up. We try to lay it down as we're backing).

3) We once fouled on an old, short log.

In any of these situations, I sure wouldn't want to sit on the weight of my anchor and chain in calm winds to find out later that night or days down the road when the wind piped up.

The OP may have been successful, but that seems like more luck than talent. Plenty of people out there who smoke over a pack of cigarettes a day into their 90's. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease only impact 1-1.5 in 1 million people. While incredibly rare, that is cold consolation for the 1-1.5 people who are diagnosed with it.
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Old 04-01-2021, 15:24   #13
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Re: About NOT power setting the anchor

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
The problem with this anecdotal picture is that you didn't tell us the whole story.
  • Bottom type. Patches of weed, hard pan, or other trash?
  • Depth
  • Scope
  • Weather and waves. Were breaking waves a factor?
  • Rode size and type, including snubber.
  • Anchor size and type
  • How was the anchor deployed. We're only assuming it was not power set.
  • Did the wind shift?
Very likely it is impossible to know what the cause(s) was (were).



There are many possibilities. Power setting only tests one direction up to a certain wind speed. For example, a few inches of sand over hard pan can give a false impression even when power set. I regularly anchor some places where this is a hidden hazard (and we get boats on the beach).
Yes but a bad set is a bad set , at least power setting will expose such a bad set.

Your arguments dont make sense, I dig in as slow as I can but always power set. Itís the only way to get some bottom feedback
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Old 04-01-2021, 15:24   #14
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Re: About NOT power setting the anchor

Thinwater I have never power set my anchor. Our anchor's and chain have always been oversized which must help. I am no anchoring virgin and have used that dumping technique on various yachts in different countries over 30 years.
The best power setters I have ever seen would dump the anchor while still motoring then cleat it off! The anchor would then catch and spin the yacht around. That particular couple kept us all amused one afternoon. The best bit was when the anchor would catch and they would realise they were to close to another boat. So they would lift the anchor and start the whole performance again!
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Old 04-01-2021, 15:31   #15
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Re: About NOT power setting the anchor

I definitely think you need to set the anchor. I'm sorry but if you dont, then just wait, your time is coming. Why exclude yourself from the knowledge gained? That's like saying "I dont care what those symbols on the chart mean, I just sail the direction I want to go".
Why? because many times you are not on good ground. I dont set it at severe rpm, but just a good strong pull, maybe 12-1400 rpm.. You can tell when it digs in as it straightens the boat out and the chain gets tight. You can tell when it's dragging if you line up with something ashore.

I have had places where 3 or 4 anchors sets didn't work. So I find another area of the bay. Now I certainly may have been fine on many a night from just the weight of the anchor and chain. But that doesn't mean it's a prudent scheme.
I'd rather know what I'm up against at 3 am when a blow starts. ....even if I am going to just let it lay at 10:1 until that happens.
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