G'day, Dr. D,
I'd suggest you mark your rode in depths, so you can follow how much rode you have out. If you know the depth of the anchorage, the type of bottom --more is needed for thin mud-- and the state of the tide, you'll be able to calculate how much you'll want to have out. With all chain, we usually use 3:1; when we used to anchor on rope rode, 5:1. [Ours is marked by roughly a yard long different colored 3 mm polyester braid, in 25' batches (repeating the sequence, to 300 ft.) but we anchor deeper than it sounds as if the East Coast
usually demands. We have tried marking it with paint
, but sand takes it off quickly; we tried numbered tags and different colored cable ties, but the windlass
eats them. A friend has tried them, and likes them.]
Spotlights are very good for spotting little dark buoys (like for crab pots), which someone may have placed where you want to anchor. Jim's headlight isn't quite bright enough for those, but he wears one when anchoring, the better to watch for the chain depth markers. I agree with the post above, once you get to the depth and general area you want, check that there's nothing on the water (boats, buoys, etc) that you may need to avoid) then drop the hook and set it, you can always join the mob
in closer in the morning. That said, we prefer to arrive at anchorages
in daylight, and will leave somewhere earlier, in order to arrive on our time schedule. Also prefer to avoid low angle sun in the eyes.
If you don't like the idea of the entry or anchorage at night because of submerged coral
heads, or rocky reefs
, under the sand, or ANY other thing, it is way safer to head
back out to sea to wait safely back and forth on the main sail, or, heaving to on the offshore
tack. Land is where the hard bits are, the sea is the safer place, most of the time.
Finally, approach new-to-you anchorages slowly, because you may find something that you need to reverse away from to avoid, and the less momentum you have built up, the easier it will be. If you shift to a folding prop from a 3 blade
for the sailing speed improvement, your folder will not provide as much oomph in reverse as you were used to, so you can start checking how far it takes you to stop for different speeds.
One other thing: if you are expecting a big blow, you should allow enough room for your whole swinging circle that you can veer out more chain (or rope), so you need to allow more than you will need. With your Bene, you will lie more to current
than catamarans, so you will have to allow more space; also, in wind against the tide situations the two types of boats will behave differently, and you may again need to allow more space.