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Old 19-08-2022, 05:23   #1
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Leaving an anchorage in a hurry

Last year in Sardinia when anchored we were hit by quite a violent thunder storm. It was a dead calm, balmy afternoon, with unstable weather evident higher up the mountains but nothing seemingly moving our way. But then within a space of a minute or so we went from 0 to 60 knot winds and horizontal hail. I started the engine to have it running in case of a lightning strike and to be ready should the engine be needed.

Then, for about 10 minutes, the boat 'hunted' around the anchor (not sure what the word is to describe it but it felt like the boat was beating upwind, from port to starboard and back). Couldn't do much to stop this with the engine so sat there in freezing hail which was also actually quite painful, only wearing shorts.

And then it stopped as quickly as it started. Down below was more or less chaos (we were having lunch....) and the starboard flange of the stainless steel anchor chain guide on the bow was bent 90 degrees. Other than that we lost the seat of the dinghy with the dinghy mainly having been airborne during that time. With praise to the delta anchor which... did its job, very well.

Now I see that Corsica was hit by particularly violent weather yesterday morning, see for example https://www.bignewsnetwork.com/news/...ls-five-people.

So I am rethinking a bit of how (un)desirable it is to be anchored with really no way to unhook.

Obviously on the one hand it is best to sit it out. But what to do if 1) the anchor starts to drag, anchored off a lee shore and/or 2) other boats are beginning to drift around with a danger of getting hit. I would not mind being able to unhook and get out.

On board I have 30m chain and 60m anchor rode (fine for most Med applications) so my thinking is the following. Typical Med anchor depths are 5 to 8 meters so the chain is sufficient. My approach might be, in future, to use a bridle which can be released under high tension with the chain disconnected from the rode (but still attached to a strong point) and readied to be jettisoned with a buoy or fender attached to the end (first chain is thrown out attached to fender, then the bridle is untied). Questions:

1. Is there a need for such an 'emergency release' given events which others may have experienced;
2. Is motoring into 60-100 knot winds even feasible? I have a feeling on some boats yes, on other boats no whereby I do think I am on a 'yes' boat.

Would be interested to hear opinions on this.
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Old 19-08-2022, 05:50   #2
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Re: Leaving an anchorage in a hurry

I'd rather size the ground tackle to know that dragging is unlikely in a situation like that and assume that it's safer to just stay put and wait it out.



I've got a powerboat that should have no problem motoring forward into 60 kts (assuming a reasonable sea state) although keeping the bow from blowing off would be a challenge, so I wouldn't want to try it in close quarters. And by that same token, I'd it would be a real challenge to get the anchor up.



Basically, if I can't safely pull the anchor because I can't motor the boat up to it accurately enough with the bow blowing off, I'd say it's too windy to try to depart the anchorage unless there's a whole lot of maneuvering room.
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Old 19-08-2022, 06:26   #3
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Re: Leaving an anchorage in a hurry

First, most sailboats will not be able to power straight into 70 knot of wind, they just don’t have the horsepower. Remember, the force exerted by the wind increases with the cube of the wind speed, so 70 knots pushes almost three times harder than 50 knots. This is one of the many reasons getting stuck off a lee shore in a hard blow is such a terror to sailors.

If the boat is “sailing her anchor” a lot, I’m not at all sure powering forward is a net benefit. It might just cause a harder “jerk” when the boat comes up short on her chain, which is by far the most likely time to yank the anchor out of the bottom. I’d be interested in other’s thoughts on that.

Being ready to ditch an anchor NOW is always a good thing. (Maybe to get away from the lee shore when you first see the squall coming?)

A buoy with a carabiner that fits through the chain links (be sure it’s big enough to float a water’s depth of chain, unless you fancy diving) and a knife to cut the 10m of line the attaches the chain to the boat is our emergency getaway gear.
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Old 19-08-2022, 07:40   #4
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Re: Leaving an anchorage in a hurry

Another good example of why one should use a rope bridle to take the strain off the anchor launcher.IMHO Cheers/Len
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Old 19-08-2022, 07:48   #5
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Re: Leaving an anchorage in a hurry

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Originally Posted by deblen View Post
Another good example of why one should use a rope bridle to take the strain off the anchor launcher.IMHO Cheers/Len
Hear! Hear!

Double leg bridle or single leg snubber, which ever.

I have lost track of the number of boats I see with a "snubber" a meter long. Totally worthless and ineffective at absorbing the energy of a boat tugging on its anchor.
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Old 19-08-2022, 07:50   #6
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Re: Leaving an anchorage in a hurry

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeinSdL View Post
Last year in Sardinia when anchored we were hit by quite a violent thunder storm. It was a dead calm, balmy afternoon, with unstable weather evident higher up the mountains but nothing seemingly moving our way. But then within a space of a minute or so we went from 0 to 60 knot winds and horizontal hail. I started the engine to have it running in case of a lightning strike and to be ready should the engine be needed.



Then, for about 10 minutes, the boat 'hunted' around the anchor (not sure what the word is to describe it but it felt like the boat was beating upwind, from port to starboard and back). Couldn't do much to stop this with the engine so sat there in freezing hail which was also actually quite painful, only wearing shorts.



And then it stopped as quickly as it started. Down below was more or less chaos (we were having lunch....) and the starboard flange of the stainless steel anchor chain guide on the bow was bent 90 degrees. Other than that we lost the seat of the dinghy with the dinghy mainly having been airborne during that time. With praise to the delta anchor which... did its job, very well.



Now I see that Corsica was hit by particularly violent weather yesterday morning, see for example https://www.bignewsnetwork.com/news/...ls-five-people.



So I am rethinking a bit of how (un)desirable it is to be anchored with really no way to unhook.



Obviously on the one hand it is best to sit it out. But what to do if 1) the anchor starts to drag, anchored off a lee shore and/or 2) other boats are beginning to drift around with a danger of getting hit. I would not mind being able to unhook and get out.



On board I have 30m chain and 60m anchor rode (fine for most Med applications) so my thinking is the following. Typical Med anchor depths are 5 to 8 meters so the chain is sufficient. My approach might be, in future, to use a bridle which can be released under high tension with the chain disconnected from the rode (but still attached to a strong point) and readied to be jettisoned with a buoy or fender attached to the end (first chain is thrown out attached to fender, then the bridle is untied). Questions:



1. Is there a need for such an 'emergency release' given events which others may have experienced;

2. Is motoring into 60-100 knot winds even feasible? I have a feeling on some boats yes, on other boats no whereby I do think I am on a 'yes' boat.



Would be interested to hear opinions on this.
Better tie a rode longer than the depth to the chain and attach the fender to it. The fender itself might not have enough buoyancy to lift the chain.

Had this once in South Croatia.

Fat thunderstorm coming in from the west while I was approching Cavtat. Went in the north cove to hide, as did many others. The storm passed and in a snap a fierceful Bora set in from the north which trapped us in the cove.
Luckily there was a brief lull a little into it and I went in the bay open to the west, which had been hammered by the thunderstorm a little earlier.

Not fun. Especially not at night and single handed.

So yes, being able to drop the chain in an emergency is great. I carry a big secondary anchor too for situations like these. It gives the option to possibly reanchor at a better location.
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Old 19-08-2022, 13:47   #7
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Re: Leaving an anchorage in a hurry

On a rented 40 ft Hanse a few weeks ago... The weather forecast was favorable for the anchorage the next 24 hours - but forecasters don't always get lical prdeictions right... They were waaaaay off this night.

In addition. Unknown to me, the anchor roller had been ever so slightly modified by the owner - to accomodate a anchor that otherwise would not have worked at all with the bow sprit and roller combo on this boat. This modification however caused the chain to jam at any slight angle of the chain but straight down - so in instances like you describe, with the boat dancing about, getting the anchor up became a huge PITA.

At midnight, in the pitch black - the anchor lost hold, and we were heading for rocks and the shore fast - real fast.

Rather than having the chain attached to the boat with a rope shackle or rode, which could be cut with a knife in an emergency, it was shackled. With the boat equiped with tools barely sufficient for flat packaged IKEA furniture - ditching anchor was a no go.

It took us 1h20m to get the anchor up - motoring as well as we could, getting the anchor up bit by bit - two steps forward, one step back (sometimes we needed a hammer). As we got more and more chain up, we could eventually motor up wind, dragging the anchor - buying us yet another time slot to work with (several times we were half a boat kength from the rocks). Eventually the angle got good, and the remaining 15 meters came right up. We had "control" of the dangers the entire time, and although it was kind of exciting - it was tedious.

With a good windlass and roller I would have attempted to reset the anchor in a better location. Instead we found we had to tread water for three hours until we had enough visibility to safely leave the anchorage for something better - with a fair bit of rough waters between here and there (18 hours at the helm that day and no sleep before).

Solution suggested by Franziska. I was quite early ready to attach a fender + rode of slightly greater length than depth, ditch the anchor and retrieve it under favorable conditions - but like I said, the shackle and tools department made this a no go.

In my opinion, a sail yacht should at minimum be equipped with one anchor in the bow, one on the stern. The end of the anchor chain should be attached to the boat with something you can slice through with a knife (which should be permanently attached in the chain locker or pull-/pushpit). I prefer 20 meters of anchor rope. This 20 rope can either be used to give you a longer rode over all - for deeper anchorages or poorer conditions. Also, you will have the rode for your fender prepped and ready to ditch the anchor in less than 60 seconds. In addition atleast one spareanchor in a cockpit locker (complete with 30-50 meters of weighted rope + 5-10 meters of chain). It is a good idea if the spare in the locker has a different specialization than your two main anchors, wheras your two main anchors should interchangeable allrounders.
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Old 19-08-2022, 15:31   #8
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Re: Leaving an anchorage in a hurry

Search for the manatee posts on the Kodiak system of anchoring.
You’ll at least have an option.
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Old 19-08-2022, 16:35   #9
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Re: Leaving an anchorage in a hurry

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gard View Post
...Unknown to me, the anchor roller had been ever so slightly modified by the owner - to accomodate a anchor that otherwise would not have worked at all with the bow sprit and roller combo on this boat. This modification however caused the chain to jam at any slight angle of the chain but straight down ...
That sounds incredibly dangerous

Following advice partly from this forum and other sources (I'm a total newb) I have 50' of 8 plait at the end of my chain, and in addition to my snubber I use a short dyneema strop to secure my chain. In addition several Crocadile Dundee knives around the boat.

My plan would be, once the engine was started and confirmed to run, knife the snubber and strop if needed, open the clutch on the windlass and let the chain run out, tie the fender to the line and knife it.
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Old 19-08-2022, 16:45   #10
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Re: Leaving an anchorage in a hurry

The result of the Corsica storm:
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Old 19-08-2022, 17:08   #11
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Re: Leaving an anchorage in a hurry

Quote:
Originally Posted by ahun View Post
The result of the Corsica storm:
Wow!
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Old 19-08-2022, 18:00   #12
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Re: Leaving an anchorage in a hurry

Quote:
Originally Posted by ahun View Post
The result of the Corsica storm:
Wow, any idea where exactly on the island this is?

Meanwhile the Gurdian has this:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...-mediterranean
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Old 19-08-2022, 18:19   #13
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Re: Leaving an anchorage in a hurry

You won’t have time to bouy the anchor, and once you cut it the boat will fly. Best to keep a second anchor at the ready and pray.

I’ve run the motor to relieve tension from the anchor. I suppose it worked. I’m perhaps over cautious- if a big storm is coming I’ll put the keel in the mud, avoiding wind and wave. Rode out two tornadoes this way. Scary.

Worst storm I’ve ever seen, small shallow anchorage. My father and I felt secure with our anchors and left the womens to care for the boats, and were dragging boats off the hard stone Lee shore. A rubber dinghy with a 10hp can pull a boat in 70 knot winds if weight is forward.

Always remember one thing. If you can step ashore, you’re fine. Boats can be replaced.
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Old 19-08-2022, 18:58   #14
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Re: Leaving an anchorage in a hurry

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That sounds incredibly dangerous

Following advice partly from this forum and other sources (I'm a total newb) I have 50' of 8 plait at the end of my chain, and in addition to my snubber I use a short dyneema strop to secure my chain. In addition several Crocadile Dundee knives around the boat.

My plan would be, once the engine was started and confirmed to run, knife the snubber and strop if needed, open the clutch on the windlass and let the chain run out, tie the fender to the line and knife it.
Yes, quite dangerous.

As if that incident was not enough, the clutch would on intermittent days ometimes slip (though for some unexplainable reason, not this night). What's worse, there was nothing aboard that could be used to neither losen or tighten the clutch.

Also, the house batteries and the windlass battery were connected. At our first anchorage (ideal conditions), with us still oblivious to any problems, - on the third day st the anchorage, when we were to lift the anchor, there was not enough juice to get the anchor up even when hanging straight down (engine running). Not good, but not insane - just remember next time to let engine run 30 minutes before lifting anchor. Slso, to have juice in case we needed to move in a hurry in the night, just give the vatteries a bit if recharge before going to bed.

Second anchorage, windlass was slipping like nothing. With most of the chain up, we started drifting towards the shallows - while struggling to get the rest up. The chain jammed once in this hectic process, but I thought the whole thing could be caused by an overly optimistic crew member in regards to either angle or load. We ended up having to gun it last second to
avoid the shallows - with only a half a boat length before running aground, we sailed into deeper waters, dragging the anchor until it was free and we could get ut up. The conditions were fortunately calmvthis day. When at dock, we tried to recreate the problems and also spent half a day trying to find a tool - we were unsuccessful at both. We crossed our fingers hoping that it was a fluke due to user error, and spendt some time with refreshing anchoring skills and working together with the helm. We decided to give anchoring one more try, if conditions were particularly good.

Third anchorage, perfect conditions. There were some discussions wether we had experienced clutch slipping, but hadn't experienced anything major. We concluded it was unreliable and not to anchor anymore unless we were out of other decent options.

Fourth anchorage (no other available options but to anchor) - thats when we spendt an hour and twenty minutes. After this invident I made a call to return to home berth immediately and end the trip early. The anchor is for more than a pleasurable means to camp, it is also for emergencies. Under emergency conditions, if your means to drop, lift or ditch the anchor is compromised - then the emergency can become exponentially more dangerous.

The owner later admitted to having experienced jamming, but had not thought of mentioning it. He was a total noob that mostly motored from marina to marina on calm days, and had only attempted anchoring a handful of times under very nice conditions. Well, I guess I had a bit of "useful advice" to give on tools, storage of gas containers, ,safety equipment, how to improve is anchor system, and more. He really didn't know any better, so no reason to get angry on a noob that means well. Beautiful boat that I'd be happy to rent again - presupposing he sorts out the easy to fix problems. He was notably shook up, sorry, humble, attentative, inquisitive, eager to learn, and very greatful for the constructive advice given - and for me not having gone ballistic - especially conscidering there was a twelve and fourteen year old aboard.

Fortunately for me, I have a family/crew that deals with issues at sea wonderfully.
With the kids having been on the water since they were born, and having been put through far more dramatic incidents at sea - the kids are usually the least fearful and most calm and collected crewmembers I have aboard. They understand the realities of "crisis" and "dangers" far better than most adults - who tend to let their immaginations run wild, and who also worry excessively about outcomes that hardly ever is the end of the world kind of thing.
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Old 19-08-2022, 19:09   #15
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Re: Leaving an anchorage in a hurry

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeinSdL View Post
Last year in Sardinia when anchored we were hit by quite a violent thunder storm. It was a dead calm, balmy afternoon, with unstable weather evident higher up the mountains but nothing seemingly moving our way. But then within a space of a minute or so we went from 0 to 60 knot winds and horizontal hail. I started the engine to have it running in case of a lightning strike and to be ready should the engine be needed.



Then, for about 10 minutes, the boat 'hunted' around the anchor (not sure what the word is to describe it but it felt like the boat was beating upwind, from port to starboard and back). Couldn't do much to stop this with the engine so sat there in freezing hail which was also actually quite painful, only wearing shorts.



And then it stopped as quickly as it started. Down below was more or less chaos (we were having lunch....) and the starboard flange of the stainless steel anchor chain guide on the bow was bent 90 degrees. Other than that we lost the seat of the dinghy with the dinghy mainly having been airborne during that time. With praise to the delta anchor which... did its job, very well.



Now I see that Corsica was hit by particularly violent weather yesterday morning, see for example https://www.bignewsnetwork.com/news/...ls-five-people.



So I am rethinking a bit of how (un)desirable it is to be anchored with really no way to unhook.



Obviously on the one hand it is best to sit it out. But what to do if 1) the anchor starts to drag, anchored off a lee shore and/or 2) other boats are beginning to drift around with a danger of getting hit. I would not mind being able to unhook and get out.



On board I have 30m chain and 60m anchor rode (fine for most Med applications) so my thinking is the following. Typical Med anchor depths are 5 to 8 meters so the chain is sufficient. My approach might be, in future, to use a bridle which can be released under high tension with the chain disconnected from the rode (but still attached to a strong point) and readied to be jettisoned with a buoy or fender attached to the end (first chain is thrown out attached to fender, then the bridle is untied). Questions:



1. Is there a need for such an 'emergency release' given events which others may have experienced;

2. Is motoring into 60-100 knot winds even feasible? I have a feeling on some boats yes, on other boats no whereby I do think I am on a 'yes' boat.



Would be interested to hear opinions on this.

I think a secure anchor is the better alternative to being loose. However, putting the vessel into gear would have helped ease the burden and could have possibly saved the chain guide.

Still a better result then the other vessel around you. Glad you made it through.
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