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Old 03-06-2009, 08:47   #31
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I anchor exactly the same way when my wife is aboard as I do when I single hand. That leaves her free to get the rum drinks ready.

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Old 03-06-2009, 10:13   #32
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I drive, she drops and retrieves the anchor/mooring. We don't talk, only use hand signals. We do use a SS hook for retrieving the mooring, hook it, then lift it to the boat with the windlass. Everything is so heavy aboard the boat you must use mechanical systems or forget about it. We do on occasion sail on or off the anchor/mooring but with a 65k displacement there is not much room for missing the mooring.

Always fun watching the coming and going in the mooring field.
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Old 03-06-2009, 10:42   #33
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Steve B. and Randy - hahahah!!

And hey, not talking down and keeping the steam issuing from your ears at un-detected levels are valuable skills. Especially if your first mate is also a first-class snot, like me. "You said WHAT?!?" *throws rope down, stomps belowdecks* 'cause plenty of folks learn to single-hand everything when they don't develop such talents.

As it happens, Geordie both has those talents *and* single-hands a lot of the time, (a) because I lack confidence and he knows better than to push me, (b) I am the cook and he probably doesn't want PB&J for dinner *every* night, and (c) he knows where his bread is buttered between the sheets. So.

I have driven in order to pull *up* anchor, as a convenience to him on one windy, misty morning, but he's perfectly confident setting it on his own. At least in the few places we've anchored our boat so far. On the few occasions he's asked for help, it's always been my option to agree or say I'm not confident enough.

All this means that I got rather safety-Nazi on him about wearing a PFD outside the cockpit and insisting on the immediate purchase of a life sling in the unlikely event that I could figure out how to get the boat back anywhere near him if he went over. I can hope for one miracle, but the additional miracle of being able to haul his soaking-wet hypothermic body over 4' of freeboard after having done so was too recklessly optimistic even for me.

We're doomed if anything happens to him, because on the Oregon coast perfectly confident and experienced boaters get dashed to death on the rocks, never mind panicking first mates who've never been responsible for anything. But the adrenaline rush accompanying my frequent deliberations of everything that could go wrong makes a person feel alive, I s'pose. I couldn't logically prevent him from going sailing 'til I was competent to take over all functions he can perform; he's got about 40 years of experience on me. So I just live with a mild state of panic when we're out and try hard to get over the mental roadblocks I have in learning to sail.
Geordie's first mate (ha!) on Matsu, the mighty Columbia 34

when people lost sight of the way to live came codes of love and honesty
~Lao Tsu

life is dangerous and always ends in death.
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Old 03-06-2009, 10:55   #34
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I single hand and use a Maxwell windlass with all chain and prefer to do anchoring alone. Even when I have able bodied competent crew they come with their own preconceptions about how to anchor (and of course want to inject their wisdom at the wrong time)

Picking up a mooring singlehanded is more difficult then dropping the hook or weighing anchor because you need to drive the boat to the precise location and have no way so that you can grab the mooring with a boat hook or the tall buoy before you get blown off. So crew at the bow is better for mooring, but no advantage for anchoring with chain.

When you use chain and a windlass the weight of the chain is what is used to make way toward the anchor so you typically don't need to motor to the anchor port and starboard with all the hand signals. The helmsperson will typically rid over the anchor or too far to port of stardboard.

Use the windlass to remove slack from the chain when the bow is aligned with the chain. The boat will make way straight at the anchor. Keep taking in chain (removing the catenary) and keep the boat momentum up. If the bow get blown off, wait for her stern to yaw about so it is one again aligned with the anchor and take in more chain. This may take a bit of time with a gusty wind, but I can get the anchor up using the above method in 20 knots of breeze and the lower the wind the faster it is.

With rope rode the above system does not work and I doubt if you get an way from the catenary of rope - yet another reason to use all chain.

Autopilot remote would make this even easier.

You don't have to drop heading bow to wind. If you are beam to wind the boat will be pushed downwind as you lay out scope and then when the anchor digs in the bow will turn to windward.

I often use my dink as a tell tale to know that the anchor is set. When anchoring as the boat is falling back the dink is "left behind" and moves to the bow (if the wind is not strong). Once the anchor digs in the stern is no longer moving away from the wind and the dink is then pushed back behind the boat indicating that the boat is NOT dragging the anchor downwind.
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Old 03-06-2009, 11:23   #35
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I normally work the bow and hubby the helm. Our electric windless is very reliable and heavy duty so strength is not a issue. He normally picks the spot he wants to drop. As soon as the anchor is in the water I am in control. I will give him hand signals indicating when we hit bottom and how much chain I am paying out. Also I normally insist we back down on the anchor to 1600 rpm to allow me to feel confident that we are hooked well. If I see that anchor jump and we can't get it set good enough to back down on it the anchor comes back up and we make another go at it.
We have earphones and used them a few times when we first got them but once we got on the same wave length we find we don't really need them and hand signals are just as good. The whole point of having crew (your wife) is to make things easier on the captain so it is beyond me why you would not have your wife help when she is there. When I am not around my husband does it all but when I am there life is easier on him. In addition I feel like a useful part of the crew not just a guest on his boat...something to think about
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Old 03-06-2009, 17:55   #36
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I think it's more related to who is comfortable with what than either task being more appropriate to any gender. When women join me, they are usually less comfortable with fine maneuvering, so generally, I take the helm and often just tell them when to drop the hook. On my non-windlass boats I was most frequenlty the one pulling the anchor up.

My advice is if you are competent and comfortable with either position, let your wife do what ever she favors.

Day 1 in the BVIs. - life is good.
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Old 03-06-2009, 18:10   #37
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My loving partner anchors me in so many, many ways that I take very seriously her need to feel safe and secure within the dynamics of our sailing home.

That is why our roles are so different and why it is important for each to recognize the strengths in each other while learning to be a better shipmate.
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Old 04-06-2009, 12:58   #38
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My wife and I use hand signals. Simple, Foolproof and no batteries or yelling needed.

She is on the foredeck slightly more than 50% of the time.

We do have mental strengths in in different areas, so we work with that, but I prefer that we get fairly even time doing each task onboard.
We make a point ot switching roles regularly.
This keeps our skills up and stops us from being rusty.

While only 1 person can make the final decisions, we work as a pair, and catch each other's occasional mistakes.

That said... she's almost as tall as I am and works out, so she can do damn near anything physically I can do.

Worst case, she can handle the boat without me..

Do what works.

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Old 04-06-2009, 17:13   #39
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Makes me think. If you need batteries.. There might be a bigger problem.
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Old 04-06-2009, 18:12   #40
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Hehe... ladies may not see a problem at all...

You know... if I read my post again it can have a whole different meaning....
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Old 04-06-2009, 19:06   #41
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I've come to the conclusion that the chain gypsy is the most dangerous gear on the boat. I let the Admiral drive using my hand signals from the foredeck to steer the boat and set the hook. Mostly with both arms instead of just one finger. She never hears anything so yelling is reserved when I'm close at hand. Every time we anchor I go over the signals one more time so I don't forget. It mostly works fine. Same goes for breaking out the anchor.

If you find a way that works then perfect it. If you can set the hook set without a big show it means you got to the anchorage early or single hand. Being lucky still counts. Our drag record is pretty good and that includes boats dragging into us.
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