Re: What would you do? Caught off guard by storm on the Chesapeake
The times I've been caught out, I opted to get the sails secured and motored towards open water. Fortunately, I haven't been caught while in or near any shipping channels, but if I was, I'd get out if possible and on the edge if I couldn't get completely out of it.
I've made the decision to turn away from a channel entrance when it was questionable if I could be into an anchorage before the gust front hit. I'd much rather be in open water than a narrow channel with shoal water all around when a TS hit. I'm not sure what conditions would convince me that anchoring in the unprotected part of the bay would be preferable to being underway.
When I've been caught out while anchored, I've stayed put and hoped for the best while keeping as good an eye out as possible to check for dragging if you have a anchor alarm it can lend some piece of mind. Also if storms are a possibility, I put a fender by the anchor locker in case someone drags down towards me, and I need to get off the hook in a hurry. I also will take a look around and note a safe heading if we have to get underway in a hurry in low viz. Once underway, I'd follow my track back out, but when all hell is breaking loose knowing "a heading of XXX" will take you towards safe water will help.
s/v Palmetto Moon
1991 Catalina 36