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Old 07-15-2008
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When powering back on your anchor, watch your SOG (speed over ground) display on the GPS -- with the rode tight and the anchor set it should read 0.0 knots. If it doesn't, you are dragging or swinging, or something else is amiss -- the COG (course over ground) display can be informative here.

Once your anchor is set, leave your GPS on, zoomed in to it's closest scale. With cookie-crumb tracking on you can see how your boat wanders around at the end of your rode, and when you wake up in the middle of the night can instantly tell whether you've moved from where you started the night. (I sometimes even take a hand-held GPS to bed with me so I don't have to crawl out of my bunk to glance at it...)

Many GPS's can set an "Anchor Alarm," but I find the cookie-crumb tracking to be the most useful.

If you're really clever and coordinated you can punch the "Mark" button at the right time and store the exact coordinates where you dropped your anchor. Then your GPS will tell you bearing and range to that "waypoint" -- if the range is greater than the amount of rode you have out, then you know something is amiss.

Lots of other techniques to monitor for dragging, too, like taking bearings to fixed objects on shore, having a feel for the motion of the boat (rolling side to side vs. pitching fore-and-aft), feeling and/or listening for vibrations transmitted up the anchor rode, staying attuned to other sounds (surf, dogs barking on shore, etc...), and smells (exposed tidal flat mud, etc...), setting the shallow and deep alarms on your depth sounder, etc....


Peterson 34 GREYHAWK, West Boothbay Harbor, Maine

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