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donoga 06-05-2009 08:54 AM

Comfort At Anchor
My husband and I along with two medium sized dogs will soon begin cruising the eastern coast of the United States with the hopes of heading to the Bahamas next year. We love the look and construction quality of 32 Westsail and 31 and 35 Southern Cross. We realize that both are not necessary for coastal cruising but would like to become familiar with a boat that could take us offshore. Since we will be anchoring, we're wondering about comfort at anchor. Can anyone shed some light on this since anchoring will be our preference? Thanks!

WanderingStar 06-05-2009 09:02 AM

A good hook and plenty of chain will let you feel secure. Consider tide, wind current. The boats you are talking about are pretty heavy I think, they should ride well. Find a lee.

chall03 06-05-2009 09:35 AM

My wife really hates rolly anchorages. I mean like it is an obsession for her, she simply will not tolerate it. She would much prefer that we ran aground on a reef than have a bad night at anchor, and if we do ever happen to have a bad night it would clearly be my fault.

In order to maintain marital bliss, I am very careful and have a few suggestions.

-Read cruising guides. Realise however that they are not infallible.

-Nothing beats local or cruiser knowledge.....tides/swell/wind can be tricky enough to figure out, however only prior experience will let you know about the swarming sand flies, or inter-island ferries that speed past every two hours until 1am :)

-I have yet to find any roll stabilization device that has worked FOR ME....the problem may however lie with me and not the devices.

-I always pick anchorages cautiously, if it's going to blow overnight I tuck up in the protected but maybe otherwise boring inlet... I don't let myself get tempted to risk the more exposed anchorage by the pretty beach :)

-Check your Depths, factoring in tide of course " Honey wake up, why is the boat leaning over??" :)

-Lots of Rode, paranoia about dragging whether justified or not always ruins a night at anchor.

Best wishes.

lshick 06-05-2009 09:47 AM

Comfort at anchor
After a really heavy anchor and good chain, the things that contribute most for us are:

A GPS anchor alarm, preferably one that you can center on the location of the anchor. Does more to encourage a good night's sleep than anything else.

An effective flopper-stopper. We hang ours off the end of the spinnaker pole (the effectiveness of a flopper-stopper is proportional to the cube of the distance off-centerline).

A really good deck-level anchor light. We use a 12v flourescent work light hung from the radar arch, which floods the cockpit with light, discourages bad guys, and is at eye-level for drunk pangueros speeding through the anchorage.

sailingdog 06-05-2009 10:07 AM

If you can get the SC35, get it... the extra space will make it more comfortable at anchor and it will be a better boat under sail than the Westsnail. :)

The most important factor to comfort at anchor is a decent ground tackle setup. For under $1000 you can get a Rocna 15, 30' of 5/16" G43 chain and 220' of 5/8" octo-plait nylon rode. Add a load-rated Crosby shackle for about $9, and you're ready to go. Having a good anchor that sets well and is not likely to pull out and not reset is key to being comfortable at anchor IMHO.

A flopper stopper can help if you're in a rolly anchorage, but picking a better location is a better choice IMHO. I've seen monohulls leave an anchorage I was in because they rolled so much that they were at risk of getting injured—a problem I didn't have since I'm on a trimaran. :)

Chall's advice on local knowledge is a good point... and one I'd second.

Also, I highly recommend that you pick an alternate anchorage nearby and have the course and heading information as well as any ATONs listed that you'll need to get there, in case the anchorage you're in becomes untenable for any reason. Having this all written down ahead of time means that at 0200, when the winds have shifted and now the anchorage is a dangerous lee shore, you don't have to figure out where to go, just whether you want to go or not. :)

labatt 06-05-2009 10:15 AM

If you're in a really rolly anchorage that's beam to you (or even sometimes on your bow) - On the side of the boat that you want to face the rolls, take two long lines from your anchor snubber and hook one line to your bow cleat on that side and the other to the midship or stern cleat on that same side. This will put you sideways to the roll. As the roll tries to push you over, your anchor will hold that side of the boat steady, so you won't roll. I wouldn't recommend it in really heavy winds (beam to the wind), but it works great in your standard rolly anchorage! Since you won't be bow to the wind, you may have to really work at it to get your snubber to reach your midship or your stern. Also, make sure your snubber lines are long enough - I don't know what the formula should be, but on our 40' boat we have two 25' lines connected to our snubber and they just barely make it (one to bow, one to stern, so the snubber is less than 10' off the side of the boat and it's REALLY hard to pull into the stern cleat). We were in an anchorage a few weeks back - Little San Salvador in the Bahamas - where even the catamarans were rolling hard, and this trick completely stopped our roll.

SVAuspicious 06-05-2009 11:26 AM

I use the general approach labatt described to hold the bow into the waves. It works well at reducing roll and increasing comfort. If the wind shifts enough to change the wave direction (which doesn't seem to happen often where I usually anchor - the waves wrap around and head straight to the shore almost independent of wind direction.

chall03 06-05-2009 09:11 PM

Great Trick Labatt. The Whitsundays here in OZ are plagued by beautiful but rolly anchorages. Next time I'm up there I am definitely going to give that a go.

Omatako 06-06-2009 12:18 AM


Originally Posted by chall03 (Post 492705)
My wife really hates rolly anchorages. I mean like it is an obsession for her, she simply will not tolerate it.

I'm with your wife on this.

I can't stand a rolly anchorage and will move even if it's 2:00am. I plan my anchorages well in advance and try to get the weather right but sometimes it changes in the night. Here's what I look for:
  • Obviously the number one is the quality of the holding. Try for mud, next is sand, next is shale. I avoid rock and anything that grows.
  • Obviously as well, look for an offshore wind.
  • Always anchor amongst boats similar to yours. A motor boat will react differently to wind and current than a yacht and when things change his movement relative to yours will be different. If you have a multi hull you're probably better off amongst the motor boats.
  • Look for a shoreline with trees. Avoid grass paddocks, the wind races down those with careless abandon. Avoid cliffs - any swell coming in also goes back out.
  • If there is little wind and a swell coming into the anchorage, I set a stern anchor as well and point my boat directly at the incoming swell. A pitch is better than a roll, less dramatic and stops much quicker.
  • If that doesn't sort it, I leave. I'd rather sail through the night looking for another anchorage than have my boat thrown around by an unruly sea.

mightyhorton 06-10-2009 02:08 AM

Obviously make sure you are well anchored, but we are talking about roll-ey anchorages. Labatt's trick really works and is quick and easy. Use a longer line from the stern and run it from the anchor line to a winch and it is easier to move the boat so that the swell is coming to the bow. I love my flopper stopper. It doesn't always cut all the roll, but it really does reduce it. Some guys have two flopper stoppers, one for the boom and one for the spinnaker pole. Stabilize the pole fore and aft, so it doesn't rub on a shroud! I'm too lazy to move late at night if I'm just a little uncomfortable. Also, where you sleep in the boat sometimes makes a difference. Lower and closer to the centerline is usually better.

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