some tips I learned about anchoring this summer! - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 21 Old 08-07-2013 Thread Starter
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some tips I learned about anchoring this summer!

We headed down to Ontario’s Thousand Islands for a three week vacation this year. Given the shortage of transient slips down that way, the vast majority of boats anchor overnight. We hadn’t done a lot of anchoring but planned on figuring it out. A few previous trips had been relatively successful but entailed a lot of shouting and a very disgruntled Admiral.

Our first night took a couple of tries. We just couldn’t get the anchor to grab and we were backing up all over the bay! Problem was, we were backing up to fast without getting the “hook” set before hand. We also harvested a considerable amount of lake grass with our anchor from dragging it all over the bottom, so setting became impossible. However, we did get firmly anchored for the night which led to our next problem: getting the damn anchor unstuck and back in the boat in the morning!

On two consecutive mornings, it took every ounce of strength I had to free the anchor. The second morning in particular, we had spent the night facing huge winds from a series of thunderstorms, so the anchor was really dug in. Someone, with way more experience than I, made a great suggestion. He said his routine in the morning was to pull up the rode to the point that the scope was near O…then he would go and have a coffee or breakfast. After a while, the anchor would work its own way out and then he easily pulls it up, clears off the weeds and stows it away! I tried that trick and it worked great! The first morning, I reduced the scope to the point that our bow was directly overhead the anchor, tied off the rode and watched. After a minute or so, I could see bubbles starting to come to the surface…and some silt moving. By the time I finished my coffee, it was a breeze to pull up the anchor!

A tip that undoubtedly, saved my back!

I am not really from Toronto


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post #2 of 21 Old 08-07-2013
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Re: some tips I learned about anchoring this summer!

Yes - I was cruising in that area earlier this summer and it is really hard to get the anchor to stick in sometimes. It will bounce along the weeds on top before it gets a chance to dig in.

I've never heard the trick to wait until it works itself out at 1:1 scope - that's great advice. We had chartered a boat with a slightly too small anchor (in my opinion) so we had no problem getting it up in the morning. Unfortunately it didn't enable me to sleep well overnight either.
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post #3 of 21 Old 08-07-2013
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Re: some tips I learned about anchoring this summer!

that is a great idea. I will have to remember that

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post #4 of 21 Old 08-07-2013
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Re: some tips I learned about anchoring this summer!

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Originally Posted by nodders View Post
We headed down to Ontario’s Thousand Islands for a three week vacation this year. ...

On two consecutive mornings, it took every ounce of strength I had to free the anchor. The second morning in particular, we had spent the night facing huge winds from a series of thunderstorms, so the anchor was really dug in. Someone, with way more experience than I, made a great suggestion. He said his routine in the morning was to pull up the rode to the point that the scope was near O…then he would go and have a coffee or breakfast. After a while, the anchor would work its own way out and then he easily pulls it up, clears off the weeds and stows it away! I tried that trick and it worked great! The first morning, I reduced the scope to the point that our bow was directly overhead the anchor, tied off the rode and watched. After a minute or so, I could see bubbles starting to come to the surface…and some silt moving. By the time I finished my coffee, it was a breeze to pull up the anchor!
Good tip nodders. Best to go slow and steady when digging out a deeply-buried anchor. But I assume you were letting the boat do the work? There's rarely any need to "put your back into it."

Pull or wind in the rode. Once you're on top of your anchor, cleat or lock the windlass and motor slowly over it. That usually breaks it out. If the anchorage is calm you can usually use the boat's forward momentum to break the anchor out without the engine (or if you are sailing off the hook, which I like to do). But if it's really dug in, then your tip of just letting it sit works great.

Let the boat do the work. Save your back for more important things, like lugging beer up from the dock .

Why go fast, when you can go slow.
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post #5 of 21 Old 08-07-2013
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Re: some tips I learned about anchoring this summer!

Amazing tip! I learned to sail in the Toronto Harbour area and getting the anchor to actually stick was always a pain because of all the seagrass.
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post #6 of 21 Old 08-07-2013
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Re: some tips I learned about anchoring this summer!

The "Have a cuppa coffee or tea" works even better when setting an anchor, IMHO... Especially with an anchor such a CQR, which often needs considerable 'pampering' to obtain a good set...

Some renowned sailor of the old school - Eric Hiscock, perhaps? - recommended the strategy when setting anchor... Let the boat lie to it for awhile, have a cup of tea, and THEN back down on it to get a final set... I've found this approach to be very effective, though I often substitute a beer for the cuppa tea...

One of the most common mistakes made, in my view, is people attempting to back down too quickly, or too hard initially, when attempting to set an anchor, especially in a difficult or tricky locale...
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post #7 of 21 Old 08-07-2013
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Re: some tips I learned about anchoring this summer!

Another nifty trick to save your back a bit is a properly sized chain hook and a length of line. Run the line back to a winch if geometrically possible and you can exert some tension on the chain. Hook it up as far forward as you can.
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post #8 of 21 Old 08-07-2013
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Sometimes waiting is appropriate, as with soft mud. But weeds are weeds. The only way to set in weeds is with a massively heavy anchor that will quickly push right thru the weeds into the bottom. Most anchors cannot do this. You can easily be fooled by getting a grab in weeds and set with a bit of throttle. But when the front moves thru, drag you go! Many times we set firmly in weeds...until I throttled up FULL in reverse and suddenly the weed roots gave up and away we went.
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post #9 of 21 Old 08-07-2013
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Indeed Xort, weeds are weeds this weekend I'm on the lunch hook which is a smaller danforth and im in quite shoal water (5'). Back to the flats, wind nnw about 17 knots. Take a swim go below to towell off and suddenly boat lays over 20 or so degrees straightens back up and the bow slews downwind...I knew the anchor let loose. Rush topside to bow secure sail better and pull up anchor utterly choked with grass and it is now blowing near 30 heavy air close along the water.Look around to see other boats all scrambling to gain control. I just secured the anchor to a cleat and scurried back to start the amazingly cooperative outboard and set bow direct into the now 4' chop...shite it all happened fast!
Anyway it reminded me that a variety of anchors is wise...and that grass bottoms can be abit treacherous with or without the right equipment..glad motor started ten minutes could have had me aground on afalling tide. I resolved to get afolding fishermans anchor and to finally acquire a baby drogue for when slowing things down is critical. having said all that..I too have learned to use the boat and her movement to free anchors.
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post #10 of 21 Old 08-07-2013
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Re: some tips I learned about anchoring this summer!

What type of anchor do you guys find works best on a grass bottom?
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