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  #1  
Old 08-02-2011
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Anchoring Etiquette

What is the etiquette in regard to someone who has put down a stern anchor ? If another boat anchors nearby and as tide or wind swings the fore only anchored boat is in danger of colliding with the fore/aft anchored boat who has the moral right of way ?

It seems to me that if a boat decides to fore and aft anchor then its up to them to get out of the way of another boat that is swinging but it was only the other week that I faced this issue for the very first time. I wasn't interested in kicking up a fuss and for other reasons we decided to go elsewhere but in reality the fore aft boat had effectively commandeered a sizeable chunk of that anchorage, to my mind unfairly.

I appreciate that if an anchorage requires fore and aft anchors or where other boats are stern tied to shore that allowance has to made when one arrives in an anchorage. My question relates to a perfectly ordinary anchorage with plenty of room to swing.
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Old 08-03-2011
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TDW, after spending a long weekend, anchored up Howe Sound, you have aroused my curiosity. We briefly considered stern anchoring this past weekend, but opted to raft up with our friends.

While I have some experience with stern tying, I have no experience with stern anchoring.

However, I was told that the first boats in an anchorage have the right to ask later arrivals to re-set if they are concerned. This also holds true for stern tying. Would it also hold true for stern anchoring? If so, then if the boat with the stern anchor was there first, they would have the right to ask the other boat to move. If they weren't there first, however, then guess who would be moving in your scenario?

My initial reaction to your question was that people would probably like stern anchors more because they eliminate swinging circles. However, later arrivals still have to take into account the anchor off the bow, PLUS the one off the stern. Is a stern anchor really an advantage?

That's the extent of my brainstorming, for now. I'll break out the popcorn and see what other folks have to say.
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Old 08-03-2011
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The FIRST boat to anchor has priority, and no matter what methods used. If later the second boat comes close to hitting or fouling then the second boat should be the one to 'move'.

If you are the second or successive boat to anchor, just use common sense and anchor using the 'exact same' methods as those who anchored before you. As if they are lying to multiple anchors and you anchor with only one ... there is going to be a future "cluster festival" and YOU will be the cause of the grief.
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Old 08-03-2011
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It really still does boil down to who was there first. But having a single boat use a stern anchor while all others don't really is bothersome and irksome. I was in Marigot, St. Martin and the anchorage was full as only the French can do (it felt crowded enough so that you could almost step aboard your neighbour's boat) but there was one ornery Brit in a rundown ~25 foot with a stern line going sideways and if anyone came close to his boat he'd be on deck, jumping up and down and shouting obscenities; including comments that if everyone set a stern anchor more people could fit! His anchoring prevented at least 5 boats from staying in his vicinity.

After he'd vented his ire at me and I'd learned some new combinations of words not fit for print, I suggested we meet up ashore to discuss our political differences. Thereafter he always disappeared from deck when I dinghied by but that didn't stop him from shouting at others.

There are areas where a stern anchor is prudent and perhaps even necessary and no boater can be faulted for using that arrangement. The case above, with winds coming from roughly east all year long, was an example of a place where I feel a stern anchorer should be asked to reassess his or her anchoring techniques.
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Old 08-03-2011
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Since the OP question was etiquette, not your right, I say an optional stern anchor that blocks others should be removed. A necessary stern anchor to prevent grounding would take priority if set before you arrived. Technically, it is your right, subject to local harbor rules, to anchor as you wish, if you are there first.

ZanshIn..... When a German and Brit start duking it out, I start to worry that the US will end up sending a half million troops to France......
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Old 08-03-2011
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Hmmm, that's a strange one, alright...

One option might be to invite him over for a beer, then try to gently steer the conversation around to the stupidity of lying to a fore and aft anchor in a situation that does not require it? (grin)

I probably would have done what you did, however... Anchoring in proximity to someone who has little regard for "etiquette" is one thing, but being in the vicinity of one who might not have a clue what they're doing is another matter entirely...
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Standard etiquette would be that the first boat have the right and everyone else have to adjust accordingly. However stupidity or antisocial behaviour cancels that deal.

Normally when I encounter any of the above I anchor as I see fit for the anchorage and the dingy over and discuss the matter with the boat who are behaving "bad". Normally a smile and a friendly explanation of the problem is all it takes to make the other boat adjust to the logic of the situation.

Unfortunately there are a few strange people around who think their way of seeing things is the only one around and that everything else is a personal insult. However, in order to maintain the good etiquette and sailor culture it is important that we open our mouths and express our opinion when individuals behave irrational or antisocial.
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Old 08-03-2011
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I wonder, would it have been reasonable to radio the other boat and maybe ask if they'd heard any severe weather warnings that perhaps you missed that suggested to them that they needed a stern anchor? It could alert them to the fact that what they were doing was unusual for the conditions.

Or not. Thinking aloud here.
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Old 08-03-2011
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We ran into a similar circumstance over the 4th holiday. We had a large raft up (19 boats). There was another large raft (12 boats) ahead, and a circle raftup of power boats (10 boats) aft and to the right end of our raft. Of course the circle isn't going to swing. They were there first, no problem. We set stern anchors as well to keep everything more or less stationary. On the right end of our raft up, we had a power boat with 350hp that could fire up in seconds and easily swing the whole show away from the power boaters' circle if it were necessary. This was not a raft up of beginners, and to the best of my knowledge, none had any interest in colliding with anyone. Anyhow, to make a short story long, one member of the power boat circle raised holy hell every time a boat joined our raft. He sent his wife out in a kayak to photo and record all our boat reg #'s. When the last boat joined, they started to lower the kayak again. We told him not to worry and read the number to save his wife the trip. The poor guy was going to burst a vein. It was kind of funny just more or less ignoring him, but we did let him know if any anchors crossed, we'd get it sorted out. Of course this didn't make him happy, but that was his issue. During the night, we checked a couple of times... no swing, no change, no problem. Our raft broke earlier to catch an outgoing tide. I'm sure the guy's weekend was destroyed, but his personal issues weren't going to be ours. Sometimes there is absolutely no ability for some individuals to discuss things rationally and the 'ignore' button can work very well.
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Old 08-03-2011
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He who arrives first dictates the rules.
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