Bombay Explorer 44
Join Date: Apr 2009
Thanked 79 Times in 75 Posts
Rep Power: 7
Re: Going ashore while on the hook
This is my 11th year of living on the hook mostly but not all in the Caribbean. Here are some random thoughts.
Use an anchor one size up from the recommendation. I am a dinosaur and living in the dark ages so have always used CQRs. They tell me they have proof there are better anchors.
All chain is the ONLY way to go long term. Chain in the locker is as useful as runway behind you. Now 250 feet out when you are in 10 feet is overkill but in 40 feet? Have the bitter end tied to some rope that could be easily cut in an emergency. If you have to do this, buoy the end even if the buoy will sink. It will help the diver find it.
I would only ever use one anchor except in storm conditions and expecting a major wind shift. In 11 years I have deployed the second anchor twice for storms. There is an exception to this. If you are in somewhere like Nassau and there is a major reversing current use a Bahamian anchor technique where two anchors are set at 180 degrees. The current reverses but the boat does not move much.
If you have ANY doubt about where you are anchored try again and again. I regard an electric anchor windlass as a major safety device. It does not get tired.
When you are happy that the anchor has gripped, back down on it hard. IE take up slack then at least 3/4 throttle in reverse for 5 to 10 seconds. If you are towing the dink it makes a good drag warning. Initially under reverse it will come towards the stern but after 5 seconds it should be dropping back. It is at this point you find if you have shortened the line to avoid getting it round your prop, ask me how I know this. When someone anchors in front of you watch to see if they do this. If yes ,stop worrying about them dragging if they don't then you might consider setting your fenders out in anticipation. BTW I just can not believe it when I see someone not backing down on their anchor. I want to scream something at them.
Snorkeling your anchor is a good idea if the water is clear. So Bequia yes but Falmouth harbor no.
Get to know your harbors. eg Falmouth harbor Antigua has excellent holding but Admiralty Bay Bequia is notoriously variable.
Leave your keys in the ignition. Leave your anchor windlass in active mode or if the switch is in the cockpit make sure it is clearly marked. Have your second anchor on deck and attached to it's rode. Ideally on a second anchor roller. If you are away and the boat drags then make it as easy as possible for the good samaritan to sort it out and reanchor your boat.
If you are anchoring in a place where you suspect there could be things to snag your anchor then use a tripping line. DO NOT BUOY IT. Use thin cable ties to run it back along the chain. I have watched a boat become anchored by the stern when it got it's tripping line around prop on a day when the winds are gusty and coming from all directions. Yes it duly tripped its anchor and went walkabout into shallow water !
In squally weather I like to stay onboard for at least one squall. Check your position relative to neighboring boats.
Use a nylon snubber line to a chain hook. It will dramatically reduce chain noise in the forecabin. If you use a rolling hitch make sure you can cut it off, they will tighten and become impossible to undo.
If you are single handing an anchor remote is a good thing. You want to be able to operate the engine and the windlass from the cockpit in an emergency. It is on my TODO list.
Be very aware of the boats of different hull types when they anchor close to you on rope rode. Something like a lightweight catamaran anchored by the stern with it's dagger boards up behaves very differently from a heavyweight deep keel mono on all chain. **Does anyone know why the French anchor their lightweight multis by the stern?
Finally if you anchor after another boat and if for some reason you start getting close together it is your responsibility to move, even if it is a MOBO on 250 feet of rope in 10 feet of water. He was there first so suck it up and move.