Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Vancouver, BC
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When I go cruising, the first thing I do is check the weather. Which way is the wind anticipated to go, at what speed? I have more than adequate ground tackle (anchor, chain and rode). My anchor would hold a boat 3x the weight, provided that the holding on the bottom is decent, because, well, it's bigger than it 'needs' to be, for the boat. I check my cruising guide and note several alternative places to spend the night in case the forecast is wrong, which is frequently the case where I live. I consider the forecast to be an interesting data point to compare against what actually happens. I also check out what the bottom is like (mud? sand? rock?) in each of my prospective anchorages on my detailed local charts.
I agree with most posters here that I will always choose a sheltered anchorage over a Lee shore, but I've held firmly in 45 knots when the wind reversed directions (not in the marine forecast) and put me on a lee shore int the middle of the night. I happened to be in a big enough anchorage to have a lot of scope out (250+ feet in 35 feet of water at high tide; 7-1 or better. This still leaves me 17 feet of depth under my waterline or over 10 feet beneath my keel at low tide in case there is wave action that lowers my depth in the troughs of waves) and had very firmly set my anchor in a muddy bottom by backing up as I paid out my rode, until tying it off - still moving backward quickly - and stopping the boat with the anchor. After checking it by applying 65% power without moving, I had a pretty good idea that I would hold in most conditions and that the anchor was well set. When the wind reversed during the night, turning my previously protected anchorage into a lee shore, I regularly checked my bearings to ensure that I wasn't dragging. Carrying a spare anchor isn't a bad idea either. In fact, I am now going to get a 'lunch anchor'; a smaller anchor for short stops in protected waters, that is easier to retrieve than my main unit. I'll bet it is similar to what a lot of people use to hold boats like mine overnight while they sleep - not as soundly as I do...
SeaLife Sailing (Sailing School Operator)
s/v 'Ma Provence'
Last edited by SeaLifeSailing; 04-29-2010 at 05:56 AM.
Reason: math correction