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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 04-26-2010
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Lee Shore

Another thread on anchoring prompted this thought but I thought I'd start a new thread rather than hijack that one.

The upshot is, I have only had a few times when I wasn't anchored to windward of some shore line. On the Chesapeake, its not uncommon to have land and/or shoal water near by on 2 or 3 sides, sometimes closer than you would like.

I always try to select an anchorage based on the forecast winds, however in summer conditions I've swung 360 degrees around the anchor as summer thunderstorms swept by. Only on a couple of occasions have I been rewarded to awaken to find my boat lying exactly the way I had expected. Fairly often I find, I'm lying towards a shore line, so I'd be in trouble if we dragged. If I expect the wind to shift, I'll anchor for the shift rather that the existing wind and find that usually works though, you're usually blowing twards land until the shift occurs, sometimes 1/2 the night.

I have a fair degree of confidence in my Delta 35 and our anchoring technique for the conditions we sail in, but I still take a panic azimuth before dark and note it at the helm, set an anchor alarm and get up to check if we're dragging at least a couple of times a night (a couple of beers helps with this), more if storms are about. In the conditions we anchor in, I just can't see how you could possibly consistently avoid a lee shore when anchoring. Am I missing something? Anything I could do better to avoid finding myself a tale of woe?
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Old 04-26-2010
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Lee shores aren't a big issue if you're in a good cove and protected. It's when you get fetch, current, and big shifts that aren't protected that breaks ya loose. In the bay, you usually can find a good hiding spot, may not be the perfect spot, but good enough. And you'll always be on a lee shore, but if you hug a windward shore, chances are bad things won't happen.
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Old 04-26-2010
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Wouldn't the correct response vary, according to the weather?

I think we could all agree that anchoring on a lee shore in bad weather would be a great way to mess up your day.

However, if one is in a protected cove as one of the other posters has suggested; or in good weather or settled weather, the risk would be reduced, no? I have found that checking the weather forecast in advance greatly increases the liklihood of a good night's sleep.
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Old 04-27-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailjunkie View Post
Wouldn't the correct response vary, according to the weather?

I think we could all agree that anchoring on a lee shore in bad weather would be a great way to mess up your day.

However, if one is in a protected cove as one of the other posters has suggested; or in good weather or settled weather, the risk would be reduced, no? I have found that checking the weather forecast in advance greatly increases the liklihood of a good night's sleep.
True, but if you didn't sail when there was a chance of thunder storms with their attendant strong winds you wouldn't sail on the Chesapeake in the summer since the forecast almost always includes a chance of scattered t-storms. Sometimes than makes the good night sleep a bit harder to get.

A friend of mine was blown aground last year during a multi day cruise when they were hit by a powerful squall line while anchored. It was a relatively short duration, but winds in the area were recorded at better than 50 knots. He lost some of his canvas and ended up pretty well grounded, but fortunately, no serious damage thanks to the Chessy's mud bottom.

We just deal with a different situation than a true lee shore where the prevailing winds and long fetch could be sustained for days.
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