SailNet Community - Reply to Topic
Thread: sideways on anchor? Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

Click here to view the posting rules you are bound to when clicking the
'Submit Reply' button below

  Topic Review (Newest First)
10-16-2013 05:22 AM
Re: sideways on anchor?

Our boat has so much windage, when we set the anchor, its almost embarrassing. I don't think we ever fall off less than 90 degrees to the wind. Some must wonder what the heck we're doing. It's an issue in tighter anchorages. Putting her in reverse to set the anchor could mean backing toward a neighbor off the beam first. Nerve wracking for all. If really snug, I have to use the bow thruster to keep us fairly straight. I hate that. On the up side, its very easy to tell when the hook has set or at least pulled against the deployed chain, as we swing 90 degs back into the wind. This is why sailors drink shortly after setting anchor.
10-15-2013 11:40 PM
Re: sideways on anchor?

Originally Posted by promac View Post
Wind was gusty and strong, 20,s mostly gusting up to 30's.
Wind was NE and tide was high at about 2.4m, about an hour before the turn of the tide.
My vote is a strong tide. Your experience is pretty common on the east coast of Florida and Georgia. Somewhat on the west coast too. This is just my experience, and I was pretty dumbfounded when it happened to me the first time.

The worst was on a mooring in Fernandina, Fl. The mooring ball was banging on the side of the hull, and 15-20 knots of wind coming from the stern. The boat lying to the current. As the tide nears slack, the boat will lie beam on the wind, until the tide changes.

Not knowing the tide where you are, it's not easy to say. If the boat is just swinging side to side, into the wind, that's pretty normal for us.

10-15-2013 10:44 PM
Re: sideways on anchor?

I saw a detailed explanation somewhere on why boats "hunt" while at anchor. It has to do with the fact that the boat's center of resistance to air flow is different than it is for water flow. When wind blows past the boat, the center of resistance is roughly at the mast (because it's high and has windage). A high freeboard at the bow can make it even a little further forward.

The boat's center of resistance below the waterline is at the keel, and on most boats this is behind the mast.

Having the topsides center of resistance forward of the keel creates an unstable situation that causes the boat to want to turn sideways when wind blows from the bow. It is oscillating - it will turn to starboard until the rode pulls it back, and then turn to port.

As pointed out here, the solution is to move the topsides center of resistance aft by adding a riding sail near the stern. Or if you have a ketch rig, put up a little bit of mizzen.
10-15-2013 06:23 PM
Re: sideways on anchor?

Thanks to everybody who replied, lots of great ideas to think about.

In reply to caberg, yes i beleive that the anchor was dragging?
The anchor line was tight all the time we were under anchor, but i suspect we were dragging it slightly.

From what i have read in all of your replies i now think that this makes the most sense.
The boat anchors and sails beautifully normally,is well balanced( i pondered as to the weight balance point being too rear heavy or something similar)
The tide and wind on the day were coming from roughly the same direction.

With the anchor dragging, logic tells me the boat wouldn't want to turn nose up into the waves.
Just never had it happen before as we dont tend to anchor much, but if/when we do it is normally in a sheltered bay off one of the islands.

Thank you to everybody who posted. Your help/advice is greatly appreciated.

To say i was impressed with the wealth of information in replies on here is an understatement.

I will test the dragging anchor theory next time we are out on the water.
And will implement the small riding sail to experiment with results.

10-14-2013 12:37 PM
Re: sideways on anchor?

With big winds on anchor I can fell my boat sailing on both sides of the anchor. The sail is the Lazybag.

If I go forward and look at the anchor cables that connect to the chain I can see the pressure going away, slowly returning to go away again

That's one of the reasons I use two big rubber shock absorber, to make all this really smooth.
10-14-2013 12:19 PM
Re: sideways on anchor?

I can't tell if the OP is really riding at anchor or if there's something else going on, but I love my riding sail. My boat sails like crazy at anchor, so I made a little cheesy sail out of tarp and it seems to be working great. I could have gone a little bigger with it, but I'll have plenty of time over the winter to make a Mk. II version. It was under $15 in materials:

The $15 Riding Sail Experiment | Sailing Fortuitous

10-14-2013 11:55 AM
Re: sideways on anchor?

I have a similar boat that also likes to hunt at anchor. If the waves are not large you can anchor off the stern quarter. That is bring the rode back to a stern cleat and let the boat ride stern quarter to the wind. You need to be careful the waves are not going to come into the cockpit, and it does tends to confuse other people in the anchorage.
10-14-2013 11:43 AM
Re: sideways on anchor?

Originally Posted by caberg View Post
Are you sure the anchor was not dragging?
Not sure if this was a question to me or the OP. In my case, no it wasn't dragging before I retied the line or after. I was sure it would once I was beam to the wind, but it held.

Again, I'd never do that as a matter of course but it worked for the couple of hours I needed.
10-14-2013 11:22 AM
Re: sideways on anchor?

Our friends cruise the Caribbean on a very lively Bene 36.7.. we gave them the riding sail that came on our boat 8 or 9 years ago (here in BC there's little need) after their boat sailed so much on the anchor that the lurch when the rode fetched up would wake them, and on one occasion actually tripped the anchor.

Since then the riding sail goes up within minutes of the anchor hitting the bottom.. hasn't cured the problem totally but has cut the swing path and loading in half at least.
10-14-2013 11:12 AM
Re: sideways on anchor?

Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post

See (click on) Banner Bay
I have one of these. With our high freeboard, we can really swing at anchor.

However, I've taken it out of the bag several times to set it up and have just folded it back away. I've never used it. Of course, its always been at the end of the day, at anchor, awaiting a sundowner. My patience may not be at its best.

Once set up with quick connects or adjustable connections, I'm sure it would be easier the next time.
This thread has more than 10 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome