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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #1  
Old 09-04-2001
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Leaving your boat at anchor

As a relatively inexperienced sailor, I used to think that it was irresponsible to leave your boat unattended at anchor. However, I see people doing it all the time here on LI Sound.

So now I''ve started doing it a little, but I always feel anxious and a little guilty. We now dinghy ashore from anchorages and leave the boat alone for short periods.

We were in Sag Harbor a couple of weekends ago and anchored near a 60-foot catamaran that was on a hook. No human was seen near this half-million dollar boat for two days!

Am I being a spaz over nothing? Does everyone else leave their boat unattended at anchor?
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Old 09-04-2001
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Leaving your boat at anchor

That is a tough question. Of course people routinely leave their boats unattended at anchor and in most cases its perfectly alright. That said, I have seen some really awful situations develop. I had a guy come in with a 48 foot boat and achor very close up wind of my boat. (This was not even a crowded anchorage) I hailed the boat and warned them that they were anchoring too close to my anchor but they dismissed it. They had backed down to starboard of thier anchor and at that moment I was kited to port so we were pretty far apart when we were talking.

When they thought they were properly anchored, the two boats swung back together with then maybe a boat length (28 or so feet) forward of my bow. I hailed them again and they said they had a lot of scope ot and choked up on their rode.

They immediately went off in thier dinghy.

Then the boat started to drag. They ended up between my boat and my anhor rode between their keel and rudder and I could not even get my anchor up. I rigged fenders and tried to get my boat free until I eventually managed to get my rode below their rudder. They eventually dragged off behind me across the small channel (deeper water) and were probably a couple 100 feet astern (and aground on the other side of the channel) when the people came back for their boat.

That represents one extreme. If you carefully anchor noting bottom shape and depth and you are sure that your anchor is set well. If you spend a little time on board making sure that you are not dragging or swinging into your neighbors. If you are aware of wind changes and expected tide changes and keep an eye on your boat during these kind of anchor freeing events you should be OK going ashore.

Regards
Jeff
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Old 09-04-2001
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Leaving your boat at anchor

I get nervous also and prefer known moorings.

A "well set" anchor means just that and not some achoring effort where you hold the rode, pull on it a little and cleat it. Back down on the anchor with plenty of scope at WOT. If it won''t hold then reset it. You can take up the scope then and don''t forget the chafe protection.

I am always watching the wind however.
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Old 09-05-2001
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Leaving your boat at anchor

JeffH,

You left out the best part of the story. What happened when the owners came back to find their boat aground?

Duane
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Old 09-05-2001
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Leaving your boat at anchor

It was really no big deal. The wind and current was holding them against the side of a muddy bank. They got off pretty easy.

It takes all kinds.
Jeff
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Old 09-05-2001
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Leaving your boat at anchor

A point to remember here is that good ground tackle is the best insurance you can have. Set your anchor, wait 1/2 hour and then enjoy your time ashore. If you still are anxious set a second anchor. Remember that you know your ground tackle and you DO NOT know what is on the other end of a mooring ball.
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Old 09-06-2001
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Leaving your boat at anchor

I know what is at the end of all of the mooring I have. They are inspected. And what is found is a minimum 400 lb anchor with heavy chain and 1" diameter pennants. I back down on all moorings. This is good practice anyway to pull the chain back right away so as to "match" the other nearby boats.

On unknown moorings I back down under speed. This really puts a shock to the system. I don''t think many anchors would hold. I have seen moorings drag their anchors in hurricanes. I have seen anchors drag in a few knot''s of wind when the current or wind changes direction.

Of course it''s doing it right that what really matters. They are both right answers then.

Time and time again it''s some anchored boat that drags down on me. Only once did a moored boat drag down on me in a hurricane.
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Old 09-30-2001
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Leaving your boat at anchor

There are very many factors to consider when leaving a boat at anchor unattended. Many have been covered by others already, but in my humble opinion the most important are:
a) adequacy of your ground tackle (size of anchor, length of chain)
b) variability of weather (wind direction / strength
c) the anchorage itself (how well protected, how busy, type of holding ground)

Of course b and c (how busy) can change quickly, so I would always want to stay reasonably close to the anchorage so I can monitor the changes and react accordingly.

Jonathan
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Old 02-01-2010
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This is old but also rather interesting.. I picked up from some blogs that people leave their boats unattended for weeks (!) on standard tackle. Would you consider leaving your boat on a mooring-like, extra heavy anchor?
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