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Anchoring technique

Now, that we have exhausted the options for undocking lets talk about anchoring.

There is nothing like teaching to get a person up on all the details.

I have an idea about how to deal with the following situation but let me start with the problem.

To set the stage I am talking about a 35' Oday with a Fortress anchor with maybe 20' of chain and the rest line in about 20' of water.

The book says to motor up to the spot you want to drop the anchor and back down until the boat stops then drop anchor and pay out rode till it is three to one then try to set anchor. Then pay out the rest of the rode and final set.

This works fine with no wind or current.

In wind, as soon as you drop the anchor, but before it catches the bow blows down and the stern kicks to port and it ends up putting your stern over the rode.

How do you prevent that?

Like I said I have a way to deal but am interested in all possible ways to deal which I'm sure I'll get here.

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It is a lesson about the limitations of wax as an adhesive.
If you have an engineering problem solve it.
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Re: Anchoring technique

Our practice..

We survey the bay and choose a spot, the motor some distance beyond where we want to end up.
My wife takes the helm, and stops the boat by backing down whilst I free the anchor and get it over the roller.

Once the boat begins to back up I lower the anchor, paying out what I expect to be 3:1 or so. Once done, I wrap the deck cleat but hold the rode in my hand.. When the anchor bites, I can feel if it's bouncing, or, if it digs in right away, I'd better let go before losing some skin. My wife will then back down harder to truly check the set. We'll adjust scope once we're happy with the holding (and/or as the tide changes)

By not 'sitting while lowering the expected scope', there's no real risk of falling off sideways. I think this is even more important with all chain.. have seen people stop, dump a pile of chain on top of the anchor and then have trouble judging if they've dragged out all the chain or not. I think having some way on when the anchor hits bottom will promote a good bite.

This has worked for us for a few decades.

Not a big fan of fortress anchors, we are using about 40' 5/16 chain, a 35# Mantus then rope. btw, where our former CQR used to bounce along and/or occasionally plow a good enough furrow to plant corn, the Mantus has been pretty impressive, mostly stopping the boat pretty hard. In three seasons it has never tripped or let go.
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post #3 of 46 Old 1 Week Ago
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Re: Anchoring technique

We pretty much try to do what Faster suggests. Seems to work.
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Re: Anchoring technique

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Originally Posted by Faster View Post
By not 'sitting while lowering the expected scope', there's no real risk of falling off sideways.
Thanks for that explanation.

What does the above-quoted sentence mean?

The lesson from the Icarus story is not about human failing.
It is a lesson about the limitations of wax as an adhesive.
If you have an engineering problem solve it.
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Re: Anchoring technique

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Thanks for that explanation.

What does the above-quoted sentence mean?
What I meant was we don't sit 'stopped' while lowering the anchor (and the intended scope).

I'll have the anchor hanging in the water as the boat is stopping.. when I see that we have some reverse way I start to pay out the rode to the intended scope (faster than the boat is moving) and then snub around a cleat, let the rode stretch out and then let the anchor stop the boat.

The idea being that we are never in a 'stalled/stopped' situation where the bow is more likely to blow off.

I should add we have a Max prop and there isn't much hesitation before gathering way in reverse, which helps tremendously. I should also add that we were relatively satisfied with the CQR until we changed to the Max. Seems the increased reverse thrust was a factor.
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post #6 of 46 Old 1 Week Ago
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Re: Anchoring technique

Unless the anchorage is very crowded, I don't concern myself with falling off sideways at all. Why should I? It's a good indication that the chain is straightened out, when the bow comes back around into the wind. My technique:
  • Anchor partially deployed over the roller.
  • Motor to location I want the hook to set, or a little past if very deep and windy, and stop.
  • Drop ~2X scope (include freeboard height of bow roller), while the boat is blowing backwards, sideways and all. Motor back in idle, if dead calm.
  • When bow starts to point back to the wind, drop another ~2X.
  • When the bow points into the wind again, start to back down to test the set, but not too hard yet as the windlass is taking the load.
  • If I can't get a set with 4X, it's a do over.
  • I use both feel and SOG on the GPS. I do the dead reckoning thing too, but I don't find it terribly reliable if swinging a bit in the wind, unless you're truly dragging across a pool table bottom.
  • Assuming I'm set, I repeat the 2X at a time, until I get the scope I want.
  • Attach snubber and back down hard to test/set deeper.
  • 5X to 7X is most common for us, although, I bought 300 feet of 1/2" chain for a reason. If I have the room and it's blowing good, I will put out as much as I can. I sleep better.
I like Faster's method, if the anchorage is crowded, but I will usually opt for a longer dinghy ride, if available, rather than drop a hook in the crowd. It's not my anchoring I worry about, is the mismatched rodes, scopes and sets all around me. (ie Block Island in July and Aug is a no go zone for me)

I've also sailed to the anchor drop on a very rare occasion (last time with an engine that began to smoke), but only with virtually no one around me at all.
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post #7 of 46 Old 1 Week Ago
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Re: Anchoring technique

Sounds like we are all proposing variations on similar techniques. I think I am closest to Minnewaska. I don't back down initially unless there is little wind to move me. If the bow swings a bit, no big deal. And I usually will try to feel for some initial bite at about 2X scope then gradually let some rode out, snub, and repeat until I am at desired scope. Then I will back down in reverse to check the set.

Unlike Faster, I am a big fan of Fortress anchors. I suspect it's the bottom conditions here on Long Island Sound (usually mud) compared to the PNW. The Fortress is my secondary anchor and it's light weight for its impressive holding power is a big plus. Does have limitations in getting it to set in harder bottoms and bottoms with lots of grass and kelp.

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post #8 of 46 Old 1 Week Ago
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Re: Anchoring technique

Here is another (I actually posted and deleted last night, as my post turned into an anchor rant)

I have the students stop the boat and lower the anchor. Transmission in neutral.

They pay out 3:1 scope (or more with a Danforth-type) and the bow blows off. Transmission still in neutral.
At 3:1 the boat should snap back and point into the wind. This is good, as it confirms that the anchor is doing something.
Students increase scope to 5:1, and bow blows off, and snaps back again.
I now have them engage reverse, and bring the RPMs up to 50% throttle, while they verify holding while sighting a range directly abeam of the boat. If it holds, have them pay out 7:1 (this is a Danforth). We then have lunch.
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Re: Anchoring technique

I will not tell you how to make your ground tackle and boat work for you. I will tell you that....

When I decided to cruise... I knew that I would no longer find moorings and slips... I hate slips and only have been in one... aside for in water winter storage for a total of 5 days in 32 years of sailing my boat... the end of the Marion Bermuda race and one night in Portland ME. I am on a seasonal mooring in the summer in LI... But when I go off to spend the night somewhere else.... I am ALWAYS anchored. And I will not pay for a mooring... a waste of money.

So anchoring needs to be reliable and easy. Therefore I decided on all chain and a vertical windlass from Maxwell with foot switches and remote switches in the cockpit. I use the original 35# CQR now 32 yrs old... and 200' of chain marked at 50', 75', 100', 125', 150, 175'. I have a spare nylon rode... used only a couple of times since the chain and windlass were installed in 1990.

I used a 1" braided nylon snubber which is about 30' long and has a rubber mooring compensator "included". For a chain hook I used a stainless steel reefing hook... very "deep" and easily fits inside the chain link.... never once dropped off.

Chain has to be marked. Never uses less than 50' ever... usually 100'. Mostly anchor in 25' or less. Deploy the chain with the foot switch ... if there is wind the boat is blown downwind... off beam to the wind as the chain is let down. My boat does no weathercock and blow down wind... it ALWAYS turns beam too... and this is no problem... because when the anchor sets... it weathercocks. I can anchor beam to the wind as well... for the anchor drop... no problem.

I observe my dink in the water tied to the stern... we tow the dink. As the boat is pushed downwind the dink is pulled by the stern and comes along side the boat's stern quarter... When the anchor sets... the dinghy goes back behind the boat... no longer being pulled by the stern. Anchor set.

Now I need to make sure the set is secure and add the snubber. I tie off the end of the snubber line to a bow cleat.... hook the reef hook through the chain forward of the windlass and aft of the anchor roller... and holding the snubber and paying it out as I let more chain down. I let it down until the snubber is a foot or two above the water... adjust the line at the cleat.... then release more chain with the foot switch... until the chain drops as a catenary and the tension is in the snubber line. Snubber line is led around the windlass drum so that it's lead is straight to the bow roller and it rides in the groove in the roller. I lift the slack chain over top of the snubber.

Next I observe the compensator... If there is a fair amount of wind or force pushing the hull backwards... the snubber will begin to unwind a tad... it stretches more than the nylon rode and it TELLS ME that the chain is in tension and the anchor MUST BE DUG IN. In light winds I can back down until I see the same untwisting of the compensator. In very light to no wind... I don't bother backing down as there is no pressure on the ground tackle and when it does present the anchor will set itself and I will go to the bow to verify this.

I have only had a problem anchoring 4 or 5 times in 25 years of cruising... 2 x when the anchor hooked a cable... and I couldn't raise it! 3 times anchored is slippery eel grass... and the anchor couldn't dig in.

I sleep very well... and my worry are the boats around me... which DO drag.

Last edited by SanderO; 1 Week Ago at 09:05 AM.
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post #10 of 46 Old 1 Week Ago Thread Starter
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Re: Anchoring technique

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Originally Posted by SanderO View Post
Next I observe the compensator...
That sounds interesting do you have a link to a picture of it.

The lesson from the Icarus story is not about human failing.
It is a lesson about the limitations of wax as an adhesive.
If you have an engineering problem solve it.
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