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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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Old 12-27-2011
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Raising anchor single handed

I single-hand a lot and I am looking for some hints, suggestions on raising the anchor when there is a wind blowing.
Quick background: I have a Centurion 32, a Bruce anchor, 100' of chain and the rest nylon line. I do NOT have a windlass. I am not sure, though, that having a windlass would have helped a lot since the strain on the anchor rode can be pretty large (see below).

Two summers ago I was in Tribune Bay on Hornby Island, anchored near the south west side because it was handy to my brother's house. A NW wind came up. It was low tide and I noticed that the reef that leads out to Norris Rock was not very far aft of me. When I went forward to raise the anchor, I could not budge it. I thought about motoring forward, dashing to the bow, raising the anchor a bit, dashing back to the stern to regain control etc. etc. but decided waiting was the best thing to do. I stayed another night, not unpleasant at all.

Since then I have been more careful about where I anchor, anticipating what might happen if the wind comes up about the time I want to depart.

What do other people do to lift their anchor single-handed or even plan their anchoring in order to deal with this type of problem?
Cheers,
Ross
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Old 12-27-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RossC32 View Post
Two summers ago I was in Tribune Bay on Hornby Island, anchored near the south west side because it was handy to my brother's house. A NW wind came up......
Lucky for you that wasn't a SE wind that suddenly came up!

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Originally Posted by RossC32 View Post
What do other people do to lift their anchor single-handed or even plan their anchoring in order to deal with this type of problem?
Cheers,
Ross
I don't do a lot of singlehanding, but for the most part the anchor retrieval is essentially a solo effort - on a similar sized boat with no windlass. I find that beginning to pull the rode in generally puts a bit of way on the boat as your pull toward the anchor... once the rode is vertical that way is usually sufficient to pop the hook out of the bottom.

Occasionally it's not, and we'll motor ahead on the anchor to break it out.. even solo once you're short-scoped and you go aft to motor towards deeper water to break out the hook then it seems all you need to do is position yourself somewhere that gives you time to go forward and quickly finish the job.

However on a windy day in a crowded anchorage I can certainly see problems with this. One thing you might try is to run your (rope) rode aft to a primary winch and motor ahead gently and use the winch to retrieve the rode from a position near the helm - but then you've got this mess of rode to clear up afterwards. (and if it drops over the side at any point you may have real problems...) The other issue here is that that only deals with the rope section and a small part of the chain.. but it might get you clear enough to slowly motor yourself clear before clearing up the deck...

I would say, short scope (near vertical) by hand, break out as necessary, and then let the boat motor slowly on autopilot while you finish the job, keeping an eye out for obstacles as you go.

Normally I'll retrieve the anchor, let the boat drift while I secure the anchor and close the locker then mosey aft and head on out.. fortunately most of our anchorages here in BC are not usually subject to strong winds.
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Last edited by Faster; 12-27-2011 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 12-27-2011
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I have on occasion, started the engine, kept it at idle speed put it forward on autopilot and gone forward to retrieve the anchor. If it's windy enough the boat will creep forward slowly enough for me to get the anchor up out of the water, or at least cut the wind resistance down enough for me to pull toward the anchor. I recognize the potential hazard of doing this. I usually anchor in water that's 20 ft. or less.. and the boat is 34 ft...once the anchor is free, I can retrieve the last 20 or so ft ( chain) pretty quickly.
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Old 12-27-2011
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Raise your main sail with a reef in it. Keep it flat and sheeted in tight. Get up on the bow, sit down and wedge your feet in good, as the the boat sail's up on the anchor pull in the chain, when it's about to tack, take a turn, when it slack's pull some more. One link at a time, you'll get it up. Patience!!!

Last edited by Capt.aaron; 12-27-2011 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 12-27-2011
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This is one subject I actually have some experience in. Your comment about anticipating what may happen is right on. Sometimes you have to sacrifice your present comfort for comfort in the AM and departure. When it is really bouncy you can work the rode like reeling in a big fish. As the bow drops pull in and snub. It does not have to be a complete knot just a turn will usually help take the load. Repeat and keep your fingers clear. A Sampson post really helps with this. Unless sailing of the hook in a open anchorage I have the engine running and warm. I often use it to pull the anchor after getting directly above but I drop it into neutral before going forward. You have to be fast and the priority is to get back to the helm and get control of your boat. Dan S/V Marian Claire

Last edited by marianclaire; 12-27-2011 at 07:14 PM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt.aaron View Post
Raise our main sail with a reef in it. Keep it flat and sheeted in tight. Get up on the bow, sit down and wedge your feet in good, as the the boat sail's up on the anchor pull int the chain, when it's about to tack, take a turn, when it slack's pull some more. One link at a time, you'll get it up. Patience!!!
This sounds interesting. I think I'll try practising it off of Kits beach when there is SE wind blowing. That way, if I screw up, I'll just be blown out to English Bay.
I always sit down to raise anchor and I have a chain stopper to hold the chain when I am reaching for more.
Ross
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Old 12-27-2011
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Not something I have practiced but perhaps a trip line on the anchor, motor up to that and get the anchor up and then bring in the rhode and chain quickly. Let me know how it goes.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RossC32 View Post
This sounds interesting. I think I'll try practising it off of Kits beach when there is SE wind blowing. That way, if I screw up, I'll just be blown out to English Bay.
I always sit down to raise anchor and I have a chain stopper to hold the chain when I am reaching for more.
Ross
I've been sailing around with no engine all over the Key's, Bahama's and Western Caribbean for over 20 year's. Living aboard on the Hook and I've been raising 100' of 5/8 chain and a 45 pound Danforth by hand just like this a 1000 times. As soon as it's up, fall off and your under way. (Well, the engine came out in 93, but you know what I mean)

Last edited by Capt.aaron; 12-27-2011 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 12-27-2011
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"I've been raising 100' of 5/8 chain and a 45 pound Danforth by hand "

Whoa! At 3.7 lbs per foot of chain and 45 lbs of anchor you're pulling up over 400 lbs by hand (if you're in 16 fathoms of water), my hat's off to you. How's the back?

I've done what Tempest described on our last boat, using the engine and autopilot to motor slowly forward while pulling like crazy on the bow before the wind overpowers the ability of the autopilot to keep the bow into wind (usually after the anchor is off the bottom). Those are the times when a remote control for a windlass in the cockpit would be pretty nice.
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Last edited by jrd22; 12-27-2011 at 09:40 PM.
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Old 12-27-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd22 View Post
"I've been raising 100' of 5/8 chain and a 45 pound Danforth by hand "

Whoa! At 3.7 lbs per foot of chain and 45 lbs of anchor you're pulling up over 400 lbs by hand (if you're in 16 fathoms of water), my hat's off to you. How's the back?

I've done what Tempest described on our last boat, using the engine and autopilot to motor slowly forward while pulling like crazy on the bow before the wind overpowers the ability of the autopilot to keep the bow into wind (usually after the anchor is off the bottom). Those are the times when a remote control for a windlass in the cockpit would be pretty nice.
I've never anchored in 16 fathoms of water!! 5 tops. Usaully( 99% of the time) I anchor in 2. I guess my back is strong, I use my legs for most of it, It never feels like I'm pull'n more than 80 pounds. My dream is to buy a manual windless, I can just never get it together. They are so expensive and there is alway's something I need more!! If I anchor in anything more than 3 fathoms, I use my 1/2 line to 30' of 3/8's chain and 40 pound CQR, but the raising method is the same.

Last edited by Capt.aaron; 12-28-2011 at 09:04 AM.
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