Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Narragansett Bay
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Re: BVI First Time Concerns
Mark has some good advice on using the time to get comfortable with new things. I will put my anchoring technique down below, but you must have done it in 104. The only caveat is that you should ask/understand what ground tackle is available aboard. At least one bareboat I had in the BVI (I think it was Horizon), forbid anchoring. Sure enough, the ground tackle wasn't very substantial.
If you arrive in most mooring fields before 2pm, you'll like get a mooring. An exception is Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke, the home of Foxy's, where noon is the likely deadline. But you can anchor in 50 ft of water just south of the mooring field. Many do. I have several times. Or move around the corner to Little Harbour. Personally, I prefer to sail in the morning anyway, so I can enjoy where I'm going in the afternoon.
Here's my anchor method.
First, determine your scope. What's is the distance from the top of your bow roller to the sea bed at High Tide. Note, this is not the number on your depth sounder. Ask if the depth sounder is set to display water under keel and add your draft, if it is. The this has to be adjusted to high tide, plus the distance from the surface to your bow roller. This is 1X scope.
Motor into the wind, to your drop location. Coast up to it. It's least stressful, if you find a spot that does not have another boat in your lee. If that's not possible, be sure to allow enough room to fall back on your rode and not end up on top of their anchor, if possible. Not always possible. Drop 2X scope.
Let the boat drift back in the wind. You will likely end up sideways at some point. When the bow begins to point back into the wind, you've straightened out the rode, so it's not all bunched on top of the anchor (presumably). Let out another 2X and wait again for the bow to come around. At this point, put the engine in idle reverse to insure the anchor sets. I'm sure you learned to take a bearing on something. I also like to see the SOG on the GPS go to zero, keeping in mind that swing may show a tenth of knot, on and off.
If she is set, then shift to neutral and let out a total of 5X for all chain rode, or 7X for rope (you already have 4X out). Sometimes, it doesn't set on the first try. Don't feel like you might if you botched a docking. Failed sets happen regularly, pull it up and try again. Once the full scope is out, then back down on the anchor with your engine in higher revs, to be sure it is set well. You may want to set a snubber, prior to this high rpm set. More scope is always better, but if you have neighbors, it more appropriate to leave it to these, as that's what they should be doing and moving in unison is necessary.
Stay aboard for at least 30 mins to be sure all is good. In the BVIs, you should be able to snorkel over most anchorages and see your set visually too. I also recommend downloading an anchor alarm on your smartphone or tablet. One with a persistence line will show if you are dragging.
Finally, don't be afraid to take a longer dinghy ride to position yourself in a less stressful anchorage spot. It kills me to see everyone all bunched up as close to shore as possible. However, the most protected spots have filled up with moorings, so you may see some fetch the further out you get.
Enjoy it. The BVIs are the simplest place to sail between islands that I can think of.
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Last edited by Minnewaska; 09-02-2017 at 06:04 AM.