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Keeping mainsail up while anchoring??

1666 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  CalebD
I figured, why not if there are light winds? It offers some shade and doesn't have to be raised again. I had an argument with another about this and he told me it was ridiculous.

Any thoughts about this?

Thanks... Jim
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My boat tends to sail off on it's own when doing that, I tried it Sunday, it made retrieving the anchor really easy because it sailed right up to it.
Do you mean "while anchoring" or "while anchored"?

I've tried anchoring from the stern singlehanded in light winds (5 kt) with just the main up and it was a serious PITA. Wouldn't try it again. I've anchored from the bow with just the main up with greater success. That was in about 15-20 knots of wind and there was enough tension on the rode to set the anchor by backwinding the main... or so I thought. We dragged a bit that night, but the anchor reset.

Once the anchor is set, however, I would definitely recommend taking the main down . The wind may be light now, but you never know what will happen overnight. If you're just dropping the hook for a short break or for lunch, and conditions are light, I don't see the problem.
Do you mean "while anchoring" or "while anchored"?
Oopps... yes, I meant ancHORED. And only for lunch. It was a fun trial and we swung a bit but I guess it seemed awkward. Thanks for the opinions!
Hmmmm. I guess b/c it's not very seamanlike.
TOO many variables of the "what if" kind tend to pop up.

Mr. Murphy LOVES to pay a visit to unsuspecting folks.
Why not just heave to?
I often anchor and pick up mooring balls with the main up, BUT THE MAINSHEET EASED. If anchored with the main up, the boom is going to get really annoying, if not outright dangerous.

I also like to sail off a mooring or anchor (the latter is more difficult, but doable).

I guess if your main that that difficult to raise to prompt the question you asked, I'm left wondering what the problem really is that makes it that difficult. Raising or lowering your main sail shouldn't be that difficult unless there is some other problem.
Why not just heave to?
I suspect that situations in which you're safe to heave-to for lunch, and situations in which it's possible to anchor for lunch, are mutually exclusive.
I suspect that situations in which you're safe to heave-to for lunch, and situations in which it's possible to anchor for lunch, are mutually exclusive.
:D :D :D
I cant speak to the anchoring portion of your question but I can speak to the retrieving a mooring ball and pennants portion, which you did not ask about.
It really depends a lot on your local conditions; whether there is a lot of current or not, excessive wind, waves or chop.
For my area where there is typically a lot of current (Hudson River), the wind can be a big factor and trying to pick up a mooring (or anchoring) in a tight field of other boats it is important to me to not get out of control where I might hit one of the much more expensive boats then mine. I have found that having the main up can make our boat 'dance' about our mooring as it tries to sail from one side to the other but is actually tethered to the mooring. Unexpected jibes are dangerous in the best of situations and should be avoided but we have a lot of current that makes it much more difficult.
You can (and perhaps should) keep your main up when dropping anchor in some situations if you are not going to turn on your engine beforehand but the safest way to handle a few tons of boat is to be able to do it both ways: (A) with no sails and engine only OR (B) with sails up and the engine in neutral (IN CASE) you need it. Plan (C): no engine with only sails is for people who have mastered plans (A) and (B), or when your engine quits unexpectedly.
The most important tools you have to choose which plan you want to employ are your senses and your own recognition of your skills to do so.
Choose wisely.
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