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Old 01-12-2010, 08:24 PM   #15
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 39

We use the anchor alarm on our chartplotter every time we anchor, and if the water is shallow or items to hit are close, make the alarm setting a very low distance. Deeper water or fewer things to worry about, bigger distance. We also set our B&G depth alarm for the high and low alarms that represent what we think will be 'normal' for the spot, and it has a loud enough alarm that sleeping though it is not an issue. Occasionally a fish or squid under the boat will set it off, but being sure things are OK makes getting to sleep again easy.

We take a compass bearing of what heading is 'safe' for leaving the anchorage, just in case a zero or near zero (squall or other event) visibility event and the desire or requirement of leaving the anchorage comes up. Having the heading grease penciled on the binnacle cover makes orientation at oh dark hundred when not as sharp as normal an easier for safe departures.

The last item we use a lot is a laser range finder. My honey bought it at a golf store, it has a infared crosshair, and since most anchorage dragging, or other boats too close are the bigger issue over actually dragging onto the beach. Knowing the range has closed from 99 yards to 71 yards in 15 minutes means 'time to go' and this is more effective than using the radar on very low ranges.

Those are the items that work for us over a very long time period, and we also anchor the furthest out if possible, or away from everyone else, but there is the apparently magnetic effect of 'big boat anchored over there' attracts boats, but being anchored in over 80' usually limits that somewhat.


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Old 03-28-2010, 11:01 AM   #16
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 4


Your method is a good one and one i have used before

I remember a night spent 100nm off shore surrounded by reef

This was before the days of GPS (just showing my age)

A 40 knot blow came up during the night

This was a 112 ft vessel anchored in a lagoon and surrounded by reef with no landmarks, gps or radar

Sent the crew out in the dory to drop an anchor with a line and buoy attached near where the anchor should be

Set an anchor watch for the rest of the night

We were still in the same spot next morning but without the marker we would not have known if we were dragging

So yes a good idea


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Old 03-28-2010, 08:40 PM   #17
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Home Port: Washington DC
Vessel Name: SV Mahdee
Posts: 3,236

We have to keep a computer on in order to use the chartplotter w/gps, therefore our anchor watch consists of:

1. taking bearings on fixed objects far and near (at least 3 bearings, in different directions at least covering a 90 degree arc hopefully more, on objects suitable varying distances away depending on the size of the anchorage and the swing we expect to have) and keeping track of those through the day or night. If the objects are too far away, it won't do you any good since you won't notice the change as you drag. Too close and you'll be frantic for no reason.

2. set the hi and low depth alarm for appropriate range.

more recently--

3. turn on the "tracking" feature the little Maemo Mapper chart plotter (freeware) which resides on our Nokia N810 (an organizer similar to a Palm with features similar to an IPhone w/o the phone but with a gps). This is the "back up" chart plotter which takes no energy. No alarm on it, but you can see your track and know if you're still where you think you are.

When it's stormy, even if the computer and chart plotter are available, I must say I'm more comfortable if I'm taking bearings and keeping watch in that manner. I do like the idea of the range-finder from the golf store, too

"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

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