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Old 09-13-2019, 08:36 AM   #1
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Default Can we make anchoring safer?

Are a lot of yachtsmen too casual about anchoring? What can we do to be more secure at anchor?

Please watch the short video, Iím trying to encourage people to take anchoring more seriously, and be safer in strong winds.

https://youtu.be/FOKVO3JBgDY

Too many yachts drag because they use small, old-style anchors, which are often sized for Ďnormalí conditions, so they drag when the wind picks up. The new generation anchors are much more secure.

Traditional scope calculations are also a problem, they are based on rope rodes which are straight, rather than the chain which hangs in a curve.

I use 15m (50ft) plus double the depth, plus an extra 10m (30ft) in strong conditions. The starting length allows for the chain next to the anchor, which is flatter, and the double depth matches the chain at the top, where it is more vertical.
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Old 09-30-2019, 12:59 PM   #2
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A lot depends on the conditions.

If I'm stopping for lunch in a sheltered creek in good weather with a metre under the keel (2m of water) I'll veer only the minimum 6m of cable. Overnight I use a minumum of 10 - 15m (still in 2 - 3m of water) and more if it's windy. But then I have a boat that can take the ground easily and don't (usually) mind waiting for the tide to lift me off.

I have a Westerly Centaur displacing about 3.5t, a 16lb Danforth (which is great for mud but not really big enough) and 37m of 8mm chain.

Haven't yet had to do it anywhere too exposed...
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Old 09-30-2019, 10:53 PM   #3
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Anchoring for lunch is one thing, and double the depth in a light breeze and slack tide is probably sufficient. However, I still abide by the old maxim of seven times the depth of water. While rope can always be added, I have 300' of chain and rarely anchor in over 40' of water.

Indeed the only times I can remember anchoring in deeper water has been recent trips to Vancouver Island and the San Juans where the bow may be in 80' while the stern is in 20'...I all cases it has been necessary to drop anchor, then take a stern line ashore.

Only once can I remember dragging the anchor seriously. Behind a small cay in The Bahamas, in 15' of water, the wind picked up to 25 knots during the night. The telltale growl of the chain over the bow roller told me to get out of bed. A quick reccy with the spotlight gave me that awful 'Oh- S**t' moment as the stern of our 50' sloop moved ever closer to oyster rocks.

Every now and again this sort of experience is valuable. It reminds me that even with decades of practical experience under my belt, I am still as capable as the next person of getting it wrong. What I did that was incorrect was allowing myself to anchor with much less than 100' of chain because the boats nearby had done the same, and I was concerned that swinging with the tide could have caused a subsequent problem. I should have moved further afield, dropped 100' of chain, dug it in and slept with a clear mind.

The three other boats in the anchorage were two small yachts of less than 30' and a powerboat of probably 40'. Only us and the powerboat had holding problems.
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Old 10-07-2019, 03:43 PM   #4
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It's certainly true that the chain does more good on the bottom than it does in the locker, but when it comes to heaving it all back in again... Of course if you have a powerful windlass or capstan and don't mind making lots of noise and using the power, it's a lot easier! For those of us relying on Armstrong's patent it's hard work.
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:07 AM   #5
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Many years past, I put together a 36'er. I couldn't afford a windlass. I was anchored off Wagait beach in northern Australia and the wind shifted. All of a sudden, I was on a lee shore in 15 to 20 knots of wind as a squall line materialised over the horizon.

I was a very fit 35 year old with a healthy dose of fright. The trouble I had getting the hook off the bottom; then getting the boat into deeper water was a task I didn't want to repeat...also I was single handed.

I toured the salvage shops over the following 12 months, and managed to pick up a lightly used, though quite old, Admiral Benbow (?) windlass at a bargain price. It was still hard work, but using one hand at a time and 4 strokes per foot, it made it far easier for me to let out much more chain, in the knowledge that I could retrieve it with a degree of confidence.

It was an upright, bronze affair with greased bushes rather than bearings and was really a beautiful thing. It went well with the sextant, RDF, ancient electric depth sounder and my pride and joy; a second hand Kodan 8121 HF radio transceiver.

Gad, I hate getting old...
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:25 PM   #6
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Me too - but it's, arguably, better than the alternative.


The other problem (apart, that is, from environmental and financial implications) is that there's nowhere to put it. The foredeck in a Centaur is small - and will be smaller still when I get round to fitting the secondary cleats - and underneath it is my bed. And the extra battery and/or heavy wiring it'd need. And my disinclination to make major modifications to the boat. A lever-operated windlass is a possibliity I suppose - buy oh! so slow.

I suspect that when I get too old to heave in the cable by hand I shall either pack up entirely or buy a bigger boat.
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Old 10-09-2019, 02:45 PM   #7
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For years I wore a 't'-shirt with GGABB on the front. GGABB=Gotta Getta Bigga Boat. Now, as a minor concession to advancing years, I have downsized from 55 to 38. It's amazing just how much the maintenance bill has diminished.

We are in fact making a few minor steps toward trawlers. We chartered one just last month in Canada. It's appealing.....but not quite yet, methinks.
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Old 10-09-2019, 02:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichMac View Post
Are a lot of yachtsmen too casual about anchoring? What can we do to be more secure at anchor?

Please watch the short video, Iím trying to encourage people to take anchoring more seriously, and be safer in strong winds.

https://youtu.be/FOKVO3JBgDY

Too many yachts drag because they use small, old-style anchors, which are often sized for Ďnormalí conditions, so they drag when the wind picks up. The new generation anchors are much more secure.

Traditional scope calculations are also a problem, they are based on rope rodes which are straight, rather than the chain which hangs in a curve.

I use 15m (50ft) plus double the depth, plus an extra 10m (30ft) in strong conditions. The starting length allows for the chain next to the anchor, which is flatter, and the double depth matches the chain at the top, where it is more vertical.
Normal for me is 5 X depth plus 6' I a blow then let out another 50' i have 10mm chain.
I think he makes a lot of sense, certainly a safe way to go, will give it a trial.
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:20 PM   #9
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I have a couple of 30 lb lead kellets to put on mine. One litre equals 30 lbs of lead. After 30 knots of wind ,chain is bar straight, giving almost no catenery.

In smooth water , anchoring by the stern reduces loads and chafe on anchor rode drastically. By laying like a dead duck ,no shearing around , no fetching up, beam on at speed ,and spinning he whole weight of the boat around ,having only the windage of the transom and the cabin, instead of the windage of beam on, the loads on ground tackle are drastically reduced, to a fraction of that when bow on, in a strong wind .
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:22 PM   #10
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Too much scope in a crowded summer anchorage, is rudely taking up far more space than you need. I use a kellet, and give more scope only when the wind pipes up.
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Old 12-11-2019, 11:44 AM   #11
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What happens when the tide turns? She can't be very stable, lying stern-on to the stream, and the rudder must be susceptible to damage if the tidal stream is strong.
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Old 12-11-2019, 07:53 PM   #12
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It's a problem to know what amount of chain your neighbours have paid out. It seems mostly that when anchoring off the shore, with exposure being increased with a shift in the wind, that 5 to 7 times the depth is fairly standard. In that event, the boat which is anchored on a short chain becomes the problem when the tide alters direction and those boats with the recommended amount of scope move through 180 degrees.

As always, it is prudent to watch the movement of the boats around you and make adjustments as necessary...or move if you feel other boats are going to compromise your safety.

On three occasions, once in northern Australia, once in the Caribbean and once either in the Philippines or Thailand, other boats alone in an anchorage have contacted me by VHF and advised me of the amount of chain they have out. It's distinctly helpful.

Of course the amount of movement with both tide and wind is dependent to an extent on the weight of chain, the underwater profile of the boat and the windage of its rig...and if you use a kellet, where is it kept on the chain. Is it directly behind the anchor stock, or is it run along the chain to a distance behind the anchor.

I can honestly say that the majority of anchoring problems in busy anchorages have been caused by the boat which cruises up beside you, then drops anchor ahead before falling back to be in line with you, when you know his anchor is just a boat length ahead.

But most sailors are good at anchoring and it is my experience that it is rare to be affected by other boats' anchoring near me...except for the b*****d in Watmough Bay in the San Juans who spent several hours dragging all over the bloody anchorage and laughing about it on the radio.

Finally, it's worth taking a look at the link in the original post on this thread. It is a very thoughtful piece.
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Old 12-12-2019, 07:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
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What happens when the tide turns? She can't be very stable, lying stern-on to the stream, and the rudder must be susceptible to damage if the tidal stream is strong.

Yes ,stern anchoring only works where there is no current.
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