You can have the best anchors and associated gear available, but if you don’t use that gear properly you won’t get anchored and stay anchored. In this post we carry on from Part 1 with some tips for techniques to help make you a happy anchorer.
- When picking an anchorage remember that wind, within reason, won’t hurt you but waves, and particularly swell, will.
- Really small anchorages feel snug but larger ones are often safer since, if you do drag, you will have more time to react before you hit the beach.
- Don’t just plunk your anchor down any-old-where, think about it and measure.
- Be very wary of anchoring near steeply sloping hills or mountains, particularly in the high latitudes, since they can cause truly frightening gusting. An anchorage surrounded by high ground may feel snug but often one surrounded by low ground is safer.
- Trees are your friend. Nothing cuts wind like trees.
- If you have good anchoring gear and know how to use it, you will generally be safer anchored than on a mooring.
- If you follow these rules, the biggest danger to you while anchored is another boat dragging down on you, therefore it is often better to anchor away from the crowd, even if it means being more exposed.
- When backing down after dropping, do not place any load on the rode until you have at least four to one scope out. (This is why you need a clutch and brake on your windlass.)
- If you plan to sleep, always anchor as if it’s going to blow like blazes.
- Always set your anchor with the engine and don’t be timid on the throttle. If it drags, even slowly with a lot of engine power, reset it, or go somewhere else. Don’t be lazy, one day you will regret it.
- Three to one scope is an absolute minimum, after setting, and five to one is a lot better.
- If you have a decent anchor, seven to one scope is all you will ever need. Letting out more will just make your boat sail around more and result in higher loads on the system. Laying out too much scope is also inconsiderate, as it leaves less room for others.
- It is almost always better to anchor on one anchor, rather than two or more.
- Anchoring bow and stern is generally a bad idea because the loads imposed by the boat’s inability to swing head to wind can be as much as 15 times higher.
- If you need to restrict the swing circle, use two anchors off the bow, here’s how to do it right.
- If your boat sails a lot at anchor, set a small steadying sail aft; messing with multiple anchors is almost never the answer.
- If it is going to blow over gale force, remove your roller furling headsail(s), you will be glad you did.
- Don’t use a trip line, unless there is a really, really good reason to do so, and then do it right.
- Be sceptical about what you read about anchoring on forums since much of the commentary is based on very little real world experience and it is difficult to tell who knows what they are writing about and who is simply parroting “forum wisdom”. Also, forum pundits love to make things more complicated, particularly around anchoring, than they really are.
- Do read the comments to the anchoring posts on this site, there is a lot of wisdom there from a lot of people with a lot of miles under their belts.
Well, there you have it. There are many other things to learn about anchoring securely, but if you follow these simple rules, read the linked chapters, practice a bit, and have the gear detailed in part 1, you won’t go far wrong.