Yawing at Anchor, The Theory and The Solution

Back in 1987, Hurricane Emily hit Bermuda with wind gusts in excess of 100 knots. What made this unique, at least in modern times, was that due to the unprecedented and unpredicted speed the storm was traveling as it approached and crossed Bermuda, we had almost no notice of the impending hit.

When I went to sleep, along with the rest of the Island's residents, Emily had been a slowly dissipating hurricane well south of Bermuda, and no threat.

My phone went off at 04:00. It was my then brother-in-law who, at the time, looked after American billionaire Ross Perot's boat:

John, get your boat off the dock, Emily is coming to breakfast.

After a mad scramble to secure the house, I headed for the boat through the eerie early morning flat calm darkness. There was not a breath of wind when I left the dock bound for our hurricane mooring. Thirty minutes later, as I approached the mooring, it was already blowing a full gale, and by the time I got secured (on the third pickup attempt), it was clear that I was staying aboard for the duration.

The good news was that, due to Emily's speed of advance, the storm only lasted about three hours, with a short lull in the middle as the eye passed over.

I spent that time standing looking out the companionway, not that there was a lot to see. When it's blowing that hard the point where the sea ends and the air begins gets blurred with blowing spray.

Still, I learned three things that day:

  1. Introduction
  2. 4 Vital Anchor Selection Criteria and a Review of SPADE
  3. SARCA Excel Anchor—A Real World Test
  4. SPADE, SARCA Excel, or Some Other Anchor?
  5. Rocna Resetting Failures and evaluation of Vulcan and Mantus
  6. Some Thoughts On The Ultra Anchor, Roll Bars and Swivels
  7. Specifying Primary Anchor Size
  8. Kedge (Secondary Anchor)—Recommended Type and Size
  9. Third Anchors, Storm Anchors and Spare Anchors
  10. Anchor Tests—The Good, The Bad, and The Downright Silly
  11. Making Anchor Tests More Meaningful
  12. We Love The Way Our Anchor Drags 
  13. Things to Know About Anchor Chain
  14. Selecting a Chain Grade
  15. Anchor Chain Catenary, When it Matters and When it Doesn’t
  16. Anchoring—Snubbers
  17. Anchor Rode Questions and Answers
  18. Q&A: Hybrid Rope And Chain Anchor Rodes
  19. Anchor Swivels, Just Say No
  20. A Windlass That Makes The Grade
  21. The Perfect Anchor Roller
  22. Install A Wash-down Pump—And Save Money!
  23. Anchoring—Kellets
  24. Anchoring—Chain: Stoppers, Termination and Marking
  25. 20 Tips To Get Anchored and Stay Anchored
  26. Choosing an Anchorage
  27. Choosing a Spot
  28. 15 Steps To Getting Securely Anchored
  29. One Anchor or Two?
  30. Two Anchors Done Right
  31. It’s Often Better to Anchor Than Pick Up a Mooring
  32. Yawing at Anchor, The Theory and The Solution
  33. Yawing at The Anchor, an Alternative Cure
  34. How To Use An Anchor Trip Line
  35. ShoreFasts—Part 1, When to Use Them
  36. ShoreFasts—Part 2, Example Setups Plus Tips and Tricks
  37. ShoreFasts—Part 3, The Gear
  38. Gale And Storm Preparation, At Anchor Or On A Mooring
  39. Storm Preparation, All Chain On Deck

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for 25 years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 20 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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