Online Book:

Anchoring Made Easy—Technique

Book in Progress There are few activities in the voyaging life that cause more anxiety and stress than anchoring. But it does not have to be that way. In these books—this is such a large and important subject that we have split it into two parts: Vol 1, Gear and Vol 2, Technique—John and Colin share what they have learned in a combined century of anchoring from Greenland to Brazil, as well as a lot of places between.

You particularly need to read these books if:
● You dread having to anchor.
● You head for a marina or mooring field when strong winds are forecast.
● Anchoring causes friction between you and your spouse or partner.
● You don’t sleep properly when anchored.

Table of Contents:

20 Tips To Get Anchored and Stay Anchored


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.

Choosing an Anchorage


As I write, the still gale force remnants of the Halloween Storm of 2011 are howling in the rigging as Morgan’s Cloud tugs at her anchor and bucks to the chop here in Great Salt Pond at Block Island. I sometimes call cruising, particularly when tired and crotchety, “death by a thousand decisions”. And deciding [...]

Choosing a Spot


It always amazes me how often you see boats motor into an anchorage, choose a spot, seemingly at random, and then immediately drop the anchor with no more ado. And it’s not really surprising how often the same boats go through the whole anchoring process again because they ended up too close to the shore [...]

Setting The Anchor

Weed ball  091 IMG_1563

After seven years of using a ‘new generation’ anchor, it’s been quite an education to go back to the older generation. A bit like exchanging your Porsche 911 for a Volkswagen Beetle—both will get you from A to B, but there the similarity ends. For the last two years we have chartered yachts for our [...]

One Anchor or Two?


So the question is: Should you use one anchor or two, and if two, in what circumstances? Answer: if your boat is properly set up and equipped you should almost never need to set more than one anchor. Here is why: OK, I admit it. We have two bow rollers on Morgan’s Cloud, and back [...]

Two Anchors Done Right

Different types of boat lie in different ways- the narrow tidal anchorage at Sapinho, Baia de Camamu, Brazil.

Some of my favourite anchorages are strongly tidal, a perverse eccentricity you may think. But I love the living feeling of the boat as she swings to the new tide, and the ever-changing view scratches my curiosity constantly and gives me a heightened sense of place. Other than that, tidal anchorages only offer endless possibilities [...]

It’s Often Better to Anchor Than Pick Up a Mooring

People are often surprised and even a little hurt when we turn down their kind offers to use their moorings in harbours we visit. They are even more perplexed as they watch us go to the trouble of anchoring outside the mooring field, often in a more exposed location. Here is an example of why: [...]

How To Use An Anchor Trip Line


First off, we use a trip line less than 1% of the time and only in places that we think may have junk on the bottom, such as commercial harbours. And in over 40 years of anchoring we have never had an anchor saved by a trip line and we have never lost an anchor. [...]

Stop Swinging Around!

A windy day in Dominica

Does your boat swing violently back and forth at anchor when the wind is up? Colin has a solution that is simple, inexpensive, and easy to rig.

Gale And Storm Preparation, At Anchor Or On A Mooring

A roller furling sail getting loose with the resulting shredding is one of the most common types of damage we see to sailboats on moorings during a blow. These Spinlock clutches are great, but when expecting a blow we always back them up by cleating the furling lines off.

We are on our mooring off our cabin in Nova Scotia with the remnants of tropical storm Danny heading our way. Last weekend it was Hurricane Bill* that passed close by giving us winds to 50 knots, even in this sheltered cove. None of this is new to us since we have spent much of [...]

Storm Preparation, All Chain On Deck


On Morgan’s Cloud we are always looking for new and better ways to minimize the chance of damage when riding out storms or hurricanes at anchor or on a mooring. And given that we  have spent a lot of time in the high latitudes and further that I kept boats on moorings year round in [...]