‘Sailing Knowhow’ Topic

Learning How to Sail – Anchoring Your Boat

When lying at anchor there are certain points to consider when choosing your anchorage.

1) Weather and Sea conditions.

2) Depth of water and sea bed condition from the chart.

3) Tidal flow, current strength, local hazards at the area to anchor, cables, rocks, fishing nets etc.

4) Distance to the shoreline.

5) Outlook at the anchorage, if you are going to be sat there you may as well have a good view.

6) What amenities are there ashore, are you able to get previsions and fuel.

7) Other vessels in the anchorage area.

Anchoring is an essential and important skill when you are learning how to sail and you need to master to anchor your boat safely and securely. Dropping of your anchor should be such that your anchor secures tightly and formidably into wet mud and sand for a safe anchorage. Your anchor should be strong so that it can brave harsh weather and keep boat well secured.

Ideally, holding power of an anchor refers to weight your anchor can sustain without breaking free. Weight of your anchor depends on load of your boat and length of your boat.

There are different types of anchors like:

Danforth:
This anchor is best suited for small boats as it can secure very firmly in soft mud or sand. It can be used for large boats in few cases. Nevertheless, this anchor would not suit rock, sea grass, or clay beds.

Fishermen:
This is the traditional anchor with two arms. This anchor is most popular with small boats and if you want to secure your boat firmly to one place. Such anchors are heavy and therefore are not very popular with recreational craft.

Plough or CQR:
This anchor is best suited in almost all types of seabed’s like mud and weed, sand, and hooking rocks. This anchor is easily stow able and has appreciable holding power.

Bruce:
This anchor is among the latest designs of anchors. It can turn a full circle without breaking out. This anchor best suits sand and rock beds but could prove awkward to stow in soft mud.

Mushroom:
This anchor resembles an upside-down mushroom. This anchor best suits boats within fifteen feet length in protected water and has sustainable holding power due to its weight.

Grapnel:
This anchor proves useful where conventional anchors do not serve required purpose. Such an anchor can hold well in a rocky seabed but cannot get any hold in mud and sand. Hence, such anchors are used largely as an extra anchor.

Ideal Conditions for Proper Anchoring

The ideal anchoring location is a sandy or muddy seabed as it can hold your boat the best. Rocks or stones cannot provide a dependable hold. Water depth at the place of anchoring should allow sufficient chain and rope for four times the depth at high water when using chain only and six times, if chain and rope are used in combination. Anchoring at a place with little tidal stream is best as strong tides could pose problems in safe anchoring. While anchoring, consider the swinging area of your boat in relation to other anchored boats. Different boats would swing to the tide at different times depending on tide level, strength, and direction of the wind. Learning to sail and anchoring your boat or yacht, is an essential and important skill you need to master to anchor your boat safely and perfectly. Dropping of your anchor should be such that your anchor secures tightly and formidably into wet mud and sand for a perfect and safe anchor. Your anchor should be strong so that it can brave harsh weather and keep boat well secured.

In normal conditions, a safe minimum anchor to scope ratio is 4 to 1 (chain length to depth). (In heavy weather 6 to 1 or more). Depth is the depth of water at high tide, plus the height from water line to the bow roller. Scope is the actual amount of anchor line paid out when the boat is safely anchored. For example, if high water is 6.0m deep and your bow roller is 2.0m above the water, you need 32.0m (i.e. 4 times 6.0 + 2.0m) of scope to anchor.

If anchoring along a beach, you should take extra precautions. Gear attaching to anchor should be sufficiently strong to hold anchor in proper place. Check if your anchor is properly rigged before dropping anchor. Otherwise, you could lose your anchor.

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More information on “Learning How to Sail” is available form my web site;

http://www.learntosailnow.com

Great Sailing
Clive Peterson