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Old 05-06-2017, 09:35 AM   #1
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Anchoring, what would you do?

I'm a newbie. I recently moved my boat up the ICW from Stuart FL to Savanah GA. We were North of Brunswick were the tides and currents are extreme. The plan was to anchor out for the night, it was an hour before sunset and two hours before peak high tide. I pulled off the ICW into a narrow bayou to a marked active captain anchorage, plenty of space and deep water. Set the hook with a one or two knot current on the bow, all is good. This is where I got confused. I knew the current would swing to the opposite direction in the next three hours, thus turning the boat 180 degrees from it's present position. Not knowing if the anchor would hold I set three different drag queen alarms and set an alarm to wake up every 30 minutes in fear the anchor would drag as the current reversed directions. Sure enough the tide started flowing out the boat swang 180 degrees as expected and the anchor held but I serenely did not get a good night's rest. Was I overly paranoid or should I have reset the anchor to match the new current?
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Old 05-06-2017, 09:42 AM   #2
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Depends on the anchor, how well the anchor is matched to the boat weight/windage, the holding ground (bottom makeup), how well the anchor was thought to be set, whether that anchor style/weight would be expected to retain that set or break out, whether wind might have become an additional factor... etc etc etc.

IOW, can't guess.



That said... believe it's useful that you paid that much attention during your "newbie" days... and believe useful that you gradually teach yourself more and more about how the process works, when you can trust it, when you shouldn't trust it, etc.

Maybe the every-30-minutes wake-up alarm was a bit of overkill... but OTOH, your boat's safe, and you got to watch the reversal process in action, so to speak.

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Old 05-06-2017, 09:58 AM   #3
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It is disconcerting to anchor in strong currents, and strong winds, but you do get used to it. Your confidence will build. With the new "spade" type anchors (Rocna, Manson, Mantus, etc) The anchors usually set very quickly and if they are pulled out in a reversing current they reset quickly. When you set the anchor it is advisable to back down on it. My engine is 230 hp at 2600 rpm. I back down to 800 or 900 rpm which I figure is probably roughly 80 or 90 hp. Ana adequately sized anchor with adequate length of rode will take care of you.
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Old 05-06-2017, 10:13 AM   #4
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Yes, I believe most of us have "been there and done that". I recall my first few experiences overnighting at anchor and I never slept well. Experience and an anchor alarm has made a huge difference.
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Old 05-06-2017, 10:14 AM   #5
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Tal,
You're obviously worried about it. Set your clock alarm for slack water, get up and reset the anchor.
A Super SARCA anchor is very good at reversals. See Steve (Panope) Anchor setting videos.
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Old 05-06-2017, 10:20 AM   #6
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It is disconcerting to anchor in strong currents, and strong winds, but you do get used to it. Your confidence will build. With the new "spade" type anchors (Rocna, Manson, Mantus, etc) The anchors usually set very quickly and if they are pulled out in a reversing current they reset quickly. When you set the anchor it is advisable to back down on it. My engine is 230 hp at 2600 rpm. I back down to 800 or 900 rpm which I figure is probably roughly 80 or 90 hp. Ana adequately sized anchor with adequate length of rode will take care of you.
only experience and confidence will let you sleep better.

Some situations vhere room is tight, they still make me restless and check a few times at night.

I believe often on reversing currents the anchor doesnt pull out...just twists around...or if set well enough in one direction, it may not even twist all the way each tide swing.
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Old 05-06-2017, 10:24 AM   #7
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I too have been in that situation. But a reversing current lets the opposite current build slowly and gives almost any anchor time to settle in and hold the boat against the full current. So I think it is rarely a problem.

I have dragged maybe a half dozen times having anchored out for some 1,000 nights, but never dragged in a reversing current. This was with Bruce, Delta, CQR and Rocna anchors.

But do not trust a Danforth type in a reversing current. The chain can get clogged in the flukes making the anchor worthless. I saw the ultimate example of this at Jewell Island in Maine. The adjacent boat pulled up his Danforth having anchored there for a few days. It was a ball of anchor plus chain and the only thing holding him in place was the weight of that mess.

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Old 05-06-2017, 10:41 AM   #8
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When I am in that sort of situation I do my initial set half way between the expected directions.
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Old 05-06-2017, 11:01 AM   #9
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When I am in that sort of situation I do my initial set half way between the expected directions.
That's an interesting strategy. Haven't heard of it before, but it makes sense at first blush.
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Old 05-06-2017, 11:14 AM   #10
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But do not trust a Danforth type in a reversing current.
I trust mine in reversing current. I never had a problem fouling since I went to all chain (with chain/rode combo I agree David). And I anchor in reversing current often at Napatree (Watch Hill, RI).
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Old 05-06-2017, 06:43 PM   #11
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Tal,
You're obviously worried about it. Set your clock alarm for slack water, get up and reset the anchor.
A Super SARCA anchor is very good at reversals. See Steve (Panope) Anchor setting videos.
If you're going to get up, start the engines and reset the anchor (in the dark) every time the direction of the current changes (every six hours), you would be better off staying at marinas.

Make sure you have a good anchor and 30' or more of heavy chain, set a scope of seven to one or more and head into the current as you set the anchor. Cleat the rode and back down under power. Set the anchor drag alarm on your GPS accounting for the swing when the current reverses.
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Old 05-06-2017, 07:29 PM   #12
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The best way to achieve anchoring confidence is to do lots of it. We were all nervous at first. Even those who don't remember it.
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Old 05-06-2017, 08:23 PM   #13
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The best way to achieve anchoring confidence is to do lots of it. We were all nervous at first. Even those who don't remember it.
That doesn't help if you're not doing it right. Study how an anchor works. Study the effects of scope. Study properly setting an anchor. Then go out and do it.
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Old 05-06-2017, 08:38 PM   #14
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Not that it matters but I set two alarms plus I sleep with a handheld Garmin GPS with a small screen that I zoom in as tight as I can. I set my anchor well and I gave 99.9% confidence in my anchor. During the night I might check the small handheld Garmin next to my bunk and charging the entire time a few times, just to put my mind at ease.

I do worry about dragging while anchored although I have only dragged marginally a few times in many 100s of nights anchored.
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Old 05-06-2017, 09:09 PM   #15
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I'm surprised nobody has suggested setting two anchors. Sounds like a classic case for a Bahamian mooring. Not that hard to set, and very little swing, so you can set a tight anchor watch.
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Old 05-06-2017, 09:16 PM   #16
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If you set your anchor alarm with just enough distance to allow for ~60° swings to either side, it will wake you up for the tidal change so you can ensure it sets and go back to bed. If you are really unsure about the reset you can fire up and back down on your anchor to check it and go back to bed. You might wake up a close neighbor but they may be awake anyway and it will take much less time than pulling up to reset. Successful experience will build confidence and your quality of sleep. Unsuccessful experience will drive you into marinas or a new hobby.
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Old 05-06-2017, 09:20 PM   #17
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The Bahamian moor has fallen out of favor int he past decade. I suspect it is becasue the new spade anchors have proved to be so efficient, but you practically never see anyone doing the Bahamian moor except the derelict boats in So Florida.
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Old 05-06-2017, 10:03 PM   #18
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It is disconcerting to anchor in strong currents, and strong winds, but you do get used to it. Your confidence will build. With the new "spade" type anchors (Rocna, Manson, Mantus, etc) The anchors usually set very quickly and if they are pulled out in a reversing current they reset quickly. When you set the anchor it is advisable to back down on it. My engine is 230 hp at 2600 rpm. I back down to 800 or 900 rpm which I figure is probably roughly 80 or 90 hp. Ana adequately sized anchor with adequate length of rode will take care of you.
Yes, it is taken for granted that modern anchors quickly reset after a reversing current or strong wind shifts. There are videos showing this unique feature offered with modern anchors.

Like all things in life though, there are circumstances that challenge the so called known ability of modern anchors to quickly reset. My 80# Manson Supreme anchored with a huge scope of 5-6 (at least huge in our limited space harbors) FAILED and did not quickly reset last summer with a 180 degree wind shift. It happened during the afternoon while I was onboard so I was able to remedy the problem as soon as I recognized we were floating down wind

So after all the videos, how could this happen? What the tests lack is trying to reset an anchor filled with mud! In my case, I had to pull the anchor up and clean the mud off with a boat hook. So do not be fooled by advertising hype.
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Old 05-06-2017, 10:34 PM   #19
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The Bahamian moor has fallen out of favor int he past decade. I suspect it is becasue the new spade anchors have proved to be so efficient, but you practically never see anyone doing the Bahamian moor except the derelict boats in So Florida.
Huh. Guess my 30 year hiatus from such matters shows :-). It worked well for me in the 80s...
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Old 05-07-2017, 06:21 AM   #20
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Plus, waking up for the tidal current swap isnt really good enough.

The current doesnt peak for another 3 hours or so.

For the first hour or more, the anchor could have broken out but you are holding on just chain and a heavy, mud folled anchor.

That said, my manson has either never fully pulled or not reset in many tide shifts, 2 just last night in a river with repprted strong currents. Not saying it will never drag, but in average conditions and good bottom, and good technique, the chances are greatly reduced.

Speaking of currents, most boaters exaggerate currents significantly. The current charts look right on the money for this river at a little over a knot, yet reviews of the anchorage have it all the way up to 8 knots.
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