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Old 10-17-2017, 04:12 PM   #1
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Newbie Q's for Cruisers that Anchor Out

I have a fishing boat with outboards so I have no idea about how cruisers operate when cruising away from home. Every time I put Bird Dog away she gets a thorough fresh water wash down with soap and I flush the outboards with fresh water as well. When you are cruising around and only staying at anchor how often do you wash your trawler? How often do you flush your dinghy outboard with fresh water? Does one simply crank up the genset and water maker and have at it like you are back at the dock? What are your typical maintenance schedules for just keeping the salt down or off of your vessels? How much maintenance and what type are you doing daily at anchor?

My 2d Q is how confident are you in your anchoring system from the standpoint of going ashore in your dinghy to explore, dine, dive, fish, etc? Do you set an anchor alarm that is linked to your cell phone and just take off for hours without anyone aboard? Are the modern designed anchors such that if you employ decent techniques there is no need to have someone aboard while you are ashore having fun?

Final Q - my wife is a serious triathlete and works out for hours daily. She's on board to cruise but we will have different schedules as I must accommodate her training. I believe we will be well served with multiple dinghies. Does anyone cruise with multiple dinghies and if so what types? From my reading on this site my original thoughts were to get the largest and most comfortable dinghy we can carry but given our divergent schedules multiple dinghies might be better.

Thanks in advance for your answers.
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Old 10-17-2017, 04:30 PM   #2
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More than 3 questions in there.

Are you wondering how to pull this off in a primitive/outboard boat? If so, I can help with that. Or, are you asking how the folks with unlimited power and water supplies make due on their much larger boats? And, in the context of inshore Conneticut?
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Old 10-17-2017, 04:41 PM   #3
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Sorry Diver, I apologize that my Q's were not more clear. I am asking how those with trawlers that cruise and spend most of their time at anchor handle the aforementioned situations. Also, my boat is in S. FL., not W CT. Fishing in W LI Sound is lousy. Better to fly to the boat and then catch fish.
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Old 10-17-2017, 05:11 PM   #4
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Mostly we anchor just as a stop on the way from one place to another. So, we sit on the boat, eat dinner, watch TV and go to bed early.

Occasionally, we anchor as a destination. In that case, we hop in the dinghy and explore, go to the beach, etc.

As for your wife being a serious triathlete, have her jump off the boat and swim along behind it for a while. That should work for training.
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Old 10-17-2017, 07:45 PM   #5
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Mostly we anchor just as a stop on the way from one place to another. So, we sit on the boat, eat dinner, watch TV and go to bed early.

Occasionally, we anchor as a destination. In that case, we hop in the dinghy and explore, go to the beach, etc.

As for your wife being a serious triathlete, have her jump off the boat and swim along behind it for a while. That should work for training.
Exactly; why need two dinghies when you have a long distance swimmer on board? We did have an inflatable kayak as a back up.

Anchoring is 80% technique. We used an "old fashioned" Delta up and down the entire eastern seaboard. Anchoring was our main objective in boating, preferably in undeveloped areas only accessible by boat, but also in near-town harbors too. No compunction in leaving the mother ship for the whole day to shop and sight see, or explore the surrounding waterways and beaches with the dinghy (see avatar).

By the way, I have the outboard flushed once a year during annual maintenance. It got used virtually every day when we lived aboard as we always deployed it anchored, moored or at a dock. Last few years it is a summer and weekends vessel. 10 years of heavy use and still going strong (Mercury 40hp 2 stroke).

Washed the big boat off when we got to a dock. If fresh water wasn;t going to be an issue, I'd mist it off a little to get salt spray off superstructure and metal fittings.
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Old 10-17-2017, 09:05 PM   #6
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As noted, with time you will gain the confidence to anchor. If have left our boat many times when anchored, no alarms involved. Always a risk, but sometimes it's required.

Regarding your wife's triathlon training, that could be difficult depending on where you are traveling. I no longer do them due to a bad back, but storing the bike on board, and then getting the bike ashore in a ding at a suitable place to tie up could be challenging. I was able to find pools fairly easily, but swam in the ocean whenever possible, and wore a full suit and two neoprene caps in water down to the high 50's if she is up for that. Running will be the only easy one.
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Old 10-17-2017, 09:12 PM   #7
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We anchor out a fair amount and I changed my anchor from a Danforth to a Delta because I wanted more assurance that the anchor would hold once set. When I set it I make darn sure it is set, then I don't worry about it. My anchor alarm works with my smartphone but I have not yet tested the range. If you do use an anchor alarm, make sure it's set where the anchor is, not where the boat is at the end of your rode.


We have a dinghy and periodically take it with us so we can explore areas we don't' want to take the bigger boat into. It works great for that.


Rather than do two dinghies, why not a dinghy and a kayak for your wife? That would give her time for a workout and you won't have to always be on her schedule. Or drop her off on shore and pick her up at a marina a few miles down the coast. Just watch out that she doesn't get there before you or you'd never live it down.
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Old 10-17-2017, 09:54 PM   #8
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We anchor out about 50% of nights on average when cruising.
Marine diesels do not need to be flushed short term because the engine blocks are fresh water cooled (drinking water and antifreeze mix). The saltwater only passes through a few coolers and exits by being injected into the exhaust gas stream in a cast iron riser. No small aluminum passages to corrode and clog like an OB. Dinghy motors are used frequently and are not usually flushed unless stored for a long time. Small OBs seem to handle this fine. As for washing the boat, we wait until we get to a marina to wash down. In a rare case where we have some spray and we are going to be anchored for a few days, I'll wipe down anything critical with a bucket of fresh water and sponge.
Anchoring, yes, hopefully you get to the point where you trust the anchor to stay put. My current anchor has proven itself to stay put through several days of reversing currents with negligible drag.
I do not understand your need for 2 dinghies. I frequently see a StandUp paddleboard or lightweight kayak as a backup to the normal dinghy.
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Old 10-18-2017, 05:46 AM   #9
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There are many different anchoring styles.

Ours uses 2 anchors , easily set and both led to the bow.

No problems going ashore .
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Old 10-18-2017, 09:33 AM   #10
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Very helpful, thank you all for your responses.

Race the trawler to the next destination. Love it.

I agree that the biking portion of her training will be the most difficult for her to maintain while cruising.
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Old 10-18-2017, 09:48 AM   #11
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We clean the salt off of the decks, gunnels, etc. We only do this after a run if we plan on staying more than one night. Sometimes we use the freshwater washdown. Sometimes we drain cooler water into a bucket and use sponges and rags. We don't flush the engine or generator with freshwater until we haul out at the end of a season. The same with the dinghy outboard. I clean the dinghy with freshwater when it's dirty.

We trust the anchor and our our technique and leave the boat all the time. We don't use an anchor alarm. We have had a boat drag years ago while we were away.

Use one dinghy and have her either swim to/from shore or give her a ride. She can call you when she's ready to be picked up. She can take the dinghy if you don't mind being on the boat while she's gone.
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Old 10-18-2017, 10:05 AM   #12
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I anchor and dink elsewhere often. But I am always aware of weather conditions and switching tides. Those could cause big boat to drag anchor. Always a little nervous but never had a problem. If storms come up I want to be on the big boat and not two miles away.

I do tug on the anchor in reverse to get confidence in its set.

Dink motor gets flushed when I get back. Might go without a flush for a month or two, seems fine and it is 40yrs old!! Main engine on boat never gets flushed, it is fresh water cooled. I do flush it with a garden hose if going on the hill for long maintenance.

No need for two dinks. Just figure out how to manage with one.
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Old 10-18-2017, 10:27 AM   #13
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I have cruised full time for a total of two years and have anchored maybe 500 times, so:

Two dinghies will be very awkward to tow or store aboard. Maybe tow one and lift the other up on davits. Not a great solution.

I dragged a couple of times when I got off the boat to go shopping, etc. That was using a Delta that was probably not set well. I switched to a Rocna and no further problems. I haven't used a cell phone anchor alarm monitor that can be checked remotely, but that would have made the two dragging incidents easier to deal with.

A fresh water flush of your marine engine will reduce corrosion, but it takes at least 5 gallons to do it. That will increase your fresh water consumption significantly and require more frequent refilling. I don't think it does enough good to be worth it.

A fresh water flush of your outboard would be nice, but not very practical at anchor. You could put the ear muffs on the o/b after hauling up and putting it on a transom bracket, but that will probably take 2-3 gallons. I don't worry about it if I am cruising full time. The o/b is 25 yo and still going strong.

I wash the deck down when I come in for fuel and water if the fuel dock isn't busy. Sometimes I ask if I can pull into an empty slip and do it. Once in the Bahamas after a salty crossing I paid $0.50 per gallon for deck wash water. It cost about $20.00 but worth it as everything was crusted with salt.

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Old 10-18-2017, 11:03 AM   #14
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"No need for two dinks. Just figure out how to manage with one."

Although the second one is a good anti theft item.

When landing the dink a long +20ft or so line is great as your dink can float away from the dock , so is not walked thru.

There are hooks (Edson) that can secure your oars to a seat ,use a key lock as combination locks are hard after dark .
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Old 10-18-2017, 11:35 AM   #15
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When landing the dink a long +20ft or so line is great as your dink can float away from the dock , so is not walked thru.
Amen!!! I have a 20-25 ft painter. You can fit twice as many dinghies on the dinghy dock if you leave 6-8 feet of painter min. I hate it when you get to the dock and everyone has tied with >1ft.

I walk through them unapologetically.

As mentioned above, after my dragging incidence I moved to a Rocna (rollbar). Since then I've had a Manson Supreme and I'm now using a Rocna Vulcan. My biggest issue is getting the anchor unset even when the rode is vertical.

I won't leave the boat for the first few hours of anchoring, unless it is to visit a neighboring boat. If we have to go somewhere (store, ice, etc), one of us goes and one of us stays behind. I'll leave the boat for a length of time after I've been anchored for at least a full cycle of the tides. Length of time away tends to decrease as the winds increase.
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Old 10-18-2017, 01:04 PM   #16
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I agree that the biking portion of her training will be the most difficult for her to maintain while cruising.
I would think swimming is no problem. Biking next easy to pull off. Bike on a stand and let her pedal away. Running will be your challenge to get her miles in weekly if you're not at a marina every day or so.

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Old 10-18-2017, 02:10 PM   #17
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Excellent point Sidney, Her Ladyship already has and uses the computrainer - bike problem solved!
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Old 10-18-2017, 02:18 PM   #18
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Excellent point Sidney, Her Ladyship already has and uses the computrainer - bike problem solved!
Strap an alternator on that thing!!
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Old 10-18-2017, 02:28 PM   #19
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Exactly!
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Old 10-18-2017, 04:48 PM   #20
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Leaving the boat unattended at anchor, will depend on the circumstances. Type of bottom, current, tide changes, and weather. Most of the time it's not a problem.

We often cruise with an inflatable stand up paddle board or a surf board, along with our dinghy. 2 dinghy's would be hard to store on most boats. The inflatable SUP is a great backup dinghy although you'd want fairly flat water to be carting groceries.

Washdown? I don't worry about it when cruising. I cruise for a couple weeks with plenty of spray over the bow, and don't bother washing down until I get back home. It's a boat; it's meant to get wet and be used.
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