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Old 10-14-2019, 08:51 PM   #1
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Question about anchoring

Likely a newbie question, and sorry if this has been covered before but I couldn't find it.

When you are bringing in your anchor, and your boat bow is vertical above the anchor, with the chain straight up and down, how are you all "breaking" the anchor from the seabed? Do you just keep coming up on the windlass and let the windlass break the anchor, or do you motor forward or reverse at this point and let the boat break the anchor? Either way, you are putting a little strain on the windlass (although not as bad, possibly, as pulling the boat to the anchor with the windlass?). I suppose I can get the chain on the cleat and motor forward, but this is a pain single handed, and I am afraid the chain may scrape the bow if going forward (reverse better?).

Suggestions welcomed. I have been pulling the anchor free with the windlass, only when chain vertical, and it seems to do OK. But I have only been anchored for a few hours at a time and I don't think the anchor has ever really been deeply set or buried.
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:04 PM   #2
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When the bow is vertical above the anchor and your chain is tight, any waves or swell will usually lift the boat enough to break the anchor. If the water is dead calm, you may have to motor forward a bit. Best to take the tension off the windlass when doing this.
Stop as soon as you feel the anchor break loose, and you won't scrape your bow.
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:18 PM   #3
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I agree, I take the rode vertical, make the rode fast and then sit for a bit and it will usually break free. Then recover it with the windlass.
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Old 10-14-2019, 10:04 PM   #4
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Once I get it vertical I usually just come forward over it slightly, then let the boat settle. If that doesn't break it free, come back a little, then spin the boat to pull a little sideways, dance around over it a bit more, etc. Each move gets a check for tension on the rode to see if it's broken free yet.
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Old 10-14-2019, 10:13 PM   #5
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Don’t need to “sit on it” and wait.
With the rode vertical and a bit tight any movement in any direction will result in a lot of vertical pull on the rode. That will usually pull out most any anchor. But it will/may be more effective to remember which way the anchor was set and pull over the set anchor so it comes up slightly backwards.
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Old 10-14-2019, 10:15 PM   #6
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When I said sit on it a bit, I am talking about 10 seconds and it usually breaks free.
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Old 10-17-2019, 06:37 AM   #7
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The better technique is to tie off the anchor line to not strain the windlass.

With chain, a deck mounted chain stopper should do this automatically , again to reduce the loads on the windlass.

Any momentum of the boat from coming up to the anchor is frequently enough to break out the anchor.
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Old 10-17-2019, 06:54 AM   #8
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I guess it's just me...but I see the difference in being anchored in different conditions.


The conditions often dictate to me what might be necessary to do the best thing I can with what I have.


On a calm night of anchoring, usually I can hardly tell when my 60 pound Manson Supreme even breaks free...often it is coming out of the water before I even know it.


On rougher mornings or after an emergency sets in lots of chop, its usually again a surprise that the anchor comes up without any "breaking out" on my part. Because the chop does it long before I figure I am vertical and get a snubber on.


Much of the time I am anchored where there is tidal current....again...by the time I get to a vertical rode.... the anchor is already dragging so up it comes.


So all in all...it is very rare that I actually snub down and break anything out. Usually only in muck and after sitting way more than 14 hours or so.


I rarely sit at anchors for days on end where it may work itself deeper and deeper requiring a "breakout" and even then depending on the bottom usually signals whether it's coming up easily or hard.


I also don't anchor in real good blows..... as most of my travels have me in areas where multiple anchoring factors are uncertain enough that a good nights rest in a marina (unless my well hurricane hole type anchorages are available nearby) is welcome.
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Old 10-17-2019, 08:19 AM   #9
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Ease of breaking out depends a lot on the bottom, I've found. In sand, it's usually pretty easy. Bring the boat up over the anchor and it'll come up with minimal fuss. On the other hand, we've got one bay in the area where the bottom is some horrid mix of silt and glue. It's the stickiest mud I've ever seen (as in hard to get off the anchor). With a decent set in that stuff, it'll sometimes take several minutes of tugging around over the anchor to break it free as it just digs in and sticks in that stuff.
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Old 10-17-2019, 08:41 AM   #10
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It all depends on the bottom and how deep the anchor has set. Usually our anchor breaks free pretty quickly once the chain is straight up and down, but there is one place we go where the bottom is very thick, sticky mud and after several days at anchor it sometimes takes several minutes of straight up and down pressure before it breaks free.


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Old 10-17-2019, 12:09 PM   #11
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We usually anchor in one spot for 5 to 6 days. With the tide swings here in the PNW, the 66 pound genuine Bruce buries itself deep.

With the rode vertical and tight, I have my wife bump the engine into forward and reverse which breaks the anchor free.
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Old 10-17-2019, 01:14 PM   #12
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Yea syjos we do the same.

An idea how to take up the least space in an anchorage.
Back up close to the shore at low tide and drop a stern anchor .. a small Australian SARCA. Small enough so you know you can pull it out.
Then run the boat out 125 to 150’ and drop a full sized SARCA. Back up and set well. This is an excellent short scope anchor so only let out enough scope to achieve 2-1 (or so) and sit mostly right on top of your anchor.
Very little movement (your boat) and few will be able to swing toward you.
And if you have bacon for breakfast you may have a bear come up on your swim step.
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Old 10-17-2019, 01:42 PM   #13
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I frequently anchor in mud or silt so the last ~8' of chain and the anchor is pretty muddy upon retrieval so if there is plenty of room behind me, after I have the rode straight up and down I'll reverse a pretty good distance while dragging the last bit of rode and anchor through the water to rinse the muck off. Sometimes it works better than others but it minimizes the amount of spraying or scrubbing I have to do to the ground tackle as it comes in.
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Old 10-17-2019, 07:49 PM   #14
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psneeld, this is my experience as well. I have anchored only about 15 times, but each time the anchor has come up pretty easily with no calculated or complicated breakout or snubbing required. I guess if the windlass doesn't strain under load, it's OK to keep coming up on the windlass? That seems logical to me. Someone correct me if I'm wrong here, but as long as you aren't pulling the boat to the anchor and ensuring you are bringing up rode that is slacked off... I see no reason why not just pull in the anchor from start to finish with the windlass in one foul swoop (too much strain on batteries even though engine is running?)? I would snub for sure if the windlass was telling me to! Also, I think the roller on the bowsprit absorbs a lot of load so it's not like the windlass is absorbing it all.


Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
I guess it's just me...but I see the difference in being anchored in different conditions.


The conditions often dictate to me what might be necessary to do the best thing I can with what I have.


On a calm night of anchoring, usually I can hardly tell when my 60 pound Manson Supreme even breaks free...often it is coming out of the water before I even know it.


On rougher mornings or after an emergency sets in lots of chop, its usually again a surprise that the anchor comes up without any "breaking out" on my part. Because the chop does it long before I figure I am vertical and get a snubber on.


Much of the time I am anchored where there is tidal current....again...by the time I get to a vertical rode.... the anchor is already dragging so up it comes.


So all in all...it is very rare that I actually snub down and break anything out. Usually only in muck and after sitting way more than 14 hours or so.


I rarely sit at anchors for days on end where it may work itself deeper and deeper requiring a "breakout" and even then depending on the bottom usually signals whether it's coming up easily or hard.


I also don't anchor in real good blows..... as most of my travels have me in areas where multiple anchoring factors are uncertain enough that a good nights rest in a marina (unless my well hurricane hole type anchorages are available nearby) is welcome.
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Old 10-17-2019, 07:51 PM   #15
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Are you snubbing the chain at this point to take pressure off windlass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by syjos View Post
We usually anchor in one spot for 5 to 6 days. With the tide swings here in the PNW, the 66 pound genuine Bruce buries itself deep.

With the rode vertical and tight, I have my wife bump the engine into forward and reverse which breaks the anchor free.
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Old 10-17-2019, 09:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhance View Post
Are you snubbing the chain at this point to take pressure off windlass?

I definitely snub the anchor. I have a short length of line with a chain hook on the end just for that purpose. It snubs the anchor when setting the anchor, driving the anchor out of the bottom, and to secure the anchor when under way.
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Old 10-17-2019, 11:03 PM   #17
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Are you snubbing the chain at this point to take pressure off windlass?
I stop the windlass from turning with the wildcat pawl to relieve pressure on the gears and clutch.
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Old 10-18-2019, 01:34 AM   #18
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Quote:
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I stop the windlass from turning with the wildcat pawl to relieve pressure on the gears and clutch.
For retrieve breakout? I`ve not heard of doing that. If it works I suppose you can do the same to unload the windlass while anchored.
Muir strongly advise removing the pawl, storing it nearby, and only installing it for a manual retrieve.
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Old 10-18-2019, 10:53 AM   #19
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For retrieve breakout? I`ve not heard of doing that. If it works I suppose you can do the same to unload the windlass while anchored.
Muir strongly advise removing the pawl, storing it nearby, and only installing it for a manual retrieve.
I use the pawl for quick retrieve breakout.

I use a riding chain stopper to take the strain off the windlass while anchored.
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:44 PM   #20
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I pull the boat to the anchor using the windlass, then break the anchor free using the windlass. Boat is in neutral unless I hear the windlass start to slow down from strain or see the bow start to dip. Big anchor, all chain, heavy boat. We anchor a lot, have been doing this quite a while, and have never had an issue with the windlass. If I have gear on the boat that is suppose to make things easier or more fun for me, and I have to baby it to keep it from breaking, then I chose the wrong gear.
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