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Old 01-26-2021, 09:23 PM   #1
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Stupid anchoring questions ;)

I gather from perusing this forum that anchoring questions are similar to motor oil questions on gear head forums, perhaps here too! I'm not trying to start a brouhaha, I'm just clueless.

On my planet, the water is generally shallow. Inshore you're seldom in more than 30-40 feet of water. Offshore maybe 80 feet and that's if you're way out there. Like 30 miles. The only peeps who anchor up in that water are guys fishing a wreck.

But I want a boat in the PNW. In some places, it looks as though you can be 50 yards offshore and be in 500 feet (or more) of water. Assuming that I want to move almost each and every day and find a new spot to overnight, how do you do it? Assume that I want to anchor in smooth, protected water whenever possible.


1. How deep can you stick a hook and expect it to hold? How much rode does the average 35-45 foot trawler carry? How much of that is chain?

2. I assume that it's considered in poor taste to anchor in certain areas, but what are they? IOW, can you anchor right near a marina or is that considered poor form?

3. Are there areas marked on charts or cruising guides that show the appropriate spots?

4. How tough is it to sleep on the hook when the water is "less than calm"?

5. Is it a dick-headed move to anchor near other vessels (because of swing and noise)?

6. Do you have wind limits? IOW, if the winds are forecast at or above X, the swing or roll will be heinous?

7. Do you LOSE anchors due to them getting stuck between hard rocks in deep water? Do you carry a spare?

Sorry. I'm not being obtuse. I hardly ever anchor and when I do it's usually firm sand or sand and mud bottom. And about the time she puts her bikini back on is the time I'm hauling it in.
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Old 01-26-2021, 09:36 PM   #2
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Maximum depth will depend on how much rode you have. The amount of rode you can carry will depend on how much weight you can handle to forward for chain and how much you can fit in the locker.

Realistically, if you want to anchor in deep water, I'd plan for something like 200-300 feet of chain, then a couple hundred feet of line behind it. You're unlikely to have a good use for more than 400-500 feet total in most places.

Personally, on my 38 footer, I've got 90 feet of chain and 300 of line. If I were traveling a wider area, I'd go up to 150 or 200 feet of chain and then enough line to have at least 400 feet total.
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Old 01-26-2021, 09:37 PM   #3
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Believe it or not, but there is a whole sub forum dedicated to just these questions.

Have a look!

https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/s42/
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Old 01-26-2021, 10:13 PM   #4
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Old 01-26-2021, 10:18 PM   #5
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Better learn how to stern tie shore. I carry 300’ of chain.
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Old 01-26-2021, 10:46 PM   #6
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Better learn how to stern tie shore. I carry 300 of chain.
You stern tie to shore using 300' of chain?!!

Muscleman!
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Old 01-27-2021, 12:41 AM   #7
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In 28 years and 50,000+ nm of cruising from Puget Sound to Glacier Bay, and well over 1000 nights at anchor, we have never had to anchor in more than 70 feet. The vast majority of the time between 25 and 55 feet. Whether in our 26-footer, with 40 feet of chain and 300 rope, or our 37 footer, with 250 chain and 150 rope, we most often put out a scope of 3.5 or 4 to 1. If stronger winds are forecast, we might put out 5 or 6 to 1.

We anchor in a cove, positioned such that the expected wind is not coming at us across a long stretch of water. We have almost never had to use a shore tie. We carry a spare anchor, but have never lost one.

Much depends on understanding the forecast, choosing the right spot, knowing where you are on the tide, and on technique.

The Exploring series cruising guides by Don Douglass are invaluable in getting to know the anchorages, and where to drop the hook in them.

It's not that tough. Work through it a number of times, and you'll be getting comfortable. Here's a writeup on anchoring from my little book on cruising the Inside Passage in a small boat:


Anchoring

In the cruising guides you’ll find detailed descriptions of a great many anchorages along the way. Rather than discuss the anchorages themselves, we’ll discuss anchoring issues and technique (much of which you may already know), with emphasis on the nature of the Inside Passage. If you’re experienced at anchoring, there’s not much magic to it, but recognize that you will need to take into account really big tides, deep water, and potentially tough weather conditions. If you’re less experienced, anchoring safely is not that tough to learn – and it’s an essential skill for the Inside Passage.

Tidal range varies greatly from place to place, and from one time of the lunar month to another. When the sun and moon are aligned, or directly opposite each other (new moon and full moon), their gravitational effects add together, making “spring” tides which are especially large. When the moon is at 1/2, the “neap” tides are smaller. Inside Passage tides can be as small as 6-8 feet, or as large as 20 and more. You could find yourself high and dry if you don’t know where the tide is when you anchor, and how much higher, and lower it will get over the whole time you’re there. Modern chartplotters with tide tables make this easy to figure out – but make sure you get it right.

We usually anchor in 25-55 feet, and put out 90-180 feet of rode. We start by listening to the weather forecast, so we know how much wind to expect, and from what direction. Then we figure the tides, and thus the minimum depth we need. If we aren’t already quite familiar with the anchorage, we make a circle 200-400 feet across, checking depths in the area where we’ll be swinging on the hook. We do this slowly and carefully, to avoid suddenly coming across a very shallow spot – particularly where detailed charting is not available. We did wreck our props on one dark day, circling too casually in 25 feet of water, and running into a pinnacle we didn’t see, only 2 feet below the surface.

If depths look OK within the circle, and we set the anchor solidly in the center of it, we’re fairly sure we won’t wind up aground. A good way to ensure we have covered the right area, and we’re anchoring in the center of it, is to zoom way in on our chartplotter. It shows the scale of the view it’s presenting, so by looking at our track we can see quite accurately the size and shape of the area we’ve checked out.

We point into the wind, come to a stop, lower the anchor, and after the anchor and some chain is on the bottom we back slowly. After letting out the appropriate length of rode, we shift into neutral, cleat off the line, and let the boat put some tension on it. When the anchor seems to have set, we pull gently in reverse, while feeling the line for signs of dragging. Usually it’s easy to tell whether the anchor is well set or dragging. More often than not, it sets solidly right away. If it drags, we retrieve and re-set. The more wind we expect, the longer our rode, and the harder we pull to test the set.

If the wind is strong, and we’re not sure of the holding quality of this particular bottom, we leave the chartplotter on and zoomed in. If it’s really windy, we might leave both chartplotter and fishfinder on for quite a while. As we swing on the hook, our track on the chartplotter shows as a crescent, centered on the location of the anchor. If our position moves beyond the crescent, we know we have been dragging. Occasionally this happens soon after we anchor, usually because thick kelp or soft mud has prevented good holding. Then we retrieve the anchor and re-set, successfully in most cases without moving very far.

Ideally we choose a relatively small cove with protection from several angles. If we know where the wind is coming from, an anchorage that’s open for some distance in a different direction may be just fine. But suppose our anchor spot is open to the west for a mile or two, and west wind is forecast – we’re going to feel it when even a moderate west wind blows. On the other hand, if we anchor where there’s only a few hundred feet of water surface (fetch) for the wind to work on, and even more so if higher ground blocks the wind somewhat, we can ride out a pretty stiff breeze without bouncing around much. This is not just a comfort issue, but also one of safety: if waves have us pitching heavily, on the upward bounce there’s much greater strain on the rode. It could jerk the anchor out of its set and allow us to drag.


And here are some additional thoughts on anchoring our 37-footer, almost always using all chain with a 20-foot nylon bridle:

I was reading my anchoring stuff again (written 12 years ago) and realized it assumed a small boat (the sort of boat the book was aimed at) with some chain (25-50 feet) spliced to a much longer (200-300 feet) rope. For an all chain boat, I would add a writeup on the bridle, and change my description of the technique. So here's some more:

BEFORE you position the boat exactly where you want to drop the anchor, get the bridle ready by putting its chain grabber, or "chain plate", on the bow behind the windlass. Run the bridle's legs forward under the front of the bow rail, and on each side, outside the bow rail supports, back to the bow cleats. Cleat them on securely.

Rather than letting out ALL the chain you are going to put out and then backing away, let out somewhat more chain than it takes to put the anchor on the bottom, then while backing slowly (either by wind, current, or a bit of reverse power) let out the appropriate amount of chain. This avoids piling a lot of chain on top of the anchor, possibly causing it not to straighten out and set properly. The anchor may set by itself if the boat is still moving when you stop letting chain out.

Then hook the chain plate onto the chain (from the top side of the chain) right below the bow roller, and carefully let out enough more chain until tension is on the bridle, not the chain where it goes to the windlass. While operating the windlass's down switch with my left foot, I keep my right hand loosely on the right leg of the bridle as it goes out, using a little tension to make sure the chain plate stays on the chain. There should be a loop, a few feet of extra chain, hanging below the chain plate with no tension on it.

To test the set, use some reverse power (idle is usually enough) to pull on the anchor. This should tighten up the chain, and pull the chain plate up out of the water. The anchor should very clearly hold the boat motionless. The bridle legs will make some creaking noises as tension is taken up by the cleats.




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Old 01-27-2021, 07:05 AM   #8
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See answers in bold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post

1. How deep can you stick a hook and expect it to hold? How much rode does the average 35-45 foot trawler carry? How much of that is chain?

3:1 (the one being water depth plus bow height over water) is the absolute minimum. I routinely try to anchor in 5:1 and more if windy.

2. I assume that it's considered in poor taste to anchor in certain areas, but what are they? IOW, can you anchor right near a marina or is that considered poor form?

Some jurisdictions have legal limits (Annapolis being one) but generally follow common sense.

3. Are there areas marked on charts or cruising guides that show the appropriate spots?

Garmin Active Captain marks most decent anchorages, decent includes being protected from the wind.

4. How tough is it to sleep on the hook when the water is "less than calm"?

20 knots or higher and I have a tough time sleeping. More concern for dragging than noise.

5. Is it a dick-headed move to anchor near other vessels (because of swing and noise)?

You try to leave enough room. Sometimes it is tough when wind pushes against tidal current and boats are swinging every which way.

6. Do you have wind limits? IOW, if the winds are forecast at or above X, the swing or roll will be heinous?

I wouldn't consciously anchor out in 25+ K winds if I had a choice. Heavy wind causes pitching plus some roll and swing.

7. Do you LOSE anchors due to them getting stuck between hard rocks in deep water? Do you carry a spare?

Never lost one, but came close once or twice. Not rocks but trash on bottom. I keep a spare.
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Old 01-27-2021, 10:03 AM   #9
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You stern tie to shore using 300' of chain?!!

Muscleman!
There are many places were you drop 250 feet of anchor rode. Then you slowly back towards shore. By the time the hook has set you are 50 from the shore. You then need to run a stern line at that point or the boat will drift off and pull the anchor out.

Between Seattle and Alaska there are many 1,000 deep fjords. What you are doing is anchoring to the side of a cliff.

RCook is correct, you can always find places to anchor in 50 of water but those places might be a compromise to were you actually want to be. With 300 of rode and another 300 feet of stern line you are set.
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Old 01-27-2021, 11:05 AM   #10
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1. How deep can you stick a hook and expect it to hold? How much rode does the average 35-45 foot trawler carry? How much of that is chain? You can stick a hook in 1000' if you have 3-4000 of rode. We carry 350' all chain.

2. I assume that it's considered in poor taste to anchor in certain areas, but what are they? IOW, can you anchor right near a marina or is that considered poor form? Most marina's are behind some kind of protection, so feel free, but your going to get beat up on the other side of the break water.

3. Are there areas marked on charts or cruising guides that show the appropriate spots? Yes Navionics will give you a few hints, use at your own risk

4. How tough is it to sleep on the hook when the water is "less than calm"?
Same as calm water pending you gear

5. Is it a dick-headed move to anchor near other vessels (because of swing and noise)?
Yes/No we have a lot of small bays here that are protected, so you will see people pack in tight. Make way if you can, but no need to move everything for the one dip ship that shows up at 9pm looking for a spot. (unless there is a storm, then help him out with a spot). Far as noise, most often people are quiet around 10-11pm and most are up at 7-8am. If I am in a small bay, I will wait until most others are up before I fire the gen set. And far as swing, most will talk about a 3:1 or a 4:1 its hard to do in small bays, many will just toss out a few extra feet and call it good, sometimes it works sometimes not. I have woken up to someone side tying to me as they drifted into me. Im not happy about it, but I simply help them out, and figure it out in the am. I have also seen larger charter boats up on the beach as they did not set the hook, and did not set an alarm, drifted onto the beach.


We most often plan out routs to be at our anchor spot around noon-2pm. This gives us a head start on most, we pick a good spot, set the hook well and watch our swing area for a bit. Then as the day goes on more and more will pack around you, watch that they do not set ontop of you, or drag across. Don't be the dick that's yelling at everyone that he has 9000 feet out in 30' of water and if he swings into you its your fault. There are a lot of people up here, try to be friendly, try to make it work for everyone.

6. Do you have wind limits? IOW, if the winds are forecast at or above X, the swing or roll will be heinous? If its that windy I try not to be on the hook, its going to get bumpy. But far as gear I would be ok at 20-25knots and would be dropping my second anchor at that point. Even then its a bit much. If we know its going to be windy we find a port to go to, or look at apps like Windy, to determine wind direction and find a cove that has protection.

7. Do you LOSE anchors due to them getting stuck between hard rocks in deep water? Do you carry a spare? Yes/Yes. I have lost two in 25 years, they were each on my 25' Searay, Danforth anchor, bent up in rocks I assume. Yes we currently carry one spare stern anchor, many carry two, an extra main and a stern.
Good idea to learn how to stern tie off the beach/bank.


(I don't know it all, but many here are Pro's and will pop in to help out)
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Old 01-27-2021, 11:18 AM   #11
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To answer the wind questions, it all depends on how protected you are from the current wind direction and how beefy your gear is.

I've personally been perfectly comfortable with no concerns in 25 kts gusting to 35 during the day. Short fetch limited the wave action to 8 inches or so. Other than being steadier, the wave action was less than that area gets from boat wakes on a calm day. Slept like a baby that night in 20 kts gusting to 25. The small chop doesn't produce much motion with the rode held tight in the wind, just the noise of the waves slapping against the chines up forward. In 50 feet of water with 90 feet of chain and ~180 feet of line out, there was plenty of stretch in the rode to smooth things out.
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Old 01-27-2021, 12:32 PM   #12
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I agree with Richard Cook. Read his post carefully. While I have the same boat as him, I have not travelled to Alaska every year so no where near the mileage he has , but we do have over 1,000 nights at anchor experience. We also have 250 feet of chain, so almost always on an all chain rode, and 150 feet of rope.

I cannot emphasize the importance of carefully checking tides (here in BC and Alaska) as explained by Richard. In some areas (and time of the month) a tidal swing of well over 20 feet is possible. Scope (how much rode you put out) is determined by the high tide depth. Minimum depth in your "swing circle" is determined by the low tide depth. So using this example, and coming into an anchorage at low tide, anchoring in 10 feet of water (at low tide) your scope at 3:1 would be 90 feet (of chain in this example) to your chain hook.
Anchoring anywhere near the entrance to a marina, potentially impeding paying customer's access, is considered "bad form" and should be avoided. However, there are often spots "close by" that would work out fine, just think about it from their perspective.
The largest winds I have been anchored in are about 40-45 knots. We were in a very protected small "lagoon" with very limited fetch (distance for waves to build), with good protection from all wind directions, and a good mud bottom. We put out about 6-1 + scope and did not move (drag). The ride was not that bad, but it was noisy. Not a great night for sleep though, as I kept checking on things regularly through the night. I normally try to avoid anchoring in winds that large, but if unavoidable due to distance to marina's etc. look for what can be termed a "bomb proof" anchorage like the one I was in that night (Potts Lagoon for those familiar with the area).
I recommend developing a routine, and following it at each anchorage. Less chances to overlook something IMHO.
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Old 01-27-2021, 01:28 PM   #13
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See answers in bold.



David
Good answers!
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Old 01-27-2021, 01:39 PM   #14
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In BC and Alaskan waters and to a lesser extent Washington waters, you have to know what you are doing where. This information is available in cruising guides which are numerous up here. If you want one recommendation as it covers Washington, BC and Alaska is Waggoner.

https://www.harbourchandler.ca/shop/...xoCbj8QAvD_BwE

The Seattle boat show is this weekend and they have various levels of joining in and one I believe includes this guide in the price of admission. Being the cheap kind of guy that I am I will opt for the $5 admission. I suggest you spend the big money - $5 - and check out some of the seminars, you might even find a Waggoner discounted and get your $5 back.

https://seattleboatshow.com/

I divided anchorages into two categories 1) summer 2) not summer. There are some wonderful anchorages I would have no hesitation using in the summer, soft breeze in a lee shore situation. Tribune Bay comes to mind on Hornby Island. This location is wonderful in the summer and treacherous in the winter. Routine winds in the winter time in this location are from the South and can easily and routinely go to 40 knots or more.

https://bcparks.ca/explore/parkpgs/tribune/

Everything is doable but if you are going from point A to point B make sure you have checked the route and anchorages out in our cruising guides. (Newer is better)
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Old 01-27-2021, 08:16 PM   #15
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Great post and thread. In Alaska and BC, I normally anchor in 40-60 feet with a scope of 3 to 1. I carry 550 feet of chain rode. There have been times in BC and Alaska I have anchored in 90-100 feet, but try to avoid those areas.
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Old 01-27-2021, 09:04 PM   #16
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Further North it's deeper, and sometimes you choose to anchor further offshore to avoid the bugs. Anchoring in up to 150' is pretty common, but of course only in more stable weather and out of places where the tidal currents are extreme. Typically if it's deep, there isn't much current and you can find good protection from the weather most places along the coasts.

Smaller boats can't handle much chain weight on the bow, so mixed rodes are the normal, with a boat length to double that in chain attached to the anchor. Pretty fair sized anchors are preferable, since sometimes you are forced into shorter scope anchoring situations.
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Old 01-28-2021, 10:42 AM   #17
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https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...ons-55463.html

The above thread deals more with stern tying to shore. It is needed in some areas and not just to allow more boats to crowd into a small anchorage. I'll let you read about it.
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Old 01-28-2021, 12:57 PM   #18
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If you choose to pay to attend the Seattle Boat Show, on Sunday there are three presentations you might be interested in through the Boat Show University Seminars.

At 10 AM - Cruising local - Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands

12:30 PM Cruising British Columbia

3 PM Cruising SE Alaska

On Thursday, today at 12:30 Anchoring and Docking

On Saturday 1000 AM Understanding Tides and Currents

And in an other catergory - Boating Seminar

Sat 2:00 PM Anchoring Techniques: from Puget Sound to Worldwide regions

Sun 1:00 PM Anchoring Basics (I bet stern tying will be discussed)
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Old 01-28-2021, 01:10 PM   #19
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What a great bunch of responses. Thanks, Gents

Some of this I knew and some I assumed. But it's great to hear from those who anchor up often, and in waters where I hope to cruise someday. But what I don't know is a LOT and I am trying to fill in those buckets now as much as I can. I know that the learning curve on the water is steep and can get expen$$ive.
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Old 01-28-2021, 01:12 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by rsn48 View Post
If you choose to pay to attend the Seattle Boat Show, on Sunday there are three presentations you might be interested in through the Boat Show University Seminars.

At 10 AM - Cruising local - Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands

12:30 PM Cruising British Columbia

3 PM Cruising SE Alaska

On Thursday, today at 12:30 Anchoring and Docking

On Saturday 1000 AM Understanding Tides and Currents

And in an other catergory - Boating Seminar

Sat 2:00 PM Anchoring Techniques: from Puget Sound to Worldwide regions

Sun 1:00 PM Anchoring Basics (I bet stern tying will be discussed)
All virtual????
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