About Anchoring Too Close

1. It takes seamanship to anchor as well as to be underway. Following are examples of things oft misunderstood when positioning to anchor.

2. When we drop the hook we need to let out at least 5 to one scope, and when we do, our boat isn’t going to be over the spot where we dropped the anchor. Maybe it’s going to be over the spot where another boat is already floating.

3. When we see another boat already in the anchorage, we need to realize that it’s probably not over top of its anchor. It’s probably dropped back on its rode. This happened when the skipper backed down to set his hook. So it won’t do to drop the anchor in the vicinity of the first boat’s anchor or, as we’ve seen people do on occasion, between the first boat’s anchor and the first boat.

3. If the first boat has all chain out, odds are it’s sitting closer to its anchor than would be a boat with nylon rode, because the chain sinks down to the bottom, pulling the boat forward some. When the wind pipes up, that boat is going to be moving back as it lifts the chain.

4. Wherever the first boat is now, you can’t assume that he’ll be there in the middle of the night. This is also true of every other boat in the anchorage. Winds come up and change regularly. When the wind goes flat, different boats wander around on their rodes differently. Even if the wind is blowing steadily, all boats don’t hang to the wind the same way.

5. Boats behave remarkably differently, influenced by their windage, underbody characteristics, type and length of rode (in particular chain versus nylon), current and local eddies. So when anchoring we need to assume that each anchored boat will swing 360 degrees and that the radius of the swing will be the distance of the length of rode he has out. And we need to position our boat to stay out of those areas of swing, remembering that our boat will have a radius of swing too.

6. Always, we should adhere to the Rules and exercise prudent seamanship.

Go to www.tomneale.com for other tips and information

Copyright 2004-2010 Tom Neale

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