Tom’s Tips On Better Anchoring

By Tom Neale, 1/5/2015


Tom Neale's logs have a new name and home on BoatUS Magazine. We know Tom has a loyal and devoted readership, so we wanted to share his tips and insights with an even bigger audience! For the latest articles, click here for Onboard With Tom Neale.

1. Bring more than one anchor and make sure they're good tried and true anchors.

2. Try to know your bottom. "So" on the chart doesn't necessarily tell you the bottom is soft. Look at the banks. Drop your anchor and retrieve it to see what's on it; or drop over a small grappling hook, drag it around the boat and pull it up.

3. Take into account your surroundings. For example, if you're in a narrow creek with strong reversing current and high wind blowing across the creek, you must plan for much less swinging room and zero tolerance for dragging and circling around the anchor. If that creek has little or no current, assume that it may have a layer of poor holding pluff mud.

4. Develop techniques that work for YOUR boat, YOUR anchor and YOUR bottom. For example, a heavy displacement hull with low windage and a keel may require substantially different tactics than a light flat bottomed boat with a high superstructure. And a boat built for day trips may not have enough storage or weight carrying capacity in the bow for heavy anchors and chain.

5. Anticipate what the winds and current are going to do to your boat once you've settled in. Usually they're going to change and they can present powerful forces and stresses to your ground tackle and the holding dynamics.

6. Different conditions may warrant different anchors, and, on a few very rare occasions, the deployment of two anchors may be needed. The two anchors on my bow are the original CQR and the Fortress. I wouldn't be out without both of them. I seldom worry about the CQR being tripped by my chain if pulled in the opposite direction from the setting, but I've found that there are bottoms where the CQR won't set and the Fortress digs right in.

7. If possible, always anchor in a spot where you have ample safe dragging room. We can't always get it right. Try to leave room for you to drag before the upcoming wind line and others around you to drag, without entangling you.

Boating and water sports involve risk. Any comments herein should be followed at your own risk. You assume all responsibility for risk or injury to yourself or others. Any person or entity that uses this information in any way, as a condition of that use, agrees to waive and does waive and also hold authors harmless from any and all claims which may arise from or be related to that use.