Sailing in the middle of the night with harsh wind blowing can be a scary experience. You might wake up in the middle of your sailing holiday to find that the board is being dragged towards the shore, rock, or some other boat. One of the most frustrating things for sailors to find that some other boat is dragging towards them or have tanged in their anchor.
To ensure safety, you need to know good anchoring technique. Many times, even experienced sailors are in a hurry and they tend to miss out on an important step. However, if you know the right techniques, it is not difficult to anchor securely and correctly in severe conditions.
Given are some guidelines which will help your boat to be safely anchored.
Prepare in Advanced
You need to choose an adequate anchor taking the help of an updated chart. It is important to pay attention to other aspects such as wind speed and direction. Do not forget to check the forecast and other currents. Wind can always change direction and speed. Thus, you should always pay close attention to it. In case the boat gets pulled in the opposite direction due to a reverse tidal current during the night, the anchor might be pulled out.
The perfect area to anchor needs to be protected from waves and wind. It shouldn’t be against the lee shore if the anchor drags. Mud or sand serves as the best bottom in comparison to grass, heavy seaweed, or rock. A majority of the guides will tell you that good anchorage which is protected will have a good ground hold.
Make sure that you have the anchor ready before you make the approach. When you are lowering using your hand from the bow or using a bow roller, you need to ensure that anchor rode is free for running. In case the anchor rode isn’t marked at progressive depth using color or tag, stretch out the deck back and forth, you will know how much you are letting out. For your own safety, you should put on the rode around seven times the depth of water at high tide. This can be calculated by the height of the bow above water.
Choose Your Spot
When you are done studying the chart, select a general protected area. Make sure it has adequate depth. It has to be 30-40 deep if you have about 200-300 feet of anchoring rode. It is necessary to be all clear of every channel, irrespective of how the boat is swinging with the shift in the wind. You have to ensure that your boat is not at danger it swings around the anchor.
In case other boats are already anchored, you should follow good anchoring etiquette and avoid entanglement or collision. Don’t forget to check the amount of swinging room you might need when the wind changes.
Surely, you can anchor under sail, many cruising boats can fuel or lower the sail prior to making the approach into anchorage along with an under power anchor. In case you need last-minute maneuver, the engine can provide you with more control.