- Stay well clear of boats anchored using rope, they will rove around all over the place when the wind picks up.
- When determining the scope, allow for depth at high water, waves, swell & wash from other vessels.
Scope - minimum 4x depth for chain & 6x depth for rope in light to moderate winds, i.e. up to Beaufort 4 (I invariably let out another 5m for good luck).
- The chain is better on the seabed than in the chain locker! If it's windy, use more scope.
- Lay the chain out along the side deck in 5m long loops using a mat to protect the decks. Each loop will total 10m. Secure it to a cleat.
- Having stopped the boat, let the anchor down quickly to the seabed, then pay the chain out as the boat drifts back.
- Let the wind / stream take the boat back. Using the engine too soon could jerk the chain & upset the anchor.
- Watch transits to see if the anchor drags.
- When anchoring in mud, put the kettle on & have a cup of tea while you wait for the anchor to settle. Watch the transits. Take your time, relax & finish your tea!
- With the boat head to wind or stream, gently dig the anchor in. Slowly at first, gradually increasing the power. More wind? use more power. Check transits as you go. If the anchor drags it's best to lift it and start again.
- For windy weather, set 2 anchors in a V. Digging in each one in turn. Lay the second (kedge) anchor from the yacht, it's hopeless in the rubber dinghy unless you have an outboard engine and the kedge rode is rope.
- Set an anchor watch if necessary. A GPS anchor drag alarm wouldn't wake me up!
Tips on weighing anchor
- Tight chain is heavy work, no good for man nor machine. It can burn out the windlass motor. Take in the slack, cleat it and let the weight of the chain drag the boat forward. When it goes slack, take in more chain. Repeat until the anchor breaks free.
- In windy weather or streams, use sail or engine to slacken the chain.
- If using a trip line, grab the buoy as soon as possible & keep the rope away from the propeller.
- If the anchor refuses to budge, take in as much chain as possible and let the wind / stream do the work.
Tips for looking after your windlass
- The windlass is designed to lower and raise slack chain. As soon as you hear the motor working harder, stop winding. Otherwise you risk burning out the motor plus creating excessive wear on the gypsy.
- Prevent this wear on the gypsy by taking the load off the windlass while at anchor. Tie a rope to the chain with a rolling hitch, lower the chain until the hitch is well over the bow. Then tie the rope to a cleat. Let out some more chain to form a loop between the rolling hitch and the bow. This method of 'snubbing' the chain can also eliminates the rumbling noise in the forepeak cabin as the chain moves from side to side over the seabed.