MANY BOATERS — whether fishing, swimming, or socializing aboard — spend their best hours anchored rather than under- way. With that in mind, let’s look at ways to keep your time at anchor comfortable and safe. The photos that follow illustrate tips for anchoring small boats for short periods of time; as the
size and displacement of the boat increase, you’ll need heavier ground tackle
and different techniques to manage it.
1. FIND A GOOD SPOT: A good anchorage offers protection from wind and waves, swinging room, and a quality bottom. Choosing an anchorage that’s protected from waves is the
best insurance against dragging, as the loads from a pitching bow increase the likelihood of
dragging an anchor. Consider the radius of your anchor rode, plus boat length, when you
calculate your swinging circle, allowing for changes in wind or current direction, and water
depth due to tides. Make sure there are no boats, shoals, rocks, or other objects in that circle.
Finally, make sure your anchor works for the particular bottom; the lightweight fluke-style
anchor shown here works best in sand or mud; it wouldn’t work well on a grassy, rocky, or
REST EASY ON THE HOOK
Five steps to simple, reliable anchor sets on small boats BY TIM MURPHY
2. PREPARE FOR ANCHORING: Before
the anchor goes over the bow, make sure
you have plenty of rode and that it’s free of
tangles and ready to run. Anchor rode where
length is marked ahead of time helps you
determine how much to put out. A length
of chain helps weigh the rode down at the
anchor for better holding. When you’re
ready to set, the boat should be motionless,
or drifting very slowly astern. Any forward
motion will knock the anchor against the
boat’s stem. This is especially true on boats
with a plumb (vertical) bow.
3. DROP THE HOOK: Pick a spot to drop
anchor, keeping in mind where you want
the boat to end up and that the anchor will
drag a short distance before it sets. As the
boat drifts back, lower the anchor to the bottom, then gently pay out the rode. This will
prevent the chain from piling up in a heap. If
the anchor and rode all pay out in one line,
free of tangles, everything should be ready
to set it securely in the bottom. Take a turn
around a cleat and snub it off every now and
then to let the tackle straighten out.
PRACTICAL BOATER | SKILLS
Choosing your spot carefully will help you avoid
resetting, dragging, or
getting close to other
boats. Also, before getting started, make sure to
tie the end of your anchor
rode to a secure position
on the boat.
Make sure you’ve got lots of
untangled rode to feed out, before
you throw the hook overboard.