The art of laying an anchor in open water: Part II

April 1, 2017


Here are some more helpful tips on anchoring in open water:

Open Seaway

• Now that you have slowly backed your boat down and secured your anchor to the bow cleat, it is time to be vigilant that you are holding station.

• You can determine that you are holding station by taking bearings on points of land visible to you on either side of your boat. If possible you can line up a tree with a building and as they remain aligned your anchor is holding fast.

• In a densely populated anchorage (America’s Cup spectating area) you must be sure that your boat’s stern does not override someone else’s anchor line or that you have let out so much line that potentially will make contact with the other vessel.

• Your boat can swing as much as 30-40 degrees from shifting wind and it is good to keep a couple of fenders ready in case you have misjudged the amount of line you have payed out.

• You can also attach a bucket to the stern of your boat putting it overboard. This will dampen and slow your vessel’s swinging from side to side.

• Always communicate with those boats that are nearby, and help them as much as they can help you.

Hauling Your Anchor

• Start your engine and have one of your crew go to the bow. It is important that both of you communicate with one another to prevent any mishaps.

• When your crew is on station and has untied the line from the bow cleat you should engage your engine into forward gear keeping your bow into the wind and moving at the same pace as the anchor is being hauled.

• Have your crew signal you that the anchor is off the bottom and watch for the chain to appear at the bow.

• Put your engine in neutral until the anchor is on deck and ready to be stowed.

• Look around you to be sure you will not run over someone else’s anchor line and proceed to leave slowly and without making a wake.

Next week: Bermuda’s road to the Americas Cup.

Paul Doughty is a member of the Bermuda Water Safety Council, artist, professional sailing coach, RYA powerboat instructor and a licensed Bermuda pilot with more than 40 years experience.