Anchor – Part I
It is an alarming last resort for some skippers and a main method of stops for the others. Should you be afraid of? If we approach this reasonably and with a clear head, then there is no reason for your concern.
Choose a place
Check the weather forecast and the forecasted wind directions and its strength, find a place where you will be protected. In case the windless conditions are expected, you do not need to worry. But when it comes to strong winds, choose whether the island direction would be good enough to protect you against the wind, and at the same time how much space under the wind left. If any changes in wind direction is expected, take this into account.
With the help of anchors marked on the maps or sailing directions, you have quite lightweight task, because you know what to expect, but you can try to discover your own places. Depending on a size of a yacht, it is best to stay anchored at a depth of 5-10 m. The yachts with less draught may also stay in shallow water, but what is important, the sufficient depth around. While mooring in an unknown place, it is worth putting one person on the nose so that he watches over the bottom while entering. In case anything is noticed in the water, he will let you know, and you can react quickly.
Take into account, that an anchor may be stuck under the rock on a rocky bottom, and you will have problems with its release. Please avoid locations marked for mooring and the routes of submarine cables (marked on maps). When you use the places marked on a map, you can be sure that nothing bad awaits you there.
Modern yachts are equipped with a counter released chain, but as the practice has shown they can be unregulated and show false data. The easiest and most reliable way is tags. The most commonly used are color clips inserted into links, or simply symbols made with paint, mostly every 10 meters. When picking up a yacht, ask an operator how long chain you have and how often these tags occur. When there is an anchor winch on the cover in the elevator (what color, how many meters), ask if this will correspond to the real state.
You drop anchor
You are in a place you have chosen. An echo sounder shows the depth of, for example, 8 meters. You drop anchor. But how long should be this anchor? There are various thoughts. Some people say that 3 lengths depths, others that it should be 5. If the conditions are favorable, you can sail. As for being at the anchorage, tightly let out 3x depth. If the conditions are more difficult, strong wind is blowing and you have enough place – let out more.
To put the boat with its nose against the wind, first let out this 8 m and “slightly” so that the anchor lies on the bottom, then start slowly turning on the yacht, letting out the chain at the same time. When you let out the planned length, pull the yacht back to make sure that the anchor is sunk. When you feel that the anchor is holding, the yacht does not recede, you are almost there.
Now, calmly watch how the yacht acts. First of all, whether it moves. How to check it? By observations. Check out whether it moves forward or you are approaching to the land. If it is possible, find two landmarks. For example, a stone on the shore and a tree in the depths. The yacht does not stand still, it moves unpredictable, but always to some extent. If it moves up to a certain point and begins to return, the anchor is not set right, you need to repeat a maneuver.
If meanwhile nothing happens, repeat this from time to time. When you stay at night anchored, calculate the hours of your change for a certain time (let them pay attention to the anchor and the change in wind direction). Do not forget to turn on the anchor drift signal, which let you know if the yacht leaves your designated area.
The stronger wind is and more waves can be observed, more carefully should you monitor the situation.
Not all the aspects are covered. Read more about how to do it right in the second part of our guide.