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Sailors come from a variety of backgrounds and experience levels and each seems to have a different tip or trick on how to do things. Some will claim that their way is the “only way,” while others will acknowledge they have a lot to learn and are interested in discovering multiple techniques. The great part is, there’s a variety of ways to get things done. But when it comes to anchoring, I encourage all sailors to please – take your time! Anchoring is not a race.
Anchoring is one of my favorite parts of cruising. Whether it’s in a deserted little cove or big bustling port, swinging on the hook is an incredible freedom – especially when done properly in the company of others who have also done so. All too often though, I witness boats rushing into the harbor, hurriedly choosing a spot, dropping anchor and chain all at once, then casually turning off the engine and kicking back.
This happened last night on both sides of us and I awoke multiple times thinking about where these boat were. Fortunately, it was a windless night, so when I appeared on deck all was well. But, the morning before in a different anchorage the chatter around the marina showers was of multiple boats dragging during the night because of too little scope let out and no check to make sure the anchor was set. What is going on, sailors?
Anchoring can be one of the easiest skills to master if you pay enough rode out, back down to set the hook, patiently take a range or two to ensure you aren’t dragging, and check your swing room so you don’t drift into other anchored boats. Please, for the safety of all involved and for peace of mind while sleeping, learn how to anchor your boat.
Enjoy this week’s Cruising Compass!