SeaKnots

Anchoring stories...is yours funny, scary or both?

As I sit at a quiet anchorage and watch the boats coming in at dusk, I see some boats that come in and set their anchor on the first attempt, others that need to reset it 3-4 times and a few that after the unsuccessful attempts, leave to find a "better holding ground" somewhere else. And still others that ended up frighteningly close to their neighbors at sunrise.

I always wonder what happened and what was said. Sometimes I hear the shouts going back and forth from the helmsman to the person at the bow with the anchor controls. Some of these while stressful at the time, to the onlooker are very comic. Oh if I could be a fly on the boom to get a closer look!

So here it is, the closer look.

What are your classic anchoring stories?

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Trying to anchor on the north side of the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine, I was having a particularly tough time getting a decent set. After numereous false starts, I finally got a good set. Waking up around 3 am, I realized for sure that I wasn't going to be draging, as the boat was at a 10 degree angle. By slack tide, I was listing at a good 30 degrees, my keel stuck firmly in the muck and mud.

Having been so busy just trying to get a good set, I hadn't kept track of my depth, and ended up in a shallow spot. One of the hazards of singlehanded anchoring.
Wow, I didn't expect that ending as I was reading your post. Oh my goodness! Yes, you would not be dragging for sure! Did you get out ok at high tide?
No problem once the tide came back in. I had a good foot under the keel at high tide.
Guess I'm the only one with horror stories, eh?

When I first tried leaving Texas (where I bought the boat), it was Thanksgiving week and I had planned to make my way to Florida via the ICW. Heading out on my third day from Port Arthur, TX the wind begin to steadily freshen until by the time I turned east to cross Sabine Lake it was up in the 25-30 knot range out of the northwest. Finally getting across, I, in my inexperience, passed by a well protected anchorage, to make my way to my scheduled stop for the night.

Thinking once I got back within the confines of the ditch there would be some protection from the wind, I was soon disabused of that notion. After a day of struggles, and passing right by my seclected spot, I finally found my way back to it, only to discover it was little more than some deeper water within marshland. With the wind still howling, and showing no signs of letting up, I made repeated attempts to get the anchor down and set. Finally, I managed to get it to hold, but found myself swinging toward shallow water. In an attempt to get the stern around so I could put out my second anchor, I was soon reminded that I had forgotten to shorten the towline on the dinghy. The next thing I knew, the motor came to a jarring stop, as I had wrapped the line tightly around the shaft and prop as I tried to swing the stern around.

Now, I was hanging on one anchor, hardly a boat length off the main channel, which was filled with barges and tugs as it was a major staging area. To say I was not feeling very comfortable with the situation is beyond understatement. No motor, no room to manuver, one anchor, and lots of stuff to get blown into, or run over by.

Finally reaching TowBoatUS, I found that they not only had no one in the area, they was no one they could call outside of Fish and Game, who were well over an hour away. A very long hour, as I sat waiting. Finally, an 18' runabout shows up to tow me to a place I can tie up. Though I try to convince him to tie up alongside, he is determined to tow me on a line instead, despite the conditions and traffic. It was a harrowing two plus hours to go a half a mile, but finally, I was tied up for the night.

There's a few lessons to learn here. One, in bad weather, don't pass up a good anchorage just beause it's early in the day. Or even go back to one if conditions don't improve. Two, before trying to set the hook, make sure you've prepared well first. Shortening the line on the dinghy would have kept me from backing over it. And third, and one that can be hard for the novice (like I was, and still feel like at times), it isn't WHEN you get there, it's getting there in a safe manner, that counts.
I still remember my first time anchoring overnight. I did a quit solo up to Paradise Cove from MDR. PC is a protected cove (except in a south) with good holding. Dropped anchor (twice) in 20 feet of water and checked to see my CQR dug in & set. Spotted bearings on shore as well as set my location with my garmin 76.

I think the longest I was able to sleep was about 10 minutes...I had to keep checking my bearings & gps. Of course, when the tide changed that freaked me out even more...

I think it was the third trip before I was able to sleep (diving on it, getting bearings and gps) as well as to leave the boat and surf Pt. Dume.

Every new location I had anchored (Catalina, Santa Cruz, etc), I became more confident but and my nervousness/fear shifted to my neighbors as I watched many of them just dump there anchor overboard (primarily big ol yachts with cocktailing captain/crew)
I have to tell you this, although I don't come out of it very well.....

I was anchored in a bay in Croatia, rafted on to two other yachts. We had turned up early and had a BBQ off the back on off one of the other yachts; then sat in the saloon (drinking), watched the sun go down and stars come out. All very nice....

As we were enjoying ourselves, several other yachts started apprearing and anchoring all around the bay. We knew from the weather forecast that the Meltemi was going to kick up overnight; would be F7 from the North, so had positioned ourselves at the sheltered end and got our three anchors (between us) well dug in.

Around 2am, through the noise of the wind, I was awoken by the noise of an anchor chain running....

When I stuck my head up into the cockpit I saw a 50 foot yacht laying his anchor across our three. He was about 45 degrees to the wind, the crew were all up and about, must have been 6 people on deck shouting in Czech at each other, total kayos. My friends on the other yacht said they has seen them hit a yacht earlier when trying to anchor in another place. On hearing that, I grabbed the high power spot light and pointing it straight at the helmsman told him to "F*** Off to the other side of the bay". (Not very helpfull I'm afraid)

I was told to be more helpful by my friends. So relising that they were putting down far too little chain for a 50 footer in 30 knots of breeze I tried again, this time shouting "Go over there and put down more Chain", I showed them a spot with the spotlight. The next time they tried to anchor, some 100 yards on our beam, I kept shouting "More Chain" when they stopped putting it down until I thought they had enough. I think they put down three times what they had been putting down.

Fortunately, that put a stop to the shenanigans and I got an undisturbed sleep for the rest of the night.

In the morning they were still there and motored past us on the way out of the bay giving us a sheepish wave. I did feel sorry for them in the morning as it must have been quite terrifying
for the crew onboard...
Oh my goodness. We never had to anchor in the high winds in Europe, so far just sailing (unpleasantly) through them. But having someone else anchor so closely to you in those winds...Oh my goodness.

Dave Lunt said:
I have to tell you this, although I don't come out of it very well.....

I was anchored in a bay in Croatia, rafted on to two other yachts. We had turned up early and had a BBQ off the back on off one of the other yachts; then sat in the saloon (drinking), watched the sun go down and stars come out. All very nice....

As we were enjoying ourselves, several other yachts started apprearing and anchoring all around the bay. We knew from the weather forecast that the Meltemi was going to kick up overnight; would be F7 from the North, so had positioned ourselves at the sheltered end and got our three anchors (between us) well dug in.

Around 2am, through the noise of the wind, I was awoken by the noise of an anchor chain running....

When I stuck my head up into the cockpit I saw a 50 foot yacht laying his anchor across our three. He was about 45 degrees to the wind, the crew were all up and about, must have been 6 people on deck shouting in Czech at each other, total kayos. My friends on the other yacht said they has seen them hit a yacht earlier when trying to anchor in another place. On hearing that, I grabbed the high power spot light and pointing it straight at the helmsman told him to "F*** Off to the other side of the bay". (Not very helpfull I'm afraid)

I was told to be more helpful by my friends. So relising that they were putting down far too little chain for a 50 footer in 30 knots of breeze I tried again, this time shouting "Go over there and put down more Chain", I showed them a spot with the spotlight. The next time they tried to anchor, some 100 yards on our beam, I kept shouting "More Chain" when they stopped putting it down until I thought they had enough. I think they put down three times what they had been putting down.

Fortunately, that put a stop to the shenanigans and I got an undisturbed sleep for the rest of the night.

In the morning they were still there and motored past us on the way out of the bay giving us a sheepish wave. I did feel sorry for them in the morning as it must have been quite terrifying
for the crew onboard...
Dave Lunt said:
I have to tell you this, although I don't come out of it very well.....


br/>

Around 2am, through the noise of the wind, I was awoken by the noise of an anchor chain running....


When I stuck my head up into the cockpit I saw a 50 foot yacht laying his anchor across our three. He was about 45 degrees to the wind, the crew were all up and about, must have been 6 people on deck shouting in Czech at each other, total kayos. My friends on the other yacht said they has seen them hit a yacht earlier when trying to anchor in another place. On hearing that, I grabbed the high power spot light and pointing it straight at the helmsman told him to "F*** Off to the other side of the bay". (Not very helpfull I'm afraid)
I was told to be more helpful by my friends. So relising that they were putting down far too little chain for a 50 footer in 30 knots of breeze I tried again, this time shouting "Go over there and put down more Chain", I showed them a spot with the spotlight. The next time they tried to anchor, some 100 yards on our beam, I kept shouting "More Chain" when they stopped putting it down until I thought they had enough. I think they put down three times what they had been putting down.




Thats what we normally have in Croatia. Nothing shocking for us ;-)
Charter Crew showing that they are real Charter Crews .... Loud and Chaotic.

I prefer anchoring lonely in a bay or if I want security,i go in a bay with Boje.

In the last time the authority is trying to cash you even if you are anchoring in a Bay, when there are Boje`s. Yachcharter is a good market in Croatia ;-)
I cannot imagine how shocking that was when you first saw it. Did everyone have chain? And aren't you glad that you woke up in time...a good skipper always does ;-)
In the Adriatic Sea every on anchors with chain. The problem of most is that the do not grab in they're anchor by going backward until the anchor is holding.
I thought I had added to this thread, but apparently I did not. At any rate, we were anchoring at Galliot Cut in the Exumas. The first time we anchored there, there was no one there, although another boat did come in later. This time, however, there were already two boats in the anchorage. So we circle around, find a likely spot and drop the hook. Peter, don't you think we're too close to that boat behind us? Well, maybe so, so we haul anchor circle around some more and drop the hook again. This time, things appear more suitable. As the evening progressed, I took fixes on several landmarks and was satisfied that we were not dragging. The GPS tells me that we are in nearly the exact location where we anchored last time we were here. As the tidal current changed, the geometric relationship we had with the other boats changed and I was a bit concerned. However, I figured, "Boats at anchor swing together, right?" Wrong. Sometime around midnight I got up to check on things and found that we were frighteningly close to another boat in the anchorage. So, I put on some decent clothes and went up on deck to monitor the situation, fending us off the other boat with the boat hook. Maybe 30 minutes into the episode, the skipper on the other boat joined me on deck, we were close enough to shake hands! We had a pleasant conversation for the next 30 minutes or so. In all, there were four boats in the anchorage and each one of them was pointed in a different cardinal direction! So much for swinging together! Finally, the tidal current shifted and everybody was again in synch. It was an interesting experience. Needless to say, the next night at Big Major's Spot, we sought an anchorage well away from the nearest neighbor--a dinghy ride way to far from Staniel!
That's a great lesson to learn (from someone else) - Thanks for sharing!

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