Single handed

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


No big deal. I have a 55lb delta with 100ft of 5/16" chain (odd combo, no?).

Sometime before, in open water, go forward and get things ready. Probably after dousing the headsail. The sail around to find a good spot. Watch the depth. Loop around to clear the area. Sail very slowly as you approach the chosen spot by keeping the main eased. Then turn into the wind and completely ease the mainsheet. Go forward and gently lower the anchor. Use gloves. Try to detect when it hits bottom then let out only a little more until you are sure the bow has drifted away from the anchor. Then slowly let out the rest of the rode. There is no need to hurry any of this. You can set the anchor, if needed, by backing the main, or sailing gently up to the anchor then drifting hard back, or by just quickly and firmly pulling in some rode.

It can be a bit stressful in a crowded anchorage or if the wind is up.

Eat a good breakfast and wear gloves. You will shortly realize one benefit of anchoring in shallower water. If winds are light set the main. If stronger set a reefed main or plan to hoist later. Can you easily sail out of the anchorage? If not resign yourself to using the engine .

Pull the anchor up. Do it slowly. I sit, brace my feet, and pull like I'm rowing. Wait for the boat to drift up. You can trim the main some and she might tack up to the anchor all on her own. It can take some time or a good pull to break out. Or maybe a wave or wake. Or maybe a little sailing around on no scope. Some kind of one-way chain snubber-ratchet-thing is very handy here. If it doesn't break out you need not worry about drifting away, obviously. After breaking out get the anchor aboard and secure without much delay. Make sure the piled chain won't go overboard, like with a sailtie. Don't fret the mud and weed - get the boat sailing away then deal with it later.

Tip on sailing around in an anchorage. Keep manoeuvring speed on at all times no matter what. Be ready to duck boats even if you're sure you can clear their anchor gear.


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