Sailing ABC – A is for Anchor – Anchoring, I

Sailing ABC  by Marianne Wheeler

A is for Anchor – Anchoring, I

We all like to sail fast and be blown away by the wind, but it serves a sailor well to know how to anchor and make a boat stay put on the water.

Ground tackle, the anchor and its rode (rope and chain), and the knowledge of how to use it are the key to avoid dragging at anchor and getting into trouble when the wind kicks up or the current runs strong.

It seems the anchor always holds until you leave the boat to dinghy ashore, or until 2:30 am, whichever comes first.

Tradewinds ASA courses Basic Coastal Cruising 103, Bare Boat Cruising 104, and Advanced Anchoring classes fortunately provide the knowledge for successful anchoring.

Even before you learn how to anchor, when you are just beginning to sail on Tradewinds’ 25 foot Catalina Capris practicing your ASA Basic Keel Boat 101 skills, you should consider the anchor.

My friend Salty Clay says it’s a good idea to be familiar with the anchor and its rode in a mesh bag mounted at the bow. Know how to lower it, cleat it off, and retrieve it, should you have to anchor involuntarily.

If you need to stop the boat before drifting into danger, maybe because the wind died and you lost steerage, or you got into irons and can’t get out, or you hove-to watching the sunset without checking the lee shore – anytime you need to avoid hitting anything and in the excitement to get underway pulled one too many times on the engine starter so the outboard flooded and won’t start – remember the anchor and use it promptly.

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