Sailing ABC A is for Anchor – Anchoring, VII Part 1

In “Sailing, A Sailor’s Dictionary” by Henry Beard and Roy McKie, ANCHORAGE is defined as: “1. Destination at day’s end. Always found at the junction of two charts, or on a chart not aboard. 2. Any location on the water where at least twenty boats may be accommodated in sufficient proximity to one another so that a sound of 10 decibels (roughly equal to the noise produced by folding a paper towel in half) made by a member of the crew of any one boat may be heard clearly by a person of average hearing on any one of the other boats.” The selection of an anchor site requires more consideration than just finding an idyllic spot that is away from it all. Before dropping the anchor, make a plan. Use your chart to find out the depth at the desired site and use your tide book to figure out if you will have enough depth to stay afloat at low tide, but not too much to lift your ground tackle out at high tide. Make sure that the water is deep enough throughout the entire “swinging room”, the circle your boat can make while at anchor when wind and current change. The radius of that circle is equal to the length of the boat plus the length of the rode let out, with a little safety margin added for good measure. Is there enough space around to prevent hitting another boat or a shore nearby? The chart will also let you see what kind of bottom your anchor is going to land on. Sand is good. Avoid rocks (known for trapping anchors) and weeds, (known for letting anchors slip and slide).

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