Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday at Cuttyhunk – Mysteries of Anchoring

We had anchored outside the harbor yesterday and observed our fellow boaters attempting to do the same thing. About ½ failed to get their anchor set and moved on. When their anchors came up they were draped with seaweed. Danforths were particularly susceptible, the flukes just wouldn’t dig in through the kelp or bottom grass (I’ll find out tomorrow when we pull our anchor). Many just tossed their anchor over the bow and hoped for the best instead of carefully laying out the anchor chain away from the anchor as the boat drifted back from the wind and perhaps helped along by a reverse idle. The boat gives the anchor a good tug as it’s brought up short when the chain is fully extended. No more is needed nor advisable as any anchoring book will explain. The anchor needs time to settle into the bottom, a sudden jerk or full throttle back at this point will just pull the anchor out – great entertainment for everyone in the harbor if you’re so inclined.

The other great mystery is the power of an anchored boat to attract other boats! We watched as the anchorage gradually empted out on a Sunday afternoon, I suppose some people still have to work… Eventually we were the only boat left in the outer harbor but that didn’t last long. The mystery deepens when you realize that other boats view the perfect anchoring spot to be about 100 ft in front of you (for the anchor drop, then their boat drifts back)! There’s lots of room to the right and left and behind (downwind) but those are not choice spots, apparently. So on the first try, the boat choosing the choice spot was close enough off my bow that I asked if he wanted cream in his tea, or more appropriately, hand me the can of beer and I’ll open it for you! To his credit, he did wind up moving a little more upwind (why not right or left??) . Another boat joined us off our port side but he was far enough away to be no problem – but I was sort of wishing for more solitude. I suppose I’d better get used to it since we’re headed down the ICW in September and I’m sure the anchorages will be crowded.

Cuttyhunk always has pretty sunsets and we always enjoy the show. We think we’re headed for Vineyard tomorrow, who knows, plans always seem to change. The weather seems to be moderating after the front comes through tomorrow and we should have nice weather.


Truth Teller said...

Good anchoring advice.