blueachilles 1:27pm, 14 September 2012
Although we have anchored several times for lunch etc, and even on occasions left the boat for half an hour or so to go to a beach, we had never anchored overnight.

It was always an ambition, but I have not been brave enough, until last week.

It was beautiful day, with hardly any wind. I spent the morning calculating tidal heights, drawing diagrams, and even dangling a weight over the side to check that our depth meter was working properly (it is).

So we sailed slowly across Carrick Roads from Falmouth to St Just, a tiny village on the other side of the estuary. There is shelter from the South and East, where the forecast said the wind would come from, if there was any....

We dropped the anchor in about 3m, shortly after Low Water. Apart from about 6m of chain next to the anchor, we use rope, so I let out 6x the depth, and carefully checked transits for a few minutes to ensure the anchor was correctly dug in.

The weather was glorious, warm & sunny, and the sea was glassy calm. Di cooked Four Can Stew on our single burner cooker; a tin of chicken casserole, a tin of Bombay potatoes, a tin of carrots, and a tin of mushrooms - delicious. I opened a bottle of beer and checked my transits again.

And we watched the sea get glassier and glassier. Seabirds circled round, diving to pick up flies from the surface. Apart from a couple of other boats a hundred yards or so away, we had the place to ourselves.

I let out some more anchor rope so we had six times the maximum depth, and checked the transits again.

The sunset was magnificent, changing every few minutes and Di & I kept grabbing the camera from each other. We are as competitive with our photography as we are with backgammon; as the temperature dropped we closed up the cabin and I beat Di 3 games out of 4, looking out of the cabin window to check the transits between games.

We also set the anchor alarm on the GPS, not realising until the morning that the sound was off, so even if we had dragged, there would have been no alarm.

And so to bed; and apart from checking a couple of times that the anchor light on the next boat was still in the same place, we had a very peaceful night.

We awoke to thick mist, so thick we could barely see the other boats in the anchorage, and certainly couldn't see the shore, a couple of hundred yards away.

Needless to say, we hadn't dragged; in fact it was so calm we barely needed an anchor at all, and the anchor rope dangled limply, straight down from the bow.

Gradually the mist cleared, more photos were taken, I briefly wondered whether to go for a swim, decided not to, and as a light wind sprang up, we hauled up the anchor and left, taking the opportunity to try the cruising chute for a short trip up Carrick Roads.

So that's another first ticked off. We were lucky to choose such a quiet night, but will definitely anchor again now we have a taste for it.
Skykomish E29 6 years ago
Sounds so Idyllic, we love that beautiful time when all goes quiet as the sun drops and the sky seems to explode with colour, not sure if you got it where you were, but being in a river surrounded by marsh we get a beautiful soundtrack of estuary bird's shrill cries mixed with the occasional warble in the late evening and early morning, which makes all worries just melt away.
Well done for being brave enough to have a go, and medication from the GP could help with the night time visits ..
Red Marlin 6 years ago
Guess the only mistake you made was that score of 3 out of 4
NormanKlipspringer 6 years ago
First time I slept at anchor, I set the anchor alarm and was woken up in the middle of the night. It took me a little while to realise it was the alarm. No problems I had set the alarm area too small not allowing for the change of tide direction in the middle of the night. In the morning I checked the chartplotter and found I had travelled at anchor about 0.6 m at a speed of 0.8kts.
craig48uk 6 years ago
Anchoring was so much simpler in the Caribbean. a) you could see it digging in and b) you could swim down and shove it in if it didn't do it itself, depending on depth.
Water is as clear up here on the west coast of Scotland, but I am not going in there!
Skykomish E29 6 years ago
bit colder though Craig
jendave1 6 years ago
Really it's all about confidence. It's interesting how people gain experience and what they're comfortable with.
When we started sailing we started anchoring, our first trip away from home was onto anchor and we've been doing it ever since. Last year we lay to a gale for 3 days on 2 anchors on our A24. Our confidence in anchoring is high.
However where we have the biggest problems has always been going into marinas, onto pontoons etc which you probably do all the time Blue. I like to think we're getting a bit better, but that's where we feel the nerves whilst we will happily anchor and get a good night's sleep in the middle of nowhere!
Once the anchor did drag (in gloopy mud) and really it was no big deal, we re-set and I rowed out the second anchor.
Craig - caught a buoy in our rudder earlier this year in Ireland, so I had to dive under the boat to see what was going on. I wore a tee shirt & joggers, it was very cold but luckily I could see quite quickly what was going on so was probably in the water for less than 5 minutes - long enough! Once I knew what the problem was we laid out an anchor to one side and managed to pull her clear.
I do dive on the moorings in Campbeltown, but it's a lot friendlier in a dry suit!
Slycat777 6 years ago
I had an incident where the main sheet got tangled around our rudder too. Was easy enough to free it from inside the boat but I made a note that I'm carrying a wetsuit in the boat from now on!

(and now I come to think of it a cheap snorkling mask too)
blueachilles 6 years ago
You're right, we generally use pontoons; when I first suggested to Di that we could sleep on the boat the deal was that we would eat out each night, so marinas are the norm, but we are now cooking on board occasionally as well.

The very first time I took Di sailing, as we were approaching the pontoon I was on on the helm, and told Di to be ready to step off with a mooring line. I was told very firmly "No, I'm not doing that", so the only option was for her to steer the boat while I stepped ashore. And thats what happens now, Di does all the parking, and she's very good at it. Despite being very good, she's not very confident, but I guess thats no bad thing!

If we're not on a pontoon, we pick up mooring buoys, and again Di is on the helm. This always seems the best option to me, but you see so many blokes on the helm, shouting orders to their poor wife who's on the bow struggling with boathook, pickup buoy, etc.
Red Marlin 6 years ago
Living on board most of the year for the last 13 years we have anchored most of the summers. But we do not have tide to worry about like we did in Scotland. Never lost our nervousness completely until a couple of years ago. Bought 60 metres of chain, electric anchor winch and a spade anchor - sorted. Like Craig I would snorkel to check it out but now it is straight in every time and will not pull out. Now sleep peacefully- as long as no Italian boats come into the anchorage.
busy home [deleted] 6 years ago
you are so lucky, in 40odd years , Sue never touched the helm or a rope.
(once on the Tiger when the motor died yards from the bouy I seem to remember her holding the helm while I struggled to hold the mooring in a 5.) apart from that never,, even with the Gibsea 33 and a Nauticat 33 I had to do everything,, But we never argued or had a cross word,,
My kids on the other hand were great even when very young,,,. Ian could helm a Ballerina (photo to prove) when 5 ... (despite being the worst boat in the world.)
And Di is the best photographer in an Achilles 24 in the Fal.
Take her out to dinner every time..
rothwell_neil Posted 6 years ago. Edited by rothwell_neil (member) 6 years ago
This summer we cruised in Croatia and my wife was banned from deck during all 'parking' operations. Reversing in to pick up a lazy line from the dock would bring forth too many shouts of 'watch that boat' 'your going too fast' 'have you seen those other boats?' 'where are you aiming?' etc etc until we just sent her below to open the cold beers for when we had moored up.

As for anchoring, always done it, can't beat a quiet anchorage and a glass of wine/beer. Solway is always quiet and some great places. I use an anchor alarm but need to allow for plenty of tide and scope as we have big tides up north. Had an anchor alarm that showed the track of the boat during the night, amazing how far you can move with wind and tide competing. If it is going to blow use the Fortress otherwise a simple CQR and that seems to hold well in mud and reset. Agree with the chain, I have 40M and that is comforting.
Skykomish E29 6 years ago
Linda & I take it in turns though Linda usually prefers to pick up the buoy whilst I control the engine and steer onto the buoy, though to be fair Linda does a good job at both, she just lacks confidence.
If you think pontoon berthing in an Achilles is hard you want to try it with a long keel boat. Our Achilles turned on a sixpence especially when you used the outboard in the well as a stern thruster. We are happy at the moment as we have vacant moorings either side of us so have plenty of room to get in (I wonder if somebody is trying to tell us something?)
Red Marlin 6 years ago
Pontoon berthing in Cesme has to be easy. To suit all skill levels if you know what I mean. They have marina staff and ribs to assist and make the job easy (I never ask for assistance - but still there is 2 staff to take my lines). A 28 foot motor boat on the next pontoon has twin diesels and a bow thruster - yes 28 foot. He cannot get in or out without smashing into several boats and needs the assistance of 2 ribs and 6 staff for him to berth up. In the end marina staff have to get on board and take it in for him. He is not alone in this.
jendave1 6 years ago
I'm feeling better already...
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