June 2012

Anchoring aid

OTW training makes anchoring easy

Boat sober

Launched last summer, USPS’ Practical on the Water Training seminar covers basic boating concepts, including docking, going forward, reversing and anchoring. The following procedure for setting an anchor under power applies to both power- and sailboats.

  • Head into the wind or current, whichever is stronger.
  • Bring the boat to a dead stop.
  • As the boat begins to gather sternway, ease the anchor to the bottom, either hand over hand or with the windlass. Do not just let the rode run out uncontrolled.
  • Apply a touch of reverse throttle to get the boat moving astern. If it’s windy, this won’t be necessary.
  • Pay out the rode as the boat drifts back, keeping a slight tension on the rode so it forms a line across the seabed. The boat will probably lie broadside to the wind.
  • When you have paid out half your intended scope, snub the rode until you feel resistance from the anchor and continue easing out the rode.
  • Keeping tension on the rode, pay out another quarter of the scope and momentarily snub the rode again.
  • With the boat still moving astern, secure the anchor rode when the desired scope has been paid out. The boat’s weight should dig in the anchor solidly; the anchor rode will rise out of the water in a straight line.
  • To ensure the anchor is dug in well, back down with the engine at half throttle for 30 seconds. The boat should move forward on the rode when you ease the throttle.
  • If you don’t get your anchor to set the first time, try again. If it still won’t set, try another spot.

Avoid these common anchoring mistakes:

  • letting the chain pile on top of the anchor,
  • releasing the anchor while the boat is still moving forward,
  • moving astern so quickly that the anchor doesn’t have a chance to dig in,
  • anchoring too close to other boats, and the most common mistake,
  • failing to let out enough scope.

Register for a Practical on the Water Training seminar near you at usps.org/owt.


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Mastering Marlinespike

Slipped bowline

The slipped bowline is useful when the load on the loop is constant and you need a quick release.


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