- Our hints and tips on anchoring and anchor gear -
The anchor, anchor chain, windlass and bow roller are fitted by the shipyard as standard on most boats from 8 metres upwards, and sometimes even on smaller recreational boats. When buying a used yacht, you should also check which anchor is installed, whether anchor chain or anchor line is used, and which windlass, even if you trust the boat builder and previous owner. You never know exactly how precisely dimensions and breaking loads of indivdual components were measured, and it could well be that the boat builder or previous owner tired to cut costs in some places. However, especially when choosing an anchor, anchor chain and manual or electric windlass, it is advisable to focus on quality and to adapt the individual components to your boat, sailing area, seabed and expected weather conditions. If your boat does not have a windlass and only has a bow thruster, for example, you should definitely consider fitting one to your vessel. Small windlasses are available that are great value for money and make it much easier for you to handle your anchor and chain! In our guide to selecting and installing anchor equipment, you will find out, for example, what types of anchors are available and which anchor we recommend for which depths. It will help you choose the right anchor, anchor chain and windlass for your boat.
To let others know that you are at anchor, you should use an anchor ball and have a visible anchor light. By using such signalling devices you protect yourself and others from collisions. You can find more information on anchor lights in our guide on this topic.
A depth sounder is an indispensable aid, especially for boats with a greater draught, not just for anchoring manoeuvres. Modern devices connected to a chartplotter now not only show depth, but also give a view of the seabed, depending on the model. We also offer special transducers that cover the area in front of the boat or provide a very precise image of the seabed through the use of high frequencies, which can come in handy so that you can easily spot any obstacles that your anchor could get caught on. In addition, modern chartplotters and GPS devices can be used to monitor anchor position.
A chain claw is another useful tool that is used after anchoring. Its purpose is to relieve your windlass so that the pull is on the claw, and this in turn will help your windlass to remain functional for longer. The rope on the anchor claw is attached to a cleat and hooked into the chain as soon as the anchor has a firm hold.
Chain markers are used to indicate how much chain has been deployed when dropping anchor. The same can also be achieved with waterproof paint. You can set markers every 5 or 10 metres, depending on the length of your boat or chain.
Anchor buoys are attached to the anchor with lines and then float above the anchor on the surface. They are used so that you can always know exactly where your anchor is and to signal this to other sailors and motorboaters. Anchor buoys are not to be confused with mooring buoys, however.
- Tips on choosing an anchorage -
You can often choose which bay to anchor in, but how to find the best place to anchor? If there are already a few boats at anchor in the bay, you can assume that the seabed is good and that the bay is probably sufficiently sheltered from the wind. You should also use your electronic or paper charts to select the precise location and to identify obstacles and shoals before entering the bay. If you are new to boating, we recommend choosing your anchorage early, as popular bays can get very crowded towards the evening. Many ships in a bay can make anchor manoeuvres difficult. After choosing a bay, scan your depth sounder as you enter and observe the sea bed.
- How to anchor properly? -
As is so often the case in boating, there is no right or wrong way to anchor. It's all a matter of practice makes perfect, and the more practice you have, the better you'll get to know your boat and perform better manoeuvres.
1. First of all, it' s important to perform manoeuvres as calmly as possible and to allocate tasks to individual crew members in advance. Who is going to lower the anchor? Who is communicating with other boats in the bay?
2. Move slowly into the bay and slow down until you reach your destination. Now tell the person at anchor how deep the water is and give the command to lower the anchor.
3. The person at anchor should now tell you how much chain has already been used. This is possible with the help of chain markers as described above. Depending on the depth you should lower 4-5 times more chain. Obviously that will not be possible in very deep water. Here it is important to use as much chain as possible. In very shallow water, on the other hand, you can drop a chain length of 4-5 times the depth of the seabed. The more chain, the more secure your boat will be at anchor. As soon as the anchor reaches the bottom, the person at anchor stops the chain with the brake on the windlass.
4. To slack off the chain and secure the anchor, move slowly backwards until the chain is taut.
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