Tag Archives | Nordhavn

ANCHORING IN STRONG WINDS WITH SAFETY AND CONFIDENCE (PART 2)

Envoy is berthed in Greece’s Lefkas Marina while Diane and are home in Auckland. We’re not planning any major Med cruising this year, but hope to visit Lefkas around mid August to check on Envoy and cruise until end October.
Pacific Passagemaker magazine recently published an article we’d written on anchoring in strong winds.
Here’s the second of two parts of an edited version of that article.
So Part One has put our vessel into a suitable bay for anchoring.
Much is written about different anchors and their supposed advantages but provided your vessel has a recognised mainstream type of anchor your security will be determined more by your anchoring technique including the weight of chain you have on the seabed.
This article assumes your vessel has totally adequate ground tackle and that is a whole subject in itself. Our main anchor is a 40 kg (88 pound) Delta Setfast with 400 feet of 10.8mm BBB chain and having anchored nearly 2,000 times can only recall Envoy dragging anchor twice (once of which was during a non-forecast 60 knot wind).
A commonly used method to calculate the required length of chain is to add the maximum expected water depth at high tide to the distance from the anchor roller to the water and then multiply that figure by five, six or seven times depending on the conditions. However this formula doesn’t work so well in very shallow water or deep water. I prefer to allow for the depth of water plus 30-40 metres of chain on the bottom.

We rarely go into harbours or marinas as it’s too expensive when living aboard

In very strong winds we lay out as much chain as possible, even up to ten times total depth while keeping in mind the proximity of other vessels and the consequences of a wind shift. Of course you must be able to monitor how much chain you are paying out using a chain counter or marks on the chain (we use coloured cable ties).
Our anchoring technique is to very slowly motor upwind and stop in the position where we want our anchor to sit, pay out chain until the anchor is almost to the bottom and then give a short burst of reverse thrust so that Envoymoves astern no faster than the speed at which chain is paying out. We don’t advocate allowing the anchor chain to free-fall until the anchor is on the bottom and reverse movement has commenced as chain can otherwise become tangled around the anchor while it’s dropping. However once the anchor is on the bottom, free falling the chain does save wear on the windlass motor. In our experience and observations of other vessels, if too much reverse power is applied immediately on laying the anchor it will often result in dragging the anchor along the bottom, particularly if the bottom is mud or covered in weed. We prefer to first give the anchor time to settle onto the bottom and dig in properly. We then observe whether the vessel is holding and if all is OK after about 15 minutes we motor forward about half the distance of the chain length and then let the vessel drift back with the wind. The anchor will fully dig in when it stops the vessel’s backwards drift and then we apply a little reverse thrust to ensure the anchor holds. When the vessel “bounces back” on its rope rode you know it’s holding.

Envoy in superb Zaklopalica, Croatia

In strong winds it is important to use a heavy duty and longer than usual anchor rode to act as a good spring. We set this up with the snubbing fitting just below water level and with several feet of chain hanging on the vessel side of the fitting to add to the spring effect. Now we record our GPS position and activate our anchor and depth alarms to monitor any dragging.
If depth, water temperature and visibility allow we check the anchor using a mask and snorkel to ensure the anchor is well set and not obstructed.
We then make preparations for the coming blow, ensuring all gear on deck is securely lashed down, buffers are readily available in case of another vessel dragging into ours, and that we are able to drop or cut the anchor chain with a buoy in an emergency. 
If there are other vessels nearby we put our buffers in position. 
We prefer to leave our tender in the water in case it’s needed, but secure it well close behind Envoy’sstern. Never leave a lightweight tender on its painter behind your vessel in a strong wind as you may lose it or it may flip upside down.

Secure at anchor in Croatia’s Loviste

Now is a good time to think what may happen if there is a significant wind shift or a need to move. Check the anchorage using radar and plotter during daylight to know exactly how it looks, because everything looks very different by night. It’s also a good idea for the skipper to get some sleep during the daytime when others can more easily monitor and handle any situation.
Before darkness arrives rig your spotlights, have flashlights to hand, turn the radar on standby, and ensure the engine is ready to start in case of any emergency arising, such as the need to avoid a dragging vessel, or the need to reduce strain on the anchor in very high gusts. As skipper, I also sleep in the pilot house so that I can constantly monitor the situation and react quickly.
When the strong wind arrives it’s usual to see sheets of spray lifted off the surface of the water and wind waves up to about two or three feet, even in a sheltered bay with little fetch.
Sometimes your vessel will appear to drag a few metres as the chain straightens out along the seabed, so don’t be in too much of a hurry to move if the position alarm sounds.
Of course there is usually some trepidation and a need to maintain a state of high alert, but by following the above procedures we’ve safely and comfortably anchored though many blows.
We’ve never encountered winds above 70 knots and realise that circumstances may be very different in winds of for example 90 knots or more.
The “strength” of wind does not increase in a linear way relative to wind speed, but dramatically more so as the square of the difference. For example to compare the strength of a 40 knot wind with a 20 knot wind:
20 knots squared = 400
40 knots squared = 1600
So a 40 knot wind is 4 times as strong as a 20 knot wind.
Similarly a 90 knot wind is nearly twice the strength of a 70 knot wind.
We’ll be happy not to experience trying to anchor in those conditions.
Happy and safe anchoring.

London, UK to Harlingen, NL

From London we made a 267-mile run to Harlingen, NL to pickup our new tender before continuing on to Norway. We spent a peaceful night anchored at Stangate Creek near the mouth of the Thames before making an overnight run to Harlingen so that we would arrive in the morning on a rising tide. Except…

St. Katharine Docks

St. Katharine Docks in London was a fabulous base for a winter visit to London. In addition to the marina, the St. Katharine Docks complex includes nearly a dozen excellent restaurants, is adjacent to the Tower of London, within walking distance of many other local attractions and restaurants, and convenient to public transport. And the…

London Projects

We didn’t spend all our time in London socializing and taking in the sights. We also completed a number of projects, for the boat, the web site, ourselves and even Spitfire. Below are highlights from Feb 13th through April 12th in London, UK. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to…

London Socializing

With London being both a popular travel destination and a hub for Europe, we did a lot more socializing than usual. This gave us an opportunity to catch up with some old friends, finally meet in person some that we’d corresponded with years, and make new acquaintances with locals or those travelling to the area….

Spitalfields Market

Spitalfields Market started in 1638, was covered in the late 19th century and modernized in 2006. The market is full of small vendors selling wares ranging from jewelery to fresh vegetables with many food stalls and restaurants. We made a pass through the market and surrounding area as part of a trip to pick up…

Exhaust Cooling Fault

The dry exhaust system on Dirona is well-built and reliable. The way it works is the stack heads up through the boat in a 5-inch pipe to release exhaust gas at the top of the stack. The exhaust pipe is enclosed in a larger pipe where it passes through the boat. This larger pipe provides…

On Board Artnautica 58 Britt

On the way to our berth at Harlingen in The Netherlands, we passed Britt, a 58-ft Artnautica. The boat shares some design features with the Dashews’ FPB (FPB 781 Cochise), the most notable being it’s fairly narrow for the length and features an unfinished aluminum exterior. Not long after arriving, we met Rob Westermann who…

Lloyd’s of London

Lloyd’s of London is not an insurance company. Rather, it is an insurance market founded in the 1600s when Edward Lloyd began renting out space in his coffee shop to marine underwriters. Lloyd’s current headquarters is a masterpiece of modern architecture built in the Bowellism style, where interior space is maximized by placing the building…

Sky Garden

Sky Garden is a public space at the top of the “Walkie Talkie” with a fabulous 360-degree views of London and the Thames. Several restaurants and a bar also are within—we had a memorable dinner at the Darwin Brasserie, the room jutting out from the left above the gardens in the picture above. Below are…