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Thread: Boat swinging at anchor

  1. #1
    Member HuntKodiak's Avatar
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    Default Boat swinging at anchor

    Looking for the steps you take to prevent/limit the amount your boat swings while at anchor in high winds. I've driven small boats for decades, but my Kingfisher is the first boat I've ever owned. As such, it's also the first boat I've owned and used for camping/hunting trips. No need to cover "how to" anchor as I've got that covered. My problem came up this past week during a hunting trip that turned into a survival trip with a smidgen of hunting.

    After getting to the area by boat, I anchored in the same spot that I have before. However, I then endured three sleepless nights when the weather pattern shifted from the original forecast. Winds at night climbed to around 20-30mph with gusts to 50. My boat wouldn't settle with the bow straight into the wind. It would regularly swing back-and-forth from port and then starboard. At times it would swing so far that the boat was almost perpendicular to the wind. The anchor line would groan each time at the strain, and then the rebound off the stressed line would start the bow off in the other direction. We got out of there after the third night and returned to port before the next front came through the next day.

    I don't want to focus much on the hunt since the focus of this is to hear what you guys do to make your boat settle bow into the wind. I carry a spare anchor/line/chain, and I could have used it to anchor the stern (which I've read about). However, I've never done that and decided it wasn't wise to try something new in the rough conditions since the tidal swing was 8-9ft, and I know that anchoring a boat's stern needs to be done correctly for safety's sake. I also doubt I need to use a full size danforth anchor on the stern.

    Please share your solutions. I made it through this last event by remaining alert, but I don't ever want to do that again if I can help it. No time like the present to prepare for the next outting.

    Thanks!
    Mike

  2. #2
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Possibly use a 5 gallon bucket on a rope off the back to keep the aft end from swinging. That said, a 5 gallon bucket wouldn't hold up but a "drift sock" would. The idea is the same.
    Just a thought.
    BK

  3. #3
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    Chapmans has plenty of great information on the subject. I'm thinking two anchors off the bow would be better than the stern setup. Clarence has all the skinny on setting a pair, the angle apart etc. good read, just don't buy a brand new one. It's more of an "interpretation" that the actual writing. Ebay or Amazon always has a bunch of them real cheap! Then you'll have the answers to several hundred other things too!

    I use a stern anchor all the time when anchored, IN SETTLED WEATHER. Steve or one of them other commercial guys probably have plenty of local knowledge too.
    Mike

  4. #4
    Member pacific23's Avatar
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    I all for looking for a better anchorage for the night .

    X2 on Chapmans

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    Member JR2's Avatar
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    I have had the same experience with my kingfisher, not is weather as bad as yours but in windy conditions it tends to swing back and fourth. I think the problem is related to the scope of the anchor line. I know all the times I had the issue I was in very shallow water with minimal anchor line out.
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

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  6. #6
    Member fullbush's Avatar
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    You're gonna swing on the anchor when it's blowing especially in a protected anchorage because the wind wilawas over the mountains. MAke sure you have at least 30 ft of 3/8 or heavier chain and chaffing hose on your anchor line where it goes over the bow, I use that flat lay blue stuff. Remember scope is your friend. Now turn up the heat and get some rest, you'll be fine. A stern anchor is a pain in the @$$





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  7. #7
    Member breausaw's Avatar
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    Iíve been anchored up in Ugak Bay on Kodiak in winds gusting to 75 with two other boats tied off alongside our 66 footer.
    Granted this is a little extreme but scoop is what saved the day, along with 2 long line anchors tied off the main.
    The longer the scope the less the swing, 7:1 should do it. If the weather gets severe and you experience drag than set an additional anchor in front of your main tied off to the forward shackle hole on your anchor. Half the weight of our main anchorage should do and 10 to 15 ft out is all you need. The additional help from the supplemental anchor will help keep your main anchor secure.
    I think the chain on your anchor should be 25% longer than it's length, a little overkill never hurts.
    Jay
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  8. #8
    Member HuntKodiak's Avatar
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    I'd have to say that the fundamentals of my anchorage were good. I had the scope out, and my anchor (Bruce)/chain combo held the boat despite the conditions. However, it would have been even easier on my anchor system (and us passengers) if the boat settled with its bow into the wind without swinging (and thereby stressing the anchor line) so much. A second anchor may be worth a try. I haven't done it with a small boat, but I've been on CG cutters in bad storms when we put out a second anchor about 45-60 degrees off the first. In this config, I wouldn't have to adjust for tidal changes like I'd have to do if I added a stern anchor.

    The bruce held nicely and sets easily. I don't think a tandem anchor setup is needed, and connecting one to a bruce would be tricky given the chance that the second anchor might pull on the shank of the bruce, which would tilt it in the wrong direction. Another trick I could have tried if the anchor didn't hold would be to try something kodiakrain mentioned in a thread.....putting additional weight on the anchor chain. I've kept that idea in the back of my brain because it would be pretty easy to connect a 10lb downrigger cannonball to the chain.

    I wish I'd thought about hanging a 5 gal bucket off the stern. That would have been a quick and easy test. I've used them to slow my drift while fishing.....might help some.

    Chaffing gear is definitely a must.

    I was limited on anchorages that were protected. There was one that I found on the chart, but when we checked it out during our scouting the first day, there was a buttload of crab pots stored in the small bay. There was no clear room to anchor without getting hung up in pots. Kinda pissed me off finding a bay monopolized like that.

    In the end if I had developed problems with the anchor not holding for any reason, I was prepared to beach the boat in a very small cove that had a gravel beach. The cove was way too small to anchor in, but it was out of the wind and safe.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It helps hearing different ideas discussed. Any other ideas to limit the swing of an anchored boat are very welcome.

  9. #9
    Member JR2's Avatar
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    My problems so far have come in little coves in shallow water. Anchoring in 20 ft of water and putting out 100-150 ft of line is not feasible. The coves are not 200 ft wide or in some cases long enough to do that. I swing back and fourth with the wind. I think in those little coves I might start just using two anchors. Not like I need to swing with the tide, I can just put one off the front, one off the back and hold me in place, however that goes against everything I was ever told... ie Never Anchor off the back of your boat.
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

    Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top. -- Hunter S. Thompson

  10. #10
    Member HuntKodiak's Avatar
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    JR2, you're hitting on my dilemna.

    Something to consider when using two anchors off your bow, you want to position them so the imaginary straight line between them is perpendicular to the wind. That will set you up so the anchors share the anchoring force evenly. You also want to get the anchor line tension approximately the same to both anchors. Since my limited experience with two anchors is on much larger boats, I did some internet research for typical problems on smaller boats, and it seems people find the anchors may walk their way closer to each other (and possibly foul each other) if they aren't set really well. And the problem becomes tougher when the wind doesn't stay blowing from a consistent direction.

    For the stern "anchoring", I put anchoring in quotes because my thought isn't to really hard anchor the stern. My thought is more along the lines of using a stern anchor with a steep slope and a less aggressive style of anchor. This might be enough to hold the stern relatively still, which would keep the boat from swinging. However, I wouldn't want the stern locked into a hard anchor for tidal reasons and wind sheer coming across the beam of the boat. I had some of those micro wind blasts on the beam last week, and I would want my boat's stern to give in those circumstances. Anyone try using one of those fresh water mushroom anchors before?

    I can't tell you exactly what my scope was on this past trip because I let out the line until I saw the angle of the scope was well out in front of the boat. I'll have to check that today to see how good my eye was. (which I just did, and I had 100ft of line and 20ft of chain out) I dropped the hook in a little over 20 ft of water, and by the time I finished paying out line and setting the anchor, I was in about 50 ft of water. A little more scope certainly wouldn't have hurt, but I also had to be careful that I didn't have so much out that a South wind would have pushed me over too close to the shoreline. I was trying to take advantage of some topography wind break which put me closer to the shore vice putting myself right out in the middle of the basin.

  11. #11
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    In tight quarters where achieving adequate scope is difficult, suspending a "Sentinel" or "Kellet" half way down the rode should increase the holding power of the anchor. Similar to adding weight to the chain but more effective in keeping the angle between the rode and the anchor lower. Could be as simple as a down rigger weight but more weight "25lbs"is better. Maybe the spare anchor clipped on with a shackle and a line to send it down and pull it back.

    Randy

  12. #12
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    Lots of my buddies back east have double anchor set ups for fishing on wrecks, they can position the boat anywhere over the wreck by playing with the length of the lines. They sit on those wrecks in just about any weather or current conditions and never move, boat looks like it was stuck on a piling.
    Bow.jpganchor rollers.jpg

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  13. #13

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    I have had a few sleepless nights in heavy winds. If you have a good bow anchor out and its secure, I have no fear throwing a stern anchor out to control my swing. I tie it to both rear cleats and have it go out in a "V" to a single line down to the anchor. I have done this multiple times and it works well. I have come to the conclusion that no matter what you do, your still gonna swing a little and its going to suck in heavy winds at night.

  14. #14
    Member JR2's Avatar
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    I was thinking about a five gallon bucket full of cement as my rear anchor. The boat could drag that if it wanted to or needed to and it would not take up that much room... Heck I would stash them in the woods in my favorite coves and not have to haul them around. I also might try a sea anchor, the big sail you throw in the water... that might help reduce the swing in the little coves. All I know is that the last time I was out in in a cove and the wind was bad I got almost no sleep as I kept thinking I was going to hit the shore from all the swinging around and that go old after the first night.
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

    Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top. -- Hunter S. Thompson

  15. #15
    Member IceKing02's Avatar
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    Here's stoopid suggestion #1: The problem is not the holding power of the anchor, chain, or anchor line. Especially if one is in a tight anchorage with little swinging room why has nobody suggested tying off the sides of the boat to a tree on the shore? All you need is some chafing gear for the shore tie-off...I have had this method suggested to me by an "old salt". Or, was that and "old fart"?

  16. #16

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    If hanging a 5-gallon bucket off the stern, does anyone have a concern that as the boat swings back and forth the line to the bucket might mess with the outdrive or outboard?

  17. #17
    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceKing02 View Post
    Here's stoopid suggestion #1: The problem is not the holding power of the anchor, chain, or anchor line. Especially if one is in a tight anchorage with little swinging room why has nobody suggested tying off the sides of the boat to a tree on the shore? All you need is some chafing gear for the shore tie-off...I have had this method suggested to me by an "old salt". Or, was that and "old fart"?
    Not a stupid suggestion, a good one. A line to shore is a common solution to keep a boat from swinging when there are too many boats for an anchorage. I have seen pictures of this in the San Juan cruising guides. Of course, the weather needs to be good enough to get the dingy down and back up without loosing it to the wind...
    2009 Seawolf 31'
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  18. #18

    Thumbs up Side dinghy...RAFT UP!

    This has a "dragging affect" on the side to side "kite-tail" whipping action, and has worked for me; Tie your dinghy to the side of your boat, better yet tie your buddies boat to the other side also, "raft-up" em' up. I have been in williwas that were extremely intense for only a few hours to full-on week long blows. FIRST, get a giant anchor, chain, and scope, then raft-up!

  19. #19
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    My Hewes like to swing when anchor off so i started dropping a bucket off the stern but the trick that seems to work is drop about 8 lbs of fishing weights in the bucket. The weight and water drop the bucket down below the boat and as the boat want to swing the bucket drags it down or stops it. With the weight in the bucket it also keeps it away form the motors or outdrives. Hope this helps

    Sweepint
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  20. #20
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    There is a lot of good info at this site:
    http://www.seaanchor.com/

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