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Thread: Anchoring overnight

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Anchoring overnight

    Son and I are heaed out to launch the boat at Valdez next week where we plan to chase salmon sharks.
    We plan on staying in the smaller bays overnight and sleeping on the boat.

    How do you folks anchor overnight?

  2. #2


    All pretty straight forward. Predominant wind direction can help pick a cove that will offer best protection. If a stream enters the cove then there is usually good holding mud on the bottom proximate to the stream outwash. I like to drop my anchor in 25-30 feet of water and set the anchor with boat in slow reverse headed up-slope towards shore, unless a strong prevailing wind dictates setting down wind direction. I've found that chain length is as good if not better than anchor size. If swing radius is tight I sometimes tie a stearn line to shore. Nothing better than overnighting in a quite cove all to yourselves......unless its blowing 30++!

  3. #3
    Member DMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Wasilla, AK


    Quote Originally Posted by DreamCatcher View Post
    All pretty straight forward. Predominant wind direction can help pick a cove that will offer best protection. If a stream enters the cove then there is usually good holding mud on the bottom proximate to the stream outwash. I like to drop my anchor in 25-30 feet of water and set the anchor with boat in slow reverse headed up-slope towards shore, unless a strong prevailing wind dictates setting down wind direction. I've found that chain length is as good if not better than anchor size. If swing radius is tight I sometimes tie a stearn line to shore. Nothing better than overnighting in a quite cove all to yourselves......unless its blowing 30++!
    Ditto! Exactally what I do.
    ... aboard the 'Memory Maker' Making Memories one Wave at a Time!

  4. #4

    Default Anchoring

    As Dreamcatcher mentioned checking the weather and prevaling wind direction is a good start. I always use two anchors. One is typically out at 7:1 and another is closer in at about 4:1. I also like to have them at about 45 degrees from each other. The fact that they are at different distances from my boat prevents them from fowling each other. One anchor would probably do the job but I learned a long time ago that no matter how simple the device it can and will malfunction. Also always anchor off the bow-never the stern of a power boat. I know sailboats are a different case but you never want to anchor off the stern of a power boat. Learn how to properly set your anchor, make sure your ground gear is in good shape and you should be set. Cruising Prince William Sound has a ton of information of where to anchor and a section on "how to". Good reading all around.
    Ruby at the end of a good day.

  5. #5


    I would add that you may want to circle the possible swing of your boat during the night to make certain there are no unexpected rocks in the water which you could hit if the wind shifts. Good luck and it would be nice to hear how your trip goes.

  6. #6


    circle and also watch your depth and take into account the time and tide.
    We generally swing on one oversize bruce anchor, if the anchorage is tight or crowded, we'll put out a lot of front anchor and drop the stern anchor with the dingy as far out as we can. We offset from any other boat so current dosn't swing us into each other. Bow to swell. Tieing to shore in a big blow works too.

  7. #7

    Default Use your depth alarms

    I use the depth sounder alarms, shallow and deep, this would let you know if you moved from your intended spot or if the tide has changed to much for your anchor placement. If you were in a jam and had to anchor for the night in a bad spot with say icebergs floating about, you could use your radar alarm. I heard a story of an iceberg sinking an anchored boat while the hunters watched from shore, it drifted onto the anchor line then onto the bow and kept going, literly running the boat over bow first like a monster truck slowly crushing a car.

  8. #8


    I advise avoiding fluked anchors such as the Danforth. I've had several instances where I dragged at night and found objects jammed between the shank and the flukes. I was awakened by silence. The absence of the sound of water slapping against my hull as I drifted with the current. FRIGHTENING ! Twice it was small rocks and once a beer can. The flukes were stuck parallel to the shank instead of freely pivoting and simply dragged across the bottom. I now use a Bruce. I highly recommend

  9. #9
    Member AKBassking's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    SE Alaska-Summer Columbia River-Winter

    Default Anchors and Anchor Rodes

    This is from West marine Advisor:

    Anchor RodesIntroduction
    Selecting an anchor is a daunting task, even with the prodigious number of magazine articles, books and West Advisors on the subject. After all, this relatively simple device is what you depend on to keep you off a lee shore at night when the wind picks up. At some point, the safety of your vessel and crew may depend on its ability to dig in and resist some pretty enormous loads.
    But there’s more to an anchoring system than the anchor itself, and even a very good anchor will not do its job if an incorrect anchor rode is chosen. That’s why you need to take special care in selecting the chain, shackles and nylon line which combine to span the distance between the anchor’s shank and your bow cleat. What to look for
    Not surprisingly, no one rode does the job for all boats. Each anchor rode is a combination of characteristics that must be chosen for a given type of boating. Ideally, an anchor rode would have the following attributes:
    • <LI type=circle>Strength, so it can resist tremendous tension. <LI type=circle>Stretch, so it can absorb the jerking motion caused by wind and waves. <LI type=circle>Weight, so the pull on the anchor is horizontal and not upward. <LI type=circle>Abrasion resistance, so it does not get worn by rocks or coral. <LI type=circle>Compatibility with windlasses, so you can utilize them to weigh anchor. <LI type=circle>Lightweight construction, so the trim of your boat is not affected. <LI type=circle>Rot’resistance, so you don’t have to replace it frequently.
    • Affordability, so you can afford to go boating!
    Unfortunately, no one material combines all of these attributes (especially being simultaneously light and heavy), so we generally end up using one or more materials in partnership or we select the one material which offers the best compromise. Rode Types
    All’Nylon Rodes: Small boats often use anchor rodes made entirely of three’strand nylon because they are lightweight, inexpensive and, for boats without a windlass or anchor well, easier to stow than rodes with chain. Although all’nylon anchor rodes can be quite strong, they lack the chafe resistance of rodes with chain and are therefore not appropriate for extended use or for use in rough weather. As the rode for a lunch hook or spare anchor, however, an all’nylon rode functions quite well.
    Combination Rodes: A good compromise between all–nylon or all’chain rode is to use a short length of chain (6’–30’) connected to the anchor, with a long length of three’strand nylon line connected to the chain. This combination satisfies nearly all requirements of a good anchor rode, except that it is not abrasion resistant over its entire length, and the weight of the chain is pretty ineffective in keeping the pull on the anchor horizontal; even a 15’knot wind will lift short lengths of chain off the bottom. The primary function of chain is to handle the chafe from rough bottoms that would otherwise abrade the soft nylon line. Long scope (7:1) must be used to compensate for the lack of weight to keep the pull horizontal. Nylon is preferred for its elasticity. Its stretch reduces peak loads on the anchor and on your boat.
    Rope’to’Chain Spliced Rodes: One drawback of the normal combination rode with nylon and galvanized chain is the interface between them consisting of a shackle and a galvanized thimble. While long’lasting, this connection is bulky and adds a shackle to the system which could possibly fail or lose its pin. Therefore, many boaters splice their nylon line directly to the last link of chain, a technique originally developed for self’tailing windlasses (see The West Advisor on Windlasses for more information). This produces a very sleek rode which stows easily, passes through a chain pipe more easily than a splice/thimble, and which retains about 90% of the breaking strength of the line compared to new line.
    All Chain Rodes: Larger boats with windlasses generally use all chain rode. This reduces the need for long scope (except in shallow water) because the chain is heavy and lies on the bottom until severe conditions are encountered, when more scope may be required. Since chain has very little elasticity, care should be taken to prevent the chain from becoming "bar tight" in high winds by using a snubber made of nylon line. The drawbacks to all’chain rode are weight, expense, and the need for a windlass. A windlass and all’chain rode may add 300–600lb. in the bow and can adversely affect the performance of your boat. Owners of modern, lightweight cruising boats are probably unwilling to suffer the reduced speed and increased pitching caused by this extra weight.

    A logical compromise: Because we feel strongly that a decent length of chain is critical for effective anchoring, and because we also like boats that perform well, we offer the following suggestion:
    • Use 60’100’ of high’test chain spliced to 250’ of 3’strand nylon line.
    This combination provides sufficient chain to ward off bottom abrasion, and in shallow anchorages, you may not even need to pay out nylon. It is reasonably light (as little as 65 lb.) and tremendously strong.
    Chain Types
    High Test: Grade 40, called G4 or HT; made from high’carbon steel. G4 is the preferred chain for anchoring or windlass applications, and has twice the working load of BBB chain, so you can use a smaller size with the same strength.
    Proof Coil and BBB: Grade 30; made from low’carbon steel. BBB or "Triple B" has a uniform pitch short link, and works well on windlass gypsies. BBB used to be the most popular type for windlass designs of the past, but has been replaced by G4. Proof Coil does not have a uniform pitch and does not work with anchor windlasses.

    Grade 70: called G7 or Transport Chain; extremely high strength’to’weight ratio, is substantially stronger than G4 High Test, and resists wear because of its exceptional hardness properties. Compatible with very few windlasses, but recommended by some noted cruising authorities.
    Compatibility with your Windlass
    Every anchor windlass is equipped with a gypsy, the wheel or capstan on the winch that hauls the rope and/or chain up and down. Each gypsy fits one or more diameters of line (of three’strand, twelve’strand or eight’strand construction) and specific types and diameters of chain (like 1/2 Grade 40, 5/16" BBB or 3/8" Grade 70, for example). The gypsy and rode must be an exact match, and most windlasses are available with a choice of gypsies to fit some different line and chain types. Check for compatibility before buying your windlass or rode.
    Rode Sizes and Lengths
    Scope is defined as the ratio of water depth (plus freeboard) to anchor line paid out. Most anchoring texts and anchor manufacturers agree that a scope of 7:1 achieves the anchor’s designed holding power, and more scope is better than less. In theory, 7:1 scope is great, but at a crowded anchorage most cruisers scoff at the idea of paying out more than 3:1 or 4:1–there just isn’t that much space for boats to swing. Any reduction in scope, of course, must be made up for by using larger anchors and/or larger chain.
    When recommending anchor rodes for our customers, we generally use the following guidelines:
    • Heavy or high windage boats should use 1/8" of diameter for every 8’ of boat length
    • “Normal” boats can use 1/8" diameter for every 9’ of boat length
    • Lightweight or low windage boats can use 1/8" of diameter for every 10’ of boat length
    • BBB chain should be half the line diameter (1/2" nylon line would be matched to 1/4" galvanized chain)
    • Use shackles one size larger than the chain (1/4" chain would use 5/16" shackles)
    In general the load on an anchor line varies with the square of the LOA of the boat. A high windage, heavy displacement boat such as a trawler or fishing boat will require heavier anchor rode than an ultra’light racing sailboat of the same LOA. As a general guide, for winds up to 30 knots, we recommend the following anchor line and chain diameters, using three’strand, high quality line. This table assumes an 8:1 working load ratio.
    3 Strand Nylon
    3/16" PC
    1/4" PC
    1/4" PC
    5/16" PC/BBB or 1/4" HT
    5/16" PC/BBB/HT
    3/8" PC/BBB or 5/16" HT
    1/2" PC or 3/8" HT
    5/8" PC or 1/2" HT

    In inland, coastal, and performance cruising applications, boaters should use a combination of nylon line and galvanized chain. For serious cruisers, all’chain rode may be a better solution. The trade’off is one of weight vs. abrasion resistance.

    1988 M/Y Camargue YachtFisher
    MMSI# 338131469

  10. #10


    Check your swing radius in all directions, 360 degrees to make sure there are no hidden obstacles. Chain length is more important than anchor weight. Ideal is one and one third the lenth of the vessel. Don't play around though use three times the length of the vessel and 3/8" chain. I've anchored plenty of boats in heavy currents off Montague island and in the Cook Inlet and the chain is the most crucial key. I have seen far to many novice boaters that fail to use the appropriate length of chain. Yes it's a pain to pull up but ask any capatain that knows and he or she will tell you the same principal. As far as anchor type the best all arround anchor in most situations is a bruce or a plow. I prefer the Bruce look on the front of almost any boat in Seward or the Inlet and you will see either of these types of anchors. Ideally you would set two anchors into the wind or current for long periods of time or inclement weather setting them about 45 degrees apart. Set one mark it on your GPS scope it out then motor up and set the other about 45 deg apart and scope it out. Ideallly you would affix one to either cleat on the bow port and starboard. Set a proximity alarm and a depth alarm available on most new GPS units. Take the cursor and place it on your vessel on the GPS screen and this will monitor movement as well. In extremely bad weather, a kellet or sentinel(heavy lead weight) can be deployed wich is sent on a slider down the rhode and stops above the chain thus keeping the chain down and the anchor digging.

  11. #11


    Choose which bays you overnight in carefully, just because a bay is calm at that time doesnt mean it will stay that way, there are lots of places that can be calm but if the wind shifts a little you get a williwaw.

  12. #12
    Member ocnfish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007


    Get your hands on "A Crusing Guide to Prince William Sound" by Jim & Nancy Lethcoe

    This publication will give you site specific information about good anchorages in the Valdez area

  13. #13
    Member Rob B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Eagle River, Alaska,

    Default I second the book

    I couldn't find one in Anchorage, so I checked one out fromthe library. WOW What an amazing book. We used it on our trip to Whitier this past weekend. It's truely a Milepost for PWS. It's a must have even if you boat PWS occasionally.

  14. #14
    Member ocnfish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007


    These folks did it right ... I have been to many places in PWS and everything that they have said is spot on. I hate to admit it because of other experiencies with follow up service, I got my copy from from Ak Mining & Diving Supply over in Mountian View in Anchorage.

    Really good advice ... that is until the next 8.9 earth quake ....

  15. #15


    Try calling the hardware store in Valdez and ask them if they have the Cruising guide to PWS, they normally have it or know where to appropriate a copy.


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