View Full Version : Anchoring Under Sail

Ian McColgin
07-17-2012, 11:42 PM
I loved Bruce Halabisky’s “Anchoring Under Sail” in #227. I found it interesting that he concentrated on the conventional luff up and drop back with just a side bar on the running hook, yet from his ending story it sounds like he drops on the run most of the time.

In my various boats, I have generally preferred dropping the hook on the run. Then I know the hook is on. And Marmalade is totally miserable to anchor luffing up. So bad that I always anchor downwind even under power. My schooners backed down under sail ok. Most of the sloops I’ve sailed can sort of back. Catboats really are far happier anchoring downwind. But almost all boat most of the time are happiest anchoring on the run.

One winkle Habanisky did not mention is the value of various forms of depowering under sail for the sake of maneuver. I’ll drop into one or another level of reef. I’ll even find my spot, circle through the wind to drop the sails, and then run down to my drop spot on bare pole. Works great.

I am hoping Habanisky will follow-up with an article on breaking out under sail.

Take a read. Good article.

07-18-2012, 12:49 AM
I get slightly upset when Woodenboat publishes good articles, because I have to buy the darn magazine to read them. It has gotten to the state that it is just about time to get another subscription.
I liked the anchoring article. I do both rounding up and running down. On a few occasions I have run it out on a reach as well. If there is any sort of wind I will end up making the final approach for either way under mizzen alone. a week or so ago I tacked back and forth across the anchorage in perhaps 8 knots of wind against about a 1 knot tidal current. It took 4 tacks to get a couple of hundred yards to windward, but it was worth not starting the motor. In the end I turned and ran the anchor in so I knew it would bite. I would be less sure if I rounded up. I have dragged when I hadn't made the plow bite.
I heave up by hand and regularly heave up short, find I cannot get more, and then tack around for a couple of minutes, lash the helm to one side, so when I start raising the hook off the bottom I do not have to worry about which tack I'll end up on or how close I'll be to the next boat to leeward. She will back the way I intend and begin sailing.
I was also very interested in Mr. Parker's article about sharpies.
darn good magazine....

Andrew Craig-Bennett
07-18-2012, 05:58 AM
It takes patience to anchor by luffing up and dropping back; the boat if of reasonably heavy displacement will hang around for ages before dropping back.

Fortunately, the CQR seldom minds having a few fathoms of chain dumped on top of it - the boat will drop back, pulling the chain out and gathering speed and will, 9 times out of ten, snatch the hook into the ground.

John B
07-18-2012, 02:37 PM
Waione would never back down worth a damn under bermudan so we'd come in and stall off or go around like picking up a mooring. Bad holding we'd do a running drop as Ian does. the main issue was just to put the anchor where it needed to be, we would invariably be anchoring in and around other boats and always coming in for the shallower water( no windlass). She was a bit better under gaff but if it took charge you had a problem, so we'd do as before , pock the anchor in and dump halyards quick. Or even drop the main on the run and then anchor. The overun past or off the side where the anchor was on the ground was always good because it would invariably set first time, kind of screwed in.
Getting off the anchor was always fun in a busy anchorage. I'd watch guys get their main up and into all sorts of trouble rounding up near boats and heading into the shore and shallows.. we'd just hoist staysail , get the pick up and spin in our own length for gentle run out to where there was room to set the main.

Riada is a bit different again because she just won't stop and carries her way on so long, but easier to back being a ketch.

07-18-2012, 08:42 PM
When we were without engine for 15 years we'd approach the mooring upwind under foresail power alone, luff up while backing the main and drop back. If we missed we could still go around quick smart.

I believe the same should hold true for anchoring.

Ian McColgin
07-19-2012, 02:32 PM
There are different tricks for different rigs.

Unanchoring Granuaile was always easy because she hove-to so easily and made a nice square drift. I'd get up the mizzen and sheet it flat, the fore sheeted just a little slack, and the forestaysail. Main and jib down. The mizzen would keep her straight to the wind while I brought the anchor home rocking back and forth on the windlass. Once broken out, I'd back the forestaysail to push us to whichever tack, finish with the hook, and then wander back to the wheel to sail away.

Marmalade is in every way much harder to single-hand. If the weather is at all quiet, I bring the main up to whatever reef will give me command but not too much power. Today my first unanchoring had enough wind that I went with third reef. But the late morning unanchoring in lighter air called to put her up to second reef. Whatever is the minimum for being able to move a bit on a tight reach and tack. Since Marmalade is psychotic with sail up and held at the head, charging about and oversailing the anchor, I bring the anchor up as short as I dare, then get the sail mostly up - luff tight but gaff still not peaked up. Then I bring the anchor in as fast as I can to break it out, bring it up to hang where it won't hit anything for a while, and sail to a place with some room getting the peak up as soon as I can. Once in the clear, I'll heave-to to get the anchor put away.

With Marmalade I don't have the convenience of an anchor platform or bowsprit because I like the look of her bow unadorned and have chosen the mild inconvience of having to handle the anchor onto the deck for stowage.

Of course, when crewed we can make a more dashing departure, making sail and tacking up and over the hook at speed.

07-19-2012, 05:56 PM
Ian, I have always been particularly fond of the Marco Polo design. Unfortunately I have never talked to someone who had much experience with sailing one. ( I met a guy some years ago with a 2/3's version rigged with junk sails, nice but not quite the same) It sounds like the divided rig was really useful and the boat completely predictable. I am envious. I understand the issues with this sort of maneuvering with a Cat, I grew up sailing a small cat at our cottage
The divided rig on Whimbrel is a blessing. When I first bought her, I miscalculated a few times, missing a tack in close confined waters and had to take more immediate action. Backing the mizzen or similar. She is a little ponderous to turn, and it is necessary to think about that and be specific in planning maneuvers in the harbour. Having said that I have not used a full gallon of gas this year, I sail into and away from anchor or the mooring all the time.
The other day it was blowing about 20 and gusting in the anchorage. With only the mizzen set, sheeted quite slack, and the tiller lashed a little to stbd, I let go the mooring. She backed, swinging stern to port, perhaps a boat length or two, till the mizzen filled and we slowly gathered way, making leeway for the first few moments till we got up to about 1+ knots and started sailing. By then I am back to the tiller and slack the sheet slowly out as we swing further off the wind and pick up speed. Once clear of the anchorage and other boats I can hoist the main and staysail. The anchorage is quite busy and crowded right now, and it is good to be able to start fairly slowly, not having too much power. In lighter winds I may easily do the same thing with jib and mizzen or full sail.

Ian McColgin
07-20-2012, 02:59 PM

Here we are about to dock under sail. I needed everything up because the air was so light. The goal is to get in stern to the bulkhead past the floating docks on our port side. I headed up, centered the helm and secured it, walked forward dropping the main and fore on the way, let the anchor run, dropped the forestaysail and jib, and then snubbed the anchor which we'd over-run by about 50' or so. I hauled on the anchor chain by hand to get us going astern and went back to the mizzen as we passed the anchor, leaving the windlass free to run. And so with wind and anchor momentum we drifted back to our berth using the mizzen both to back the boat and to steer the stern between the pilings, stopping by going back to the anchor and snubbing, then grabing the bow lines off the pilings before getting the stern lines from the warf.

07-22-2012, 06:18 AM
Found the article generally very good, but have one quibble: The caption for the photo of "Vixen" at anchor mentions (and the pic shows) the snubber running from the end of the bowsprit, a system I've used myself. However the author goes on to say that it eases shock loading on the anchor winch. Presumably he means that he leaves the chain on the winch. This is not good practice - every winch manufacturer's manual I've seen makes it quite clear that the winch is not designed to do this. My own practice has been, once the snubber is taking the weight, to get the chain off the winch and onto a bollard. I now use a slightly different method; a short length of stout line (much stouter than the snubber*) with a large soft-eye at one end and a chain hook at the other. The soft eye is dropped over the bollard, the hook engaged in the chain and the rode slacked enough to take all the weight off the winch. If the snubber should part under stress or chafe through the weight of the boat won't come on the winch. The contraption is permanently over the bollard on "Sirena's" foredeck.

* It should be remembered that the snubber is sacrificial. It should not be of too heavy a line. Too heavy a line also means that the snubber loses some of the benefits of elasticity.

I've gone to The Dark Side these days, but used to be a fan of the running anchor drop when anchoring under sail. A while back someone showed me a video of a bunch of schooners (the impression the sight gave me was of a big fleet, but there were at least 5 or 6) coming in to anchor in a small port. I believe this was in the NE USA, but just may have been in Scandinavia. At any rate the schooners came in one by one downwind, and each in turn dropped its anchor on the run, then gybed, snubbed the chain, dropped the mainsail, finishing up with the stern within line heaving distance of the quay. Impressive if just one boat; with several in sequence it was VERY impressive. Would like to see the vid again, if anyone knows of it and where it's available.

Like other posters above, I too hope follows up with an article on sailing the anchor out.

07-22-2012, 09:53 AM
I haven't read the article. Captain Tom, the 26' yawl in my avatar, had no engine so I always sailed her on and off the hook. Usually upwind, luffing to a stop. On Wandering Star (39' ketch) if I want to anchor under sail, I heave to under mizzen, furl the main and staysail, drop the hook. Then I strike the mizzen, and let her fall off, snubbing the ride when she has enough way to set it. I haven't tried to sail it out, she doesn't tack smartly. Sailing off my mooring, I don't have the room to drift back. I set mizzen, main, and staysail, the mizzen in tight, the others luffing. When I drop the mooring, I back the staysail to push her off on the preferred tack, and sheet in the main.

07-22-2012, 11:37 AM
Thanks Ian, Berthing under sail is seldom seen these days. Few out here even sail into the harbour. With Whimbrel berthing under sail can only happen in rare ideal circumstances. She is tricky at very slow speeds, due to the nature of the lateral plane being leeboards, and being slightly too small.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
07-23-2012, 06:02 AM
I do NOT like leading the snubber to the bowsprit. A great way to break a bowsprit.

I do have a length of 12mm nylon with a hard eye shackled to a second eye on the bobstay fitting on the stem at the waterline. At the outboard end is a chain hook. To keep it tidy, this line is kept hooked onto the chain section of the bobstay when the bobstay is set up.

If anchoring for more than lunch, the chain hook is brought aboard and hooked into the chain, then a little more chain is veered until the boat is riding to the chain hook and the length of nylon, which acts as a snubber.

This takes the shock load off the windlass and incidentally does away with annoying graunching noises from the chain.

The bobstay eye is backed up with three big bolts through the stem scarph and a massive bronze over oak pad on the inboard side of the stem.

Not original - got it from Don Street's "The Ocean Sailing Yacht"

07-23-2012, 11:52 AM
Hi Andrew,
That is the way I did it when I had boats with a bowsprit.
I did use the tip of the bowsprit on one boat for a little while years ago. I suspected it put strains on the sprit itself, mainly because it did not have a standing stay. I changed over to using the bob-stay-iron, and used that again with Stormhaven, a Scandinavian style double ended cutter. It is however a little more awkward when using a nylon rode attaching a snubbing line, and for that matter if the main rode is a wire cable as is often the case on larger boats around here.
Whimbrel of course has no bowsprit. The rode ( nylon, sheathed in a bit of fire hose) simply goes through the chocks (not the roller, which is only there for bringing in the 50 odd feet of chain) to the sampson post.

Ian McColgin
07-23-2012, 04:38 PM
I loved leading the snubber from the bow sprit as it tamed the boat's tendency to yaw about. Given that the bowsprit is supported by a jib stay, whisker stays and (of course irrelevant to the anchor's strain) the bobstay, I can't see it breaking from the anchor strain.

My windlass did not lend itself to taking the chain off, given the location of the deck pipe hole, but I had a very serious chain stop ahead of the windlass that was designed for storm strain.

John B
07-23-2012, 04:38 PM
I used to lead a hook on a strop out to the end of the bowsprit on Waione when she was bermudan. The sailplan had ' crept' forward on the conversion and she was quite touchy and would yaw around at anchor. Taking the rode forward like that dampened her down , and we'd use an angel to help as well. But she was rigged up taught with bobstay and bowsprit shrouds and a standing backstay . While I was always conscious of the different loadings that imposed , I watched it and was never worried. Once she was gaff again of course, she settled right down and never needed that again.

07-23-2012, 05:56 PM
Anyone here regularly use a kellet? I had a good rig years ago, but sold it with the boat. I am now looking for or making up a good convenient system so I can when desireable, reduce the swinging circle, without reducing holding power.

John B
07-23-2012, 08:25 PM
With a rope rode it was invaluable , used one for years both as above , for dampening down yaw, and for a storm option. kellet, angel, sentinel, all the same thing. With heavy chain not so much ,but I carry one anyway just in case. Makes a good dinghy anchor when you go off for a race or something.

wizbang 13
07-23-2012, 09:14 PM
I frequently tie a lump of lead onto the chain , close up to the boat.
Most of the anchorages I use are friggin crowded.

07-23-2012, 10:02 PM
"Anyone here regularly use a kellet? I had a good rig years ago, but sold it with the boat. I am now looking for or making up a good convenient system so I can when desireable, reduce the swinging circle, without reducing holding power."

I use a 5" lead cannonball as a kellet, shackled to the anchor rode and deployed with a separate retrieval line. This breaks up the overall weight of my ground tackle to something my back can handle. More importantly, it has allowed anchoring in many of the small wind-sheltered nooks that may be found along this coast. No complaints with its effectiveness, yet. / Jim

07-24-2012, 01:56 AM
not under sail but I was taught to set anchor running in any-case, a good set in rock cannot be achieved on the drift IME.
do any of you folks getting yaw use a bridle? I always snub clew and bind my anchors however; my snubbers are always bridles from my fore cleats. never did yaw much with that setup no matter what boat i was on.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
07-24-2012, 02:57 AM
I have a chain slider to which I attach one, two, or on one occasion three 28lbs pigs of lead ballast - the pigs of ballast have a hole in them and a six foot rope tail belayed to the chain slider.

28lbs is a weight that I can manage to fish up with the boathook when getting under way.

07-24-2012, 05:31 AM
I have a chain slider to which I attach one, two, or on one occasion three 28lbs pigs of lead ballast - the pigs of ballast have a hole in them and a six foot rope tail belayed to the chain slider.

28lbs is a weight that I can manage to fish up with the boathook when getting under way.

So they hang below the anchor chain on that 6 foot length of chain ? Why is that Andrew ?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
07-24-2012, 08:34 AM
So I can lay the pigs out on the foredeck, attach the tails to the slider, and drop them over one by one, and I can pick them up with the boathook, land them on the foredeck and undo them when getting under way.

The fact that the slider must come six feet clear of the bottom before they operate makes no practical difference at all, since I drop them, inevitably, "underfoot" - there is no way of sliding the slider along the bottom of the seabed towards the anchor. 84lbs of weight adds an awful lot of "catenary"!

07-24-2012, 10:30 AM
Andrew, Do you use these weights when cruising, say anchoring every day, perhaps more than once, or do you use these kellets only for more permanent moorings, when you leave the boat in one place for a while??

Capt Zatarra
07-24-2012, 11:23 AM
I love this thread. In the last eight years I have only met two other sailors who regularly sail off the hook and only one of them would sail on to the hook.(he had no motor) I was thinking that we sailing sailors were a dieing breed. This has been really great reading that there are so many out there doing what I think is one of the more fun and challenging aspect of sailing. Cruising often has us sailing on the same tack for hours and hours sometimes even days. So the hustle and timeing to weigh anchor and sail out,(or the opposite) is a chance to work together and bond with your crew(if you have any). There have been a few times when the conditions were just right that I got up in the morning and weight anchor and set sail all quite enough that the rest of my family did not wake up. When they did and came up on deck I was casually sitting at the wheel sailing down the coast. Much to their surprise.

Anyone here regularly use a kellet? I had a good rig years ago, but sold it with the boat. I am now looking for or making up a good convenient system so I can when desireable, reduce the swinging circle, without reducing holding power.

I have used a fisherman anchor as a killet for years. I have a very easy system for anchoring. I let out the amount of anchor chain to equal the depth of water I am in. So that the anchor should be just touching the bottom. I attach the second anchor with a six foot length of anchor line to the chain and drop it over board. Most often I am letting the wind push me back at this point. I have held with this set up plus one more anchor on a second anchor line through twelve hurricanes with out dragging. (although on two of the bigger ones I put out a third anchor to the stern.) retrieving the anchors is very easy. Weigh anchor rode till you are up and down(this is easy to tell as the killet anchor will be visible, with a boat hook I pull the anchor on board and unhook it from the rode. It is now time to lift the anchor off the bottom and at this time the sheets are hauled to make sail, while the anchor is raised the last bit and secured. Capt. Z.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
07-24-2012, 12:10 PM
Andrew, Do you use these weights when cruising, say anchoring every day, perhaps more than once, or do you use these kellets only for more permanent moorings, when you leave the boat in one place for a while??

I don't suppose I use them more than once a year; of course I am just weekend sailing.

I use them if for some reason I am compelled to anchor in bad holding ground or in a very strong tide or if I am expecting severe weather.

9 ton, 37ft, boat, 45 fathoms of 7/16" chain, 45lbs CQR and 35lbs CQR kedge.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
07-24-2012, 12:12 PM
I notice that most of us tend to anchor "on the run" rather than "luff up and drop back".

John B
07-24-2012, 05:16 PM
I was never worried about a bit of forward motion but as I said above , we'd normally be roughly head to wind and put the anchor where we wanted it, screwing off with a bit of way on seemed to ensure a set every time.
What we'd call and still call a running moor ie heading straight downwind under maybe a jib or bare poles and dropping the anchor on the run at a knot or so , we saved up for tricky anchorages or areas of bad holding where we were having trouble. It was always pretty effective and really accurate( again you put the anchor where you want it and therefore the boat ends up in the middle of your 'patch' you've selected) but it would invariably be hard on the hull/ antifouling. Not a problem with rope but it could go a bit pear shaped with a chain rode, as things sometimes do when it all turns to cactus. The trick of course being the point to begin the turn after having judged the amount of rode out. heh... front brake time, daddy, why is that boat doing a handstand.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
07-25-2012, 07:06 AM
A purist will reserve the term "running moor" for dropping two anchors, so that you are "moored" rather than merely "anchored", whilst under way and making way.

This is a great way to get into a world class frap up. The safest method is the "dropping moor" - luff head to wind, drop the bower, drop back, paying out chain until it is all out, drop the kedge, haul in on the chain until half of it is back in the locker, belay the kedge warp to the chain, drop it underfoot and you are done... if a bit tired and muddy!

The bower should be set in the direction of the stronger tide/expected wind.

Dropping the kedge from the dinghy is often easier...

But if we really must show off.. approach on a reach - I'm going to describe my own boat, here... stow the foresail to make space on the foredeck, set up the topping lift, ruck the peak, ease the sheet, have the bower all ready to go.. drop the bower.. we now get a tremendous racket as 45 fathoms of heavy chain run out, so verbal communication is impossible... as we get to the end of the chain (watch the painted marks!!) brake the windlass and chuck the kedge over.. now comes the hard part as we have to get half the chain back aboard before the kedge warp gets everywhere it ought not to be... belay kedge warp to chain, drop underfoot and Robert is your mother's brother.. until you remember that you still have to roll the jib and get the main down...

07-25-2012, 08:09 AM
Lots of great techniques mentioned in this thread. I've been slowly learning to anchor under sail and to sail off an anchor over the last couple of years. So far, I've only been doing it in anchorages where I had plenty of space and near ideal conditions. I hope to put some of the techniques mentioned here to use and continue practicing while expanding the range of conditions I'm confident maneuvering in. Thank you for all the info.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
07-25-2012, 08:12 AM
One really really useful tip, if you use a CQR anchor.

This comes from Professor Sir Geoffrey Taylor, FRS, who invented the CQR.

Splice a fathom of rope into the gravity eye on the back of the anchor.

You can now pick it up without it trying to bite you, and you can take a turn of the rope round the bitts, windlass or whatever to keep the anchor in place ready to drop until you want it - recovering the anchor, fish for the rope with a boathook and pick the anchor up with it.

07-25-2012, 09:13 AM
Agrees with Andrew. I use a CQR, and find it challenging to recover. I tied a line with an eye, now I lift it using the boat hook. I'm thinking of using a halyard.

Capt Zatarra
07-25-2012, 09:18 AM
I notice that most of us tend to anchor "on the run" rather than "luff up and drop back".

I have avoided the "on the run" becuase the hull/paint job takes a beating running over the chain. I mostly "luff up and fall back". It saves the paint at the waterline and gives the anchoring person more time to handle things. How do you guys protect your hull while running over your tackle? Capt. Z.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
07-25-2012, 10:52 AM
You have a very good point, there.

Since I am often singlehanded, I find the "put the kettle on, luff up, enjoy the view whilst waiting for her to lose way, drop the anchor, veer some chain, stroll back down the side deck, drop the main and get the tyers on, make the tea.." approach suits me best.

wizbang 13
07-25-2012, 11:15 AM
I rarely anchor or get underway under sail anymore.
Eastern Caribbean anchorages are just too crowded, no one appreciates a lumbering 12 ton gaffer sailing near them.
I do always sail mt 23'er at home, on and off the dock.

07-25-2012, 11:48 AM
I have almost 50 feet of chain, then the rest is nylon rope. When running it down, I drop the hook and the chain in a controlled run and then start checking only with rope. Sometimes I have carried the anchor to the stern and hung it over the side with a slip. The chain is flaked for an easy run and the rope rode is secured at an appropriate point for the expected depth of water with acceptable scope. Sailing into the anchorage, when I reach the intended spot, I simply reach over and let go the slip, The anchor goes, the chain follows in a clatter and the rope runs till we fetch-up on the end secured to the sampson post. At this point I am already dropping sails from forward to aft. Usually I'll readjust the rode/scope after everything is secured.
Many years ago I did this with some real speed, probably more than 5 knots. It was in a word exciting. We did not break anything but I will not be trying that again. I did realize, just moments after the point of no return the spectacular foolishness I had begun, and began intentionally snubbing the rode when I had a scope less than 2. I was thus able to drag the hook a little bleeding off some of the speed before fetching up with a jerk. I did get kudos from a few residents who thought it really looked pretty slick. In the court of Neptune I'll plead "young and cocky", and remind the court no cute furry creatures were hurt making this move.
Recently I was all set up for a running drop, with the anchor aft on a slip. Perhaps 50 metres (yards) from my selected spot we were hit by a strong gust and accelerated to about 5 knots. Not wanting any excitement I changed the plan and rounded up, and dropped the hook once we started to drop astern. Alternatively I would have aborted the approach and gone around for a new approach.

John B
07-25-2012, 05:15 PM
A purist will reserve the term "running moor" for dropping two anchors, so that you are "moored" rather than merely "anchored", whilst under way and making way.

That makes sense. However on our boat if I say something like ' the hell with this , we're doing a running moor', everyone knows whats going to happen next. Generally the method of last resort before heading off somewhere else. :rolleyes:

Andrew Craig-Bennett
07-25-2012, 05:30 PM
I recognise those symptoms!

One thing about the economic gloom is that my usual rivers and creeks are almost deserted... more space!:p

07-26-2012, 04:05 AM
Anyone sailing under anchor?

Really...to turn a long keeler in tight space?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
07-26-2012, 06:23 AM
Routinely done by ships - maybe not so much these days, with bow thrusters much more common on containerships.

I have shoved the bows into the mud to turn, near the top of Faversham Creek.

And I have "drudged" to get up and down a creek in an engineless boat - my technique for this is to use a length of chain, rather than the anchor - chain won't pick up anything on the bottom in the way that an anchor will. For more speed, shorten the length of chain on the bottom, for more steering control, lengthen it. It works really well.

07-26-2012, 09:16 AM
Not under sail, but I find that I can pivot on a floating dock by putting the bobstay chain right against it, then put the helm over in forward. This can help getting into a tight spot.

07-26-2012, 11:05 AM
I believe Ian in a post above describes using an anchor when bringing Granuaile alongside under sail. I have used an anchor to assist maneuvering under sail once. We were entering a river mouth. Immediately inside was a basin large enough to swing several yachts, but the entrance was less than 200 feet wide and had a outflow current of perhaps 1 knot, and the light wind was pretty much offshore against us. We tried once to tack in and lost too much due to the outflow. On the second attempt we dropped the anchor in about 8 feet of water, turned on it and sailed straight in. I do not think I could do it single handed, and cannot think of many situations where it might be useful on a small sailboat.

07-26-2012, 07:29 PM
A very interesting thread. In the last ten years I practised anchoring and going up anchor under sail.
Started because as an ex mechanic I know how vulnerable a diesel is, having the skill to sail a boat from its anchor is a safety net. In the last ten years of cruising – liveaboard, it saved our boat three times. Flat battery´s, empty diesel tank, ( I know, stupid ) water in the engine.
The boat is a 1946 build one off, to the lines of the English Bawleys. 27 feet of waterline, now rigged as an bermudian yawl. I sail the yacht single-handed, this year in Greece.
We are full time liveaboards, have not seen a marina for 10 years, always at anchor. ( Third new chain ) Anchoring under sail for 80%, Using the engine if new to a place or doubt about fouled ground. Just recently started practising sailing backwards when no room to sail the anchor out forward.
Lots of med sailors do not understand that a small 8 ton long keeled boat behaves different at anchor than an modern 54 feet AWB. Last week, one of them anchored so close, they put out fenders. Fenders ruin the Coelan on my rubbing strake, so I had to leave. Have learned that is the best way to deal with all men crewed yachts. Winched in all but the last 10 metres of chain, set the yawl sail sheeted to one side, then lifted anchor. The boat drifted back, making a turn around the AWB`s stern, still standing at the anchor winch I unfurled the head sail ( The one on the bowsprit, don’t now the English name ) backed the sail so the boat made an on the spot turn and sailed away.
It is an small old boat, max 7 knots, but at handling the boat under sail, we can beat all of them beginners.
The Med is hot, just running the engine for 5 minutes heats that massive chunk of iron up to 80° C. Cooling it down takes hours. Up to now, used 30 litres of diesel this year. Saving the environment ( and my savings )

07-27-2012, 12:09 AM
Welcome to the forum OldBawley..... what is an AWB. Good story though.

07-27-2012, 03:48 AM
AWB. Average White Boat

Andrew Craig-Bennett
07-27-2012, 04:18 AM
AWB. Average White Boat

Indeed. A kindred spirit - including the Coelan on the rubbing strake!

Time for a quick verse or two of the Old Gaffers Association anthem...

Little bathtubs in marinas,little bathtubs made of ticky-tacky,
Little bathtubs at the quayside and the owner in the bar,
There's a white one and a white one and a white one and a white one,
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky and they all look just the same.

And they all have roller-reefing and self-tailing winches,
And they all put a little reef in, in anything above a two.
There's a Jeanneau and a Beneteau and a Moody and a Westerly,
And they're all made out the ticky-tacky and they all look just the same

There's a white one and a white one and a white one and a white one,
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky and they all look just the same.

07-27-2012, 05:00 AM
Another White Boat ?

07-27-2012, 10:48 AM
Duh ! AWB.....new one to me. Good to know though.
ACB, I don't think Pete Seeger would mind your adaptation to his song. The original was actually written by Melvina Reynolds. Pete made it a hit.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
07-27-2012, 11:00 AM
It's not actually my adaptation. It's Claudia Myatt's...


07-27-2012, 08:43 PM
I'll copy this for the SASC timber classics meeting tomorrow

07-27-2012, 09:06 PM
Welcome Bawley, I like your story. My yawl was only four tons, but very handy. With staysail and mizzen I could make her do u-turns in tight quarters.

07-27-2012, 11:23 PM
Maybe it is just my evil twin, but I am delighted when someone gets upset when I sail through the anchorage. Truth is most do not. I frequently get comments like "it so beautiful" or it "looks serene".......But every once in a while I'll get some old biddy ( not necessarily old or female) will say something like "We are not impressed" or something more direct like "you should not sail in the harbour". I am slightly ashamed to say I sometimes take a second pass at the folks that do not like it.

07-28-2012, 12:41 AM
I am slightly ashamed to say I sometimes take a second pass at the folks that do not like it.

You Maverick, you! :)


07-28-2012, 05:17 AM
Yeh verily mate. To motor through moorings is a sign of the proverbial, to sail through such is the mark of a consummate mariner.

Maybe it is just my evil twin, but I am delighted when someone gets upset when I sail through the anchorage. Truth is most do not. I frequently get comments like "it so beautiful" or it "looks serene".......But every once in a while I'll get some old biddy ( not necessarily old or female) will say something like "We are not impressed" or something more direct like "you should not sail in the harbour". I am slightly ashamed to say I sometimes take a second pass at the folks that do not like it.

07-28-2012, 09:32 AM
I used to get grief on the South Shore tacking down a canal. On the North Shore sailing in and out made me seem a bit eccentric ten years ago. Now many boats in my harbor do so, and I like to think I started a healthy trend.

karl kirkman
07-30-2012, 07:02 AM
If one would like to gain an appreciation of the niceties of this subject, consult a 19th Century text on anchoring and getting underway in a square rigger. The rudders on such ships were much smaller that we are accoustomed to having available to us, and almost every aspect of the various evolutions depended on generating the correct aerodynamic forces and moments using the sails in various combinations; sort of like rarely having "steerage" way in the sense we are used to experiencing. Consider for example that a clipper ship knocked down her beam ends and losing steerage way ( rudder effectiveness) thereby while rounding the Horn could get caught in this precarious condition and be driven south to die in the ice packs.

07-31-2012, 02:22 AM
In 1999, just before going cruising the Med and just after a nasty experience with a drying sandbank I decided to completely overhaul our old Perkins 4108. The engine was running fine, a overhaul would be good to learn the tricks. At the time I was working in a marina and we had a few very good mechanics to help with advice when needed.
Did everything myself, took a month working after office hours. Although the engine was running fine, the amount of worn and even broken parts was amazing. For example, the coupling plate – vibration damper was completely broken, It literally fell apart taking the gearbox off.
Knowing how to sail your yacht other than on an easy clean tack is the best security there is. Before practising anchoring under sail, I was always worried, once had a mild hart attack followed by acute diarrhea when the engine stopped along the Italian coast.
Nowadays, people have to start the diesel anyway, there electric windlass will not work efficient otherwise. Most of them have no idea how a complicated machine they are relying on.
I am glad to have a reliable diesel, MrFitzGerald ( Sea-steading ) would have a difficult time in the crowded Med. Sometimes no trick will work to sail away from problems. Only yesterday, sailing, drifting very close to the nw coast of Ydra, Greece. We ware waiting for the “real” wind to come, two small sails up, just 20- 30 yard from the rocks. Sightseeing. No danger, with Google Earth one can even see the type of bottom there. One gets confident. Then some strange current took the giant keel of the boat and brought it to the rocks. No wind, no time to unleash the oars. Good old Doink did the trick.