Anchoring is a simple operation, much easier
than tying up to a dockside.
There is no need to rush and panic, take
it nice and slow and easy then enjoy the peace and quiet.
Once you have chosen you spot it's always a goad idea to
slowly motor around check the depth and have a good look around and try
to visualize where your boat will end up once all the scope is out.
Make sure that everything is free and ready to let go, flake
out, on deck sufficient rode and cleat off the bitter end.
Then head up wind or into the current put the engine into
neutral and as she comes to a halt lower the hook to the seabed.
Then as you go slowly astern let out approximately a third of
the rode, snub the line around a cleat to start the anchor digging in.
Once you see and feel the tension on the rode as it digs in,
feed out the rest of the rode while still in reverse.
When it is all out make sure it is properly set by increasing
the power in reverse for a few moments.
If she doesn't set you will have to haul in and restart the
Before you switch off the
engine take a few bearings on some shore objects, preferably transits
just to check that you are not dragging.
Make a note of these so that they can e checked any time
during you stay.
If you intend stopping overnight remember to rig an anchor-light.
My own preference is for a good old fashioned hurricane lamp
hung just above the bows, this needs to be a good quality one which
won't blow out overnight if the wind should get up.
An oil lamp will not drain the batteries and placed low is
more likely to be seem by any boats entering the anchorage in the dark.
When you are in an area where there isn't enough room to swing
you will need to set a second anchor off the stern.
The simplest method is to set your bow anchor first and make
sure it is deeply planted.
Then, fall back, at least three times the needed scope, while
feeding out the rode, drop the stern anchor then as you let out the
stern warp haul in on the forward rode until you are in between the
You could drop the stern hook first but be very careful not to
foul the propeller with the warp.
Most boats will, when lying to one anchor end up facing into
the wind, this is usually the most comfortable position.
However, there may be occasions when there is a strong current
or tide pushing the boat off the wind, in this case you may be more
comfortable lying at an angle to the rode.
This can be achieved by either moving the warp from the bow
roller, then hanging it to one side or by running a spring from the
chain to a cleat amidships.
Normally the weight of an all chain rode or the elasticity of
the rope will dampen any shocks from surging, however, if this does
become uncomfortable a snubber can be rigged to take the strain.
If the wind does get up or is expected
to you may feel the need to drop a second hook from the bows.
This should normally be set at an angle so the boat when
settled is riding equally between the two.
You will probably need to feed out the first rode while
motoring to the drop area for the second hook.
An alternative if there is sufficient swinging room is to drop
a second anchor in tandem with the first and clenched to the rode of
Check everything is stowed ready and that the foredeck is
clear and the warp free to run back down the hawse-pipe.
Start the motor then idle forward while gathering in the line
or haul forward on the rode.
When the rode is straight up and down, haul in the hook.
And don't forget to stow it securely before proceeding.
Occasionally the hook might not break free.
If it is simply well dug in it can be freed by powering
forward, just be careful not to damage the bow on the chain.
Sometimes it pays to be patient and allow the buoyancy of the
boat to free it from the sticky mud.
The worst case is if the hook has snagged on a mooring chain or cable
or even an old wreck.
However there are a few techniques that can be tried apart
from diving down to it.
If it is a chain or cable which can be hauled near to the
surface, then a rope can be passed under it to take the weight while
the hook is lowered free.
To get the rope under, use the boat hook and have a float of
some sort tied to the rope so that the end floats back to the surface.
the snag can't be hauled up, try shackling a loop of chain (attached to
a line) around the warp , haul on the warp so the shank is as
upright as possible, now lower the loop and try to maneuver it over the
shank and as far as the crown.
Slacken the warp and haul on the line.
Most anchors have provision
on the crown for attaching a trip-line.
The usual practice is to attach a marker float to the free end.
Others prefer to bring the free end on board.
I have found that trip lines can often cause more problems
than they solve.
They can so easily become entangled with the warp reducing a
long scope to a large tangled lump and they can accidentally trip the
hook when you least want it to.
On the rare occasion where the hook is well and truly stuck
and you need to leave in a hurry, the only other option is to cut the
warp and tie a marker buoy to it so that it can be retrieved at a later
It has become common practice, particularly in production
boats to stow the hook over the bow roller and the chain in a locker
right up in the bows.
While this may be convenient in many ways, it is not good
practice to concentrate too much weight in the ends of a boat.
Weight in the ends will contribute to pitching.
Your boat will ride more
comfortably and safely if you can position the chain locker nearer to
the center of buoyancy and once under way remove the hook from the bow
roller and stow it further aft.
Despite the proliferation of marinas there are still many
delightfully tranquil anchorages all over the world.
There really is little to compare with spending an evening
secured by your own ground tackle, far from the maddening crowds and
the light pollution, except perhaps for being woken the next morning by
the gentle lapping against the outside of the hull and the sound of the
I am perfectly aware that the majority of Wooden Boat aficionados are sensible folk. However, I need to point out that I am an amateur wooden boat enthusiast simply writing in order to try to help other amateur wooden boat enthusiasts. And while I take every care to ensure that the information in DIY Wood Boat.com is correct, anyone acting on the information on this website does so at their own risk.