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Thread: Anchoring and Its Discontents

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike cunningham View Post
    I tried this once in shallow water at China Camp. There was enough slack in the two rodes to allow the boat to get nearly broadside to the two anchors during the flood. I felt like, and probably was, a complete idiot. I now had a bar taught rode from both the bow and the stern. I don't remember how I finally got off, I do remember it was a complete cluster you know what and provided a half hour of first class entertainment to the other boats anchored there (and no, I couldn't wait for slack water). I never tried this again.
    Man, Mike, this makes me laugh out loud every time I read it because I am picturing it exactly. Not that I'm laughing at you, of course; it's more that I see myself completely in your trials and tribulations. I also appreciate you posting them so I can learn from them before making the same goofs!

  2. #22
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    Howdy everyone,
    I have anchored in Hanaleii Bay on 7 ocassions since 1992. Hanaleii Bay is a serious, hard core anchorage and anyone sailing to it would be well advised to ignore people babbling about how you want to go as light as possible and to take along a sizeable main anchor, plenty of chain, and a minimum of 300 feet of good nylon rode of a minimum 1/2" diameter. Your shackles should be very high quality forged ones. World cruisers swear by Crosby 209A shackles. They are easily obtained over the web. Riggingwarehouse.com has them. A 3/8" shackle lists for $11.50. You also need to mouse the shackles with monel or stainless wire, or the pin WILL come out in use. There are a lot of shackles made of the wonder metal Chinesium out there. I use only Crosby 209A and paint them orange. Only an orange painted shackle EVER goes in one of my anchor systems. In addition a second credible anchor and rode should be carried, as well as at least 2 quality snubbers if all chain rodes are used. A Danforth is NOT APPROPRIATE as a main anchor in Hanaleii Bay. A Bruce, CQR, Rocna, or similar anchor can reset when the wind shifts. A Danforth will NOT. I almost lost 4 fingers trying to deal with the consequences of a Danforth popping out on a tide change and not resetting.

    Hanaleii Bay is a big, rough tradewinds anchorage, and is subject to violent winds over 50 knots under possible summer situations. It is also generally packed with boats, and the wind direction can easily change by 180 degrees in squalls, or if a tropical depression is passing to the north. You will typically anchor in 30 to 45 feet. The bottom is sand, but without an engine to set the anchor well, boats can and DO drag. There are several reefs nearby which can easily destroy your boat. This is NOT a nice anchorage, although it is beautiful.

    In addition, the boat will frequently be plunging and yawing. Long anchor rollers can and probably WILL seriously chafe a nylon rode. Very good chafe gear is essential. Your cleats MUST be strong. Many lighter or older boats have chrome plated Zamac (zinc) cleats. These are absolutely NOT suitable for real anchoring stresses.

    I have personally re-anchored many SSS boats with inadequate anchors, some multiple times. The most egregious was a light boat with about a 10 pound Danforth anchor, 6 feet of 1/4" chain and about 100 feet of 3/8" cheesy nylon rode. Really!!??? Please keep in mind that if your boat drags and damages another boat, you are liable for the damages, which can be considerable. In 2016 some unknown person, maybe not SSS, dragged anchor and tore the bowspirit completely off a large local boat. The culprit was not found before I left.

    A few extra pounds WILL NOT cost you a victory. Keeping the boat sailing close to its rating 24 hours a day CAN get you one. If this is your first transpac, please DO NOT think of this as casual whoopee surfing down the tradewinds swells. With luck and careful preparation it may be everything you long for. This is a big ocean crossing however, and there are no boatyards or chandleries out there. I have been in races where contestants suffered broken rudders, masts, all the halyards (!) literally chafing through, broken furlers, no working autopilots, no electricity, badly injured or sick skippers, and a whole lot more. It is all shits and giggles until the unthinkable happens and you are standing in ankle deep water in the boat or watching your mast smashing the side of the boat in. Trust me, suddenly you feel VERY SMALL, and the ocean seems REALLY BIG! You may also have to deal with being caught in a tropical depression or even a hurricane. I left Hanaleii Bay 2 weeks before Hurricane Iniki devastated Kauai. I just missed Hurricane Danielle 4 years later. In 2016 FOUR tropical depressions crossed the race course during the race, one catching the back end of the fleet in 50+ knot winds. After one race I did not do, there were 12 foot breakers coming into Hanaleii Bay after a depression passed to the north.

    I am sorry to take such a loud and strident position on these issues, but I have seen the results of taking both the seamanship aspects of the race and anchoring in Hanaleii Bay too lightly. Beefing up your cleats and anchoring system will have NO impact on your finishing position, and may save your boat. I am sure many will disagree with me, but if you drag and hit my boat, there will be consequences. If you hit one of the locals, those consequences could be really ugly. Speaking broadly, the locals are not fond of the SSS fleet. This is not just a long day race. You are crossing an ocean. If you prepare well, you will almost certainly be safe and have fun.

    If anyone wants to discuss these our other issues relating to the race, just hit me up. Better bring earplugs, and maybe a tranquilizer gun...

    All the best,
    Michael
    S/V Mouton Noir
    Last edited by MichaelJefferson; 02-05-2018 at 09:12 PM.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelJefferson View Post
    Better bring earplugs, and maybe a tranquilizer gun...
    Yes, that's all a bit extreme. I have a 5,500# boat and had no trouble after my SHTPs, using one size up from the recommended anchoring gear for my boat.

    If you want to bring earplugs, I'll bend your ear about how I wish more entrants would treat this as a race, which it is. A good finish result depends on the accumulation of many small things, most of which are weight and performance-related. Folks can cruise to Kauai anytime they want - they don't need the SHTP to do that.

  4. #24
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    Thanks for that Michael. Well said. I hope it gets through.

  5. #25
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    Well, very nice discussion here. Mike, your description of Hanalei Bay as an anchorage is an eye-opener, but welcome. Cruising guides tend to sugar coat. Nice to have first hand, long time experience weigh in.

    And to Bob's point, it is a race. Which brings to mind an issue I have been wondering about. Morning Star has a nice fat CQR hanging out on a big bow roller, with 200' of all-chain rode in a chain locker at the forepeak. That's an awful lot of weight at the extreme forward end of the boat. I hope to bury all that as low and as close to the center of the boat as possible, once I have the boat up to SF. What I don't know is what it might be like trying to put the ground tackle back in place. Is that something one does out to sea before the finish? That doesn't sound like fun, or conducive to maintaining boat speed to the end. On the other hand, unless one is finishing in daylight, with a decent-sized boat ready to accept a raft-up, how do you deal with it after the finish? Curious as to what the collective wisdom is on this. Do people tend to race across the Pacific with ground tackle at the bow the whole time? Or do you stow it all below and figure out how to deal with it as you approach the island, based on anticipated arrival time and conditions?
    Lee
    s/v Morning Star
    Valiant 32

  6. #26
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    Hello Lee,
    The odds of arriving in Hanaleii at midnight in a squall are just as good as arriving in the daylight with clear weather. Having done both, I will say that regardless of the arrival conditions, until the committee boat meets you to help get you into the bay, you will likely be too busy to do much but try to manage the sails and your course. Here is the problem from the seamanship point of view:

    It is very appealing to stow the anchor and chain at the dock before the race somewhere nice and low, tied down well. But what if something goes wrong between the starting gun and seeing the farallones in the rear view mirror? Shit really does happen at sea. Usually the one thing that COULDN'T happen! One of our best sailors lost his Sidney 38 some years back when he got a bad spinnaker wrap coming back from the Singlehanded Farallones race some years ago. The boat was 3 miles offshore when it happened, and he was unable to get the spinnaker unwrapped. The boat lay on its side and blew towards the rocks north of Point Bonita. Quickly! He tried to deploy his emergency anchor, but it was a typical ultralight anchor system, and he lowered it too slowly, with the result that the anchor sailed, and never touched bottom. In a very short time, he was on the rocks and the boat was lost. Moral is that bad things CAN happen at any time.

    An alternative to stowing the ground tackle before the race is to have an emergency anchor, such as a Fortress or medium size Danforth, along with 50 feet of 5/16" chain and a 300 foot double braid in a bag, ready to go. If you have to deploy it, do so quickly, so that the anchor drops straight to the bottom, and let out line very fast, so that by the time any strain comes on the anchor, you have sufficient scope to get it to set.

    When you get to Hanaleii, the emergency anchor can be used to anchor you temporarily while you lug the big anchor on deck, and sweat the chain out of the locker and assemble it on deck. Usually the race committee will help you anchor, and a few more hands can make this easy. You can also make big circles while you prepare the main anchor. A trick I use is to attach a 6 part tackle to the spinnaker halyard about 6 feet above deck. I run a safety line through the bow roller and secure the end to a cleat or the windlass. The other end is tied to the shackle of the anchor, and the lower part of the tackle is attached to a shackle in the crown of the anchor. The tackle does the lifting of the anchor and the safety line allows you to pull the shank through the bow roller. You then connect the shackle and mouse it with some stainless wire and away you go! Trying to feed the anchor through the bow roller by hand, leaning over the pulpit, is a great way to really hurt yourself. Also wear shoes! Dropping the anchor on your bare toes is a bad idea.

    Look, this RACE!, RACE!, RACE! thing is a great motivator, and adds a lot of intensity and spice to the TransPac. It really IS a race, and the winners are usually excellent racing sailors who push VERY, VERY hard the whole way and VERY MUCH want to win. But if this is your first singlehanded ocean passage, just getting there safely will mean as much to you as any trophy. The joy and satisfaction of seeing Kauai appear after several weeks at sea alone will stay with you forever. The result of the race, not as much. Abandoning good seamanship and stripping the boat is just a bad idea in my opinion. There is a real learning curve to managing a boat so that it is fast 24 hours a day. And to managing yourself, too. Give yourself some generous margins the first time. An Erickson 32 is not going to be as much affected by weight as, say, an Olson 30. You will occasionally exceed displacement hull speed for a short time in surfs. The Olson will go a knot faster per 2 knots of wind speed, all else equal.

    So with respect to your original question about whether or not to take off the anchor and chain: My recommendation is that you consider taking the anchor off and stowing it, probably before the start. Leave the chain in the locker, and be SURE to secure and tag the ends with big pieces of colored 1" webbing, different colors for each end. The chain will probably shift and get tossed around at sea, and if you lose the working end it is a really painful ordeal to find it. Depending on how your chain hawse is set up, consider attaching the working end of the chain to the inside of the hawse hole cover, either with a small shackle to an eye on the inside of the cover or with the end of the webbing, so it is easy to get singlehanded from the deck. Make up a good emergency anchor as described above (making sure the shackles are moused and the wire is dressed so it doesn't rip you up when you stagger around the boat trying to deploy it in a hurry). Note,
    If you DO deploy the emergency anchor, tie off the bitter end BEFORE deploying. I know of several people who have watched the end of the anchor line vanish overboard with disbelief. Anyway, if conditions permit, you can put the anchor back in the roller before the finish, or after the committee comes aboard at the finish. Do not underestimate the dangers of carrying heavy, awkward objects like an anchor around the boat at sea, even in a calm. You can get really hurt. I suggest having a tool kit for the anchoring: A tub of lanacote to coat the shackle pins, Precut lengths of wire to mouse the shackles, A beefy pair of needle nose pliers for the wire, an 8 or 10 inch crescent wrench to tighten the shackle, maybe a wire cutter, a few spare Crosby 209A shackles of the appropriate size, a few cable ties, some velcroed chafe sleeves, with 1/8" by 3 feet lines attached to tie them off, some work gloves, and a BIG flat blade screwdriver (used to screw around with the chain near the windlass- NEVER, NEVER grab the anchor chain with your hands, you can lose fingers in a flash).

    I am sure that whatever you decide, you will end up safely anchored in Hanaleii Bay. My opinions are just that: MY opinions, formed by MY experiences and those of others I have talked to. Although I have done 5 SSS TransPacs, I have never won any trophies, and do not expect to. My boat is heavy, and i am loathe to go to sea without what I feel are sufficient resources to manage whatever happens. Clearly that is impossible, but there is a wide spectrum of problems which with the right tools, supplies, knowledge, and a bit of luck CAN be managed.

    All the best,
    Michael
    S/V Mouton Noir

    p.s. For reference, I have a 110 pound Bruce and a 65 pound Bruce carried on the bow at all times, with 400 feet of 3/8" chain resident in the anchor locker along with 900 feet of 3/4" double braid nylon rodes. I have a huge Lofrans Falkon windlass mounted quite a bit forward. The boat is a 47 foot aluminum expedition sailboat, and designed for this much weight forward.
    Last edited by MichaelJefferson; 02-06-2018 at 07:48 AM.

  7. #27
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    Oregonian's SARABAND (a Westsail 32) has won the Pacific Cup overall and has come close to doing so in the SHTP. I'll wager it isn't 60% over its designed weight, as a certain Yamaha 33's PHRF certificate says it is. SARABAND floated high and sprightly before the start in 2010 and I observed no excess gear aboard. It's a Westsail 32 but it was very much in racing trim. That's a big part of how you "sail a boat to its rating."

    To AZ's question, pitching moment (as I've heard it called) can be significantly improved by keeping weight out of the ends of the boat. This will result in a more comfortable and faster ride. So I would absolutely stow the heavier gear somewhere other than on the bow. I would also consider the weight of all the paraphernalia that is often seen on the sterns of cruising boats.

    SHTP used to require two anchors. This allowed for a lighter set-up for possible use pre-start (the current can be heavy and the wind light off the CYC) and in emergencies near the coast. Now that only one anchor is required the decision is harder. I'd probably take my lighter set-up (which still meets the rule) and ship over my heavier set-up in the SHTP "crate."

    Finally, not everyone can do the SHTP twice (or more), once as a cruise and once as a race. There are many opportunities to go cruising to gain offshore experience. This is the Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race.

  8. #28
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    Bob,
    Foxxfyre's weight was grossly underestimated in the manufacturers brochure. After many years in the water, the hull was saturated with water, which contributed quite a bit to the basic weight of the boat. Although I have always carried a lot more tools and spares than many competitors, the weight increase was nowhere NEAR 60% over designed weight. I do sort of feel offended by your remarks. I sailed Foxxfyre HARD in both the three TransPacs I did in her, as well as MANY thousands of miles around the Eastern Pacific. I have never "cruised" to Hawaii in the TransPac. Many competitors have benefited from my tools and spares after arrival in Hawaii, and they have allowed me to repair a number of fairly serious breakdowns at sea over the years. My motivations in doing the TransPac are perhaps different than yours, but I do not feel that they in any way diminish my credibility or right to do the race. Almost all my finishes have been mid fleet, but my memories and enjoyment in the hard sailing, the camaraderie and bonds made with the other sailors far transcend any happiness that getting a trophy would create FOR ME.

    Something else to consider is that I, as well as many others, sail BACK to San Francisco. This passage is much more serious than the TransPac, and having extra tools, supplies, and fuel aboard is prudent and good seamanship.

    The Singlehanded TransPac has always been a Corinthian race- a race where you sail what you have. It has also been billed as the adventure of a lifetime, and it is. If you wish to exclude boats which you feel are not "racy" enough I would oppose you vigorously. We have had "fast" boats in the TransPac before, such as Steve Fossett's Lakota, or the Open 50 a few races ago. They were totally out of phase with the other boats in the fleet, and the owners were also. They were fast, though. But so what? This is a low budget race which competitors do as much for the thrill of singlehanding across an ocean as for a trophy. There are fewer trophies than competitors. Should those who will not likely win one not race? If you feel that this race should try to attract high dollar sponsored boats then the character of the race would forever be lost. If the racing is not intense enough, perhaps doing the West Marine Pacific up Doublehanded would appeal? They seem fairly cutthroat.

    I despise ad hominem sniping and negative comments in forums, which is why I rarely participate in them. If you want to have a spirited discussion of the future of the SingleHanded TransPac, start a thread on that and maybe I will chip in. My conservative approach to ocean passages may not appeal to all. That is fine, but for people who have never done one before, I do feel that hearing from someone who has been through quite a few serious issues at sea and lived to tell about it does have a place at the table. Once you are 1000 miles offshore, it is too late to run down to the chandlery for a bolt or extra vise grip. Many people who sail "fast" boats, especially those who do not sail them back from Hawaii, place a disproportional emphasis on "light is fast". And it is. Until it isn't. Even the Volvo and Vendee Globe boats carry huge inventories of spare parts and supplies, although having big shore crews and giant funding means that they can grind them down to the bare minimum, weight wise. Anyway, it is each skipper's decision as to how to prepare and sail their boats. Having disparate viewpoints to think about can only help insure that their choices make sense for them.

    Michael
    S/V Mouton Noir
    former S/V Foxxfyre

  9. #29
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    Depending where you look, the designed weight was between 9,700 and 10,584#. The boat's PHRF certificate says 16,000# That's 60%.

    I don't dis boats for not being "racy enough" for the SHTP. That's why I use SARABAND as an example. She was as well-prepared and "racy" as you could imagine.

    I sailed Rags home solo in 2006, so I get that part.

    But your last two sentences are the key.
    .
    Last edited by BobJ; 02-06-2018 at 01:55 PM.

  10. #30
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    Sorry to have been late to the anchoring party. Having anchored a dozen times at Hanalei since 1973, in all design and lengths of race boats, I think I have a pretty good feel for the place. Yes, unless you are packing 50 or more feet of substantial chain, a Danforth style anchor is inappropriate as a primary anchor at Hanalei. When a squall's windshift blows through, usually late at night, the Danforth style anchor can trip, then not reset in the hard pack sand/coral shell bottom. This has led to untended boats occasionally disappearing from the Bay.

    I can't imagine sailing to Kauai with an anchor and chain on the bow. But some do. There is usually ample time in the last 24 hours to assemble your anchoring gear in position. A second, smaller anchor is not a bad idea.

    WILDFLOWER was 27 feet, 6,000 pounds. My primary anchor was a 22 pound CQR with 50 feet of 1/4" chain and 150 feet of 9/16" Gold Line. I also carried a 12 pound lead salmon ball as a kellet if the boat was sailing at anchor.. As well as several split rubber plumbing hoses for chafe gear. Never dragged that rig in 33 years and could retrieve it by hand without a windlass.
    Last edited by sleddog; 02-06-2018 at 11:19 AM.

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