Being the author of a 365 page technical manual on anchoringâis a drag. Literally. Since Iâve released Creative Anchoring Iâve been dragging all over Southeast Asia. Itâs as if my world is suddenly Teflon-coated and my anchors have skates or rollers. Deploying my anchors barely affects my hull speed at all. Even worse, my wife Carolyn is attempting to sell my latest book to all the people we drag/smash intoâand I canât convince her such âunique sales opportunitiesâ arenât PC.
âNot now, dear,â I hiss as my transom lifts off their bowrail and then crushes down on their anchor roller, ânot now!â
âBut why not,â she shouts back happily, âWe donât meet that many new cruisersâand you can sign a copy for them on-the-spot. Whatâs not-to-like, Fatty?â
These âanchor cruisesâ are long and frequent enough to raise certain technical questions. For instance, if I drag anchor from Malaysia through Singapore into Indonesiaâdo I need to turn off my anchoring light and turn on my running lights as I drift across the Malacca Straits?
See how complex being me (an international expert on many things I know nothing about) can be?
What about Customs clearance? If you never take your hook upâdo you still need to clear in and out? I dunno. I guess it is a legal gray area, right?
In my anchoring book, of course, I discuss the etiquette of being dragged into. Obviously, many of the people Iâve banged into lately havenât read that chapter. âNo using the F-word,â I advise, âand physical threats donât help either!â
Actually, Iâm amazed how petty people areâinstead of sensibly using my dragging into them as an opportunity for them to practice human kindness and marine sensitivity, many of them stupidly fixate on the financial. âYou just did $10,000 of damage to my vessel,â one shouted at me in outrage.
Thus, I was forced to counter with, âDonât be such a bean counter, dude!â
Even worse, this jerk refused to see the wisdom of my Buddha-blessed words!
â¦ Besides, whatâs so great about a shiny Awlgrip finish anyway? I donât think of the âkissesâ my vessel leaves on the other vesselâs topsides as scrapes or gouges so much as âgelcoat badges of anchorage honorâ.
Many live-aboard vessels are so âhard aground on their coffee groundsâ they should thank me for the impromptu, unscheduled harbor cruise I give themâfree, and totally without charge.
Of course, I have to sleep sometimesâwhich isnât easy with all my anchor alarms wailing.
Seriously, Iâm not sure that an aluminum Fortress anchor is the best at holdingâbut once clear of the bottom, that sucker tows extremely well.
â¦numerous times my fellow yachtsmen have confused that Fortress with a very short water skier.
Once, when I was rounding up into Fatu Hiva from the Galapagos, I ruefully realized that Iâd only taken two of the three anchors upâand had towed the Fortress astern for 3,200 nautical miles.
âDamn, I thought we were steering straighter than normal! So thatâs what was following us.â I said, slapping my forehead.
Lots of sailors wonder why I named my new bookâboth the âdead treeâ version and the Kindle versionâCREATIVE ANCHORING. The answer is simple: if youâve mastered the art of one anchor, it is time to confuse yourself with multi-hooks.
Best-of-all is my section on tandem anchoring.
What, exactly, is tandem anchoring?
Hereâs the technical explanation: it is the ability to deploy two anchors in such a manner that neither holds.
This is vastly different than, say, using an anchor off the bow and an anchor off the transom to hold your vessel at a specific angle to the swell.
Yes, I touch on the subject of anchor kelletsâjust on the off-chance you canât manage to entangle your main rode in your prop, well, this gives you a second chance.
Ditto, deploying flopper-stoppersâalthough at my age this subject is getting a tad embarrassing. (Yes, I carry those little blue pills in both the shipâs medicine chest and the liferaft ditch bag as well.)
Where to geo-anchor is another topic that is discussed. If youâre young, anchor nearest to the rum shop, obviously. But we golden oldies often favor the dinghy dock closest to the Depends, prune juice, and Viagra.
My book talks a lot about SCOPE but nearly any mouthwash will do, really.
Sure, personal hygiene plays a part. I recently dragged down on a female single-hander in the Caribbean, and she immediately asked, âAre you hitting on me?â
âSure ting, sistah!â I replied in my best West Indian accent.
Actually, my boat is becoming famous for dragging. Each time I enter a harbor, there is a flurry of activity: fenders being deployed, pepper spray tested, boat hooks sharpened, insurance companies contacted, and various local hit men put on stand-by.
Yes, I mention the aggressive use of sharpened boat hooks in Creative Anchoringâotherwise, Iâd have had to call it STAID ANCHORING, am I right?
â¦ditto, how to bend a stantion, crush a self-steering gear, and/or poke out a stern light.
Which leads us to the etiquette of âexchanging insurance infoâ after my 15-ton vessel has reduced an innocent BendyToe to dust.
Since I have no insurance, it seems a tad insensitive to reveal said fact in too aggressive a manner. Why disillusion my victim? In addition, many of these âtoo noisyâ folks you drag down upon want personal specificsâlike name, rank, and serial number.
Iâm loath to disappoint them. And, of course, I realize that many yachtie folks enjoy paying billsâand that âleaving a clean wakeâ is important to them. (This âintegrity conceptâ is foreign to meâbut Iâm convinced it exists or, at least, used to exist pre-WWII).
In any event, I always give the name of the current president of the Seven Seas Cruising Association during these legal tussles. It just seems kinder-and-gentler to all concerned.
Once my wife caught me at this, and complimented me by saying, âItâs not all about Fatty with Fattyâhe is perfectly willing to share the blame!â
Preparing the vessel is another topic seldom touched upon: I cover the basics of âmagnetic signâ and/or âVelcro attachmentâfor both name and hailing port on the transom, how to forge shipâs papers, and all the other basics of international sea-gypsy voyaging on a shoe-string.
I mean, I have a vessel that circumnavigates with eight sailsâsurely, an equal number of âpre-forgedâ international yacht registrations is a sensible precaution against fickle anchor failure, right?
Depth is another subject I covered. Basically, the deeper the water, the better. Water is heavy. The more water there is on top of the anchor pressing it down, the better. Tonnage matters, yes siree! Plus, of course, I pile as much chain on top of my anchor as possibleâan additional factor that serves to pound it into the bottom even deeper.
Whew! My book contains a treasure trove of âby hook or crookâ anchoring tricks!
I take an in-depth look at such related gear as swivels and shackles as wellâfor example, I swivel my head away from the vessel Iâm dragging down on whenever possible, and Iâm not shackled to any one excuse.
â¦one day I claim Jesus made me drag, the following day I blame it on Mohammad, Buddha, or even L. Ron Hubbard.
Of course, there are a lot of feminist issues that deal with anchoring. For instance, most modern women refuse to haul up an anchor rode hand-over-hand. Thus, in order to get such a prissy female sailor to crew, you have to lure her aboard with a mechanical device in order to WIN the LASS, which the clever sailors of yore quickly shortened to windlass. (Ah, donât you just love traditional nautical terminology?).
âDiving the anchorâ becomes more difficult with age. For those sailors who want to engage in this fast-disappearing nautical practice, I recommend an additional loop of chain around the neck and/or pelvis before stepping over the bow rail with the anchor in your arms.
Which is best, the foredeck foot switch or the controller-on-a-cord?
Itâs a toss up, really.
Foot switches rule if you want to âaccidentlyâ trigger the windlass when your spouseâs fingers are entangled in the chain gypsy. But âremotes on a cordâ offer their own dramatics once the cord is wrapped under the chain in the gypsyâoh, how sparks fly!
Of course, only an amateur doesnât have the bitter end of the chain attached. Forgetting this can be highly embarrassingâas the chain end abruptly disappears into the sea before a crowd of gawkers when attempting to go stern-to, for example. (You can tie the bitter end of the chain off on anythingâankles are a common choice.)
Sterning-to gets its own chapter, of course. Yes, mastering the Med Moor isnât an easy task. But I go through the entire procedure step-by-step from (A) how to entangle your rode in as many other rodes as possible; to (B) how to damage as many craft as possible while lifting your anchorâalong with everyone elseâs too.
Whatâs my CREATIVE ANCHORING book really about at its deepest levelâbesides a reoccurring need for cruising funds on my part?
Itâs about confidence and pride, really.
No, you probably wonât stay-put any better after reading it. But if anyone suggests you should just maintain your position instead of draggingâyou can shout back, prior to your vessels coming together, âWhatâs so creative about dat, mon?â