.. Or Tip #2 in Surviving a Sailing Relationship.
They say that variety is the spice of life and to keep a sailing relationship fresh, you sometimes have to vary your techniques. For example, when was the last time you used a different anchoring technique? In fact, have you ever? Or do you just stick to the same old, traditional method… using hand signals obviously. You may not have needed to or if you did, you decided to go and anchor somewhere else, taking the “easier option.” Well, shame on you, you could be missing out on all the fun! Here’s a couple of examples from when I have been teaching:
I was heading down to Petite St. Vincent with some ASA 104 students, practising paper navigation between the reefs, when one of the students started talking about pelicans and how elegant they were, especially whilst they were fishing. I commented that there was a place north of Petite St. Vincent, where I had regularly seen pelicans fishing. “ We want to go there,” they said in and so a plan was hatched in my head for some anchoring practice.
This spot to the north of Petite St. Vincent, although charted as an anchorage, it is seldom used, probably for two reasons. There are reefs on the beach side and on the seaward side and less than 300ft in between. Plus there is a tidal current that turns the boat through 180 degrees.
We set up to do a Bahamian Moor, one anchor astern, both connected at the bow, so that when the tidal current changes the boat swings in a greatly reduced arc. We did our usual drive through and on our second run dropped our secondary anchor from the stern with extra rode tied in. We proceeded forward and anchored with our bow anchor in the usual manner, making sure that some tension was applied to the stern anchor rode to keep it away from the prop. We then walked the stern anchor to the bow and secured that with the bow anchor. That sunset and the following morning we were treated to a pelican fishing masterclass, at close quarters… it was spectacular and would have been romantic if my partner had been with me!
The second example occurred not long after I started teaching in Grenada and was unfamiliar with the area. I was told that Sandy Island had a beautiful anchorage and great snorkelling… how was I to know there were two sandy islands within Grenada? We headed for the one off the NE corner of Grenada… not the one by Carriacou. It looked like it would be good in light swells, so we proceeded. We entered the area south of Sandy Island with the anchorage being in the NW corner, tucked in to avoid the 2kn tidal race.
This was a textbook opportunity for a forked moor, two anchors off the bow approximately 60 degrees apart. We gently motored in using our main anchor as our starboard anchor and dropped in the sand just before the reef. Then came the laying of the second anchor. This was done from the tender and rowed out by two of the students, dropped in the sand just before the reef on our port side, rowed back, tightened the rode and secured at the bow. With both anchors in place, our swing was greatly reduced.
And the pay off! A couple of great snorkelling reefs out of the current and as it is an uninhabited island (but for sale if your interested…www.vladi-private-islands.de/en/island-archive/caribbean/grenada/sandy-island/) we had a walk around the island to the derelict house and the shipwreck on the windward shore. Again, it would have been very romantic if I wasn’t with a bunch of ASA students!
Using alternative anchoring techniques are in the ASA syllabus for 2 reasons; to test students and because they are useful. These two examples gave two sets of students their highlight of the week. Now I just have to remember to try a few different techniques when I am with my partner, maybe she would love a forked moor…
Written by Mike Dye, edited by Lesley Hayes
SeaHorse Sailing School, Grenada