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Thursday, March 7, 2013

How Not To Throw An Anchor

How Not To Throw An Anchor
How Not To Throw An Anchor

Hooray!  It's time for another story.

When we first got our cruiser, having upgraded from the bowrider, there were multiple systems that took some time to figure out.  There are, of course, exponentially more places to hide things on a larger cruiser than on a smaller bowrider.  But an anchor is an anchor, right?  We know where that is!  We've done that before!

An aside for a moment: windlass systems are expensive.  Want a less expensive option?  Go with the first-mate.  In this case: my girlfriend.  Warning: this is not a less expensive option in the long run.  Let's resume...

So on a particular late afternoon outing, the first mate and I decided to drop anchor to have some grub with the first mate's family.  We motored up to our spot, decided the wind and current were favorable, and away we throw!  The anchor went in perfectly, and sunk right to the bottom.  All was executed to perfection - save for the fact that the anchor was not attached to anything!

Tip #1: Always check the condition of the anchor, its fastening, and the condition of the line and/or chain.  Be sure you have a plan for where the line will get attached to the boat.  DO NOT throw the anchor unless all of these items are checked.

Luckily, this boat had a stern anchor, which we promptly deployed with no further harm done.  In fact, while purchasing a new anchor, I learned a lot about different anchor types, sizes and styles, and ended up with a heftier anchor that now sits - well attached - on the bow of my boat.  

Tip #2: Don't just go merrily boating without ascertaining whether the anchor your boat came with is adequate for your needs.  There are many different anchors that do many different things - this subject will get discussed in future articles!

In the long run, perhaps this was a sign that I needed a bigger, better anchor.  Or, perhaps it was a relationship-strengthening exercise?  In any case, when you go to price out those expensive electric winches, keep in mind the price you pay when something goes afoul between you and your first-mate! 

Finally, there are so many variables on the water that you (and your crew) are bound to make mistakes from time to time.  Most often, they will be stupid, easily-remedied mistakes...sometimes, mistakes can be deadly.  Never assume anything on a boat; always check, double check, and triple check what you are doing, no matter how small a task, to ensure the safety of you and your equipment!
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