Hanging by a thread!
We have spent most of our life so far at anchor. We love being at anchor. Here are my main reasons to prefer the anchor to being alongside a quay.
“The weight of the chain helps to hold you but if the anchor drags you will move fairly quickly. The first you realise you are very close to rocks or have hit another boat. Your anchor is your life line. You are literally hanging by a thread!”
- The breeze …. It is bigger and better out at sea. (In a town the hot pavement makes the air hot and if there is no breeze it is so much hotter in town.
- The space …. You know that the next boat is not going to be closer than 40m (except in Lakka when the anchoring was extremely close but it is worth it because it is so beautifully turquoise (except when you anchor with long lines out and the boat next door has a dragging anchor).
- The swimming …. You can just jump in the water at any time of day (or night)
- The clothes …. No one can see what you are wearing/or not wearing
- You can fish easily
- Snorkelling …. Good exercise …. Fantastic relaxation
- So many bays to choose from
- No cost …. You can anchor for free … being alongside costs money. If you are not charged for the town quay you usually end up spending money in the town!
- It is not embarrassing having your laundry out to dry. I still get embarrassed when in a town.
- The water is much clearer, cleaner and fresher. At Anchor the visibility is often much better because you are on sand rather than mud.
When at anchor, you need to allow enough room all around you as the wind changes direction. You generally put 4 or 5 times the amount of chain down to the depth of water you are in. So if in 5m of water you put down 20m of chain. So you need a 20m radius all around you of safe water where you wont hit any rocks or other boats. The weight of the chain helps to hold you but if the anchor drags you will move fairly quickly. The first you realise you are very close to rocks or have hit another boat. Your anchor is your life line. You are literally hanging by a thread!
All this said, we have found our anchoring to be a lot less stress than being tied stern to on a town quay or in a marina. Even if you do everything right, the boat coming in next door is a potential hazard, I seriously think we need to reconsider our fenders just to protect ourselves from other people.
Having been at anchor for 4 weeks, we had been able to see the anchor on several occasions when in crystal clear waters. Each time we could do this, we noticed our anchor was lying on its side with only one side dug into the sand.
A big source of help for us has been the ‘Women that sail the med’ FaceBook group. I can ask them a question and they come back with answers having been at the coal face so to speak. They are an extremely knowledgeable group and they don’t try to baffle you with science.
I had previously asked them what to bring and what not to bring to the Med, I had asked them about money and phones and internet and we had had some great information that we had acted upon. I had topped up my spice supply, bought a paddle board in the UK, and left behind a lot of unnecessary clothing. But it was the anchor advice that was the most useful for us.
We have a 40lb CQR anchor, I asked the group was there anything we could do to make sure it didn’t fall on it’s side. Their answer was unanimous …. Get a ‘New Generation’ anchor and preferably a Rocna. So we researched the Rocna and found a video explaining the design and the thought process behind the design. It also showed how each of the older models of anchor worked including the CQR. We learnt that it only sat on it’s side, it only held 2 out of every 5 times it was deployed. This is what we had already found. But of course I thought it was our technique rather than our anchor. Here is the link to the brilliant video.
It was a no brainer for us to purchase a new anchor, the group referred to the Rocna as the ‘sleep well’ anchor, and I can understand that. When you are at anchor, your whole house and indeed your life is all hanging on whether or not the anchor holds. You want to be able to trust it.
We had been so lucky in that all of our sailing so far had been in minimal to no wind whatsoever. The scariest moments were coming into a harbour or town quay when the anchor had to hold you away from the wall. If we had had big winds we may not have got away so lightly.
Another big lesson learned. If you want to learn about your life on a thread … watch the Rocna video … amazing engineering.
Oh I am counting the days (and nights) for my new Rocna!
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