Many sailors visiting the Virgin Islands have all sorts of sailing experience, both inshore and offshore; however, it is interesting to note that many have little experience anchoring.
Since you will be subjected to the constant trade breezes on a heavy displacement-type vessel, follow these suggestions for safe, hassle-free anchoring:
1. Pick your anchorage and arrive there early enough in the afternoon to assure both good light and a choice of spots. Bear in mind that during the peak season, December to April, some of the more popular spots become crowded.
2. Before doing anything else, work out a system of communication between the person on the helm and the crew member dropping the anchor. Remember that your engine will be running and therefore you will be unable to communicate verbally. Handsignals are needed and should be worked out beforehand.
3. Furl the sails and generally make the boat shipshape before entering the anchorage. Also shorten the dinghy painter to prevent its being sucked into the prop.
4. Pick your spot. Make sure you will have enough room to fall back on the anchor without lying too close to the yacht anchored behind, once you have laid out 5-to-l scope.
5. Motor up to the desired spot slowly, ensuring that you are head to the wind. Stop the boat exactly where you wish the anchor to lay. Take note of the depth.
6. Once the vessel has lost all forward way, lower the anchor to the bottom.
7. Let the wind slowly push the vessel back. Don't try to reverse. Pay out adequate scope as the vessel moves aft. Don't worry about being broadside to the wind.
8. When the desired amount of scope has been paid out, snub the rope and allow the wind to straighten out the vessel.
9. Put the engine into reverse and increase throttle to 1500 rpm. This should set the anchor and the anchor rope should start to tighten. If you notice it "skipping," pay out more scope. Once you are satisfied that the anchor is set, take the engine out of gear. The vessel should spring forward.
10. Put on your snorkel gear and visually check your work. This is the best way to ensure a good night's sleep. If the anchor is lying on its side or caught in coral, or if the rope is caught around a coral head, reset it. Better now than later.
11. Check your position relative to other vessels and/or landmarks. Is there
enough room between you and the boats around you? If swinging room is tight or if you are expecting squalls during the night, you might think about laying out a second anchor at 45 degrees to the first. This can be accomplished best with the dinghy.
If the hook doesn't set the first time, don't feel embarrassed! There is not a skipper afloat who hasn't encountered this problem. It is due not to your technique, but to the nature of the seabed. Discuss the situation with your crew, pick it up and try again.
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Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.