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Anchor Watch ?

Discussion in 'Yacht Captains' started by ychtcptn, Jan 26, 2007.

  1. ychtcptn

    ychtcptn Senior Member

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    Here is a question for the other pro's out there. Lately I have been having the discussion about Anchor watches. I was curious about what other Captain's opnions were, if they always had them, or let the situation at hand dictate the need.

    I will start off the thread by saying I always have one posted, no matter what! I made a decision many years ago to do it this way so I would never have to second guess my decision.
    On my first night at anchor on my first big boat as Captain we dragged anchor off a lee shore, and I felt my decision was a pretty good one.

    I would like to hear others experiences and the pro's and con's
  2. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    On bigger yachts, it depends on how many we are onboard, but I use to sleep in the wheelhouse with radar and depth alarms activated. In some places I prefer a watch all night, but more for intruders, mainly drunk people who want some fun...

    In my own little boat I have a compass above my bunk and sleep pretty light, listening to wind or other changes...
  3. MikeElliston

    MikeElliston New Member

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    it depends on the situations at hand, do you have enough crew to be able to rotate through watches without being competely worn out in the morning ? thats one of the biggest factors involved, on larger yachts, there should always be someone on watch, at anchor, at the dock and of course while underway.

    if the conditions are sketchy enough and i don't have the crew, then i would stand watch all night (god i love coffee sometimes) if i could, i would have someone on watch.

    yes i did say at the dock, a few weeks ago, after i was done working, i stayed after for a beer with a crew member from another yacht, while we were up on the flybridge, we saw this lady walking around looking at they yachts, normally i don't pay much attention as this is common here, but this one just really caught my attention, she then walked down on the docks and walked up the the yacht i work on, after standing on the dock for a couple minutes, she just went and boarded without even knocking on the hull or anything, i had all the exterior and interior lights on too. i went down to the salon and started to head to the aft deck where she was, when she saw me she quickly turned around and walked away VERY QUICKLY. i have also seen just random people come down and board boats and just walk around on them. how stupid can these people get ??
  4. GrahamF

    GrahamF Senior Member

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    I always have anchor watch it does not matter what the conditions are. Here in the med the weather can change from 5 knots to 45 knots in 5 minutes. If the weather is calm then myself or a crew member will sleep in the wheelhouse. We do 4 on 4 off. When we were in Croatia/Turkey in a well sheltered bay with either one anchor or 2 anchors out with stern lines going onto land then we sleep in our cabins. Most Captains quarters have instrumentation in them. When ever I am at anchor I can never sleep peacefully.
  5. airship

    airship Senior Member

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    It's alll a question of size...innit?!

    One empathises with yacht captains who, because their yachts do not have a sufficient number of crew berths or, because noone aboard can organise the available crew for an efficient anchor watch or, because of other crew restraints (ie. cost), the notion of having an all-night anchor watch becomes an unobtainable luxury.

    The cost of employing an extra crew member easily fades into insignificance, when comparing the annual / seasonal costs against annual costs and indeed, the total value of the yacht (and her pax / crew). The bigger the yacht, the more easily it is to accommodate all-night anchor-watches of course.

    The big joke is that, whatever insurance requirements might be, the average 100ft / $10m yacht just doesn't have the space or crew to allow for really efficient watch-keeping, whether it's for extended cruising or all-night anchor watches...
  6. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    Who have told you this...? As long as there are two people onboard, watch keeping is no problem...
  7. MikeElliston

    MikeElliston New Member

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    with 2 people onboard, yes it is possible to keep a 24 hour watch going, however, come early morning, both people will still be really tired and worn out, and at that point, if the person on watch is overly tired, then its doing no good anyways. a 3rd person here makes a huge difference, allowing that little bit more rest between watch shifts makes an enormous difference.

    you also have to keep in mind when schedualing watches, that some people are going to already be up early to prep for the morning, chefs would be up prepping breakfast, and Stews are up cleaning the dining areas and lounges before guests are up and about.
  8. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    Since I don't have an umlimited number of crew, and I prefer to have everyone fresh for the morning, I don't have a steadfast policy on anchor watches.
    I always let the weather conditions, bottom conditions, familiarity with the anchorage, and a number of other factors determine whether I will post a watch. We spend alot of time in the Bahamas in anchorages that I know like the back of my hand. In these cases I rarely post a watch and prefer to get up every hour or two in order to check on things. Sometimes that just entails opening one eye long enough to check the instruments in my cabin, and sometimes it means walking the decks (usually in my skivvies as I have a private entrance from the main deck).:)
    If I'm not familiar with an anchorage or am uncertain of the weather, I'll spend the night in the bridge and catch a few winks when I can.
    If the weather is down-right going to be bad, I'll post a watch and do rotations with deck crew and engineer.
    On one boat I had my cabin directly behind the bridge and could see one of the radars from my cabin. I would then lock all the pilothouse doors and sleep with my cabin door open. That was a nice piece of mind.
    That's my 2 cents.
  9. OutMyWindow

    OutMyWindow Senior Member

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    This tread should be merged with "Oops!! Pics & Quotes" tread, as yachting anxieties, uncertainty, paranoia and general crew tiredness/fatigue is always leading to pilot error. :p
    I suggest a dog for security and an alarm triggering instrument.
  10. veggie_burger

    veggie_burger New Member

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    Surefire anchor alarm

    Hello, We have been running boats many years and have always done the surefire anchor dragging alarm.

    I take my trusty Penn Squidder (a fishing reel for those who may not know, a bait caster) and rig a weighted treble hook and then cast it out and purposely snag the bottom.

    I then set the reel on free spool and attach it near my cabin window and go to sleep. If we start to drag the free spool goes zzzzzzzzzzz. For a fishing person that sound will most likely wake someone after they are dead!

    The downsides are few and not much to go wrong other than perhaps a fouled snag hook that has to be retreived. I once used this with a tiny tender anchor when the bottom was sand. Other times you have to break the line by pointing the rod right at the snagged bottom and crank hard then hold the spool from turning and pull till something breaks. Very low tech and very good way to take a lot of worry out of this.

    I almost always set 2 anchors as well. It's easy to be lazy but with 2 hooks your twice as good. One all chain and one rode so untangleing is easy that way rather than 2 chains. That can be a real mess after a few days of swinging round and round.

    I have done this dozens and dozens of times and never spend the night to this day with out the trusty Penn Squidder snagged to the bottom.


    Of course in bad weather coming with a squall line coming in then you have to stay up but in general with 2 crew as we usually have then the fishing rig i s the best.

    :cool:
  11. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    Hi, I wouldn´t trust this on a big yacht but maybe on my sailing boat.

    To avoid that the reel is making noise all night when you are swinging around your anchor, I understand you must go back and drop this hook close to where your anchor gripped? Or do you have your second anchor at the stern to keep you from swinging a full lap? Seems a little tricky to get this foolproof I think..?
  12. veggie_burger

    veggie_burger New Member

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    I was actually being serious

    I cast the line out usually 90 degrees to the lay of the boat. In the bahamas with bahamian moor it can get a little tricky with changing tide granted but if you let a lot of slack out it stays pretty quiet. We had some fun times on charter when we left some rods out at night with the clickers on. Guests thought we were going to die when we hooked a big mutton snapper in Jost Van Dyke on a big motorsailer one night. It also will work with a spinner in a pinch. Remember I almost always use 2 anchors at night. It's very rare that I don't use 2 and that lets me sleep a lot better. I not bragging but I can think of very few times I have dragged in all the times I have anchored out. I don't think with 2 hooks I ever have. I'm lucky that of all the boats I have operated I have had very very good ground tackle. I insist on that during the first interview and it has been a good indication of the owners personality if I can set up the anchors how I like. Usually a big bruce on all chain and a plow on on rode and a Penn Squidder! Hard to think of doing this on a 50 meter boat but it really does work. I'm on a 30m now and still use it when it calls for an anchor watch. Still with technology now we can see winds and squall lines coming days if not at least hours away and know when something is coming that could cause drag. The other reason for anchor watch is the lowly thief. I have set mouse traps in my tenders in the DR as well as using Krytonite Cable locks on them. Locking doors is a big help. We always keep gensets going 24/7 so securing the boat easy when it's hot out. But I'm curious how larger vessels anchored out handle this situation? Does the Navy or Coast Guard keep watches?
  13. theyachtsman

    theyachtsman New Member

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    I have to agree with Graham,if it is ugly out why bother even trying to sleep,it wont work.
  14. mariog

    mariog New Member

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    I usually put out two anchors and set my anchor alarm on my chart plotter to 100' or so. if I drift outside this range the alarm will sound loudly.

    Garmin 3210
  15. Dhowdodger

    Dhowdodger New Member

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    At anchor overnight I sleep on the open flybridge, anchor alarm is on and the PA system will transmit any dragging noise from the foredeck. Any increase in the wind tends to wake me up as well.
    I normally run with one crew and would prefer him to be well rested for the next day.

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