I intended to do some sailing until I arrived and to my disappointment I saw the flags hanging lifeless from the marina flagpoles. Oh well, another boat work day, I guess. Work days are good, but sailing days are better.

I started with a quick washdown of her topsides. Jazzmin has become a little dirty over the past couple of months. I wanted to be out on the lake, so I decided to just motor around for a while. That idea quickly morphed into the thought that I should go practice the art of anchoring.

I’ve been involved with sailboats for a few years now, but I’ve yet to try anchoring. Considering what my future goals are, it’s quite important that I master this task. And what better time than a day with very little wind? At least that way, if things go wrong the danger factor is decreased.

I motored out of the marina and picked a spot directly across. It was a little cove the guy I bought the boat from told me about. He said he anchored there quite often. Using the Navionics app on my phone, I found a spot that was about 14 feet deep.

My first anchoring position.

My first anchoring position

I set the tiller tamer on a course that would take me right to it. While I motored across the lake, I went forward to the anchor locker and began preparations. I slowed to almost a crawl and when I passed over my chosen spot, I put the engine in neutral and then I slowly lowered the anchor into the water and payed out the rode until it felt like the anchor was on the bottom. At that point, I let out about 20 or 25 feet of rode (chain, then rope) then I secured the rope to a bow cleat briefly. I felt the boat turning slightly when the anchor grabbed and began digging in. My plan was to let the anchor naturally dig in with the weight of the boat before hard setting it. It was really a guessing game as to whether or not it set initially, but I perceived that I was no longer being pushed by the waves closer to the shoreline. So at that point, I let out about 20 or 25 more feet of rope. Without having any kind of markings on my rope, it’s difficult to know for sure, but I think I had probably about 50 or so feet of anchor rode out. That would make a 4:1 scope, which should be fine for the conditions I was in. After I let out those last 25 feet, I again perceived that I wasn’t moving any closer to shore, I figured it was time to hard set the anchor. I put the engine in reverse and began slowing throttling up. The boat wasn’t moving, so I guessed I was safe and secure. I turned off the motor and relaxed “on the hook” for about an hour and a half.

Rope anchor rode

Rope anchor rode

My ground tackle on this Catalina 25 consists of a 13 pound Danforth [fluke design] anchor. The anchor is attached to about 10 feet of chain, and the remainder of the anchor rode is rope. I haven’t measured how much total rode I have yet. Guess I’ll add that as an item on my to-do list.

First time on the hook

First time on the hook

I set my anchor dragging alarm app on my phone and actually took a short nap, waking every few minutes to ensure I wasn’t dragging. After a while, I noticed a little storm brewing to the southeast of my position, so I decided to pull up and head back to the marina. I started the motor in preparation, but left it in neutral. My boat is light enough [4550 pounds] that I was able to simply pull on the rope/rode and pull my boat up to a point where I was almost directly over the anchor. I cleated the rope at that point and put the engine in forward gear at idle speed. Back to the bow of the boat, I began pulling the anchor up as the boat barely moved forward. The anchor pulled up relatively easily and before long I was motoring back to the marina.

And then the storm hit. I was soaked with the downpouring rain, heavy wind and reduced visibility. I had the hatches open earlier for ventilation, and the rain was now getting the interior of my boat wet, so I left the tiller briefly and closed all the hatches. It only lasted about 10 minutes, thankfully. By the time I got back to the marina, it was barely a sprinkling rain and back to no wind.

Looking back on things, it would have been cool to just ride the storm out while at anchor. Guess that would’ve really tested whether I was set very well or not.

Anchoring is obviously something I need to do more of. I’ll need to practice different methods of dropping and retrieving the anchor. Differing weather conditions and locations, but I’ll consider this a successful day considering it was my first time.

What do you think? Comments below…..thanks!