If the anchorage becomes unsettled due to the development of a swell caused by an approaching strong wind, you have the choice of either leaving or going on guard to check the anchor regularly. With good ground tackle and a safe anchorage, you will usually choose the latter.
Sign of a slipping anchor Long keels have a tendency to lay across the wind during strong gusts. Afterwards, the stem swings back in the direction of the stiffly coming anchor chain. However, if it stays crosswise to the wind, this is usually an unmistakable sign that the anchor is slipping. In contrast, yachts with a short keel, as already mentioned, move back and forth at the anchor point to a greater or lesser extent during the passage of gusts, depending on the underwater hull and displacement. On such vessels, the only safe method of testing is to place the hand on the chain to check for vibration.
Landmarks are deceptive Experience has shown that it is not very useful to memorize or aim for any landmarks to check across. If a hard gust hits and you are on a long chain, the ship often changes its position so dramatically that you can easily panic. Especially if the neighbor, due to its different hull shape, moves in a completely different direction.
Before the anchor gets pulled out Marking the position of the anchorage on a map using a cross bearing or GPS navigator is always recommended when anchoring in tidal waters. If the direction of the flow changes and the ship swings around the anchor, there is a risk of coming free due to the different direction of pull - especially in grass or hard clay bottoms. Then, by taking multiple bearings, a change in position beyond the schwoj circle can be detected with relative certainty.
Swell causes anchor to break free Incidentally, it is never the wind pressure that can cause the anchor to break free, but the swell. If the pitching stem jerks into the stiff chain, it' s high alert. In this case, the chain must immediately be extended and - if this does not help - the chain must be lengthened with a hawser. If you are lying on a leeward wall and the shore is too close, then there is only one option: Leave the ship immediately! Therefore, once again the advice: Always keep enough distance to the shore.
Danger ahead If the swell increases so much that the stern still pushes in when the chain or hawser is fully unhooked, then there is danger ahead. In this case, it is usually only a matter of time before the anchor breaks free, and it should be retrieved immediately. With the help of the engine, the ship is then maneuvered slowly with short thrusts to the anchor's berth, while swiftly hoisting in the chain or line. If the ship is already drifting, and every minute counts because of the near shore, it may still be possible to haul in a hawser quickly enough - without it getting caught in the propeller. But a heavy chain can hardly be brought in fast enough, and the ship's maneuverability will be restricted for too long. Therefore, the chain must now be slipped as quickly as possible. If you have anchored without an anchor buoy, its berth is marked by one or two fenders tied with appropriately long lines.
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