If you want to sail on the coast, you do not have to learn dinghy sailing first. Of course, it doesn't harm and you can learn some special subtleties of sailing even on small, light boats. But for many it is just a question of time and money for which type of boat to choose.
The suitable anchorage Before heading for the anchorage, you should get as accurate as possible a picture of the landscape conditions with the help of nautical charts and handbooks. First and foremost, check the water depths: whether, for example, offshore sands need to be navigated around. Or how far you can go under land protection without getting into trouble during the swoop. Good nautical charts will also indicate poor rocky bottoms.
Protection against prevailing and expected wind directions. Clarify in advance whether the anchorage offers sufficient protection against the prevailing or expected wind directions. In the Baltic Sea, after an evening calm, there is often a strong breeze at night or in the morning, and the wind has shifted 180 degrees. Then the anchor can break free and slip a few meters over the bottom until it gets stuck again. In addition, the sea state further reduces the anchor's holding force as a result of the lack of land protection. If you are too close to the shore, you have to leave the place as soon as possible - if it is not already too late. Therefore: always keep enough distance to the shore or shallow water, even if the weather situation seems to be safe.
Approach with depth sounder Once a decision has been made, the anchorage and its surroundings should be carefully examined. You sail along this area, determine the water depths with the echo sounder and look for a favorable, protected place near a cliff, hill or a high group of trees. In sunny, calm weather, even in the murky waters of the North and Baltic Seas, it is usually possible to see sufficiently deep - over four meters - to be able to assess the nature of the seabed. Unsafe grass bottom, for example, is very dark. Moving slowly along it, however, one usually encounters more or less large patches of light-colored sand embedded in it. This is where the anchor should fall.
Laps of honor are not a shame If one is forced to approach a heavily occupied anchorage, it is important not to obstruct or endanger a neighbor after dropping the anchor by coming too close to him during the shoaling process - this is easier said than done. Because from a distance, it is almost impossible to make an appropriate assessment of the conditions from the cockpit. Only after passing between the anchored vessels can the anchorage, which has previously been looked at from a distance, be correctly assessed and a decision be made. Experienced crews can be recognized by the fact that they take a lot of time here and often do several "laps of honor" until they make a decision.
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