Top Menu

Rattle, rattle, rattle, rattle, rattle… the sound of anchor chain paying out over the bow roller of a boat. All cruisers are trained to detect that sound, especially when it is loud, indicating close proximity to their own vessel. If one were to watch a crowded bay from a distance when a new boat enters, preparing to anchor, he/she would see heads popping up out of hatches throughout the anchorage looking much like gophers sticking their heads out of their holes. Even we do it and I recognize how funny it must look!

What is equally amusing, depending on where you fit into the anchoring dynamic, is when a boater moves from the gopher stage into the full on bitch wings pose. Not familiar with the bitch wings pose? It looks like this:

This is the exact position that cruisers adopt when someone is either considering anchoring near their boat or, even worse, are in the process of doing so. Perhaps this position has some ape-like origins, you know, one gorilla attempting to frighten off another ape from stealing his bananas. Regardless of where it comes from, when you come to recognize it for what it is, it is quite humorous.

For the record, if you want to make friends, standing on the bow of your boat staring down new arrivals is not the way to do it. Even though we don’t like people anchoring right on top of us, we do try to give people the benefit of the doubt and allow them to figure out their position on their own before we revert to simian mode.


  1. Good one Mike!

  2. How do you illustrate the catawauling (spelling?) and foredeck antics that follow if bitch wings don’t work?

    🙂 🙂


  3. Thank god you did not say credit card charterers…lol…..I am guilty….For pwerboaters it is the sound of the bow…good post

    • The funny thing is there were a bunch of guys on a charter cat in the bay the other day and one of them was doing it to US as we were in the process of anchoring. It was pretty amusing. 🙂

      And yeah, bow thrusters? That is even worse!

  4. Instead of gophers, I always think of prairie dogs 🙂

    Bitch wings definitely work, but I always tried to reserve their use to anchorages where I know it was already crowded/poor holding/no wind (to hold boats in same direction), etc.

  5. Mike, LOL………have tried both approaches and as I get older the second one is by far less stressful!
    Keep up the good post.
    Denny Ray

  6. All this time I thought Rebecca was just happy to see us!


  7. You NAILED it! LOL!!

  8. Great post Mike – this one made us LOL !! So true, isn’t it ?? We just repositioned in Great Harbour (Peter Island) to be closer to a possible Wi-Fi signal, and let me tell you, ALL the gophers were out. I am happy to report that there were no bitch wings pointing our way 🙂

  9. WELL – How soon do we forget that we were at one time a novice at all things boating yet now we’re frowning experts? Just kidding, don’t take me seriously, I’m just an old faht.

    How about those darn Binoculars? There’s probably a multiple choice answer for those things depending on age, experience, looks, nosiness factor, voice level, beard growth, color of the beard, nosiness factor & nosiness factor.

    • Where did I say anything about charterers? Better go back and read it again. It’s the cruisers who are the ones who are guilty of what I’m describing, not charterers.

  10. My thoughts exactly Beachidler. You’d be surprised how many of the charterers are actually very experienced cruisers. Oh well, live and learn.

    • You had better read the post again too then, AJ. Nowhere did I mention charterers. To be frank, they are mostly oblivious and thus don’t react as I described.

      But, as for your comment about experienced charterers, I do know a few. I just don’t run into them very often.

  11. “Funny thing there was a bunch of guys on a charter cat”?

  12. Mike, I realized when I was in my mid twenties that there were many people out there better at what they do than I was. Humility is not a bad trait.

    • Thanks for the advice, AJ. I’ll take that under advisement.

      As for my comment about charterers…

      We are anchoring our HOME which contains every single thing we own in the world. They are anchoring their hotel room for a week which they likely picked up a few days ago. While we have everything at risk, they have their security deposit to lose. If you think that charterers anchor their vessels with the same care that live-aboard cruisers do, you are living in fantasy land. I call it like it is. This is not bragging. If anything, I am extremely upfront in my posts about that which I do not know. THIS, however, is something that I do know!

    • And my final point on this subject is that standing on the bow with your Bitch Wings out is humorous when ANYONE does it, regardless of their cruising experience. THAT was the point of the post.

      • My intent was not to ruffle feathers at all, or differentiate between FT cruisers & charterers.

        That’s why I added the just kidding comment but a smile tone or giggle tone is not always evident with typed words.

        Happy Anchoring! (You’re supposed to smile at that)

  13. DON’T DO IT…………..!

  14. And then if they move or apologize, I feel guilty. If the guilt is severe, I paddle over to their new location with a beer. Unless until they start a generator in my ear.

    One of your best posts.

  15. I understand what your saying Mike. We lived aboard for over 20 years so I understand your feelings when it comes to someone anchoring close to you. My only point was that there are some charterers out there that have more experiance than both of us combined and are probably pretty anal about their anchoring skills even on a charter boat.
    As a side note, you are definetly talented in the art of writing blogs. Not something I would want to do but I really enjoy reading yours.

  16. Mike, In the event that someone slices through your rode at the mid-point, are repairs possible or is a whole new line necessary? If you see the accidental culprit, are they liable for replacement/repair? thanks, jeff

  17. I admit it – I’ve been guilty of taking that stance. Thanks for posting it in such a funny light.

  18. I used the Bitch Wing pose this weekend while docked on my boat in Annapolis Harbor, in the area know as Ego Alley.

    If any of you are not familiar with Ego Alley, it’s a very narrow area of the harbor with boats docked along both sides. There is a turning basin at the end where you are supposed to turn around. If you are in Annapolis, it is customary to parade your boat down Ego Alley and turn around in the turning basin, then depart the harbor. Hence the name, Ego Alley. Some of these guys must be compensating for something based on the sick amount of money they spend on their boats…

    One individual, in an approximately 40 foot sailboat with a large wind vane rudder mounted on the transom and a very large anchor on the bow, decided that he wasn’t going all the way in to the turning basin. He decided to stop and make a 16-point turn right by where we were docked. There was a very large Hatteras on the other side of the harbor directly across from me. Remember I said that the sailboat was 40 feet? I would estimate the width of the space he was using to turn at 50-55 feet. The owner of the Hatteras and I were both standing on our side decks in full bitch wing poses, ready to fend off the idiot. (And give him a piece of our minds…)

    Fortunately for all involved, he managed to pull off the maneuver, but he sure created a lot of stress and a traffic jam to boot because there is a constant stream of boats passing through.

    All that being said, I still love to hang out in Annapolis. It’s a great place to be on a boat.

Comments are closed.