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It seems like ages since Rebecca and I were making our way south through the US but in spite of that, certain instances still remain very clear in our memories. One time in particular, we dropped our hook in Wrightsville Beach and watched our cruising companions on Knot Tide Down attempt to do the same on the other side of the bay. A boat’s owner apparently took exception to the spot that they chose, believing that they were too close to where his boat was lying. The French Captain of that vessel yelled over to our buddies “You’re too close. You’re not my friend. If you were my friend, it would be OK, but you’re not my friend.” We had a laugh about this especially because we think that Bill and Ana are excellent friends and that guy, by saying this, basically ruled out any chance that they would get acquainted. Oh well, it was his loss.

The reason why this story currently stands out in my mind is because we returned from Hashing on Saturday evening to find that our boat was really close to our friends’ boat, Free Spirit. I mean REALLY close! It wasn’t that way when we anchored, and with the winds blowing from the normal direction, it wouldn’t be. But with the wind out of the north, as it has been for the last day or so, we have swung into a straight line, our stern hovering just out of reach of our friends’ large bowsprit!

This morning’s sunrise in the calm Hog Island anchorage.

The thing is, if they weren’t our friends, I would have been extremely concerned. In fact, we likely would have moved. They are our friends though and know that we’re not newbies. In addition, the winds, although blowing from a strange direction, are light and will likely remain so as long as they stay north. We spoke to them and they said not to stress about it. To increase the comfort factor though, if the wind stays the same we’ll likely bring in a bit of our anchor rode and if they choose, they can let out a bit more chain.

So, perhaps the French guy who we laughed at back in the US wasn’t all that far off. This does, once again, prove though that it’s good to have friends!

A gift from our friend Donna.

8 Comments

  1. So true … we are more comfortable in the presence of friends than strangers. Beautiful sunset and quote, and how nice of Donna to give you such a thoughtful gift!

  2. I hate an unfriendly anchorage. Anchoring amongst other boats should be about building an impromtu community. Anyway, how did you end up so close to Free Spirit? We’re one of you short scoped? Or maybe you each don’t have an all-chain rode? Anyone ever use a kellet in the Caribbean to stop swinging? I think a post about your anchoring techniques in the islands would benefit many of us.

    • They likely just have less scope than we do. They are also on an all-chain rode and we are not although I don’t suspect that is the issue.

      As for a kellet, I have never deployed one, nor have I known of any of our friends who do (under normal circumstances). My understanding of kellets is that they are really used to adjust the scope angle, not to prevent swinging. How do you see that working exactly?

      With respect to anchoring, I have written such a post. Check it out:

      http://www.zerotocruising.com/the-anchor-drill/

  3. A new boat to an anchorage (and yes, that includes a returning boat) anchoring too close to an already anchored boat is poor form. Yeah, extenuating circumstances due to unusual wind, etc …. but there’s no getting past the issue.

    The question is …. how would you of reacted if the boat you were near wasn’t a friend.

    Many of your readers might not have cruising experience. They might not be aware that many cruisers have no insurance, that some out there have most of their worldly assets in their boat .

    One tends to get very protective where ones home/dream is threatened by a new comer with poor judgement. Not saying you necessarily exercised poor judgement in this case …. but this is a sensitive subject amoung cruisers.

    By the way, many of your non cruising readers might not appreciate that protected anchorages are a limited (& coveted) resource.

    • Hi Art

      Thanks for the comment!

      Your question was answered in the text of the post: we would have moved. Not likely at 9:00 PM when we returned to the boat to find that we were close, but definitely the next morning if the conditions had persisted.

      I have written about the subject of anchoring, and having people anchor too close, dozens of times. It is always from the other side of the equation though as given a choice, we do NOT anchor close to people. On the contrary, we appreciate our privacy and would rather be someplace where someone can’t easily look into our cockpit, etc. Although newcomers may not, I would bet that our regular readers have a pretty good feeling about our thoughts on anchoring etiquette.

  4. Greetings M&R. As Donna and I learned early on in our travels and as you and I have discussed on occasion, it is sometimes impossible to know where everyone else’s anchors (and rodes) lie in a low turnover, “long term” anchorage (as opposed to a “weekend warrior” shorter term anchorage) that may also include wide variation in depth and poor water visibility as is the case at Hog. The situation can be even more difficult when there is a mix of boats with either chain and rope rodes, causing some boats to swing more on their chain instead of on their anchor or vice versa in the case of rope rodes. Factor in cases of downslope backwinds and currents that can make all boats in a given anchorage point in a different direction, resulting in some boats with their anchors being actually astern with rodes underneath and it becomes easy to see that picking a safe swing radius when entering a popular, crowded anchorage such as Hog can be a “daunting task”. Those conditions are even more evident in the adjacent Mt. Hartman anchorage. Sometimes one’s only option is to determine the best guess as to where to drop anchor and monitor the swing when it comes (and with wind strong enough to “stretch out” the rodes in order to gain a definitive idea as to where one lies in relation to everyone else). In the trade wind zone, that wait could take a while. Point is, no matter how skilled a skipper is at anchoring, sometimes only time can tell. So it sounds as if you guys made a pretty good guess considering there was no collision involved and that you recognized when the time came that adjustments were in order. Unfortunately, some seem to never realize the proximity issue, no matter how close they come to other boats. 🙁
    That’s what fenders are for, right? :-0
    Good job.

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