Lets explore what it takes.
I think anchoring is one of the great things about boating. Our season is short, about 100 days when the weather is good boating weather.
Our season on the hook starts as soon as the weather breaks and we launch. Hopefully the first week of June but often extends to the second week.
We leave immediately for the North Channel of Lake Huron, almost all in Canadian waters.
Our range is about 175 to 200 miles from the marina. Weather in the area turns windy in Sept. so we have to be a bit careful on the 60 or so miles of open water when we return.
So how do we equip our boat for this extended stay away from docks? We do not dock the entire season. We do go towns for the necessary things like pumpouts but we need no fuel except for the tender.
The primary thing is the electrical system.
We have 4 gulf cart batteries for the house system. We found that to be enough with ample safety.
A good system to monitor the battery condition is important and we use the Xantrex link system. It measures amp hours in and amp hour out so we know at a glance our true battery condition. We have 420 amp hours of battery capacity.
Batteries should not be discharged much more than 50% and it takes a long time with the generator to fully charge them so I quit charging when they are about 90% when the charger cuts back.
Our charger charges 100 amps but it will cut back to avoid overcharging and over heating the battery. It measures the temp. of the batteries and won't allow them to overheat and boil.
You need means of charging that will utilize the larger charger so you don't have to run the genny a lot.
We average about 2 hours a day genny time. We do it when making coffee unless we have another boat close by we would annoy with the generator. Also when we heat water.
I have a 2400W Yamaha generator for backup. Without a genny. our season would be ruined. It is quite like a Honda and sips fuel. We do use it a bit but mostly the diesel generator. It is 8000W
We spend our time where there is little or no cell phone service and no internet. We do have satellite tv with a 32 inch tv. That is our biggest electrical draw. Even more than the full size refrigerator but you gotta keep momma happy. If she isn't happy, nobody is happy.
We carry enough fuel to last the season. We travel at hull speed or a bit slower with our 3870 and usually on one engine. We get better than 4 mpg doing this. We average about 450 miles a season and likely burn about as much with the genny as the main engines.
Fuel in the area is usually over $6.00/american gallon so that is nice.
We are able to get our drinking water from the lake. Have been doing this since 1963 and never a problem. Of course we select the areas we fill our tank. We have just bought a filter we now use and can use water from anywhere. This is the filter we use. www.bigberkeywaterfilters.com/berkey-fil...c-1/big-berkey-p-182
You can make drinking water out of ditch water with these. You simply scrub the filters to clean them. You get 1000's of gallons with 4 filters depending on what is in the water.
As we boat in fresh water I have modified the water system to utilize lake water.
The only faucets that use tank water is the galley cold water and the small bath. I like to brush my teeth in tank water.
The shower, all the hot water, comes from the lake. So you can take a long hot shower without draining the on board tank. This won't work in salt however.
Its a good idea to modify the black water holding tank for more capacity. In our case there is only 2 places to get a pumpout and we can be 25 or more miles from them so that has to be monitored carefully.
We do take a lot of food with us. The stores are really limited to one town and the selection isn't very good in the small towns we visit. Our spare stateroom becomes a storage room.
It is OK to rough it a bit for short stays on the hook but for extended stays you will want a bit more comfort. We vacuum seal and freeze our meat. That works out really well. We also vacuum seal fish so we always have some when the fishing is slow.
We tow a 16.5 Sea Nymph aluminum boat with a 90 hp Evinrude Etec and a 2.5 Suzuki trolling motor. We fish a lot and it is a large part of our food supplies. It is our go fast and we often venture 20 or more miles from the Bayliner.
I also carry a good tool selection and a lot of spare parts. We boat in an area it would be difficult to get much but the very basic parts in a timely manner.
In a nutshell that is how we live for 3 plus months.
We also take a lot of books as we both are avid readers and with no internet for me I really catch up on my readng.
I should also mention we have a cat and dog aboard. Over the years we have had several different cats and all proved to be great sailors. They are no problem. Our dog also is a great sailor and loves to go in the tender. Just mention go fishing and he is in the boat. He does require 3 trips ashore but that is no problem. The Sea Nymph is aluminum and can stand groundings with no damage. The dog doesn't require me to leave the boat and will return immediately upon call.
Having spent more than 5 years of my life on the hook I thought I would start a discussion on anchoring and share some thoughts. It is over 5 years now. Retired 27 years and spend about 3 months a year for most of these years on the hook.
It is to be taken as A way not THE way and are just for the most part, my views.
Sometimes supported by fact.
I have no experience with anchoring in tides and won't offer much here except to figure your scope at high tide, not low.
Anchoring is a way of life for us. We spend the summer on the boat but seldom/never spend a night at a dock.
Last year a couple nights, this year, none.
A proper size anchor of the correct type for your area and enough rode with at least some chain.
A. Fluke / Danforth /Fortress
B. CQR / Plow / Delta
There are many types and I have tried several.
My choice is a Bruce or Bruce type.
There are many good anchors but where I anchor, failure isn't an option. You would be vary lucky not to end up on some rocks.
Others have as high an opinion of their favorite anchor as I do a Bruce but I will offer some opinions here.
Danforth. Good anchor that once set will simply hold your boat. IF the wind doesn't shift and reverse itself.
A Danforth will pull and reset. There is the problem. Any weeds or anything in the end of the anchor and they simply won't reset.
Fortress has the same problem with an added problem. I could never get them to set properly. They are light weight and skid across the bottom to often. My friend had a huge one. He doesn't use his lower helm and had it strapped to the wheel. It went from the floor to the top of his wheel. He had not used it but when he did it wouldn't hold his 35' boat.
A lot of people use them but I have had them fail way to many times for me to ever use them again.
I know many will say they are great but I am speaking from experience here on these anchors.
In the 5 years I have been using a Bruce, both in Michigan and Florida, I have never had one slip.
I had one hook on a sunken log and after 3 days I was drifting. Lifted the huge log with the anchor. Had a hell of a time getting the log off the anchor. I really don't think of that as an anchor failure.
Again, day in, day out, the Bruce is the only one that has not failed. All the others did several times.
A Bruce stays put. It does not pull and reset. That is per Chapmans. I believe that is why they hold so well.
An update here. It has now been 10 years without a failure.
I like all chain and that is what I have on both boats.
The main reason is it works better with a windless
A combination of chain and rope works well also. You want a section of chain to prevent chafing on the bottom.
Have and use enough rode.
5 feet of chain for every foot of water and the distance from the top of your deck to the water must also be part of the depth.
7 feet of rope for every foot of water.
You don't want it to slip, don't cheat here. Call it insurance or anything you want but if you want to be sure, at least that much rode.
You can never be sure but you should sleep at night using these figures.
When possible I exceed them.
I always anchor for the worst of conditions. Sooner or later, usually in the middle of the night you will only be up watching for a problem, not trying to correct for one.
Mark your rode in some way. Paint for example so you know how much you have out.
I have found electrical tie wraps work well and last a long time even through a windless.
I try to go one size larger than the charts say is enough for my boat.
Chapman says these are storm anchors.
Well I don't want to be trying to set one in a storm.
Again I anchor for the worst of conditions. We often stay for days at a time and things are bound to change.
I want to be prepared.
You can't do much about that except stay away from problem bottoms.
That may be good advise in other aspects of life also.
Thru that in before some other wag does.
In fresh water, weeds are a problem. If you anchor in at least 12 feet of water, weeds should not be a problem.
Weeds are, from what I observe, the #1 cause of anchor failure. They are also difficult to remove from an anchor.
You would do well to stay away from them if you use a Danforth.
Clay is usually pretty good but I had an interesting thing happen this summer in clay. Lifting the anchor brought up a very large section of clay with everything on the top of it like clam shells and some small weeds.
Kinda like a large chunk of broken cement.
The entire layer came. Of course it was when we pulled straight up on the anchor.
The anchor went right through the layer of clay.
Short scope here may have caused a problem.
Deploying your anchor
What I do.
I select exactly where I want my anchor to be.
We lower it over the side with the engines in neutral.
I know how much rode I want out and deploy it all.
I do not back into the rode. I let the wind carry me.
I let the anchor gently work its way in.
I NEVER hurry this process by backing up.
I watch people back up just as soon as the anchor hits the water, let our rode as they do. When the anchor finally grabs, they quit. Not a clue how much rode is out and they let the anchor choose the spot.
Of course by this time they are to close to another boat and have to do it all over again.
Unless there is a strong wind I never back into the rode.
If I do it is at least 10 or 15 minutes after the anchor has had time to set itself.
If you back into to soon you will often just plow the bottom and pull the anchor loose.
Always keep a watch from time to time the first hour or so after anchoring to be certain you are not slipping.
Finally, turn on your drift alarm on your chart plotter.
It will warn you if you are drifting. Something I always do. I keep the circle tight and sometimes in a reversal it sounds an alarm as I go outside the circle a bit. That's OK. I would rather get up and look. Also you know immediately if your anchor didn't set.
Do not use a windless to secure your rode. You can damage your windless.
Tie off to a deck fitting.
If using chain, make a bridle from rope to secure to deck fittings. It takes the strain off the windless and the line will have some stretch ability.
Also remember you can swing a long ways with 100 feet of rode out.
Always be sure you will not conflict with a neighbor.
You have no right to anchor different than someone all ready in the area. Like tie to shore when he is swinging at anchor.
This is just some basics and will likely lead to other questions and ideas.
Anchoring out is one of the better things about boating.
Doing it properly and safely makes it more enjoyable.
It should be a fun experience and not one of worry and stress.
Last year we were in a freak, sudden storm that had winds from 90 to 120 Knots depending who was measuring and where you were.
Our Bruce didn't move a bit.
Many docks broke loose, boats were damaged but we were safe and sound on the hook.
There is another aspect of anchoring out. That is preparing your boat with the proper equipment to do so.
That is a topic for another thread.