The Pacific Wave is a beautiful luxury sailing yacht that offers great value Caribbean sailing charters. The Pacific Wave rests calmly at anchor every night. We have dinner under the stars, a fresh cooling breeze flowing through the boat, and we are always close to a great snorkel spot for an early morning swim before breakfast. Anchoring, however, is an art and how we do it is one of the most frequently asked questions onboard Pacific Wave. We are at anchor over three hundred nights a year, now into our ninth year in the BVI, and have picked up a few tips we’d be happy to share.
Know your bottom.
The sea bed isn’t the same everywhere. Some bays have excellent holding in silt, some good in soft sand, some poor on slippery fine coral rock. Some bays have obstructions, often shown on navigation charts but sometimes not. Hidden rocks or wrecks to snag, power cables to drag, un-marked hurricane moorings, we are familiar with them all. Needless to say the best place to drop the hook is often in the deeper water. In the BVI this can be surprisingly close to shore. For us deeper water means over 60 feet which means it is important to…
Know your tackle.
Pacific Wave is a heavy boat. We are inspected every year to verify that we have the correct size of chain and weight of anchor to ensure trouble-free anchoring. For those interested in the detail we have over 400 feet of 1/2 inch high test chain attached to a 110 lb CQR anchor. People wonder how a 100 lb anchor can hold a 100,000 lb boat. The answer is it doesn’t. The boat isn’t held by the weight of the anchor but by the friction of the chain on the seabed. Think of it as if the anchor holds the chain, and the chain holds the boat. Crucial to this, of course, is putting out the right length of chain.
Know that it is long enough.
The rule of thumb is to put out a minimum of 4 times the depth. In 60 feet of water, we would put out nearly 250 feet of chain. To enable us to do this we communicate from the front to the back of the boat by radio to know the depth under the keel at our anchor spot. The chain is marked every 30 feet with colour coded markers so we know when the correct amount is in the water.
When the boat has settled we attach a snubbing line which transfers the pulling load on the chain from the anchor windlass directly to a strong cleat on the deck. We hoist an anchoring day shape, a black ball, and a white night light to tell others that we are at anchor. Finally, we set an alarm on the GPS to tell us if we are moving.
After all that you can rest easy with a sundowner knowing that the crew are responsible and experienced at anchoring. Taking care of you is their number one priority.