Anchor Down Euphoria!

Anticipation. The minute the anchor goes down, you back down hard and feel it set. If you’ve just dropped anchor in some new cruising locale, exciting adventures beckon… either ashore or in the water if you’re diving, snorkeling or spearing fish for dinner.

Anchored in Providencia

Anchored in Providencia, Colombia – a tiny island jewel off the coast of Nicaragua, go figure.

However … HOLD ON! Resist the urge to get the dinghy in the water and immediately jump in and zoom off.

We’ve seen too many boats go “walkabout”. One unfortunate incident the boat was just upwind of us during Tropical Storm (just downgraded from Hurricane) Mitch in the Abacos.  The owners immediately jumped in their dinghy to go to dinner, despite the sound advice of the harbormaster.  We tried to snag it with a boathook as it drifted directly past our boat, but no luck. The boat was rescued by BASRA just before hitting the rocks.

Anchorage at Isla Mujeres, Open to the Northwest During Northers, Not Great Holding

Anchorage at Isla Mujeres, Open to the Northwest During Northers, Not Great Holding

Another incident was during a norther in Isla Mujeres, notorious among cruisers as the anchorage for “drag races”.  This particular “drag race” featured a giant gorgeous Swan anchored two boats in front of us.  Luckily for the owners, the boat was rescued by friends in dinghies – David being one of them – and reanchored.  I’m sure when they returned from dinner well after dark there was some consternation about why their Swan wasn’t where they left it.

Why? Because their owners couldn’t take the time to make SURE the boat was secure.

Please settle in … take your time … take in your new surroundings. After our anchor is down and secure, usually we dive on it as one last check. We put our canvas back together – David doesn’t like sailing with the enclosure in place, he can’t see the sail. Then we zip up the MackPack to cover the mainsail, put covers on all the instruments (turn them off so we don’t waste amps) and get set up for life at anchor.  Then it’s time for leisurely relaxing lunch or cold drink and a snack.

Harbor at Sapzurro - look closely and you can see a tiny Winterlude anchored far below.

Harbor at Sapzurro, Colombia – look closely and you can see a tiny Winterlude anchored far below.

Finally, an hour or more later, we decide whether we’re comfortable leaving the boat. If so, often we’ll dinghy to a nearby beach or somewhere we can keep an eye on the boat while ashore at least the first evening.

There’s no hurry, plenty of time to enjoy our new “neighborhood” after making sure our floating home is secure.

Other opinions?  Other examples? Please leave a comment and share!  Cheers!  Jan


  1. It still amazes me how many folks (talking locally now) don’t bother to learn a thing about the boat they just bought and how to operate it – anchoring being a common issue. Another is tying off the halyards in an anchorage or mooring field, but don’t get me started! Lost track of how many boats I’ve boarded to stop the rig beating itself to death!

    • Clanging halyards is another issue. Anchored in Nargana/San Blas, the boat directly upwind apparently couldn’t hear his halyard banging on the mast. He didn’t speak English (or Spanish) well and despite us politely dinghying over to ask him to tie off the halyard, he apparently could sleep through it. Luckily he left the next morning – just before we were going to move to the other side of the anchorage! Cheers! J

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