Anchoring in Heavy Weather

anchored boatAs you can see from this picture of the anchored boat on the right, anchoring can be exciting at times. The swell that was coming in to the anchorage at the time of the picture was between two and three feet. Anchoring in these conditions are not normal but you should be thinking about what you would do. The biggest problem is chaff. If you are using nylon line, the line will chaff through in a short time. You should check the line for chaff at least once per hour until you know how fast it is chaffing. The chaff points will be at the cleat, the hawse-hole, or anchor roller. If you are using chain, you should have at least one snubbing line and this will also chaff. If the wind is really blowing, it can snap the chain in the anchor windlass when the snubbing line breaks and do damage to your windlass. You may also want to think about how you attach the chain to the boat. If the wind is blowing 50 plus knots and there is a swell where you are, the snap of the chain (when the snubbing line chaffs through) may break loose the chain brake and let out the rest of your chain. After all the chain is spent out, the brake on the windlass may not work and you may not be able to raise the anchor. Have you attached the chain to the boat in a way that you can get it loose? If you can't the only way to leave the anchorage, in these conditions, is to cut the chain. Do you have anything that will cut it? Only you can answer this question but at least think about it. As I said before, these are not normal conditions and you may not ever encounter them; however, as you can see from the picture, some have had to deal with it.