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Anchoring: Every bay is different…


Anchoring has many advantages: You don't have to be careful not to get too close to other boats, you don't have to be careful not to touch other boats in a narrow box, exact going Backware (with a long keel!) is not necessary either. Also you don't need help from land to take the ropes…..narrow harbours, noisy towns/villages…….
When anchoring in a bay you find a nice place and then drop the anchor - no. It is not quite that simple. The weather should be as calm as possible, not too much wind, as stable as possible from one direction - but you have the least influence on that.
The place has to be chosen so that you don't get too close to other boats. You have to take into account the radius in which the boat will swing, i.e. swing back and forth at the anchor. Which of course also depends on the wind direction. Will the wind calm down at night? Or will it change direction?
The depth of the water is important for the anchor to hold well. There are different philosophies here: some say you have to chain (= let out) seven times the water depth, others say three and a half times.
In good weather you can still see five metres to the bottom without any problems. What is the anchorage ground? Sand? Silt? Grass? Stones/ Rocks? Will the anchor hold? Will it wedge between stones on the ground?
How should you bury the anchor to make it stable? How hard should you pull the anchor so that it pushes into the ground? When the anchor is down, it is said: wait and see - landmarks, houses, trees, towers……always check whether the boat is in the same proportion or whether it is shifting.
Swell can be unpleasant, especially at night when the boat rocks up and down violently and pulls on the anchor. Then you sleep badly.
We have had different experiences, it depends on the shape, size and location (open or rather closed) of the bay. Seven wind forces are easy to cope with - if the anchor holds.
In a very narrow bay, a small fishing boat with a fisherman sleeping on it bumped into our boat at two o'clock in the night - we were probably just as frightened as the fisherman who then tried to get away.
One should not sleep as soundly at anchor at night as in the harbour. In Portocheli the boat behind us had suddenly come damn close, so our anchor had slipped. And so far that a little bit of pulling in the chain would not have been enough. So we started the engine, raised the anchor and looked for a new place - at four in the night. But then the anchor was sitting and kept us well in our place for the next two days and nights in strong winds.
We always sleep (in good weather) outside in the cockpit when anchoring. And this is where one of the fascinating experiences of anchoring comes into play: no disturbing light far and wide, an unbelievable number of stars - and sometimes even shooting stars, you don't find anything like that in any harbour.

Porto Kagio
Russian Bay (Insel Poros)

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