Proper Anchor Alarm

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SailorJackson's picture
SailorJackson
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Posts: 152
Proper Anchor Alarm

I haven't had many problems with an anchor dragging, but it seems to me that the only times it has happened is when the wind either increases or changes direction. Those are probably about the only times it's going to happen.

What all the marine electronics provide is drag detection alarm based on GPS. Seems like the horse has already left the barn at that point. I'd love it if someone provided a drag detection alarm that was based on a logical combination of wind speed and direction. This could probably be a pretty simple NMEA based embedded microcontroller that picked up wind speed and magnetic direction off the network. If I go to sleep in a 5 knot wind I would really like to be woken up if the wind hits 20 knots at 3:00 AM. It would be a lot easier situation to deal with than waking up halfway to the beach, already tangled in a couple of neighbors rode lines Is it just me, or is there a market for such a device?

Greg Jackson
SV Jacqui Marie
2004 C36, MKII
tall rig, wing keel,

William Matley's picture
William Matley
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Posts: 167

This problem of a simple but effective anchor alarm has been "job one" for most of this winter off season for me.

I can't offer a "solution" yet but I have a plan and I am working with it right now.

Costco, had Lacrosse weather stations [url]http://www.lacrossetechnology.com/ws_pro.php[/url] on sale before Christmas for less than $80.00. I asked Santa, for one and have been monitoring it for a few weeks now.

The unit has a wind alarm that works just great. You set the wind speed you want to trigger the alarm and when the wind speed hits that limit, it sounds a loud alarm. The unit also has other alarms but wind it the one I want.

It is part battery and part solar charged, wireless, so it should keep watch when I need it.
Wind direction won't work when at anchor but I don't really care what direction I float around, I want to know when I should check the anchor for possible draging.

I am testing the unit and learning it's operational habits. I plan to install it this spring and rely on it to monitor the wind.

It has the added advantage of being able to interface with the Internet for remote weather monitoring. It have that all set up and will test it later this winter. It would be nice to monitor the weather at the boat, 280 miles away.

We see how it works out.

Bill Matley

Bill Matley
Duncan Bay Boat Club
Cheboygan, Michigan
Lakes Huron, Michigan,
Canadian North Channel
"Spirit of Aloha" Hull #1252

baysailor2000's picture
baysailor2000
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Posts: 218

My GPS Garmin 76CS has anchor alarm. All you do is when you get set and have completed anchoring - then you turn on the alarm and specify that if the boat moves more than some number of feet then let me know. I set the number of feet to 100. If it swing this distance it will start beeping until you press enter. I also turn on the tracking so it records the positions that it has moved. Usually it swings about 80 degrees left and right - similar to a pendulum. I would think this is sufficient alarm.

Haro Bayandorian, 1999 C36 MKII, Sail La Vie #1787, M35B,
Coyote Point, San Mateo, CA.

Rockman's picture
Rockman
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Posts: 237

My iPad and iPhone have anchor alarm Apps installed.

In addition my chart plotter and handheld GPS also have anchor alarms.
They have never gone off, I make sure SWMBO sets the anchor properly.

Cheers from sunny Australia (got to 46C / 115F yesterday)

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

Cat375 - Rock The Boat - Hull 54
Lake Macquarie - NSW - Australia

deising's picture
deising
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Posts: 1351

I don't always do it, but if you set the anchor alarm "zero spot" when you drop the anchor, BEFORE you reverse to pay out rode, it should work better.

If you swing without dragging (even through 180 degrees), you are still pretty close to the same distance from the anchor as you were, therefore no differential in distance.

Duane Ising - Past Commodore (2011-2012)
s/v Diva Di
1999 Catalina 36 Hull #1777
Std rig; wing keel, M35B, Delta (45#)
Punta Gorda, FL
http://www.sailblogs.com/member/diva-di/

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GaryB
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Posts: 575

I have found the anchor watch on my Garmin to be effective. As stated set the range somewhere near the rhode you put out and this establishes a radius. Even with a good increase with wind I have felt comfortable enough to sleep rather well. Of course before the GPS or Loran you used to pick some sort of landmark to visually determine if you are staying put, and again I still do and so far so good.

Gary Bain
S/V "Gone With The Wind"
Catalina 36', Hull #: 1056, Year: 1990, Engine: M-35
Standard Rig
Moored: Boothbay Harbor, Maine
Home: Auburn, Maine

LCBrandt's picture
LCBrandt
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Posts: 1282

Silly me. I don't set an anchor alarm at all.

However, I do set an alarm clock. And twice a night at minimum I wake up for an anchor check. Usually it means I get out of bed, go into the cockpit and have a look around. And rarely, it means I just pop my head out of the V-berth hatch for a quick glance and then go right back to sleep. I can tell you honestly that I have never slept an entire night through while on the hook. Ask my wife.

If there's a potential hazard I get serious about it. A frontal passage, perhaps, or worrying about other boats dragging down on us because of the sudden winds.

But...in almost every anchor watch I do, I get rewarded in some fresh, unexpected way. The awesome grandeur of the stars. The night aromas. Sounds of wildlife. The briskness of a cold breeze on bare skin, knowing that in a minute I'll be back snug and warm in bed.

Larry Brandt
S/V High Flight #2109
Pacific Northwest, PDX-based
2002 C-36 mkII SR/FK M35B
 

plaineolde's picture
plaineolde
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Posts: 753

I don't know how or why, but I wake up any time the wind changes direction or speed. I don't know how it's possible, but I do. I must have some sort of weird compass built into my skull (or as my wife suggests, a metal plate:p). But I'd still really like to have an anchor alarm that lets me know if I've dragged for some reason. Several years ago I wound up just feet from another boat after my dingy painter snagged the float on my anchor, pulling it from the bottom. Wasn't really any wind, but the boat must have moved around with the tide just enough. Embarrassing, especially since I was awake and reading in the forward berth:o.

I could set the alarm on my GPS but I'd never hear it from the helm, especially if it's chilly enough to have the boat closed up. I don't have an iPad/Phone but that sounds like a good idea. I suppose I could set an alarm using a navigation program on my laptop, but that uses up a lot of battery power overnight. Maybe another good reason to get an iPad.

Gary and Cathy Price
1997 C36 Mk II Tall Rig/Wing Keel Imagine...
Hull # 1617
Worton Creek, Md.
Northern Chesapeake Bay

BudStreet
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Posts: 1127

We set an anchor alarm on the chart plotter at the helm and we have a smaller backup chartplotter mounted in the aft cabin that we also set the anchor alarm on. Since we got the Manson every alarm has been false caused by swinging.

But here's an interesting thing. We recently got a Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablet with 4G SIM data mostly to use on the boat. Then while at the boat show we found that Jeppesen has an Android Nav/GPS app. So I downloaded and installed it, free, and it was pretty good so decided to get the Great Lakes chart. Which brings up 2 points.

1./The anchor alarm on it goes down to 10 feet. Seriously? Even if the bum of the boat just swung a little bit it would go off. But nice try.

2./The chart for the Great Lakes and Eastern Canada was $37 Cdn. We paid $220 for that same chart for the chartplotter. What is with that? The data is the same, the price is quite different. Seems a good reason to not buy a chartplotter. Now who makes a weatherproof tablet?

The idea in the original post is a good but there would have to be some way of inputting how good your anchor is, how good the bottom is, how many weeds, etc. Lots of variables in anchoring!

stu jackson c34's picture
stu jackson c34
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Posts: 1270

I'll start off by admitting that I am odd. I anchor in two of the same places on an almost weekly basis.

Both are protected "basins" that have little change in wind and/or current.

The wind is usually from the west or northwest when I anchor, and in the morning I wake up with the boat facing east with little or no wind.

Sometimes I'll anchor in a different place where the current changes and have reported on those techniques, in reply to John R's comments, in the Sailing or Cruising Discussion forum. [url]http://www.c36ia.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1285[/url]

I have also anchored in tidal rivers with reversing currents, fore and aft.

Perhaps because of the predictable winds, or lack thereof, and no storm fronts moving through, I never hesitate to go below after the anchor is set (by backing down on it) and have a quiet peaceful night with no interruptions.

Only twice in the last 14 years have I ever even thought about setting an anchor alarm, and that only to see what would be recorded on the GPS track feature.

Perhaps I have the advantage of having good anchorages that I frequent, but I simply have no need to use an anchor alarm, or get up in the middle of the night.

I am sure that if I was in a different part of the country, I would use one. I find that good anchoring gear and knowledge of the paces I anchor in makes a BIG difference.

Stu Jackson, C34IA Secretary, C34 #224, 1986, SR/FK, M25 engine, Rocna 10 (22#)

BudStreet
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Posts: 1127

Wow Stu, I wish we had the kind of predictability in our weather, but up here we can go to bed on a calm clear night and be up two hours later with a wild thunderstorm or a big wind shift. There's no 360 degree anchorages, so you play the odds and hope the weather forecast is right, which of course it often is not. When the wind changes, it usually ends up coming from the no protection side which most often is northeast. It's a crap shoot and good ground tackle is a must.

Right now, at 4 am, we are having 90 km/h winds driving a blizzard of snow, huge snowflakes, I can't even see the trees from the house with our outside spotlights on. It is all just white and on top of that we are getting lightning strikes all around us, the thunder loud enough to wake me up. This is January, that's not supposed to happen. Wild weather in the great lakes happens all year round!

plaineolde's picture
plaineolde
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Posts: 753

I have a 360 degree anchorage 100 yards from my slip, and 2 others within an hour or 2. I've had someone drag down on me in 2 of them. You haven't lived until you have a famed Chesapeake squall blow through in the middle of the night with 60 knot winds and a 180 wind shift. I watched a 30+ foot powerboat bounce through the field of anchored boats like a pinball, while it's owners drank at the Tiki bar on the beach (missed me fortunately).

Now that I'm retired, I avoid the weekends so the threat of a drag down it much less, but I'd like the extra insurance of being alerted if I'm dragging, especially at night when it can be hard to get a bearing to make sure.

Gary and Cathy Price
1997 C36 Mk II Tall Rig/Wing Keel Imagine...
Hull # 1617
Worton Creek, Md.
Northern Chesapeake Bay

stu jackson c34's picture
stu jackson c34
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That's why I included my past paragraph. I DO understand that things are vastly different elsewhere.

Stu Jackson, C34IA Secretary, C34 #224, 1986, SR/FK, M25 engine, Rocna 10 (22#)

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