Notes from the 2015 Seattle Boat Show seminars

January 30, 2015


On Saturday of the Seattle Boat Show I attended several seminars (classes). Here are the raw notes I took.

Anchoring in NW Waters

Mike Huston
San Juan sailing and yachting

– be securely attached to the bottom and not hit anything
– Sleep well

The “best” anchor depends on bottom conditions

NW is mostly muddy bottom so any anchor will work

Proper anchors will be designed so that they dig into the bottom when pulled

4:1 provides 40% holding power
10:1 provides 90%

Adding chain to an anchor drastically improves the angle the anchor sees and helps it set

With wind all chain Rhodes will swing less than rope

Calculate scope
( Water depth +
Tide increase +
Height of anchor roller from deck )
x 4
= scope

Pacific Northwest is generally 4:1

Nw bottom
Usually protected
Tides -10 to 14

Primary anchors should be plow type
Secondary can be fortress, which is aluminum

Chain should be double the length of the boat minimum

Use nylon line as it absorbs shock

Nice to have a spool of additional line

Trip Line
Line goes around an eye at the top of and anchor and pulls it from the other side to free it from under rocks etc

Put trip line on a float and others can see where your anchor is

Handheld depth sounded are handy

Marking rode is handy for knowing how much line is out. Mark at 25 feet
– can use a really fine nylon line woven between links for chains

Choosing anchorage
– wind protection
– depth
– swing room
– bottom type
– surroundings

Before heading out
– read cruising guides about anchorages
– listen to weather
– look up tides ( current, min, max )
-get bottom charts

Anchoring procedure
– find a slot and circle it to determine bottom characteristics for rocks, etc
– calculate needed scope
– approach upwind or up current
– drop anchor and then backup while laying rode
– set anchor by gently applying a quick reverse thrust after letting the chain sink
– secure snubber to clear to take weight off windlass
– turn on anchor light

If rode is bouncing when taut anchor is dragging

Golf range finders can be great tools to distance other boats

Docking with twin engines

Always center the wheel!!

Autopilots have rudder indicators

Keep left hand on left gear, right hand on right gear

Practice in open water
– try shifting in all positions
– determine what idle speed is
– steer with only gears
– find pivot point. Usually 1/3 or 2/3 from bow
– anticipate wind and current

To fully turn in own length reverse gear should have more throttle than forward if turning with forward movement. Opposite if backward movement

– click location on map
– trustworthy to 48 hours

Put a wind indicator on top of the bow flag mount

Use current tables instead of time tables to determine water speed

Departure for side tie
– gears should be opposite of how you docked
– if tied starboard left forward, right reverse to suck stern out. Bow will swing over dock. Then both in reverse. Backup far enough that can clear boat in front


Use hardware with larger than 1/2 as 1/2 breaks easily

Parachute anchors are deployed off bow. Wind will try to push boat backwards
– slows to 0.5 to 1 knot per hours

Speed limiting drogues are deployed off stern to slow down the boat but not stop it. Tends to trim speed by 1/3

Stopping drogue is deployed from stern is used to stop boat

Drogue term is always used to indicate stern deployment

Parachute anchors are commonly used during storms or to rest during a cruise

Trip line is on the top of the cone of the parachute. Pull it to fold up chute. Line needs to be long enough that the chute is not run over while retrieving

Keep chute secure on deck well before bad weather hits

Before deploying use engine and go slightly off angle to the weather

Drop chute BEFORE the hardware so that it does not tangle and deflate

Deployment bag should not float. Use chain if needed to sink it

You never want slack rode after deployment. Need to maintain constant force on rode
– calm weather is 2x boat length
– gale force is 100+

If short rode make sure the chute is two wave lengths away and on the same height of wave

Adding chain to rope will also help the chute stay open and the rode not slack

Bridals can set the rode off wind by 45%. Snatch blocks are easy to attach to rode. Bridal should be attached to winch in cockpit. Wait till boat goes to windward to take load off winch and make it easy to winch in

VIDEO complete para anchor setup

Powerboats are 10 degree off wind
Sailboats are 45 degrees off wind

When retrieving the chute the boat should be stationary

Zippey would probably use a 12 foot chute

Drogues should be attached with a bridal from cleats on both sides. The bridal lines should be 20 feet or shorter depending on how your boat reacts

Slack bridal means there is too much line out

Fiorentino makes great anchors

Storm survival tactics

By John Neal

Understand boat design
– most boats are not built to cruise off shore
– need to be able to sail 160 – 20@ miles per day
Moderate underbody
Deep keel
Strong and simple rig
Strong steering
Ie the Valiant 40

Sail the boat often

Practice storm tactics while still home way before you leave

Gear needed to keep you onboard like a tether

Have a dedicated storm headsail and ideally a dedicated main as well

Radar should be used as salt will hang in the air during a blow and drastically reduce visibility

Best and safest idea to sail around a storm

BOOK World Cruising Routes
– Cornell’s Ocean Atlas
– Understanding Weatherfax

-Recording barometer. Allows you to track
-Furuno weather fax. Prints free weather charts
-SSB can be hooked to a computer to recieve charts
-Iridium satellite phones can keep you in great contact. Can download charts and send emails
– grib charts
– navtex
– wifi at marinas can be useful to dl charts

Get regional weather books and read them before cruising

To Mexico get MexWX book

Study weather patterns up to a year ahead to learn how it works
– amazing worldwide reports

Weather while underway
– by Chris Parker

Be flexible and realistic in departure times. Wait for storms to go past

Do not pick up crew from posted ads

If seasick get as much hydration as possible

Stow everything before casting off

Regularly plot your position and the storm track on paper

Before the storm
– Keep the boat sailing comfortable
– reef and reduce sail
– make sure things are ready to go before the storm hits
– charge batteries
– inspect rigging
– do regular deck checks before and during sail
– let crew know tactics beforehand to keep morale up before the storm even hits. When people know what is happening they tend to stay calmer
– catch up on sleep

Rogue waves happen once every 4-5 hours and will be many times larger than the rest. Be alert and turn into wave to take it on the now

10 storm tactics
– put up storm sails
– make sure mainsail is down so full maneuvering is available
– know where you are in relation to land
– run with the wind. Usually very dangerous. Requires manual steering all the time and keeping the boat perfectly aligned with waves. Generally avoid
– fore reaching is pretty safe. No headsail, deep reefed main, lock tiller straight
– heaving to without a chute is not a good idea
– can run with wind if it is safe and use a drogue to slow the boat and allow the storm to pass over