So ever have one of those days .... you've been sailing all day and its time to set the hook (anchor) and catch a few winks before heading on to your destination, but it just wont catch?
heres a few tips on how to "set the hook"
1. Make sure your using the right anchor for the bottom , I mostly cruise in FL and AL coastal waters where you have either sandy bottom or muck bottom. now sand bottom is easy use any anchor really but a Danforth or a heavy plow with good solid chain will always stick and stay. theres also an anchor out there called a Manson Supreme .. Best anchor in the world for sandy / soft bottoms resets itself as soon as the wind switches no problem. for rocky / hard bottoms you will want a good spike or circle prong anchor , something that will snag and stick even with wind switches . Contact your local marina/coast guard station for a better idea of the bottom around your area.
2. Scope is EVERYTHING .. the more scope you have out the better the anchor can set and reset on wind switches . If you have a 50 lb anchor out with 30 ft of scope in 10 ft waters you will drag.
My bow pulpit is about 5 1/2 ft off the water taking that into account in 10 ft of water I will have at least 100 to 150 ft of scope out (100 ft of chain the rest is poly twist over nylon core line).
Keep in mind your swing circle as well when letting out scope , a 150 ft scope will be a 300 ft swing circle. also leave your self at least 50 ft of reset in case of wind switch.
3. Use your engine to set the hook . After you have your scope set and swing circle figured , back up on the anchor . put it in reverse and slowly increase power with the bow into the prevailing wind ( for power boaters please don't lay down the hammer your liable to break something ) this will set the anchor deep and hard in the direction you need it to hold.
4. Set your anchor alarm . You can download an app for your smart phone or use your onboard GPS to sound an alarm if you drift farther than the scope you have set out , this has saved me more times than I care to mention .
There is a bit of an art to pulling up a well set anchor but if your using a good Danforth or roll type like a Manson Supreme all you really have to do is nudge them forward, a plow is a bit different you want to nudge her forward and then pull to the side to break the plow sides free .
All and all just be safe use plenty of scope and if your not sure , find a dock !