Raising Anchor in Bad Weather

When waves are high and winds are powerful, raising your anchor to escape the conditions can be a real challenge. In a situation like this, a manual or an electric windlass will still struggle.

The force of the wind and waves is pushing you back with such fury that the chain will be bar tight! How will you get your anchor up in this? You can try to motor up to it, but any slack in the chain will cause the bow to fall off the wind and pull the chain tightly from an angle, making the entire endeavor futile.

The best solution is to negate the engine entirely and simply use the power of the waves in your favor.

When the bow raises up the face of a wave, the chain will go bar tight. As the boat crashes down the back of the wave, the chain will go slack for just a moment. This is when you bring the chain in.

It is a slow and tedious practice but it will bring in around a foot with each wave, which can be as often as every 4 seconds if the period is close.

When you reach the anchor, the waves will help break the anchor free from the bottom and allow you to reel it in as it skips over the bottom with too short of scope to reset. Now you are free to sail away and seek a safer harbor.