These are our six steps to effective and efficient anchoring, learned through practical experience over the 12 years we have been anchoring in all kinds of conditions from Turkey to Thailand. This guide is aimed at beginners and those wishing to gain confidence in anchoring.
A new word for an age-old problem: people who anchor right next to you in a bay three miles wide. No excuse for it, it comes down to lack of etiquette and politeness.
Pserimos is a little island in between Kos and Kalimnos and is clearly a weekend hangout for the young Greeks from the neighbouring islands. The tiny bay in which I anchored was littered with RIBS, jet skis, speedboats and day-trippers. We enjoyed a sundowner at Sunset cafe, where the waiter graciously reduced our beers from €3 to €2.50, stating “I don’t want my restaurant to get a reputation as being expensive”. Even so, €2.50 for a large beer? Clearly I was going to have to do some adjusting, now that I am back in Europe.
We continued down the coast and past our ultimate destination of Monastery Bay and on towards a lunchtime anchorage we’ve named Crowded Bay. Should have named it ‘Twats In Motorboats’ Bay. Basically it was carnage, with everyone dropping their anchor wherever they wanted. Extra points were awarded for laying one’s chain over another.
After about ¾ mile we broke out and started some serious stuff with 3 sails out, proving that with a ketch rig you don’t need the mainsail if you want to cruise comfortably. Before long, however the Skipper decided it was time to turn right round a full 180 degrees and head due west towards Turunc, which is where we would be mooring up for the night.
Jamie put out a call and within minutes we had a response from fellow yachties (several actually), but the first proved to be the nearest and also have all the right equipment. We gulped a cup of coffee and waited patiently for “International Rescue”. More exchanges on the VHF followed and after about an hour a rib driven by a salty sea dog came hurtling towards us with two divers all togged up with tanks, flippers and wet suits to sort us out.
Despite being quite close in, we were suddenly surrounded by local boats (including those mini-gulets) passing us on both sides, jam-packed with tourists. This eventually quietened down and gave us time to relax a bit except when the ice cream man came motoring by with calls of “Isa creama, chocka lolly” which we ignored! After a swim & snorkel Mike turned on the hot shower on deck and managed to spray everything on board within range as he was facing the wrong way-got ticked off by the Skipper AND First Mate.
We completed a few tacks and successfully overtook another yacht attempting the same thing (10 points) but, after three or more hours we decided to whack the engine on and just get round that damn corner! Shame, as we were having a lot of fun tacking, something that Liz and I have got licked pretty well now (bear in mind we tack with up to four sails out).
The MC incited the crowd into hysteria as the local youths prepared to exhibit their skill and bravery in front of friends and family. The object of the exercise was to get to the Turkish flag at the end of the pole first and proudly claim it as one’s own. Sounds simple, but when you’re wet, knackered and full of bravado whilst trying to run up a greased up pole it’s probably a bit daunting.
We motored half a mile back up the coast to Ciftlik, an anchorage that suffers from severe gusts off the mountains and whose beauty is spoiled somewhat by the monstrous holiday resort. That said it’s a great anchorage in terms of holding on the pick and actually, despite the holiday resort it’s still a pretty bay.
On the very first tack I had Benn sheeting the jib and after getting the sheet round the winch something went ‘crack’, flew down the deck and had Benn mincing around the cockpit looking very pale. Turns out the traveller for the jib sheet had just sheared off and this lump of metal hit him square in the shin, creating a very deep cut that wouldn’t stop bleeding
ventually we set sail and made the most of the strong winds blowing from behind and set some more records on Esper, this time over 7 knots with just a reefed jib and no other sail. Still, with true wind speeds of up to 30 knots this is hardly surprising! Unfortunately the winds meant that we struggled to anchor in two locations, Gerbekse and Ciftlik, so we continued on round the corner towards Marmaris and found a great little spot called Kadirga Limani.
We anchored in the lee of the hill and tied to a rock, cracked open a beer and had a snack. All very innocent and quite pleasant. Notice how I make all that sound easy? This was Liz’s first line ashore and she executed this task perfectly. For those not aware, in Turkey it is quite common to take a line ashore and tie to a rock or tree to stop the boat swinging around on its anchor.
Right now we are anchored in over 20 knots of wind and Esper is yawing about the bay and I really don’t know what the next entry will be – we’ll either have successfully hooned it down towards the Greek island of Simi, or we’ll report back on how we had to get Esper dragged off the reef, which is about 20m from us as I type!
The other option was Mersincik, but this was a further few miles round the corner and two things bothered me: if the winds stayed as they were and the sheltered anchorage was occupied, we’d have to anchor in open water, and if that was too dangerous then we would have to return to Knidos at night, and we were all feeling a little tired.
Time for Ethan to get wet! Considering this was the first time Ethan and Chris had executed a manoeuvre like this they did really, really well. The great thing about these two was that they didn’t arse about. They listened and did as they were told until the boat was safe and secure. Proof that the best crew are not always the most qualified. In fact we executed our anchorage so well that another guy in a French-flagged boat who was having problems anchoring decided to copy us!
This time when we arrived at Gümüslük we again anchored twice, but not because the anchor dragged but because someone left and we took advantage of a better position. Hoorah! Jamie’s fears of anchoring and drifting seemed to have disappeared (although mine hadn’t).
I looked out from the cabin and watched as an enormous gullet in the next small bay seemed to be going backwards and forwards and round and round in circles. Later on Jamie identified the boat as belonging to Stuart, a friend of ours from Bodrum.
I mean black because it was pitch black when we began sailing: at 3am, after a restless and fitful sleep worrying about the anchor, Jamie’s worst nightmare came true as he realized we were drifting towards the rocks…
Today was an excellent sail to Mersincik, leaving Chris at the helm whilst I learnt a little more about sail trim (boat gets pulled into the wind = too much sail aft of the boat, which normally means letting out the main sail).
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