Sunday, July 26, 2015

Stopping the Swing

I'm not sure what it is, but at anchor our boat tends to swing more than those around us. Sometimes, if the wind is shifty and you're sitting inside during a good swing you get the feeling like your back in the gravitron at the fair. You know, the ride that spins and you're pulled against the walls where you can flip upside down and quite literally climb the walls. Sounds like fun in a boat, right? Okay, it's not quite that bad, but you get the idea.
Remember this?
Sure, we discovered a couple times that I forgot to straighten the rudder before locking it in place, fixing that seemed to help a little but we were still swinging more than we liked. We decided to deploy our sea anchor off the back of the boat to help create some drag and hopefully decrease the swing. It worked pretty well and we now use it fairly regularly when we're anchored in a good breeze.

I'm still not sure if the amount of swing we have is normal, normal for our type of boat or if there is something else going on that is contributing to it (dinghy drag? tying the rode to the side cleat at the bow? imbalance in weight distribution?). It's really not that big of a deal, just more of an annoyance, but when we're swinging almost 180 degrees (which happened in Charlevoix), we get a little concerned about how well our anchor can handle the motion without having to re-set itself numerous times. 

Got any ideas, tips or tricks? Fill us in!


  1. Interesting. I want to hear what it is when you figure it out! Is your boat tall? (from the water to the deck?) Ours is pretty tall and we have a deep keel, so when there is wind AND current to deal with (in different directions), the wind creates a serious battle for the boat - like she doesn't know if she should swing bow into the wind or if she should flail around whatever the direction the current is flowing... I'm just curious if yours is a similar situation. Surely there is a solution for this.

  2. Reduce windage forward, increase windage aft. Often newer boats have high freeboard and nice fin keels, but those contribute to being pushed around by the wind more. You could try rigging a little riding sail off your backstay, triangular, with 2 corners on the stay and the forward corner tied to the top middle of your dodger or something like that.

  3. I saw a guy here using and anchor riding sail. He looks like he was having good luck with it. Here is a you tube. I've never tried it myself though.

  4. I hear very good things about the V-shaped anchor riding sails. I use a bridle leg to each hull so that keeps me pretty solidly into the wind.

  5. Have you tried rigging a riding sail (small sail at the back of the boom) or a stern anchor? We personally don't mind swinging if we have the room since it generally keeps the bow into the waves and the wind in front of the dodger. I also fully trust our anchor's ability to rotate and either stay set or reset in most conditions, which I assume should also be the case for your nicely sized Mantus.

  6. We used a lunch hook. I bought a well used 5-6lb Danforth anchor and some 1/4in chain. Wire brushed it and painted it white. Used 100ft of 3/8in rode we had on board. Had it hang off the stern rail for easy fast deployment. I would row it out (or sometimes just throw it out) and then pull it to set. It does not take very much to stop the swing. A lot of times, if the weather was settled and the site was well protected, we would just use it for the night. I cannot ever remember it dragging. You would be amazed how well it worked. Not that I would ever give up my 45lb CQR and 3/8 in chain. Ken

  7. Just recently discovered your blog via another blog I frequent. It's great to have a new adventure to follow. I sail on Lake Michigan as well.
    Boats will sail back and forth at anchor - unfortunately. You might try rigging a riding sail. I suppose using an all nylon rode could contribute since it would allow the boat to blow down then spring back up as the line recoils. Are you guys using chain, partial chain, or all nylon rode? If you're using partial chain and nylon, you might be interested in this: The kellet has worked well to increase our holding and minimize movement at anchor.
    All the best to you!