Hmmm…how to explain the anchoring game in my own words. Basically, I’m not sure if this game is actually played on other boats, but I think some version of it is…no matter what others may admit to. See, it’s a long standing tradition of most cruisers to a “sundowner” between 420 and 7pm, because the sun goes down sometime during those hours and a drink to watch the sunset is appreciated by some. Another tradition for some is to watch folks on boats come into anchorages and put the hook down (anchor)….to see if you can learn anything from them (of course…right?).
The anchoring game, as was explained to us is quite simple. The anchoring game starts with beverage in hand and a boat coming into anchor, which you quietly watch to see how they anchor based on these four criteria (or you can make up your own):
- Distance from your boat: This one’s easy. Did they put enough swing room between you, themselves and others?
- Anchor: Does the boat in question have an appropriately sized anchor (in your humble opinion) for their boat and the prevailing conditions? I might sound a bit condescending by writing this…since anchor size is based on the opinion of the Captain…and NOT you or I. But you would be very, very surprised at the very large boats out here with very small anchors and not much chain rode; to the point that you may want to know about the anchor size and rode of the large yacht upwind of you during a good blow. Have they thrown an appropriately sized anchor over the side with a chain rode or have they thrown a dinghy anchor over with 14 feet of chain and 100 feet of rope? (Yep, this happens).
- Set the hook: There’s about a hundred different ways to anchor and 100 different sailors to tell you the best way. I don’t care, as long as you set the hook. Again, this is part of the game and easy to spot. Back it down…baby! Did the boat come into harbor, find a great spot, drop it like it’s hot and then somehow set their own hook? The HelmMistress backs Tulum down really well, helping us to try to get a good set on the hook every time.
- Drink it up: This one’s easy to spot too: Are the owners of the boat loading a dinghy and onshore before you’ve toasted their anchoring success or do they hang out for a bit, watching for swinging and making sure the hook’s set?
So if you’re in an anchorage sometime with sundowner in hand….please play the anchoring game when Tulum comes in to anchor. You might need another anchoring drink when we come to anchor, as we’ve been known to anchor and re-anchor several times, based on our opinion of whether we’re too close to another boat or not, or if we need more space for a better view of the sunset. We also have an eclectic crew and Great Dane on board who has a nice soft subtle bark….so we often make sure we’re far enough away not to bug other people when she starts barking at pangas or dinghies.
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*Please note that when I mention drinks and cocktails they strictly DO NOT have to be alcoholic!