Strange that most people don’t consider the anchoring system before buying a boat. You will spend ten times as much time at anchor as you do in the Ocean. You will worry more about anchoring than sailing.  I have been hurricane anchored for four near misses, and never worried about the boat. I had to evacuate and go inland, so couldn’t watch the boat. Every time I returned, I found my boat safe and dry, while others were sunk, or blown onto the land. If you have watched the horrors of the aftermath of storms in the pond at St. Martin, in Grenada BWI, and Charleston after Hugo, you are bound to be fearful for your own boat.

There is a way to protect your boat. If you can’t haul out the boat:

You should anchor off the stern. This means you need to select a boat with place for anchor equipment, winch and davits off the stern.

For my introductory PDF on stern anchoring click here  SternAnchoring.pdf.

The boat needs a stern counter at least two feet fore and aft, behind the wheel or tiller. The stern needs to be round or have a reverse transom, not flat.


The benefit of stern anchoring is that the wear and tear on the anchor system is much lower, the pull on the anchor less, and the boat sits quietly at anchor, even in a storm.

Here the leftmost winch is used to take the strain of the anchor rode - similarly on the port side of the boat. This provides a very strong attachment point. When sailing these winches are used for the spinnaker. The center winch is now the only genoa winch on the boat. It can be operated from the weather side, and so the crew keeps dry.

I remember coming back to the boat after hurricane Floyd. My boat was at anchor on a sand bar that had 15 feet of water over it at low tide, and quite a way from the marina. As I entered the marina complex I could see boats sunk at the dock. Some boats were aground mast tilted over. I dinghy’d out to my boat and found it was dry and nothing damaged. The cup of tea on the countertop by the sink was still half full of tea, as I had left it. Obviously the boat had been stable.

In Grenada I left it at anchor from the stern for three months while I went home. It was perfect when I got back.