View Full Version : Make it sop!!! Houseboat wanders at anchor like a drunken sailor

09-02-2012, 06:25 AM
Ok all..

After months or repair and refit we've taken our new Gibson 50' out for the weekend. We decided to go the 40 miles north up to Peck Lake up by the St. Lucie inlet. This is a great spot on the ICW, well protected and we can hear the ocean over the dunes.. Only a half dozen or so boats here... It is a quiet dawn, I am watching a pod of 3-4 dolphins a few football fields away patrol the area... AWESOME

Now here is my problem...

This is the first time we've anchored this houseboat and we've discovered that this boat wanders at anchor. Like a flag in the wind this boat will swing 90 degrees on the hook. We came from a large sailboat and never had this issue because we had a deep, full keel that provided lots of resistance in the water.. But this boat draws just 2.5 feet and has no real resistance.

My ground tackle consists of a brand new Good Automatic Windlass, 200' of rode with 10' chain and a 35 pound Delta anchor.

The anchor is holding just fine but how the heck can I keep this from swinging so much? What does everyone else do

I thought about getting a smaller mushroom anchor to drop off the stern to give us some extra resistance on the back,


Pics are of the M/V Ditch Rider sitting at anchor at Peck Lake

09-02-2012, 08:45 AM
we have the same problem with our gibson as do other boats. the remedy here is a danforth anchor off the stern. we're not in the ocean or icw but the wind blows hard and steady here as well.hope this helps ya out,enjoy the sunrise.

09-02-2012, 12:08 PM
NO WAY I'll put out a stern anchor unless it's a last resort, too many things can go wrong.

USUALLY anchoring with a bow bridle will stop it. When I anchor, once I know the anchor is set I secure one end of a 30' or so mooring line to the anchor rode with a stopper hitch (aka rolling hitch or midshipman's hitch) and the other end to a corner bow cleat. Then I let out more anchor rode and make it fast on the OTHER corner cleat to form a bridle. You can play with the relative length of the two legs of the bridle for the best ride. You may even find it works better if the mooring line is made fast to a midships cleat or even a stern cleat if it's long enough. This will still allow the boat to swing with the current or wind shifts and IMO is a lot safer than putting out a stern anchor. Instructions on the stopper/rolling/midshipmans hitch here: http://www.animatedknots.com/rollinghitch/index.php

Another way is to put out a second anchor from the bow. Once the first anchor is set and the length of the rode adjusted, using the engine swing the boat as far out to one side as it will go and drop your second anchor, then let to boat settle back so it's at the apex of the "V". I do this whenever I'm expecting bad weather, as two anchors generally hold better than one. However the boat won't swing with the tide.

09-03-2012, 07:00 AM
I never worried about too much, just let it swing. If I did not want it to swing I did place a stern anchor.
Another to consider = If you set the anchor and are into the wind, swinging, but the wind changes, make sure you are far enough from the shore, so the new wind direction will not place you on the beach, which is why I liked a good strong stern anchor.

And Like willie said, if something does go wrong a sharp knife will lose that stern anchor. I always placed a float / anchor ball on the anchor rode for two reasons, one = a marker for others to see it, and two = if I need to drop the anchor rode, I can come back and find it.

09-03-2012, 10:39 AM
My boat can have a vicious swing when the breeze is up, so the bridle or the second anchor is a given. Now that I've worked out what to do, the bridle only takes a minute or two to set up and break down.

I've had to let a stern anchor go a couple times, with a buoy, and came back with the dinghy to retrieve it. It's a hassle but better than getting it in the prop!

09-05-2012, 03:23 PM
I live only about 15 miles north of Peck's Lake, about 5 miles south of the power plant. I agree with Willie, rig a bridle and most of the swing goes away. We usually enjoy the swing as your view changes every few minutes. We use the bridle when we want to position the "front porch" out of the sun.

08-31-2015, 08:27 AM
Old tread I know.
I see two notes that a stern anchor can be bad. Since I have used one in tight quarters on Kentucky Lake would someone please elaborate.

08-31-2015, 08:50 AM
A stern anchor is fine in tight quarters in sheltered waters. But in an exposed anchorage you'd better be prepared to let it go in a hurry.

If the wind picks up and/or changes direction you can end up broadside or stern to the weather which can be unpleasant even dangerous. You probably can't pull the houseboat up to it by hand and attempting to use the engine is asking for a line in the prop. The only real option is to let it go and retrieve it later.

What you CAN do is set your stern anchor in the usual way but keep a boat-length or so of rode on board. Lead this extra rode outside all stanchions, rails, cleats etc all the way to the bow and make it fast again. Now if you have to you can let it go from the stern but it's still attached at the bow, and will be easier to retrieve.

08-31-2015, 09:04 AM
Thx That is what I thought but wanted someone with more experience to confirm. Being sideways to big seas would not be good but in a sheltered inland bay I will be ok! Just wanted to be sure as there are times I anchor fore and aft to control the swing.