There is more to this seemingly simple task that you would imagine. Like everything in life, you can always learn just enough to get by or learn to do it really well. There's a book I've read on this topic before this charter, The Complete Anchoring Guide, that goes into fantastic detail on everything you wanted to know about this subject however nothing is a good as seeing it for yourself. Our skipper, Andy, and mate, Elli make it look easy however they've been doing this for years so it's second nature for them.
It's not enough to just drop the 'hook' and let out some chain. Without properly setting the anchor firmly on the bottom and making sure it won't pull out, you are leaving the safety of the yacht and yourself to chance. I can't imagine the feeling one would have when waking up to a big crunch as your yacht drifts off its anchor and into the shore or another yacht. You also have to make sure that you have enough 'swing room' so when the wind or swell shifts direction, you will not bump into another yacht.
What I've observed here is they motor up to the spot where they want the anchor to set on the bottom. The anchor is let out a little in preparation for this moment. When they are over the correct spot they let the anchor free-spool and plumet to the bottom punching through sea grass, etc. to make sure it hits the bottom. Then they back away slowly paying out the chain to about four (4) times the depth of the water (6 times if you have rope instead of chain). A 'snubber' is used on the chain to help reduce the strain on the windlass and to isolate the chain from the boat so as not to transmit the sound of the chain rubbing on the bottom.
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