Saturday, November 28, 2009

Peaceful Sleeping

A sure-fire way to lose a good night’s sleep is to suspect that your anchor is dragging. To avoid this, we try to set the anchor in good substrate (sand) and make sure that we’re solid in place, usually by taking fixes on several reference points, such as overlapping lights on shore or near and far markers or trees. That way, if their orientation relative to each other changes, we know we’re dragging. But when anchoring away from shore, and definitely away from any lights or man-made objects, we need another way. That’s where our GPS (Global Positioning System) comes in. As you can see in the picture here, this particular display is very simple; it shows a line where we have been. The single line represents our approach to the anchorage. The pendulum (no pit here, for you Edgar Allan Poe fans) represents the boat swinging on its (firmly stuck) anchor. This is a quick and easy way to see if the boat has been dragging, or merely swinging, a blessing when you’re stumbling to the cockpit at 2 am to check your position. If you see this display smiling back at you, you can go back to bed with an easy mind.

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