It’s at such a time that you’re most likely to remember the boatman’s prayer, “Oh, Lord, Thy sea is so great and my boat is so small.” Aside from choosing a seaworthy boat, one of the most effective ways to assure your safety and that of your equipment in the event of a breakdown is to be certain that you carry suitable anchors and enough good line so that your boat will hold and ride out any blow.
Every boat should carry two anchors. One, the lighter, should be stowed in such a way that it can be broken out and dropped at an instant’s notice in an emergency and be readily available at all times for anchoring under normal conditions. The other will serve as a spare and may come in handy if you are forced to anchor where there is danger of yawing and swinging about under varying wind conditions where such a shift may endanger your boat.
Anchors, like engines, should be matched to the boat they will be expected to hold to the bottom, the scope, current drag and wave and wind action. The design of the anchor used will also provide a variance.
Odd as it may seem, wind on a cold, dry day will exert more drag or force against an anchored boat than will wind of the same velocity on a warm, humid day. This accounts in part for the greater severity of winter seas and also should serve as a warning that boats left at anchor in the winter may require more scope than they do at the same anchorage in summer. Your marine dealer can help you choose an anchor of recommended size and type for the design and length of the boat you have, as well as for the operating conditions you will meet locally.