The choice of anchorage along with a suitable anchorage is crucial for a restful night's sleep. But not all bays allow you to anchor without much thought and preparation. We will show you how to read nautical charts correctly and what needs to be done in advance to ensure the safety and comfort of anchorage.
Forward to new bays
You won't find a better anchorage! A lonely island with a steep coast that protects from the gusty southeast wind. Many ships seek shelter from the wind on the leeward side of the island and anchor in the sandy bottom. Only a few leave the anchorage in the late afternoon to return to the port and spend the night there. It happens as it should: at night a thunderstorm front comes to the anchorage. The wind changes to the west, it starts to rain, and the boats, under strong gusts of wind and the intensifying roughness of the sea, are torn more and more stubbornly from their anchor chains. There is a risk of being nailed to the leeward shore, on some yachts the anchor breaks out of the ground and starts to demolish them, others let the anchor chain go a little by turning on the engine. In 20 minutes the front passes. Silence reigns again on a small island in the Baltic Sea.
In the end, was the anchorage chosen correctly? There are not many sheltered bays that provide adequate protection against any change in wind direction. Most often the bays are not protected on one side. You should always remember that the wind direction can suddenly change, and when choosing an anchorage, this fact must be constantly taken into account. Somewhere nearby, there could well be a wooded coast, which would provide protection in the westerly wind. Safe harbor in close proximity. Preliminary thorough work with the map, of course, will not allow avoiding all the problems associated with changing weather conditions, however, it will allow you to better respond to unexpected, most often local changes in the weather.
Choosing the right anchorage begins with studying paper nautical charts. Digital nautical charts on a small chart plotter display are less useful because the surrounding conditions of the desired parking space on them can only be viewed by scrolling. On the other hand, a paper navigational chart provides a detailed overview of both the actual place of interest and the surrounding area. Along with information on fairway markings and equal depth lines, it gives an idea of the topographic details of the coastline, which must be taken into account when choosing an anchorage.
Map 1 (INT 1) of the German Federal Office The Maritime and Hydrographic Office (BSH) provides information on symbols, abbreviations and terms on official navigational charts. For example, she explains the pictograms that represent rocky coastlines, wooded areas, steep banks and even houses on navigation maps.
After a little training, when looking at the navigation map, an idea of the chosen anchorage is already formed in my head. On the following pages, we will present you a number of anchorages on the coast of the North and Baltic Seas and show you what details in the navigational charts will allow you to make a conclusion about the security of the anchorage.
Working with maps
Navigational charts show specific details not only of the water surface, but also of the coast. For anchored vessels, such information as forest cover or relief is interesting. Shore information is also important. Yachts anchored on a steep coast are more protected than those on a flat spit, while rocky coasts often suggest that the seabed will also be rocky.
Well protected bays
Coves protected from all sides - rare and favorite shelters in order to ride out the storm. Ideally, their diameter does not exceed one or two nautical miles, and the only narrow entrance to them ensures that the free wave of the open sea does not find its way into the bay. In the Baltic Sea, the coastal zone of these bays is most often surrounded by forest and has low elevations that provide good protection even in strong winds.
If you are not anchored too close to the shore, in small bays of this type, even unexpected changes in wind direction can be neglected. However, you should constantly check whether the anchor is still holding. In the northern part of the strait Als Sund the bay is located Dyvigwhich is highly regarded as an anchorage.
Why is she so popular among Danish yachtsmen? The entrance at the southern end of the bay is narrow, and is distinguishable only just before the entrance to the bay. In addition, immediately after the entrance to it, the bay turns sharply to the north in such a way that the free wave of the open sea, which comes in from the west, cannot greatly interfere with the yachts at anchor. The banks are forested and offer adequate protection from all directions against headwinds. The isobath of two meters runs parallel to the shore at a short distance from the shore and thus prevents the drift of the yachts when the wind direction changes towards the shore slope. If things get really uncomfortable, the two small harbors at the northern end of the bay can be used for anchoring as an alternative.
"A narrow passage is a typical sign of being so safe on all sides of the bay."
The bay is also well protected Helnaeslying southwest of the island Funen (F? Nen), with the same characteristics, but much larger. A large peninsula protects the bay from the west, while three smaller islands fence off the bay from the south. The bay offers a wide variety of anchorages, and in any wind direction there is a quiet spot. Of course, when the wind direction changes, it should be changed.
According to the map, the banks are densely forested and provide some basic protection. In strong westerly winds, protection can be found on the leeward side of the peninsula. Not only because the coast is also covered by a dense forest there, but also because a small dot on the map symbolizes that the anchorage is protected by a hill. The elevation mark runs on the map in close proximity to the coastline, so that the coast goes up rather steeply for more than 20 meters. Such areas are distributed throughout the bay and promise good protection when the wind direction changes.
During the last ice age, huge glaciers covered vast parts of the north. Gigantic masses of ice on their way to the lower regions of the modern Baltic Sea buried themselves in the landscape and left kilometer-long furrows behind them on today's coast. These narrow sea bays often offer excellent anchorage conditions, as nature itself has made them sheltered.
In Schlei, one of the narrowest fjords, anchorage opportunities are presented one after another. When the meteorological conditions change, ships can use a different bay. Due to the narrowness of the fjords, a strong wave here can neither form nor penetrate from the outside: natural sandbanks that have formed at the confluence of the Baltic Sea prevent waves from entering the strait Belt... With strong westerly winds, shoals can form in larger, semicircular bays called noors.
Strong winds of 6 on the Beaufort scale may cause strong currents or changes in water level, but this is rare. In both bays to the south and north of the harbor shown on the map fragment, you can easily find an anchor point.
If the weather conditions change, you need to look for another parking space. It's rarely really unpleasant here. But if, nevertheless, the water level changes noticeably, for reassurance, you should go to the nearby harbor.
When crossing the islands of the Danish South Sea, the most common type of anchor bay is crescent baywhich is not protected on one side. Most often we are talking about a flat streamer, which protects the anchorage, at least from the free wave. Since these streamers are mostly sand, they do not provide sufficient wind protection, but they have an excellent sandy bottom for anchoring. Island bay Avernakopictured provides adequate protection in westerly conditions and has a good seabed for anchoring thanks to the dotted sandbar.
Even if the occurrence of a wave in the bay is impossible, it can become uncomfortable in a strong wind. To the north of the bay there is a steep coast and a hill, which represent an alternative in case of strong winds. In coves of this type, a little more attention is required as it is necessary to react to changes in wind direction. If the wind direction remains constant, these bays provide a relaxing anchorage that will be a memorable crossing.
Wadden Sea / tidal zones
Wadden sea Is a one-of-a-kind natural landscape created by the changing ebb and flow of the tides that are the reason for the daily change of the appearance of watts. Frisian islands, which stretch along the Dutch and German coasts, surround the Wadden Sea and protect the entrance channel from the partially unfavorable conditions of the North Sea. The constantly changing water level and tidal currents require a high degree of attention and care from sailors. However, not only does navigation in watts require a lot of attention, anchoring also obeys different rules. However, subject to some basic rules when choosing an anchorage site, the Wadden Sea provides a variety of and, above all, well-protected anchorages.
Wadden sea cut by natural ducts: adhesions. They provide movement-water ingress into watts and vice versa. While some of the tides dry up at low tide, large tides reach a depth of four meters even at low tide. On nautical charts, tide depth is indicated as LAT (Lowest Astronomical Tide) and denotes the lowest possible water level. Even during strong spring tides, this value is less than the value stated on the map, so there is still a lot of water under the keel, an order of magnitude more than what is stated in the map.
Since the Wadden Sea is a protected area, there are special traffic rules that are developed in accordance with national laws and land legal regulations. Compliance with these rules is mandatory in order not to cause great harm to the animal and plant world. Union of yachtsmen - shallow watermen Soltwaters Wattseglervereinigung, representing the interests of those who walk in the coastal strip of the North Sea, has developed its own code of honor.
The main thing is the provision that zone 1, plotted on the navigation charts, is the territory in which anchoring is prohibited. This also applies to the marked fairway. For the rest, anchoring in the Wadden Sea does not present any particular problems, as it claims Olaf Morgenstern, an experienced yachtsman who regularly anchors in the North Sea coastline and also runs aground at low tide.
Even if shallow water yachtsmen most often choose their anchorage intuitively, they also follow clear rules that can be well understood from the navigational chart and always be guided by them.
Since the deep tides carry a lot of water, there are fast currents in them, while the ground is often very hard. In conditions when the wind blows against the current, sea waves begin, which impedes a relaxing anchorage: an unfavorable circumstance for a calm anchorage. Therefore, deep tides should be avoided, which are easily recognizable from navigational charts.
More suitable are shallow tides, which, even at low tide, ensure the flow of a sufficient amount of water and also have soil with a slight rise towards the shallow.
Most often, the water there is much quieter, the current is not so strong, and the ground is mostly soft. In the event of a change in wind direction, with a strong wind of 6 on the Beaufort scale, these places will lose their attractiveness in any case. Some places offer complete comfort, since even at low tide they do not remain without water, so there is always the desired water under the keel, palm-width apart.
In soft muddy ground, the keel buries a few more centimeters, thus preventing any unintentional capsizing of the boat. If the keel is still stuck in the silt, and at the last moment before low tide you want to start the engine and leave the anchorage, a cup of coffee, a good book and waiting for the tide will be the best alternative. “If you try to pull the ship out of the silt with all your might, the propeller can leave furrows in watts up to two meters deep,” says Iris Bornhold, chairman of the union Soltwaters Wattseglervereinigung.
In the following sections, we will introduce you to some of the North Sea coastal locations and, based on the navigation chart information, show you what makes a good intertidal anchorage site.
Code of honor Soltwaters Wattseglervereinigung for those who walk in the coastal strip of the North Sea
- Behave in the Wadden Sea ...,
... as if you are visiting Mother Nature. The Wadden Sea is an area where peace reigns. Consider this in all your actions, avoid loud and bustling engine noise, unnecessary flapping of the sail, loud music on the radio.
- Feel your responsibility ...
... for the behavior of others, especially your own team. Often, harm is not done intentionally, but out of ignorance. Along with his main responsibility to manage the yacht and the crew, the skipper should familiarize his crew with the peculiarities and beauty of the Wadden Sea and orient their behavior in harmony with nature.
- Don't throw anything overboard ...
... especially no cans or bottles, no plastic, oil or paint residues. For household waste, there are trash cans that can be found in any harbor.
- Treat the restricted areas with respect ...
… There are a number of restricted areas which are indicated on the corresponding navigation charts. They should protect sensitive plants and species of animals from the Wadden Sea from possible disturbance, especially during incubation and mating season, from 1.04 to 31.07, respectively. every year. Don't bother seals or birds even to photograph them. Seals are very curious by nature - they themselves come closer to the ship. And then, with the help of a long lens, you can take impressive pictures.
Shallow tides with a slight rise in the coastline
Small tides which, even at low tide, are filled with water and provide an opportunity for anchoring, are more suitable than large and deep ones.
Since the current in these shallow tides is not particularly strong, not steep slopes are formed on the sides of the tide, but gentle, soft ground.
Such conditions promise a generally easy location in the coastal strip of the North Sea, flooded during high tides, an additional plus is the elevation on the windward side.
Since there are no great elevations in watts, and the highest are flat sandbanks at low tide, despite the calm water, there is no protection from the wind. However, if a parking spot is chosen near one of the islands, a little protection from the wind can be found.
Surrounded by small rises of the tide coastline
It is rare in the Wadden Sea, but all the same you can find anchorage sites, similar to the protected from all sides of the Baltic Sea bays. Although these 'bowls' are not surrounded by protective coastal formations, there are places surrounded by a slight rise in the coastline and the depth there is sufficient even at low tide.
Because of the slight rise of the coastline, taking care of the formation of a wave and providing protection from the wind in almost all directions, such bays provide an ideal alternative to crowded harbors. True, they are not easy to recognize on the map. Most often, they branch off from a small tide and end at low tide at a small rise in the coastal strip.
Even if deep tides are less suitable for anchorage, sometimes it becomes necessary to look for a more or less suitable place there. During the summer months, most of the island's harbors are often hopelessly crowded. Those who, after a long day sailing in the evening, come to the harbor and realizes that it is completely clogged, there are two alternatives: to drop anchor somewhere nearby or sail for a couple of hours to the next harbor.
Since the latter option is not always feasible due to the ebb and flow, and the other harbor, perhaps, can also be occupied, only the first option remains open. In the coastal area of the Netherlands, large deep tides prevail in watts, the depth of which even at low tide is ten meters, so you have to look for a suitable parking place there. At the edges of the tide, the current is much less, the tides run close to the land, so that the island itself protects the ship a little.
Of course, it quickly becomes so shallow beyond the fairway that you should anchor immediately after the buoy line. Ideally, another small shallow water area can be found on the map. Although it may be uncomfortable in a situation where the wind is directed against the direction of the current, the stretched shallows along the edges of the tide hold back a large free wave.
Always keep a spare anchor aft ready when anchored in watts. If the bow anchor slips, the aft anchor can be quickly ejected, which additionally prevents twisting of both chains. With a change in the direction of water movement, the anchor should also be monitored, and, if necessary, thrown out again.
Text and photos: Kai Kökeritz, Photo: stockmaritime.com, Maps: Jan Binzeil
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