FPB 78-1: Motion At Anchor


Cochise has now traveled 3500 nautical miles and to date has not needed any stabilization at anchor. We determined to correct this oversight, so we stopped for the evening in Natadola Harbor, a spot known for good surfing on the reef break at the pass entrance.

We arrived late afternoon, in time to catch the sunset and moonrise. The photos above and below were taken at low tide the next morning.


The anchorage was somewhat rolly, a condition we knew would deteriorate as the tide rose, giving us a good flopper stopper test.


We tucked onto the north side of the pass, getting a good bite with our 350 pound (200kg) Manson Supreme anchor with 2 to 1 scope in 50’ (15 meters) of water.

The conditions gave us a chance to practice launching the big dinghy with a one-meter beam swell, and this event proceeded smoothly.

As the tide rose we faced four wave patterns.


The surf breaking over the reef sent its messengers from the bow and beam, the aforementioned ground swell, and a mixed reflection of all three off the shore. The photo above is looking towards the land and primarily shows the reflected waves.


The swim step has a pair of built in storage “cassettes”, where the flopper stoppers sit when not in use. The 25-foot (7.5m) booms are connected to the flopper stopper with spectra halyards. These are yellow in color with a reflective trace woven into the cover, so they show up better at night. Each boom has an anchor light at its end. With a wing span of 65’ (20 meters) between boom ends, we want to make sure our neighbors know to give us a wide berth.


A flopper stopper with vanes deployed above.


Stability and comfort at anchor are relative terms. They mean different things to different people. Having spent time on yachts which are exceptionally comfortable, at sea and at anchor, we are somewhat jaded. The proof to us is in the stability of our ride in photographic terms.


This moon shot tells the tale. A 400mm Canon F2.8 with a 1.4X multiplier on a Sony A7R2 body does not get this sort of detail unless reasonably stable.

Post script: As the anchorage is open to the south with nothing between us and the Southern Ocean, we maintained an anchor watch to avoid an unpleasant surprise in the form of wave systems from afar creating havoc with our sleep.


Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 19, 2016)

3 Responses to “FPB 78-1: Motion At Anchor”

  1. Pam Wall Says:

    All so interesting and I know the feeling!!! GREAT photos, as always, thank you so much, Pam

  2. Paul Says:

    When you say “we maintained an anchor watch” do you mean electronic or a person staying up all night?
    Thanks for publishing all the great info

  3. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hi Paul:
    We typically use an electronic anchor watch. However, in this case our concern was with a system of swells arriving from a distant location, and putting us into a surf line. We moved the boat into deeper water, and then someone checked conditions hourly.
    Note that Cochise is so well insulated and quiet that you are not as aware of what is going on outside when in the sleeping cabins. There are advantages and in this case disadvantages to this level of quiet.