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Sep 06, 2018

Boating Can Be A Drudge Sometimes!

Old sailors often used the current by "drudging" into harbor when there was no wind. They drifted in but kept the bow into the current by dragging the anchor from the bow on a very short scope. Provided the boat moved slower than the current, there was enough water flow over the rudder to maintain limited steerage. Modern sailors do the same thing, although some use a big bight of chain as a drag weight instead of an anchor.

Even modern ships can drudge. In small harbors, where the channel is not wide enough to turn around, they often need a tug to tow them out backward. But in windy weather, they can lower their bower anchor on a short scope so it drags along the bottom to resist any tendency to get swept sideways.

This technique influenced an old friend of mine who had a large lump of pig iron on a line that he used to stop his bow blowing off when he reversed into his tight marina berth. His old long-keeled boat didn't like going backward at the best of times, and turning a corner in a crosswind made it all a bit hairy. So his wife simply dropped the weight in up forward as he swung the boat back into her berth, and it worked like a charm