Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my dinghy cruising blog about my John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. Built over three years, Arwen was launched in August 2007. She is a standing lug yawl 14' 6" in length. This blog records our dinghy cruising voyages together around the coastal waters of SW England.
Arwen has an associated YouTube channel so visit to find our most recent cruises and click subscribe.
On this blog you will find posts about dinghy cruising locations, accounts of our voyages, maintenance tips and 'How to's' ranging from rigging standing lug sails and building galley boxes to using 'anchor buddies' and creating 'pilotage notes'. I hope you find something that inspires you to get out on the water in your boat. Drop us a comment and happy sailing.
Steve and Arwen

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Dinghy cruising: using the Anchor Buddy part 2

The sound quality on my last video diary was not good. Sound is an issue that is bugging me badly. I find the GoPro sound quality poor. There I have said it. Many GoPro fans will beg to differ but for me it has always been poor. I refuse to pay outrageous money for a gizmo to plug into the side into which you can then plug a mic, which then doesn't allow the camera to remain waterproof. But there we go, you pays your money and you takes your chance.

To try and resolve these issues I have invested in a Zoom H1 digital portable recorder with mic and windshield. It will record sound and conversation independent of any camera I am using and hopefully improve video sound quality. When I am 90, and not as active, I want to be able to access my video diaries and at least hear what inane commentary I was making all those years ago.

And so to anchor buddy video part 2.......without the help of the Zoom H1. I am hoping that sound quality is better although I am limited by what I can do with it in GoPro studio and Moviemaker. A good friend has suggested I download Audacity and then compress and normalise the sound tracks in that. He says it is simple and foolproof. I say, considering he has been my good friend for nearly thirty years or so, he seems to have forgotten who he is talking to. Foolproof and simple are not words you'd associate with my unique abilities to mess things up.

When I posted the part one video some subscribers were a bit nonplussed to find there was nothing on the anchor buddy in it. I did explain in the video link notes below on YouTube that this video, for some obscure reason, would not load up in it's entirety so I apologise if people felt misled. By the same token, in part two much of the action is filmed on a headcam and as anyone who has used one will testify, they are a real irritation trying to get the correct view and everything in the frame. I rarely use it if truth be told.

so the anchor buddy.......

The Anchor Buddy seems to be popular in the NW pacific coast area of the USA. Given as a thoughtful present from a family member,  I thought I'd try it out. European sailors will know an anchor buddy as something else. For the purpose of clarity, in this context, I am trying out a yellow bungee cord!

So, after a first test, I like it. It worked. Will it stand up to a season's use, I have no idea. How will it perform in choppier water, I need to find out. Will it stretch in a hard running tide and so cause anchoring problems in a crowded anchorage? don't yet know. Is it better than my normal method of pulling the anchor off the deck with a trip line? can't say yet.  Is it worth the money it sells for......jury out on that one for the moment too. And what about tidal range, incoming and outgoing tides - how will it perform in those varying conditions?

So many unknowns but for now I will be using it again all next season when I stop for short on shore picnic breaks. Perhaps then I will have answers to these and other questions.

In the meantime, those who are interested can find out more at


Enrico said...

Useful post. I didn't even know about the existence of the buddy anchor!

steve said...

Thanks Enrico. It was a present from my family and I'd forgotten I'd got it and then suddenly remembered it and so wanted to try it out. I will be trying it out much more next spring and will report back afterwards

Joel Bergen said...

Excellent post Steve. As you know, I've enjoyed my Anchor Buddy for several seasons now, as have several of my friends. To answer your questions: "will it stand up?" I've had mine for 3 years now. I had to repair it once. Inside the Buddy is a long piece of surgical tubing, crimped at the ends with a wire staple. My tubing broke at one of the staples. I was able to bend the staple, cut off a couple inches of tubing, and re-attach with the staple. No problems since. "Performance in chopper water": Anchoring in choppy water near shore is never pleasant, of course, but once anchored the shock absorbing quality of the Anchor Buddy becomes an advantage by helping prevent the chop from jerking the anchor loose. "Stretching in current in crowded anchorages" Yes, it does stretch, but still uses much less space in a crowded anchorage than swinging 360 degrees at anchor, especially considering you are anchored closer to shore than all the other nearby boats, with little to no swing. "Tides": I find it's best to use much anchor rode as possible. When tides are a concern, I first beach the boat, attach the anchor rode to my shore anchor/tree/rock, etc. Get back in the boat and motor away from shore until I run out of rode/Buddy/chain and drop anchor. Motor back to shore and get out. Pull the anchor line to set the anchor. Pull to stretch the Buddy, clear to boat and let the Buddy pull her out. Having the anchor as far offshore as possible minimizes the effect of tides. Hope that makes sense!
Take care my friend. Glad you are enjoying retirement, as am I!

steve said...

Joel - hi - so sorry - your comment got diverted to a spam folder for some obscure reason. So good to hear from you and really glad you are enjoying retirement. your comments are brilliant tips as always - thank you so much. really appreciated. all good stuff to know so thank you. retirement is going well. I decided to go early because I was beginning to lag behind my youthful tem mates, who are an awesome bunch. you know when its time to go!!!