Fishermen and TIMEZERO Amabassador Frederick Von Elern on using TZ Professional to set anchor and retrieval using Alderney method

Anchoring is an art form in itself and many techniques can be found on the perfect way to set anchor. Understanding the different factors that should be taken into account such as composition of seafloor, currents and tides, will stand you in good stead. In the case of those who fish in deep water, they also need to anchor as accurately as possible so that the boat is in exactly the right place.

In the following article TIMEZERO Ambassador Frederick Von Elern reveals his tried and tested method of positioning and hauling up anchor, while using the trusty TIMEZERO as tool to take precise measurements.


Setting anchor using precise measurements:

“Fishing at depths of +350m often requires the boat to be anchored in order to present the bait for the fish.

When anchoring it’s important to find ground without obstacles (preferably clay). Bottom type is determined with the help of the echo sounder, but unfortunately bottom discrimination software is not yet developed to work at these depths. However, the softer sea bed can be recognized on the weaker echo and a lighter color.

The decision of where to drop the anchor is made mainly depending on wind and current, using forecasts and actual drift direction to find the ultimate anchor position. Fortunately, we do not need to consider tidal currents in Skagerrak (Frederick’s fishing location), since the tides are negligible. Another decision to make, is to determine the length of the anchor line to use. Using Pythagoras’ theorem, it helps us to determine the distance from the position of the anchor to the fishing position, based on depth and length of anchor line.

You may have learnt the Pythagorean theorem already, but in this article the main thing you should know is that that an anchoring is like a right-hand triangle. The anchor creates one point of the triangle, the boat creates the second and the third is an imaginary point directly below the boat (a 90-degree angle). This allows us to make the theorem: A2 (distance horizonal from anchor to boat) + B2 (vertical depth from sea floor to boat) = C2 (length from anchor to boat, a.k.a. the hypotenuse). The greater A is, the more the weight of the anchor is transferred from vertical to horizontal, reducing the risk of the anchor breaking out.

One must drop the anchor at 180° (the opposite direction) to where the boat is drifting.  For example, if the boat is drifting in a direction of 110⁰, then the anchor should be dropped at a bearing of 290°. In a real life example of where I fish, the depth at the anchor position in this scenario is 250m, and the desired distance between the two positions is 375m (along the bottom of the sea) as I want the distance of A to be 1.5x that of the B.  The position is marked in TIMEZERO and I maneuver the boat to the position, letting the anchor go at that position and keeping the boat directly over the position until the anchor has reached the sea bed. Next step is paging out the line, which is 451m according to Pythagoras’ theorem. It will start holding at 425m while slowly paging out the last few meters. Keep a close eye on the sounder to make sure that we are on the right ground.

Once this is done, we can drop the fishing line, the baits and wait for the big catch.


Retrieving the anchor with the help of TIMEZERO using  the Alderney ring method

This method is an alternative to hauling by hand or a winch. It uses the forward motion of your boat and the resistance of the buoy to haul the anchor. The Alderney ring is the ring that the anchor line runs through while also being attached to the buoy. The buoy needs to be large enough to be able to float the combined weight of the anchor and its chain. One method of raising the anchor is to position your boat parallel to the position of the anchor (down tide) and then follow a curved trajectory up tide. This creates an upwards pressure on the anchor which makes the anchor lift out of its position on the seafloor. The Alderney ring must be large enough to allow the chain of the anchor to pass through. The advantage of this method is that the buoy takes the weight of the anchor making it easier to haul the anchor in once the chain has passed through the Alderney ring.

The method to “heave anchor” with a Alderney ring can be found on the internet, for instance on YouTube, where you will find the method quickly described. The anchor is raised by using a buoy and a ring and the power of the boat. The resistance of the buoy in the water is greater than the resistance of the line against the ring. This means that the boat will pull up the anchor when the boat moves.

Now TIMEZERO becomes really useful. Towing the anchor, while having a look at the buoy behind the boat, awaiting the water to cascade around the buoy as a sign that the anchor is up. We know how much anchor line we have out. In this case its 451m and we also know where the anchor position is as we can easily identify it using the marker within TIMEZERO.

Once again using the measurement tool of TIMEZERO to change the bearing from my actual position to a new mark 450m away from the anchor position, which is the expected position of where the anchor should be hanging in the ring under the buoy.

Using a mark, I can set the autopilot in navigate mode to go to the mark and in this way, I can concentrate on supervising the operation rather than steering the boat.

I have practiced anchoring at deep grounds and anchor retrieval with Alderney ring for many years and with the help of TZ and Furuno electronics, the anchoring and retrieval have really improved to the point where anchoring, fishing and the safe retrieval of the anchor and it works every time.”

Fredrick Von Elern  Ambassadeur TIMEZERO


Find out more on the Sounder module by clicking here.

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