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Happy Hooking - the Art of Anchoring

Happy Hooking is a very readable book loaded with valuable information on anchoring tackle, anchoring technique, tying up and rafting, anchoring etiquette, as well as the occasional anecdote - simply stated a must have! (if we don't say so ourselves)

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Our Authors

Daria Blackwell

Alex Blackwell

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Independant Reviews of Happy Hooking by:

Cruising Club of America

Ocean Cruising Club

Great Lake Cruising Club

Happy Hooking Reviews

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Ocean Cruising ClubOcean Cruising Club

Happy Hooking is well written and makes a very pleasant, easy read, and is well illustrated with plenty of photographs and drawings. It should be essential reading for anyone fitting out a boat for cruising, and will be of interest to all cruising sailors. It may well become the definitive textbook on the subject.


Cruising Club of America

Cruising Club of America

“Happy Hooking” is well organized, well illustrated, and easy to read. Much of the material will be familiar territory to CCA members. It should be mandatory reading for novice sailors and charter operators would do well to place copies throughout their fleet. This would be an excellent gift to up-and-coming boaters.


Irish Cruising Club

Irish Cruising Club

It is hard toimagine a more comprensive study of the topic. This is a remarkably easy book to read, even from cover to cover. It is also copiously illustrated with black and white photographs and practical drawings. In providing and presenting this information in such a readable and understandable manner, the Blackwells have provided a most useful service for the cruising yachtsman.

Skipper Tips

Captain John Jamieson

Captains Alex and Daria Blackwell have written “Happy Hooking—The Art of Anchoring”, which could become the single most important guide to anchoring for the modern sailor of the 21st century. The Blackwells have tested multiple anchors, anchoring systems, and equipment over tens of thousands of cruising miles and compiled it all into “Happy Hooking”—their easy-to-read guide, chock full of crystal clear illustrations.

Easy to read and filled with super clear illustrations and drawings. Add “Happy Hooking—The Art of Anchoring” to your onboard list of “must have guides” for safe anchoring—wherever in the world you choose to cruise!

Latitude 38

We’ve often wondered why anchoring, one of the most common and important acts of cruising, is often done so cluelessly. One reason might be the stodgy and impenetrable tomes that have been written on the subject over the years. Thankfully, this isn’t one of them. Happy Hooking — the Art of Anchoring is well organized, well illustrated, user friendly in its delivery, and even fun — authors Alex and Daria Blackwell even tell you the proper way to organize one of those round ‘sunflower’ raft-ups. Reading just a few pertinent chapters in this easy-to-understand book will not only 'clue you in', but help guarantee that your boat will still be there when you come back from a trip ashore.


Happy Hooking - The Art of Anchoring
By Capt. Alex Blackwell & Capt. Daria Blackwell

There has been much innovation in the design and materials of boat anchors in recent years, and lifelong sailors Daria and Alex Blackwell, known as “the cruisers” among their friends, realized sailors needed a new anchoring resource. “Anchoring a boat can be a lovely dance in a harbor, or a painful and embarrassing display of Homo sapiens’ inability to plan or communicate,” say the authors.

Daria and Alex created a seminar on anchoring at their club, American Yacht Club in Rye, NY, which was soon requested at other venues. Their first seminar at a Sail America boat show drew a standing room only crowd (actually, boaters spilled over into the hallway!), and the idea for Happy Hooking was born. Happy Hooking is a very worthy addition to your onboard library. It’s available direct from the publisher via an online order form at coastalboating.net.


Latitudes & Attitudes Seafaring Ships Store

Happy Hooking - Alex & Daria Blackwell

For those who sail, there is one thing that is pretty well a rule of thumb. You will have to anchor, and if you know the secrets, it isn't all that hard. The authors give you their insight into the secrets of anchoring in most situations, allowing you to avoid the embarrassing moments when your anchor doesn't do what it's supposed to.

The first edition was so comprehensive it's hard to believe the authors found even more anchoring territory to cover, but they did. This is the bible for all things anchoring, including types of anchors, selection, techniques, scope, chafe, emergency situations and much, much more..


Capt. Alex Blackwell & Capt. Daria Blackwell have written this book about setting anchors from their countless experiences. Alex and Daria are the people behind CoastalBoating.net, an online community resource for the boater. Happy Hooking has had very positive reviews in numerous publications including L&A, Latitude 38 SailWorld.com.

Messing About in Sailboats, February 01, 2010
Anchoring in the Northeast U.S.

by Guest Author Stu Hochron

2007-01-22__anchoring1__430_322Stu Hochron is founder and author of the truly excellent sailing online newsletter News From The Bow.

"Best Anchoring Reference"

Before going any further, let me refer you what I consider to be the best available reference on anchoring, “Happy Hooking”, by Alex and Daria Blackwell. The Blackwells detail all aspects of anchoring in this inexpensive paperback volume, and include the newest technology in anchors and technique.  If you read this book before you head out, and you will be better prepared for any anchoring challenge. 

Practical Boat Owner

Anchoring Techniques – Further reading: June 2011

Happy Hooking – the Art of Anchoring by blue water cruisers Alex & Daria Blackwell covers all the techniques mentioned and more, with information on weather, etiquette and rafting, among other things.


If there's one thing that the cruising sailor needs to know well, it's how to anchor! When overnight at anchor, you'll sleep well if you know that the anchor is secured and you're not going to find yourself out to sea or, worse (the nightmare scenario), be woken in the dark by the noise of the rudder bouncing on a rocky shore.

So the answer is to have every skill at your disposal, and this new book by the Blackwells contains a wealth of information. The book is readable and interesting, and has plenty of illustrations and diagrams. It might be compulsory reading for the new sailor, but even the most experienced will find much new material here.

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The third expanded edition of Happy Hooking - the Art of Anchoring, which is out now, features:

  • More gear
  • More photos
  • More illustrations
  • More independent reviews
  • Experience from both sides of the Atlantic
  • Personal anecdotes based on thousands of miles of sailing and countless times anchoring

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Happy Hooking is available in bookstores throughout the UK and Ireland as well as online from Kelvin Hughes (www.bookharbour.com), the authorized European distributor.  Happy Hooking is also available direct from the publisher at www.coastalboating.net as well as from www.amazon.com in the United States.

About the Authors

Daria and Alex Blackwell are lifelong sailors and passionate cruisers. They have completed three Atlantic crossings and have spent years cruising the coasts of the Americas and Europe, as well as the Bahamas, the Caribbean islands, and the Atlantic islands, most recently double-handing on their vintage Bowman 57-foot ketch, Aleria. Alex holds a USCG Master’s license with sailing and towing endorsements.  Daria holds a USCG OUPV Captain’s license. The Blackwells are members of the Ocean Cruising Club, Irish Cruising Club, Seven Seas Cruising Association, American Yacht Club, and Mayo Sailing Club. They are also the organizers of the SSCA cruising station for Ireland.

Daria and Alex have been published in Practical Boat Owner, Classic Boat, Cruising World, Latitudes & Attitudes Seafaring, Offshore, Windcheck, , and elsewhere.  For many years, they wrote much of the content for www.AmericanYC.com for which they also served as the webmasters. They also created and manage www.CoastalBoating.net, the boaters’ resource for places to go and things to know about boating on both Atlantic shores. As founders of Sail4Kids Make a Memory Cruise, the Blackwells were recognized with prestigious awards by both American Yacht Club and the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Racing Sailors.  Alex’s first book, Oyster Delight by Jonathan Mite (currently out of print), is a tribute to his lifelong interest in oysters, having launched an oyster hatchery in Ireland after being awarded a Master’s degree in Fisheries Biology. 

Alex and Daria conduct live seminars on anchoring and other subjects at boat shows and boating clubs. They also conduct online seminars (webinars) for Seven Seas University (SSCA) and have created an online anchoring course for NauticEd. They balance their time onshore with blue water adventures. Clew Bay in the magical west of Ireland is their current base.

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