The thread on sextants was really interesting, so now I would like to ask about anchoring. I have a 41' ketch, full keel, 26,500 lb displacement boat. Could some of you with experience help me out with determining sizes of anchors/rode/chain to use in different enviroment conditions. Please discuss when to use what method. In the past, I have had a 12' cat, 15' daysailer, 19' lightening, 20' shark, and 22' sloop. My sailing experience has alway been within 40 miles of shore. I have never had to endure an extended time in storms. I have been in the outside edge of a hurricane once. We made it about 6 miles offshore in a 32' boat with the cane's eye being about 80 miles offshore. It wasn't sailing but it was fun!!! Since I am considering living onboard and going where my nerves allow, I do not want to learn the hard way.
Some others with more experience than me will surely weigh in with more....
Most boats I've seen that seem capable of serious big-water cruising typically carry some combination of the following:
Main anchor- As heavy as your boat can handle, this one's the one that gets the choice spot on the pulpit with the power windlass. At least the first few fathoms of rode are heavy chain, more if the boat can handle it.
Secondary anchor- As heavy as you can safely carry on deck by yourself. Usually of a different type than the main so even in lousy bottom conditions at least one will hold.
Lunch hook- Something you can easily heave overboard and retrieve by hand.
Parachute- An absolute must if you're in open water; most sailors seem to tend towards the large side for their boat. Deploy off the bow in storms to keep you properly lined up with the waves and wind. Needs a grossly oversized rode (rope) with lots of chafe protection, and tie it off to the beefiest cleat or bollard on the vessel.
Other helpful gear includes drogues (hang off the stern when motoring in bad weather, to keep you pointed into the seas), various shore/beach anchors, and the ever-handy polyball anchor retriever.
I'm no expert on this... hopefully someone else will have some tips specific to your boat.
M. B. Marsh Design
The Marsh Fleet: Small-craft cruising on the waterways of Ontario and beyond
Ok Mike my pennyworth on this!
Theres lots of different tables about that tell you the different sizes that you should have! Most tend to be too small for serious use! So lets look at whats sensible for your size, in my view -
First decide how your using the boat - cruising grond weather expected and that sort of stuff!
Secondly get as many as you can!! Four at least, remember you don't need rope for all these anchors - at a push you can use your berthing lines, which of course are of decent length aren't they ? Minimum 90 feet, with one at least 300 feet (you never know where that will come in handy!!) roughly 2.5 inch to 3inch circumferance. Each anchor should have at least 30 feet or more chain at the end, fixed to a swivel on the anchor! make all the chain say half inch then you can use it else where if need be (keep those shackles well greased and maintained).
Your two biggest anchors what ever you want to call them, should be two different type (keep to the tried and tested ones like a big fishermans and a CQR) as big as you can handle but in your case at least 55lbs more if you can recover it! Please remember that includes decking the bloody thing, the last thing you need is for it to pull you over the side as you recover it)! These two anchors need dedicated rope fixed in place at all times! With one of em, all chain, thats your main one ('best bower' in naval parlance)!
One of the bower anchors should be ready to be got over the side in maximum five minutes at all times when within range of shore/ short passages - it's the 'last chance saloon' as it were! if it all goes wrong!
There's various techniques for deploying the damn things found in most books on the subject, but without going into running and standing moors and the like (you can play those game once your used to dropping the bloody thing reasonably acurately) the best way for a boat like yours I reakon is to work out were you want to drop at, depth of water etc, then flake out on deck this depth plus a reaonable amount for error, stopping distance etc - but not too much! Good old trial and error to see what suits you! (I use something like depth and a half, depends on weather size of area to drop in etc) lead the chain from the anchor outside of everything (anchor hooked over the rail or on thre deck by your foot in the cockpit) AND make sure it is lead outboard of everything cos when it goes it goes like sh** of a shovel! through the hawsehole, up and down the deck with the distance (depth and a half?) secured at the bitts/cleat (make sure that cleat is properly secured), if you need it a light stopper (bit of string) can tie of the chain outboard to prevent it going before time, but make sure that stopper is pretty weak or you'll lose a few bits of your rail! When already NOBODY goes on that side of the deck, down sails and motor gently up to your chosen spot steming the tide as you go! you now need five sets of eyes, six hands and a plug up yer bum! As you come up to the spot knock out of gear and drop the pick over the side, The tide will drop you backwards as the chain runs out breaking the stops until it comes up hard against the securing point! That'll test your gear! But the pick will be on the bottom, no weight on it other than tide rode! Then when your sure your in the right place go gently astern to dig the damn thing in. Stop , run out the right scope for the depth of water etc and let her settle down (don't switch of the engine yet, make sure she's going to stay where you put her, if you've pulled the pick in properly you should be ok). Once she's settled down, off engine take a couple of anchor bearings and go make a coffee! Say an hour later check that bearing (you will not be exactly in the same place but very close to it - you hope)! Your Ok, rig anchor lights for the night (you put the ball up earlier? didn't you?) and turn in, every couple of hours check your position! and watchanybody else coming into your bay closely, remember first in has priority of swing, if theres somebody in there before you dont drop over his gear, if somebody drops over your gear throw empty beer bottles at him and call him names until he shifts or you'll have a hell of a job getting away in the morning!
Ther's a lot more to it than that but at least that gives you the basics happy anchoring - most everybody has some variation on this, it's an individual thing, like most seafaring, and I know somebody will disagree but go play then alter to suit unti lyou gets something you can do comfortably (in your sleep) remember your anchor is and will be your 'last chance saloon' on more than one occasion IF everything goes to rats it will save your life!
Your smaller anchors or kedge anchors can be used to pull you away from danger or as a 'lunch hook' (used for a short length of time while you get a few beers/lunch etc!) Good one to practice anchoring with say somewhere in the range of 30 pounds, 30 feet of chain and 90 feet of 2.5 inch rope!
Sorry if I've gone on abit Mike but you asked for it!
There are a few anchor styles to pick from: the plow (hinged or fixed), Bruce type and the fluke, plus the traditional fisherman (which is difficult to find anymore)
Aside from the fisherman, which I think out performs them all in all bottom types, the fluke (sometimes called the Danforth style) is intended for sand and mud bottoms - not so good on clay, grassy or rocky bottoms, the Bruce is sand and rocks - limited ability in mud and the plow is for sand, weeds and rocks, but has trouble in mud and the fixed (non-hinged) ones aren't cheap - but they do stow on a bow roller nicely.
Much depends on the bottom for an anchor to dig in and bite. West Marine has a reasonably inexpensive fluke that will rival performance of the fancy anchor manufactures for much less money. You'll want a 40 pound steel fluke, a 15 - 20 pound aluminum fluke, about a 40 - 45 pound steel hinged or fixed plow (half that weight if aluminum)
These would be your general use anchors, you may want to invest in a big mother to keep some piece of mind in a blow, but you have to be able to hoist the beast to the deck. You'll also want a lunch hook (as pointed out earlier) and a kedging anchor. Many cruisers have several anchors, because they can get lost, fouled or other wise unserviceable.
You should carry as much chain as you can. Nothing beats the holding power of all chain. It costs a bunch, requires a windless, is heavy, dirty and will make you cry if it goes over the side without being dogged to something solid. A minimum of several feet of chain will make your anchor stay set longer, the more the better and lessen the amount of scope you need to pay out in an anchorage and help lengthen the rode life span.
If you're going the rode route, get strong stuff, with a good amount of stretch and compatible with your windlass. A good rule of thumb is 1/8" of line diameter for every 8 - 9 foot of boat length, so 5/8" line would be a good diameter cruising line for your boat. You could easily get by with 1/2", but stay out of big storms.
The problem with rode/chain combinations is the connection, which is usually a shackle and thimble which can fail. I personally splice the rode to the chain which passes through the chain pipe a lot easier.
If I were you, I use 75' of chain, spliced to a few hundred feet of rode. In shallow anchorages, you'd probably not have to feed out any rode so it can't chaff on the bottom.
Gee PAR you can type pretty damn quick! Not as good a read but probably more accurate - glad you could give him your side of the Atlantics method of measuring rope, couldn't remember how you do it (aint a lot of choices I know but I gets a little confused with your diameter in eighths or whatever you use, as you know we've gone from imperial circumferance to metric diameter easy to convert the old inch circ. being equal to 8 mm dia. but I gets confused with your system, probably an easy way to conver but I aint found it yet).
Your rope chain lengths seem a little long except for your second bower, but each to his own! Did I mention I'd want at least 3 'shots' chain (45 fathom - you guys still using that measure?) on the best bower (had five on the last boat, **** thatook some recovering but I could anchor just about anywhere, and did)!
This is what I need. The more I read, the more I realize I don't know Jack!!!
Have you old guys thought about doing a post on all you need to know about crusing? That way us don't know jack's can read and try to get a clue.
The prophylactic wearing walrus is the old guy (or does he just have stumpy, blunt tusks?) Between his and my verbosity, there'd be little band width left for anyone else.
Back to anchors (not your wife man, the hook, the hook) There are many options, I like chain though am now sold on cable. It's much lighter, doesn't foul as easily, is nearly as strong, comes up cleaner, can be reeled on a drum below decks, where the weight can benefit the yacht and a few other things that have me using it. It's not seen very often, but it works well.
Coastal sailing in moderate weather can get by with rode (can't have enough scope aboard, trust me) but a chain leader is a must if you want to retrieve it 99% of the time. Yes, my recommendations are a little long, but you don't have to pay out the whole lot of it and you'll have some margin to play with, if necessary or when it comes time to swap ends. Serious cruising requires all chain or nearly so. You probably will not have to test it's value, but if you do, you'll be glad it's there.
For those of you foolish enough to buy into someone else's idea of a measurement system, the general rule for rode: diameter is about 1/3 of a centimeter for each 3 meters of boat length. So this 12 and a half meter boat would need about a 14 mm rode. Since this man is from the fine commonwealth of Kentucky (go WildCats) his foot is 12 inches, as it should be.
After all that praise PAR (and from a Naval Architect too!) I' don't want to appear too nasty and take a poke at your figures but my view is that your size of ground tackle is a bit wee! I see you use the term 'rode' for the rope something which appeared in the popular Yachting press in the '70s along with the quaint reference to 'oar crutches' as 'rowlocks' which is all bo - locks really! You need something meatier for the main rope for this size of vessel 16mm would be about enough but to make it easier to handle AND give a reliable amount for safety (remembering that when at anchor the whole boat is depending on ONE line only, normally) I'd go up to 20mm diameter which corresponds to 2.5 inch circumferance! As you can see Mike, like all things at sea everybody has a different viewpoint on the rightway to go, only years of experience can help (and thats only to show you where to start)! As long as you ere on the side of Safety and see what you can do you'll be OK! always reduce to what suits you later when your more aware of the limitations - and don't forget what you use this week on this boat may not be any damn use next week on that boat -but it's a start and WILL help until your ready to change!
PAR I'm interested in your comments on the use of 'cable'! By cable I presume you mean flexible steel wire rope? (galvanised?) rather than stainless? 'Cable' is to me (ex Royal and Merchant Navy and Rig Work boat 'big ship' man) what you'd call the 'rode' [I DO NOT like that term!]!
After a few years using 'wire rope' on rig anchors and dive boat anchors I thought about the use of 'wire' for small boats - despite the fact that I'd never seen it in use on a yacht anywhere else! That's never bothered me, in fact thats a good reason to USE it! I tried it on my boat (32 foot Spray Replica, Steel-corresponds with my shiphandling abilities!) Interesting stuff
Size for size you need a bigger rope than required for Safe Working Load (SWL) for handling! Cuts into the hands else! use gloves to handle!
It's a sod to tie off, several turns around a single bitt then tie off with light line is the best, don't jam it onto a cleat, you'll kink the wire (this weakens it)!
When hauling try to get it onto its drum as quickly as possible or it takes over the deck, if not coil down as it comes in, using plenty of 'frenchmen' to control the coil! Several short (10 - 15 fathom) lengths like 'shots' of chain with swivels in is better than a long length (you can shackle off to a 'bollard strop' for scope if your in the right spot for securing! Plus you can take off / add on see above about taking over the deck!
Depending on rope diameter you need a fairly large drum end if your using a winch!
Generally it gives you a kedge rope weight near to chain and a good strength to ensure you can pull out the boat without problems! (10 mm is ideal)
Makes a good 'lunch hook' but haven't used it in place of the main bower yet, but generally I like it - gets you some funny looks from other yotties as well which is always worth while!!
Incidentally Mike any cable rode or whatever you want to call it needs to be marked in some way (as simple as possible) so you can tell how much is out for a couple of reasons, not least so that when hauling by hand you know how far you've got to go! every 10 fathoms is enough! That'll do for this one!
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