Wednesday, May 13, 2009

anchors aweigh

Went over to a friend's house this evening to borrow his grinder and cut the old shackles off of my anchor chain.  Bruce has made a new anchor line and the shackles on my old line/chain had frozen, so I had to use a cutting blade to remove them.  
Below is my current anchoring system (with the shackles cut open).  I use a 10 lb. navy style anchor, five feet of chain and an 8 or 10 lb (it is not marked and I can't remember which) mushroom anchor as a sentinel clipped by a carabiner to the top of the anchor chain.  This is an idea I read about in the late, great magazine Small Boat Journal back in the 80's.  The idea is that the added weight at the top of the anchor chain makes the anchor itself more effective as the flukes are held in a more vertical position and dig deeper in to the bottom.  I typically anchor in mud and/or sand and this system has never failed me.  I use less chain which makes it easier to handle as I deploy and recover it.  Great for single-handed sailing.
The anchor, chain and line sit in a bucket under the foredeck.  The chain is clipped to a line that goes around the mast.  If I turn the boat over the chain and anchor will stay with the boat and not become an anchor on the bottom (possibly adding to my problems).  The mushroom anchor is clipped to the same line that goes around the mast.
The only negative is a worn spot on the starboard foredeck where I set down the mushroom anchor while unclipping it from the chain.  This winter I might put a thin hardwood chafe pad on that spot to minimize wear and tear.
If I'm just making a short stop - for lunch, fishing or a nap - I'll just use just the main anchor.  Overnight I always used both the main and the mushroom anchor.  I've ridden about a couple of good storms, one at Tangier Island on Chesapeake Bay and one in Mouse Harbor on Pamlico Sound, and never had a problem with dragging.
I encountered the highest winds at Mouse Harbor.  It was a line of thunderstorms that swept across eastern North Carolina over a four hour period.  I can't say what the winds were at my anchorage, but the line of storms had winds over 50 mph, hail and a couple of funnel clouds.  I moved out to the center of a small cove so the boat could swing 360 degrees, raised the cb and rudder, left the mizzen raised to act as a wind vane and point me in to the wind, and set the boom tent in place.  I spent the evening reading comfortably at anchor.  ( Next to me I had my watertight hypothermia kit, Spot beacon, strobe/flashlight and vhf radio all tied together - just in case.)
I carry a backup Navy style anchor, chain and line in case I lose the main set.  The anchor comes apart and tucks neatly away with the ballast below the bunk flat.  The extra line is stored on a hook up under the foredeck.

A quick note on yesterday's post about gear on the boat.  That list and chart is not complete.  It is more of a guide for packing the boat.  If you want a complete list go to the Watertribe site and check out their required gear.  This is what Bruce and I will use as our checklist for packing.  I WOULD NOT GO OUT ON A CRUISE WITHOUT THE GEAR LISTED THERE (I think anybody who does is making a mistake).  Part of the gear is a hypothermia kit.  I THINK THIS IS A MUST, REGARDLESS OF AIR AND WATER TEMPERATURE.  Just my opinion (but on my boat my opinion counts).


1 comment:

Albert A Rasch said...


Great trick with the main anchor and mushroom anchor.

Another tip to write down.

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