Because of the storms at night, an anchor that broke free from the bottom in the first storm and an anchor that held tight in a stronger storm, I've received questions about SPARTINA'S ground tackle. So here goes..
The anchor is a Manson Galvanized Supreme 5 lb Anchor. You can see that at West Marine they sell for over $150, but I got this one from Defender for $30 (free shipping too) on close-out because of a tip from Kevin MacDonald. It is a great anchor. When I set this in a muddy bottom not only does the anchor come up covered in mud, so does the bottom two feet of the anchor. It really digs in.
The anchor is attached to five and one-half feet of chain (I always thought it was six but it measured tonight at 5.5). I cannot tell you the size of chain.
If I am dropping the anchor for lunch or a nap during the day, I'll use the Manson anchor alone. Anchoring at night I always clip a 5 lb mushroom anchor to the top of the chain to act as a sentinel.
And above the chain is 75 feet of line. This all fits in a bucket that sits next to the mast. The bucket it tied by a small line to the mast, and the anchor itself is tied to a bucket. (I read a story about a small boat that capsized, the anchor line tied to the boat but the anchor falling free, "anchoring" the capsized boat which complicated the rescue. Everything is tied together so that it stays in the boat.)
I consider this to be a good anchoring system for SPARTINA. For over a decade I have been using this system (or the earlier version that used a 10 lb. navy-style anchor in place of the Manson). I have dragged twice. The first time the anchor dragged, but did not break free, was anchored off a small creek that flowed into the Chester River. An early and unexpected winter storm arrived with gusts to 60 miles an hour. The anchor dragged in the silty bottom, but did not come free.
On the second night of the Round the Sound '18 the anchor did break free. I believe, but will never know for sure, that this was the result of the abrupt shift in wind from 15 mph out of the SW to gusting to over 40 out of the NE, something that happened in a matter of minutes. I have to wonder if SPARTINA was blown over the top or very near the anchor and when the line became taut on the far side the anchor was yanked up and out of the bottom. The clay bottom may have also been a factor.
The fourth night of the trip had the bigger storm, sustained winds to 50, gusts recorded at 64 and they may have been stronger than that. Anchored in sand in about six feet of water, the anchor held.
It has been suggested that SPARTINA is under-anchored. Not only am I open to that thought, I appreciate it. How much of an anchor and how much chain can be carried in a small boat? Weight and storage space are issues. And where do I usually anchor? Typically it is in protected water with an average depth of three or four feet, sometimes less than that (I don't know that I have ever anchored overnight in more than six feet of water).
The night at Tangier says the system works, the night off the Honga River says, um, not always. The one change I am considering making - and I have until the fall cruise to do it - is using either 8' or 10' of chain instead of 5.5'. A little more space and weight, but not much. This would put a little more weight on the bottom and extend the mushroom sentinel anchor away from the main anchor. It is worth thinking about. Ten feet might be the way to go.
I'm open to thoughts.