Friday, August 5, 2011

NKOTB - The Anchor!

NKOTB (New Kids On The Boat) ... A Weekly Series Sharing Our Thoughts and Questions as Beginner Sailors and Future Cruisers.  NKOTB or Experienced Cruiser ... Tell Us Your Thoughts!

Our first NKOTB post last week, NKOTB ... Bad Weather, received some great responses and had similar advice ... don't leave without an anchor!  We agree and wouldn't think of leaving without one.  After all, an anchor is so important for a variety of reasons.  Not only is it an important tool when stuck in bad weather, but it's also crucial in avoiding marinas and well ... anchoring!  We plan on anchoring the majority of the time, so this is a biggie! 

We've learned from other cruisers' blogs that we should get a really big anchor, one that is bigger than the suggested size for our boat.  The larger anchor will increase the odds of staying put, and that means we decrease our chances of hitting another boat (or something else) while exploring for the day.  We really don't want to be those cruisers that everybody's cursing!  Just as important ... a big anchor means a better night's sleep.  I need my sleep!  I've read about some sort of anchor alarm that goes off when the anchor starts dragging.  That sounds like something we'd really like to have so we won't be so paranoid at night and can sleep even better.  Hopefully any cruisers near us will also have a big, obnoxious anchor and an alarm!

Currently we only have one little anchor, but we plan on getting at least one more for a back-up and for the different types of anchorage bottoms.  Here in Louisiana the bottom of the lake is really muddy, and our current anchor works well ... a little too well sometimes.  It gets really hard to pull up, and then the bow is covered in wet mud!  (I see an electric windlass in our future).  It's our understanding that the Bahamas are sandy, while other areas are pretty rocky.  We don't have a whole lot of room on our 30 footer, so we'd like an anchor that works well in both sandy and rocky bottoms.  We've heard that the Rocna Anchor is a good one ... any thoughts?  The Rocna link shows the prices, and boy those stainless steel ones are a lot more expensive than the galvanized! 

I don't have the technical mind like a guy and Ken doesn't like to "blog", so I don't yet know anything about the anchor chain and such that we should have for a 30 footer.  You tell me!

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!


Erica said...

We have four anchors on board. Anchors, anchors - EVERYWHERE! You are right; different bottom, different anchors. We're using a plow anchor here in the Keys, but we've used our Danforth/Fortress as we traveled this way. We have an anchor alarm drag alarm on our GPS, but we've stopped using it. One, we can't hear it from the v-berth. Two, we have to leave the GPS on all night, and that sucks too much battery life. I'd prefer to run the fans! Better to just get a good set on the anchor and check it with your surroundings. Unfortunately, you will drag anchor, eventually. Just a part of the life. :-)

Anonymous said...

It's definitely a "traditional" theory that the heavier the anchor the better. However, with the newer designs and science applied to anchors, that's not necessarily the case anymore. In fact, anchors like Manson and Spade have tested such that one of their smaller (lighter) anchors holds better than a heavier CQR or Bruce. Of all the "new" anchors out there, Manson and Spade seem to apply the best of design, materials, and manufacturing quality. Rocna has had some serious issues with the quality of metal they use in China. Of course, even with anchors, "you get what you pay for". And when you're out cruising, experienced sailors say the best insurance is good ground tackle. You don't need a shiny stainless one, but put your dollars in the best you can get.

Sandee said...

We have a Danforth, but that's what we need for the delta waterways. You indeed need the right anchor for the type of bottom you will be traversing. Nothing is as exciting as losing your anchor in the middle of the night.

Checking your surrounds often is an excellent idea too. With no alarm you'll need to do this. If you have an alarm you should run it off an inverter. Saves your battery power.

Have a terrific day and weekend. :)

Drew Frye said...

West Marine recently posted a recall notice on Rocna anchors. I still believe it is a good product, but I find it funny as hell, given some of the Rocna postings on the forums.

My anchors? The boat came with a Delta, unfortunately a size smaller than I would like. Other than that, it seems very adaptable. I also use a Fortress as a kedge and second anchor; I've used these on other boats for 20 years and am very happy with them. However, I would not use a Fortress/Danforth anchor as a sole anchor; they can pop out when the wind reverses.

Carolyn Shearlock said...

We really loved over over-sized Spade -- it saved us a couple of times when boats nearby went on the rocks. BUT remember that the anchor is just one part of your ground tackle SYSTEM -- and it is a system. There's also the chain or chain/rope, all the connectors, and the biggie -- snubbers! We found Earl Hinz's Complete Book of Anchoring and Mooring to be really helpful as we learned about all this . . . it's a little dated now and there may be other books that are even better, but Hinz served us well.

Ditto the above poster on the problems with Danforth/Fortress. Knew of way too many people who had them pull out.

BTW, several of the hurricane postings on my site ( discuss in depth the anchoring systems that did and didn't work in Hurricane Marty and also show more details on our setup.


Philippe said...

You probably already know those links, but in doubt:

Our Morgan 38 came with 4 anchors. The every day anchor is a Delta 35 lbs on 300 ft of 5/16 hu-test chain. The secondary/storm anchor is a Danforth 45 lbs on a mix of rope/chain. Another Danforth 45 lbs is in a locker (I guess for really big storm). Finally, a lightweight Danforth 25 lbs is on the stern as stern/kedging anchor. We had all of them re-galvanized as they were quite rusted.

I am having hard time finding out whether the Delta 35 lbs with 300 ft of chain is adequate for the weight of the boat (~20k lbs). It's frustrating that anchor tables list a boat size, instead of its weight. After all a 38 Hunter isn't the same weight as a 37 Tayana.

Like you, I was looking at Rocna and Mason. They are however quite expensive. If you get one, let us know how you like it!

Scott said...

I have 2 danforths but the 2nd is more more emergencies. I do think design is more important than weight also. Eventually, you will be at the helm in the middle of the night in your underwear in the rain. Hopefully, others are there to enjoy it as much as you will. I would also like to have a plow but have just not done it yet. I enjoyed reading this and will keep checking back. Are you interested in trading website links?

Barco Sin Vela II said...

Chain. Lots of chain. Carry at least 120 feet of chain. Chain keeps the catenary horizontal, which will enhance the anchor's performance.

Read the anchoring books and use the proper anchors.

Dan N Jaye said...

With 100 feet of heavy chain, you can use a safety pin to hold you in place LOL! We have a 20 kg (44 lb) Rocna, made in New Zealand before the quality problems - it's held us every time, Chesapeake, ICW, Florida, Bahamas - and twice held us PLUS another unattended boat larger than us that dragged into us. (Yeah, we're a draggin' magnet).

The best thing about an electric windlass is this: we see people who anchor and don't like the way the anchor sets, or don't like their swing. If they have an electric windlass, they're likely to pluck the hook and try again, sometimes several times until they get it right and know they're going to hold. If they have to haul by hand, they too often just shrug and hope They are the ones you will see them drag a day or two later.

The other thing you might consider is a saltwater washdown pump at the bow to get the mud and muck off your anchor and chain before you bring said mud aboard, where it builds up in the anchor locker or bilge.

Anonymous said...

We just bought, this season, a 35# Manson Supreme for our Southern Cross 31 (13,000 displacement). Couldn't be happier.

Ken n Cheryl said...

Wow, what great advice! Thanks to all of you for taking the time to give your opinion. Now we've got some new brands to check out!

Steve and Lulu said...

Our 14,000 lb Westsail 28 has:
35 lb (15 kg) Rocna with 225' of 5/16" chain backed by 150' of 3/4" nylon line.
35 lb. Bruce w/25' of 3/8" chain backed by 150' of 3/4" nylon rode.
Those are our primary anchors.
Our back-ups:
35 lb. CQR equipped just like the Bruce.
20 lb. Danforth (stern anchor/lunch hook) with 25' 5/a6" chain and 200' of 5/8" nylon line.

With all this armament we've always felt pretty secure, although generally only the Rocna is deployed. On our first night's anchorage almost anywhere, we leave the GPS on the first night to establish a "swinging arc". Then, on subsequent nights, if we're wondering if we're dragging, we just fire up the GPS and see if we're still somewhere in our arc. Great peace of mind.


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