How To Use An Anchor Trip Line

JHH5_4350
Nuuk, Greenland, a commercial harbour where we would use a trip line if we anchored there.
First off, we use a trip line less than 1% of the time and only in places that we think may have junk on the bottom, such as commercial harbours. And in over 40 years of anchoring we have never had an anchor saved by a trip line and we have never lost an anchor. We have got an anchor fouled, probably half a dozen times but have managed, on every occasion but one, to get clear by shortening up the rode, engaging the chain brake to unload the windlass, and then pulling with the engine from various directions until we pulled the anchor clear. (You need strong gear for this game as the loads can be prodigious.) On the one occasion that did not work, we got clear by lifting whatever we were snagged on a bit off the bottom, using our massively powerful Ideal Windlass, and then letting the chain run, which popped the anchor out from under whatever it was. One other point. Your risk of getting your anchor fouled on an obstruction goes way down if you use one of the new design anchors like a SPADE or a Rocna in comparison to an older design like a CQR. The reason is that the former set in their own length, but the latter usually drag for at least 20-feet before setting, thereby increasing the chances of finding something to hang up on. For the occasional time that we do use a trip line, this is how we do it:

  1. Introduction
  2. 4 Vital Anchor Selection Criteria and a Review of SPADE
  3. SARCA Excel Anchor—A Real World Test
  4. SPADE, SARCA Excel, or Some Other Anchor?
  5. Resetting Failures With Rocna and Manson, and Thoughts on Vulcan and Mantus
  6. Some Thoughts On The Ultra Anchor, Roll Bars and Swivels
  7. Specifying Primary Anchor Size
  8. Kedge (Secondary Anchor)—Recommended Type and Size
  9. Third Anchors, Storm Anchors and Spare Anchors
  10. Anchor Tests—The Good, The Bad, and The Downright Silly
  11. Making Anchor Tests More Meaningful
  12. We Love The Way Our Anchor Drags 
  13. Things to Know About Anchor Chain
  14. Selecting a Chain Grade
  15. Anchor Chain Catenary, When it Matters and When it Doesn’t
  16. Anchoring—Snubbers
  17. Anchor Rode Questions and Answers
  18. Q&A: Hybrid Rope And Chain Anchor Rodes
  19. Anchor Swivels, Just Say No
  20. A Windlass That Makes The Grade
  21. The Perfect Anchor Roller
  22. Install A Wash-down Pump—And Save Money!
  23. Anchoring—Kellets
  24. Anchoring—Chain: Stoppers, Termination and Marking
  25. 20 Tips To Get Anchored and Stay Anchored
  26. Choosing an Anchorage
  27. Choosing a Spot
  28. 15 Steps To Getting Securely Anchored
  29. One Anchor or Two?
  30. Two Anchors Done Right
  31. It’s Often Better to Anchor Than Pick Up a Mooring
  32. Yawing at Anchor, The Theory and The Solution
  33. Surging at The Anchor, an Alternative Proven Cure
  34. ShoreFasts—Part 1, When to Use Them
  35. ShoreFasts—Part 2, Example Setups Plus Tips and Tricks
  36. ShoreFasts—Part 3, The Gear
  37. How To Use An Anchor Trip Line
  38. Gale And Storm Preparation, At Anchor Or On A Mooring
  39. Storm Preparation, All Chain On Deck

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 18 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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