Members' Online Book: Anchoring Made Easy—Gear, Chapter 3 of 19

Anchors—Resetting Failures With Rocna and Some Thoughts on Vulcan

Many of you will be aware of the excellent work Steve of SV Panope has done by rigging up a waterproof video camera in such a way that it allows the viewer to see exactly how an anchor sets, or not, in the real world.

For the most part, Steve’s testing has confirmed what most of us out there voyaging already know: Most of the new pattern anchors are way, way better than the old ones in every respect.

However, even more interesting, at least to me, is that Steve subjected each anchor to a true resetting torture test by motoring across the position of the set anchor and coming up hard on the rode at 180 degrees to the original line of set, in order to simulate what happens in a radical wind-shift, albeit in a much more aggressive way than we would normally see in the real world.

Again, in most cases, this part of Steve’s testing confirmed that modern anchors reset amazingly well, even after a radical and sudden pull-angle change.

A Scary Problem

That is, with the exception of the repeated reset failures with the Rocna, which you can see in the video above. (By the way, to really understand what’s going on here, you need to watch the entire 11 minute video.)

This confirms a suspicion I have had for some time, based on the reports of sudden and inexplicable dragging of these anchors that I have been receiving over the last few years.

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Meet the Author


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 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.