The Perfect Anchor Roller

Our good, but by no means perfect, anchor rollers on "Morgan's Cloud".
Our  anchor rollers on "Morgan's Cloud".

We offshore sailors have the ability to put up for years, and sometimes even for decades, with gear that really does not work very well. And yet we also have gear on our boats that has been refined to be near perfect. This dichotomy never ceases to amaze me.

A good example of the latter is the two-speed self-tailing winch, a machine that has been essentially unchanged for some 30 years and that just works so perfectly that it's hard to think of any way to improve it.

On the other hand, bow (anchor) rollers by and large fall into the former category. Most of them don't work very well, and yet we put up with this sad state of affairs and seem to assume that the rollers provided by most boat builders are as good as it gets.

But they aren't, and improving or replacing them is one of the most useful modifications we can make to a voyaging boat. Let's look at what makes the perfect anchor roller, or at least way better than standard, and how to build one.

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  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 Some 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. Things to Know About Anchor Chain
  12. Selecting a Chain Grade
  13. Anchor Chain Catenary, When it Matters and When it Doesn’t
  14. Anchoring—Snubbers
  15. Anchor Rode Questions and Answers
  16. Q&A: Hybrid Rope And Chain Anchor Rodes
  17. Anchor Swivels, Just Say No
  18. A Windlass That Makes The Grade
  19. The Perfect Anchor Roller
  20. Install A Wash-down Pump—And Save Money!
  21. Anchoring—Kellets
  22. Anchoring—Chain: Stoppers, Termination and Marking
  23. 20 Tips To Get Anchored and Stay Anchored
  24. Choosing an Anchorage
  25. Choosing a Spot
  26. 15 Steps To Getting Securely Anchored
  27. One Anchor or Two?
  28. Two Anchors Done Right
  29. It’s Often Better to Anchor Than Pick Up a Mooring
  30. Yawing at Anchor, The Theory and The Solution
  31. Surging at The Anchor, an Alternative Proven Cure
  32. ShoreFasts—Part 1, When to Use Them
  33. ShoreFasts—Part 2, Example Setups Plus Tips and Tricks
  34. ShoreFasts—Part 3, The Gear
  35. How To Use An Anchor Trip Line
  36. Gale And Storm Preparation, At Anchor Or On A Mooring
  37. 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 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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