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Anchoring Made Easy
There are few activities in the voyaging life that cause more anxiety and stress than anchoring. But it does not have to be that way. In this book John and Colin share what they have learned in a combined century of anchoring from Greenland to Brazil, as well as a lot of places between.
Table of Contents:
Everyone loves to tout the benefits of their favourite anchor, John included, but this article is about much more: how to cut through all the claims to the criteria that really matter when selecting an anchor.
Colin’s in-depth, real-world test and review of the SARCA Excel anchor, based on a season of use in a cruising ground that is notoriously difficult to anchor in.
In the last two chapters we have reviewed the SPADE and SARCA Excel anchors. So which of the two is best, and are there other anchors as good or better?
When an anchor that thousands of sailors rely on seems to have a dangerous flaw, we need to write about that…and we do. Also, some thoughts on the the Vulcan and the Mantus anchors.
John spent some time at the Ultra Anchor booth at the boat show. There were things he liked about the anchor, and one that he didn’t, and it’s a doozy.
In a previous two chapters we covered our favourite anchor and a second choice. In this chapter we move on to size and material—even tricker things to decide on. But not to worry, we make it simple.
The second most important anchor on our boats after the best bower is the kedge. What type should it be and how big? We make it simple.
After we have bought our best bower (primary anchor) and kedge, what should our third anchor be? The logical answer will surprise you…as it did me.
We sailors love to talk about anchor tests, and yes, they are useful, but never forget that they are all fundamentally flawed.
There are probably more misconceptions and just plain wrong information circulating about anchor chain than most any other piece of cruising gear. For this chapter I went to the experts at Peerless Chain to get the real facts.
In the last chapter on chain we looked at the three grades of chain normally used for anchor rodes on cruising sailboats. In this chapter we carry on from that base and examine the trade-offs between the grades and the things that you need to know when selecting the right anchor chain and gauge for your boat.
There are two opposing views on chain catenary: those who believe that having a lot of chain on the bottom increases holding, and those who have observed an all chain rode being pulled bar straight in any winds above about 30 knots and therefore hold that catenary does nothing useful in anchoring. Who is right? Read on to find out, and also for John’s recommendation for the best chain grade to use.
Rope snubbers are vital for those of us who anchor on all-chain rodes, but the good news is that a good snubber is a simple thing to make and rig right.
Over the years we have answered many questions about putting together a good anchor rode. In this chapter we have gathered some of those answers together.
Many anchoring experts advocate hybrid anchor rodes made up of a long length of chain attached to an even longer piece of rope. But is this really a good idea? We examine the practical real world issues in this chapter.
We have never seen the point of anchor swivels. In our opinion all they do is add a potential point of failure to the anchoring system and provide no benefits in return. But they are, in fact, even more dangerous than we thought. In this chapter we explain why and even tell you how to ameliorate the danger if you really must have a swivel.
Most windlasses fitted to production cruising boats are simply inadequate and can leave you in very deep yogurt when things go wrong. In this chapter we show you what to look for in a good windlass and tell you about a feature, the lack of which contributes to about half of the dragging incidences we see.
There are few pieces of gear on many voyaging boats that are as poorly designed as the anchor roller. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Want to save money when cruising? John divulges a surprising way to do just that.
Kellets are often touted in books and articles on anchoring as a way to increase anchor holding and setting reliability. But do they really work, and should you buy one?
If ever there was a subject where the details matter, it’s anchoring, so John takes a deep dive into some details that will make anchoring with an all-chain rode easier and safer.
You can have the best anchors and associated gear available, but if you don’t use that gear properly you won’t get anchored and stay anchored. In this post we carry on from Part 1 with some tips for techniques to help make you a happy anchorer.
Deciding where to seek shelter with a storm on the way, particularly when far from home and in unfamiliar waters, can be one of the most stressful calls we voyagers are called upon to make. John shares his decision making process when choosing an anchorage to ride out a fall storm.
In this chapter John outlines the steps he takes to get Morgan’s Cloud anchored in the right spot the first time.
When thinking about anchoring, it’s easy to just focus on gear, but good technique can contribute at least as much to getting securely anchored. These steps, based on 40 years of experience, make getting securely anchored easy and repeatable.
John answers the question of whether to use one anchor or two.
Colin discusses how to set two anchors when there is no other way to anchor safely.
People are often surprised and even a little hurt when we turn down their kind offers to use their moorings in harbours we visit. John explains why.
There are few subjects around anchoring that get more discussion than stopping yawing at anchor. However, once we understand why it happens, the best solution becomes obvious.
Does your boat swing violently back and forth at anchor when the wind is up? Colin has a solution that is simple, inexpensive, and easy to rig.
Many people assume that tying to the solid land with shorefasts is safer and more secure than anchoring. But is it really? John takes a deep dive into the facts and in the process shares some interesting things about shorefasts and how to use them.
In Part 1 I covered the physics that govern the loads shorefast are subjected to. Now let’s move on to some example configurations and then some fun stuff: tips, tricks and hacks that make putting in shorefasts safer and easier.
John writes about how we rig an anchor trip line on Morgan’s Cloud.
John shares the checklist he uses to prepare Morgan’s Cloud for a gale or storm when at anchor or on a mooring.
What with spending a lot of time in the high latitudes and keeping boats on moorings year round in Bermuda, John has a lot of experience dealing with heavy weather while anchored or on a mooring. In this chapter he gives some tips for preparing your boat to safely ride out a storm.