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Anchoring Made Easy—Gear
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 these books—this is such a large and important subject that we have split it into two parts: Vol 1, Gear and Vol 2, Technique—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.
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.
Chafe-Pro provides an off-the-shelf solution for protecting vulnerable lines from chafe.
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.
In the last chapter, I specified the perfect offshore voyaging boat anchor roller and how existing rollers can be improved. But what happens if we need to scrap the piece of junk the builder saddled us with and start over?
Also, are there any benefits to having two rollers? And, if so, how should they be designed to work well together?