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swampcreek 02-09-2013 10:52 AM

Ground Tackle For Chessie Mud
I posted the following on a Catalina owners site and figured I'd drop it here too...

We just bought our C320 (#719) in September so please understand any elementary questions. I'm looking into upgrading our ground tackle (Right now a danforth type and minimal chain) for the Chesapeake which is mostly black loose mud, sometimes sand and of course lesser variations of everything else except coral. I have a few questions...chain, I thought the stock windlass was only to have rode be ran through it, do you wind in the anchor till you get to chain and then pull it by hand?

Also I see many types of anchors people swear by and then the next thing I read totally states something else, "Practical Sailor" just did a review on smaller anchors and the "Spade" brand (V shaped sole) won out. Does anyone have this anchor?

All our previous boats were smaller with less equipment and were much less of an investment so we just made what we had work (I NEVER had a windlass). With this boat we want to avoid as many expensive lessons as possible...going adrift with over 12,000 pounds is one of them.


4arch 02-09-2013 11:32 AM

Re: Ground Tackle For Chessie Mud
I have a 33# Spade (Model 80) that came with the boat. It's a great anchor and I sleep well when it's down. I've read that its main advantage over some of the other "next gen" anchors is that by not having a roll bar it fits a wider range of bow rollers. I know that the roll bar is intended to keep the anchor upright on the bottom, but I haven't had issues with setting the Spade. That said, I can't say that I've yet put its resetting ability fully to the test in situations of extreme wind or current reversal. I know other members have used other "next gen" anchors on the Bay and have been happy with their performance also.

I also have a Fortress 16 that's worked surprisingly well in the Chesapeake mud. Without a windlass on my boat I've gotten more use out of it than the Spade, putting it down on calm nights and only wrestling with the big Spade if weather is expected or when rafting. If I had a windlass, the I'd reverse that but would definitely still keep the Fortress aboard.

swampcreek 02-09-2013 02:45 PM

Re: Ground Tackle For Chessie Mud
It seems that it will either be the Spade or the Rocna.

CalebD 02-09-2013 05:55 PM

Re: Ground Tackle For Chessie Mud
In limited experience on my friends 32' boat kept in the mid-Chessy region his Danforth type anchor always seems to hold in the muddy bottom. That is all he carries on the boat.

RichH 02-09-2013 06:25 PM

Re: Ground Tackle For Chessie Mud
I have a 44# Spade. I sail the Chesapeake.

The spade is not a good anchor for glutinous super-soft mud without the following additional procedure:
Drop the anchor as normal, but do not pull strain. Wait 15-20 minutes (or more) so that the spade can 'settle down' through and deeply into the SOFT mud BEFORE you pull strain ... and when you do pull strain, do it on a ~10:1 or more scope, then set normal scope after youre sure its set.
Same procedure in spherical loose lightweight 'coral sand' in the tropics ... you have to wait until the Spade 'settles through' before you pull strain to set it. Once 'set', no problem.

The above procedure was told to me by the inventor of the spade before he retired ... and it 'works'.

However, even with this 'technique' in hand I still dont fully 'trust' my spade in Bodkin Creek or Swan Creek during any blow if there will be any wind shifts ... and use a BIG aluminum fortress danforth (with dual 'mud angle' settings). I use my 'spade' for 99.99% of my anchoring, and with well over 30-40000 sea miles. I really dont like danforth type anchors because of their inability to 'reset' over and over again during wind vs. tide shifts ... and thats where the spade is unsurpassed.
My wife (and sometimes me) edit a famous cruising guide for the Ches., so we've anchored in almost every gunkhole on the Ches.


swampcreek 02-09-2013 08:00 PM

Re: Ground Tackle For Chessie Mud

Originally Posted by RichH (Post 988092)
I have a 44# Spade. I sail the Chesapeake.
However, even with this 'technique' in hand I still dont fully 'trust' my spade in Bodkin Creek or Swan Creek during any blow if there will be any wind shifts ...

YUP! The Bodkin, thats where I had problems with my old Macgregor and a Danforth type, just glided along the top, before that and since then I anchored many many times in many different boats with no problems. I'm still looking for something a little more reliable. I have a tendancy to go overboard on things and yes, with all the money we spent on this boat I will probably be even worse.

PalmettoSailor 02-09-2013 08:07 PM

Re: Ground Tackle For Chessie Mud

Originally Posted by swampcreek (Post 988039)
It seems that it will either be the Spade or the Rocna.

If you have to buy a new anchor for the Chessy, I say go with either the Manson or the Rocna. I think the Manson is available for less and isn't subject to the questionable metalurgy of the Rocna.

I have used a Delta on the Chessy from Annapolis as far south as York River with few problems. There have been a couple of places where I could not get a set for various reasons (thick mat of leaves/grass or soupy mud). I have yet to drag, but my friend with a larger Hunter which much more windage than my boat drug his Delta so to avoid his experience if the forecast calls for stronger winds or a big wind shift I will use a 10lb mushroom as a kedge.

If I were to buy anything else it would be a Manson in hopes of getting a hook up where my Delta wouldn't.

pdqaltair 02-09-2013 10:17 PM

Re: Ground Tackle For Chessie Mud
PalmettoSailor's advice was sound. I've had Danforths, Delta, Fortress, and Manson.

The Fortress is great for certain super soft mud anchorages. Great for a kedge and for a second, as they are so light.

I had a 25-pound Delta on my 32-foot cat. Mostly very good, but undersized in soft mud. Easy to place and good with shifts. Always came up clean.

I then got a 35-pound Manson. The size helped, and shape is better in either very hard bottoms or soft mud. An improvement, however, it comes up loaded with mud. I keep a long handled plastic scraper up front.

Regarding the windlass, please tell us what type. Most have a combination chain/rope gypsy that can manage both chain and rope, but they will hang up at the splice if not done perfectly. One solution is to have enough chain to handle 90% of harbors, which will only be about 75 feet in the Chesapeake (I have 50 feet, but my draft is less); then the slice does not have to pass.

chef2sail 02-09-2013 10:46 PM

Re: Ground Tackle For Chessie Mud
This may be the most important thing you buy for your boat. It wont be cheap and take your time choosing. The new Gen anchors Manson Supreme and Rocna (Mantus is still unproved but looks promising except it is bolted) are far superior IMHO than other anchors as they can cover a wide range of bottoms. The set faster and reset fast if necessary. The weighted roll bar, weight distruibution and beveled tip help it dig in big time in most bottoms immediately. These anchors tuen and reset right away in tidal rivers/ switching fast currents like the Delaware or in the LI Sound. You should buy an anchor for many bottoms as I am sure you guys will eventually go coastal crusining an encounter them. Also the Chessie bottoms are really more varied than you think. Wye River- grass, Chester River leaves and thick black mud, Annapolis- silty, Sassafrass leaves and sandy. We have a Rocna 15 ( 33lbs) and it is the best anchor I have ever had bar none. It digs and stops the boat with a jerk before even backing down.

Cost- West Maine
Rocna 33 lbs- $345
Manson Supreme 35 lbs- $404

Before buying check the space of the bail over your roller to see what it will accomadate. Mansons shanks are wider and some have trouble, The tips should fit right under the bow point.

Also get on line prices from others and take to West marine as they will match prices. Same with the chain and line of the rode. I find the two superstores Annpolis- Hilsmere and Batimore Route 40 are good about this

Anchor chain and line- how much?
Rememeber in anchoring you need to add freeboard ( averages 6 ft) and high tide numer to find out actual dimensions when anchoring. For instance if you anchor in Chester River at 1 hour before high tide and its 19 ft, figure high tide it will be 20, fthen add freeboard= 26 ft. If you are putting out standard 7:1 in good wind thats 182 ft....30 chain and 150 line. assuming you will eventually anchor in water deeper than the Chessie, I know its shallow here, you should buy enough line so you wont have to eventually change out. I suggest 250 ft 3 strand. Thats the normal stuff.

No less than 30 ft of chain- it will help with the cantanary angle and it laying down when anchoring. More than 60 will require a snubber.

Find the specs of the gypsy for your windlass...either on line or call manufacturer. Some may have different sizes for the same model also. You want to buy either G4 40/43 or BBB, not just galvinized. You also want someone to professionally splice it for you.

Standard shackle with wiinding wire is the way to go... IMHO dont go the swivel route as it becomes the weakest point of the system.

3/5 chain + 5/8 line is good...but you have to find out what fits in the gypsy of the windlass. It will take both chain and rode. practice with your windlass in the slip so you can figure it out before anchoring, free fall, controlled anchoring so it doesnt land in a pile when it goes down and also practice what to do should it jam. Do not change you technique when raising the anchor, dont have the windlass pull you up or you will burn it out. Have the admiral slkowly motor upo while you power it up till you get right over it, then pull it up. Always use gloves Gardening type and throw them in the anchor locker, I have seen viscious anchoring hand accidents. Also you might want to invest in a washdown pump as the mud you bring up with a Rocna/ manson is incrediable and a testement to their holding power.

Take you time in buying this and get a good buy as well as system. Piece of mind and the ability to sleep safley are important. I have never slept better on anchor as with my Rocna, Also put Drag Queen on your apps.

Here are some online pricing
Anchor Lines and Chains
Gr 40 Windlass Anchor Chain

If you have questions PM me.

swampcreek 02-12-2013 03:58 PM

Re: Ground Tackle For Chessie Mud
WOW! Lots of great information, thanks everyone! I did see the "Mantus" on this site after my initial post and also have that as a possibility. I have some time since we're on the hard waiting for our first full sailing season on our new to us boat, I'll look closely. I found on the C320 site that chain can be used on the windlass but it'll knock the chrome off the drum (I'll get the make and model and look it up), others parallel a line to the chain but I think that could turn into a mess with a long run.

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