Using Anchor Sentinels - SailNet Community
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 1 Old 08-16-2001 Thread Starter
Contributing Author
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 251
Thanks: 0
Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Rep Power: 18
Using Anchor Sentinels

None of the usual experts on seamanship seem to offer any specific information what weight an anchor sentinel should have. I own a Flicka—a 20-foot boat, which wanders quite a lot at anchor. I use a 17-pound sentinel, but the results aren't optimal. Can you offer any useful advice

Dan Dickison responds:
Thanks for your question. The object of a sentinel (sometimes called a kellet) is of course to increase the horizontal pull of the rode. In his tome, The Annapolis Book of Seamanship, John Rousmaniere recommends that a sentinel be weighted by something in the 20 to 50-pound category, so your 17-pound weight is a little on the light side. Prudence tells us to err on the heavier side, making sure of course that the sentinel is not chafing the main anchor line.

Rousmaniere also explains that choosing ground tackle—including the weight and placement of a sentinel—should be based not only the boat's displacement, but also on the amount of windage of the boat. In the case of a Flicka, you're dealing with a fair amount of windage for the boat's length, relative to say an Ultimate 20 or other more contemporary design of a comparable size. That partially explains your boat's propensity to wander at anchor.

According to the chart that Rousmaniere supplies in his book, a 30-foot boat with a nine-foot beam (I realize this is larger than your boat, but it's more applicable than the information given for a 20 footer) will produce 700 pounds of horizontal load on its anchoring gear in 30 knots of wind. Logic tells us that the stronger the wind, the larger the load on the rode. So it makes sense then that you'd need a slightly heavier sentinel in stronger winds in order for that device to properly deflect the rode.

You might also want to consider other ways of taming your boat at anchor in a blow. The simplest way to achieve greater horizontal pull on your anchor rode is to increase the amount of chain in the rode. This may not be a practical alternative for a boat the size of yours, so I'd also recommend the option of setting two anchors in such conditions. If you do this, try setting them 30 degrees apart, which should make the boat dance a lot less. Alternatively you could also try a Bahamian moor, with a stern anchor set. That too would limit the wandering you're experiencing at anchor.

Best of luck to you.

Dan Dickison is offline  
Closed Thread

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is Off
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome