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  #1  
Old 08-27-2006
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how many anchors do you need?

I just bought a 27 foot sailboat and I went through the various lockers and lazarettes and found 4 anchors and one sea-anchor.

The anchors seem to be doubles ( two of the same).
They are all danfourth anchors. On the two smaller ones the blade is just shy of two hand lengths (probably about 15 inches). The two big ones have blades that are about 21 inches long.

Do I need that many anchors? How many anchor lines should you carry?

Also, one of the big ones is the aluminum type. A Fortress brand. It is nice and light but is it as good as the heavy ones?

Thanks,
groundhog
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Old 08-27-2006
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Generally, the heavier the anchor, the better...

It is generally unwise to have four anchors of the same design on a boat, as different anchors have different strengths and weaknesses. For instance, having four fluke-type anchors means that you've got four relatively, lightweight anchors that don't handle shifting winds or currents well. Danforths tend to have great holding power, provided that the boat doesn't shift in relation to the anchor. They also hold best in sand and mud bottoms, and have some issues in kelp, grass and rocky bottoms.

I generally recommend that you carry a minimum of two anchors, and that one be a lighter anchor that can be handled in a dinghy and used for kedging off the boat, and things like that. On my boat, that anchor is a 13 lb. Danforth, with 10' 1/4" chain and 100' 1/2" nylon.

Your primary anchor should be larger, heavier and stronger. My primary anchor is a 33. lb. Rocna, on 30' G4 chain and 280' 5/8" nylon rode. This anchor is a bit oversized for my boat, but once it sets, I really don't worry very much about it.

Some people think that anchoring using two anchors is more secure than using a single larger anchor. I think that is a bad way of thinking. Two anchors are harder to set, harder to retrieve, increase the chance of fouling, and it is difficult to truly set both anchors properly. On a bad bottom—kelp or grass—a heavier anchor is much more likely to set properly, and having two lighter ones is going to be a much worse choice, as neither will probably set properly.

Sea anchors can be a problem unless you have specially designed points for attaching the sea anchor. Most large parachute type sea-anchors are capable of stopping the boat almost completely in the middle of the ocean. However, the shock loads on the attachment points are very, very high, and if not properly engineered, can tear the points from the boat.

BTW, I prefer a Jordan Series Drogue, as it generates far lower loads, and has been proven to be a very safe way to survive heavy weather. I think it is a better choice, as it was designed specifically to help prevent rogue waves and breaking waves from damaging the boat.

I hope this helps.
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Old 08-28-2006
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Fortress

In general I agree with sailingdog.

Regarding Fortress anchors. They can be a wonderful thing. Danforths depend more on fluke area than on sheer weight. That does not mean that weight does not help. However, in clean sand or especially a soft (mud/muck) bottom the danforth type in a large size is best for a straight one direction pull, (assumes it will not trip out and have to reset). The Fortress allows you to have a HUGE, fluke area but in a anchor that you can manage. Ever try to manage a 60 pound danforth in a 8' or 9' dingy and Oh bye the way, where on a small boat do you store a HUGE danforth? The fortress can be taken apart and stored until "THE STORM", or you need to kedge off and the only place to set the main anchor is a mud bank.

That said I am much more comfortable on a single anchor if it is NOT a danforth type. CQR, Bruce, Rokna etc 'AS BIG AS YOU CAN MANAGE'.

My other favorite anchor thingy is a sentinal. Usually tied to anchor line so that the weight is just off the bottom at low tide. For me the sentinal collection is a couple of weights, 10-15 lb and a 20-30 lb lead weights. They have eye bolts in them and I use rolling hitch to secure to the anchor line/chain wiht small stuff (3/16 etc) and then let them out to hold the line down (increase scope). Depending on conditions I might use the smaller or the larger or both or neither one. Even more important in a crowded anchorage is to keep your anchor line down so some YAHOO in a motorboat does not run over it. Ticks me off to see folks that make the area a navagation hazard with long anchor lines leading out a a shallow angle so I can get wrapped up in them. Also it prevents the anchor line from tangling up onto fin keels and spade rudders when the tide turns and the boat spins around.
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Old 08-28-2006
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An anchor sentinel is also called a kellet.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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Old 08-28-2006
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I have a CQR primary on 30/300, a secondary Fortress on the same, and a smaller Danforth on 100' of line for a lunch hook off the stern. Seems to work well for me.
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Old 08-28-2006
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You didn't say how you intend to use the boat. But I doubt you need more than 2 anchors on your boat. In a perfect world they would be different types. 4 or more anchors are appropriate for an ocean cruiser BTW, but mostly because you might loose one.

I have been boating for 30 years and have only had Danforth HT anchors, but there are better anchors out there. It's just that I wouldn't worry about it yet. Keep the best Danforth on board and the Fortress and take the others home. Keep weight off your boat as much as possible for weekending and day sailing. 27 foot boats are easy to overload. If your boat came with Danforth anchors it is probably because they work well in your area.

When and if you head off to distant places you can outfit the boat with more stuff.

Last edited by Gene T; 08-28-2006 at 03:17 PM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene T
I have been boating for 30 years had 3 have only had Danforth HT anchors, but there are better anchors out there. It's just that I wouldn't worry about it yet. Keep the best Danforth on board and the Fortress and take the others home. Keep weight off your boat as much as possible for weekending and day sailing. 27 foot boats are easy to overload. If your boat came with Danforth anchors it is probably because they work well in your area.
GeneT-

You're making the assumption that he bought the boat in the area he will be sailing in, which may or may not be the case. However, your suggestion that he talk to local sailors, in the area he will be sailing in, for what kind of anchors work well in the area is a good one.
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
GeneT-

You're making the assumption that he bought the boat in the area he will be sailing in, which may or may not be the case. However, your suggestion that he talk to local sailors, in the area he will be sailing in, for what kind of anchors work well in the area is a good one.
Agree, but that is a pretty good assumption. Sorry for the typo, I was going to say I have had 3 very different 30 ft boats and have used Danforth anchors on both coasts. Never had an anchor drag. I will occasionally lightly set a stern anchor after digging in the primary first if I expect wind or current problems. Never had to anchor in a storm. While I do believe the newer designs are better, there is a tendency to tell newbies horror stories about what they should or should not use for gear on their new boat. A 27 ft boat is also easier to anchor, simply because it is so much easier to hold.
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The only complaint I've got with my Rocna, is that it seems to bring up almost 25 lbs. of the bottom with it, every time I haul it up.

Setting the second anchor is not a bad idea, provided you've got the anchor set in the right position for the current/wind shift, especially with fluke type anchors.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 08-29-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by groundhog
The anchors seem to be doubles ( two of the same).
They are all danfourth anchors. On the two smaller ones the blade is just shy of two hand lengths (probably about 15 inches). The two big ones have blades that are about 21 inches long.

Do I need that many anchors? How many anchor lines should you carry?

Also, one of the big ones is the aluminum type. A Fortress brand. It is nice and light but is it as good as the heavy ones?
No you don't need that many anchors. As someone has said it's common to carry multiple hooks, but if you do so you would vary the type so as to cover all your bets. Having four Danforth-styles is silly, especially as a Danforth style, including the Fortress, is not to be used as a general purpose primary anchor. Don't think to routinely use multiple anchors at the same time, that's not sensible - it complicates things unnecessarily.

Advice: get rid of three of them, keep the fourth (e.g. the Fortress) as a spare or auxillary, and buy a decent primary hook. Maybe a third would be nice if you don't mind the extra weight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailandoar
My other favorite anchor thingy is a sentinal. Usually tied to anchor line so that the weight is just off the bottom at low tide. For me the sentinal collection is a couple of weights, 10-15 lb and a 20-30 lb lead weights. They have eye bolts in them and I use rolling hitch to secure to the anchor line/chain wiht small stuff (3/16 etc) and then let them out to hold the line down (increase scope). Depending on conditions I might use the smaller or the larger or both or neither one. Even more important in a crowded anchorage is to keep your anchor line down so some YAHOO in a motorboat does not run over it. Ticks me off to see folks that make the area a navagation hazard with long anchor lines leading out a a shallow angle so I can get wrapped up in them. Also it prevents the anchor line from tangling up onto fin keels and spade rudders when the tide turns and the boat spins around.
All true - but don't lull yourself into a false sense of security; kellets/sentinels do very little for the ultimate holding power of the anchor. An all-chain rode may be a better solution to address the issues mentioned, depending on the area and the boat.
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