Anchor chain choice - SailNet Community

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Old 05-21-2007
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Anchor chain choice

I have a 35 foot boat with a 12.2 beam and a weight of 13250lbs. The anchor system that it came with was a 15kg Bruce, 250ft 3/4inch line, and 12 ft of 5/16" chain. No windless. I will be mostly be cruising around southern New England.
I was going to replace the 5/16" chain with 35 feet of 3/8" chain and get a Danforth for a second stern anchor.
Does sound about right? Any suggestions on what type of chain and what size Danforth?
Thank you
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Old 05-21-2007
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You are, of course, treading very dangerous waters here...asking for anchoring advice! No other area brings quite as much controversy.

My thoughts, being an old salt with many years experience with older anchors (Danforth, Fortress, CQR):

1. The 3/4" nylon is overkill, but you've got it. 5/8" would be plenty for your boat.

2. The 5/16" chain is about right, but you might increase its length to about 30'.

3. An older Danforth Hi-Tensile is much preferable to the newer models (Deepset, etc.), due to its strength and proven abilities. A 22H would be about right, but a 35H would be better insurance in a real blow. AVOID copies, e.g., "Danforth-type" anchors like the plague, except the genuine Fortress.

4. Danforths and Fortresses are good in thick mud, clay, sand, and some other bottoms. They're not good in rock or coral bottoms, and can be a bear to set in grassy bottoms. The Fortress, with it's wider angle setting, is best in soft mud and silt.

5. The Bruce you have is a good all-round anchor which sets very easily, but its ultimate holding power isn't that high. The Danforths, Fortresses, and many other newer designs (e.g., Spade, Rocna, Delta, etc.) have much higher holding power.

6. There are very few situations where you're likely to need a stern anchor. Usually, they're more trouble than they're worth.

IMHO,

Bill

Last edited by btrayfors; 05-21-2007 at 10:52 AM.
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You don't want too heavy an anchor line... since it won't stretch and absorb shock loads as well... most windlasses are designed to handle a specific size chain, and if they are capable of doing chain/rope rodes, the rope is usually twice the size of the chain... 5/16" chain with 5/8" rope.

I wouldn't go up to 3/8" chain, as it really isn't going to help all that much. You'd be better off IMHO getting 5/16" G4 High-test chain and more of it, rather than going up a size...

One thing about Danforth and other fluke design anchors is that they don't handle shifting winds/currents as well as other anchor designs seem to. Also, once they pull free, they can "plane" and not reset... which is not good.

Having a secondary anchor, like a Danforth, in the cockpit, isn't a bad idea... as in an emergency, say like the engine dying without warning, it can be useful to be able to quickly drop an anchor and prevent the boat from moving into harm's way. However, I wouldn't use a Danforth or any Fluke-type anchor as my primary anchor... as a lunch hook or kedge, they're fine...but not as a primary.
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