Originally Posted by parttimesailor
I'm new to the coast of Massachusetts, but plan to do some near-shore sailing this Summer. My question - are there any good tools to estimate what size anchor and rode I would need for a 22', 1800-lb boat?
Regardless of where you are sailing, based on my experience from similar sized boats, and diving to inspect the anchors on various bottoms, depths, and winds, I'd advice as follows:
Use a plough style anchor (one solid piece). Do NOT use a Danforth style, they sometimes don't grip, sometimes get damaged. Use about 5 to 6 m of 6 mm short-linked galvanized chain as a minimum, but 8 mm is better (i.e., about 20 feet of 1/4" chain or 5/16" inch chain for those who insist in using old measurement units).
After that, the best is a special anchor rope that can yield under stress, but does not twist. Absolute minimum size is 10 mm (3/8") but I would recommend 12 mm (1/2"). You need to have about 50 m of that onboard (150' - 200') if you sail on open coasts, but 30 m (100') is sufficient if you are only sailing on protected waters (with short fetch thus small waves).
The anchor is not just for when you WANT to "park", it is also an "emergency park" tool, so what counts is the kind of waters you are sailing on, not where you spend the night at.
Stainless is good because it is easy to clean off the mud, if you anchor on a bottom with very dirtying sediment, and you store the anchor onboard. As for the chain and rope, I sewed myself a bag out of an old sail, with strong handles. That made it easy to carry the stuff from one part of the boat to another, without dirtying everything on the way. It also stores easier onboard, than loose chain and rope.
When I was sailing on really big waters I actually used all chain on my 20' boat. 100 m, 6 mm short-linked chain. But that's because we were anchoring on the open North Atlantic off Iceland at 35 m depth to dive...
PS. Whatever length chain you use short of the entire distance, you can find yourself on an anchorage with a rock ledge that will eat your rope off (I once recovered 5 anchors from a harbour where that had happened, they all used 5 m chain). Unless you have chain all the way, if you have an echosounder, check how rough the bottom is. Beware of rocks!