recommended "storm" anchor setup for small boat - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 10 Old 03-27-2012 Thread Starter
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recommended "storm" anchor setup for small boat

Hunter 25, about 4,000 lbs. I have searched the forums but not much relevant comes up for a boat of this (small) size.

I have a 15 lb (I think) Bruce anchor, and as a backup an 8 or 10 lb Danforth. (the exact weights are not stamped on the anchors so I'm going by memory here)

What is the minimum diameter nylon rode (or minimum working load) I should have for my boat, and how long for my part of the world? (NJ coast and LI sound primarily). I don't anticipate anchoring during any hurricanes, but we get plenty of days with 35 knot or more winds (just had one of those yesterday) so I want a line strong enough to handle those sorts of conditions.

Also, being that we have no coral up here in the Northeast, I have been using 6' of 1/4 inch galvanized home depot chain as rode. Is this adequate, again, for such conditions?

I am mainly asking because Nylon is not cheap, about $150 for 150' of the 1/2 inch bomb-proof stuff, so the smaller diameter and shorter scope I can safely get away with, the better ...
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post #2 of 10 Old 03-27-2012
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Re: recommended "storm" anchor setup for small boat

I'd get the biggest you can easily handle, and let's face it, $150 is just a little bit less than the boat's worth (although not by much ). I wouldn't want to lose my boat over a $50 saving on ground tackle.
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post #3 of 10 Old 03-27-2012
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Re: recommended "storm" anchor setup for small boat

The rule of thumb for chain is the boat length. A 25 ft boat has a 490# load in 30 kts and 980# in 42 knots... These are very conservative estimates with a lot of margin. 1/2" nylon braid is good for 700#. Simply matching line strength to load oversimplifies. Lines chafe and age and that reduces strength. Also skinny lines will be hard to handle especially under load. I'd go to a consignment (used) boat parts place. You'll be able to get a very usable heavy line inexpensively there.

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post #4 of 10 Old 03-27-2012
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Re: recommended "storm" anchor setup for small boat

The West Marine advisor The West Advisor: Anchor Rodes has a well organized answer for this. 1/2" would be counter-productive in terms of needless weight and storage space, and loss of shock absorption. How long depends on intended depth, doesn't matter where you are in the world, most coastal cruisers go for 200', here more is better to have.

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post #5 of 10 Old 03-28-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: recommended "storm" anchor setup for small boat

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Originally Posted by PaulinVictoria View Post
I'd get the biggest you can easily handle, and let's face it, $150 is just a little bit less than the boat's worth (although not by much ). I wouldn't want to lose my boat over a $50 saving on ground tackle.
haha I know, but the same can be said about almost every part of the boat too, no? So I better buy the most expensive GPS, the most expensive standing and running rigging, the most expensive sails, the most expensive etc etc...
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Re: recommended "storm" anchor setup for small boat

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The West Marine advisor The West Advisor: Anchor Rodes has a well organized answer for this. 1/2" would be counter-productive in terms of needless weight and storage space, and loss of shock absorption. How long depends on intended depth, doesn't matter where you are in the world, most coastal cruisers go for 200', here more is better to have.
Thanks! That site pretty much answers my question. I think since they recommend 3/8 for up to 30 knots, I'll go one size up (1/2 inch) for my "storm" gear.
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post #7 of 10 Old 03-28-2012
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Re: recommended "storm" anchor setup for small boat

I wouldn't go gor less than 1/2" for an anchor rode. Even my 23' has 1/2" it's not that heavy. $150 isn't that expensive.

Anchor rodes are something I pick for several reasons,
1. It is likely the only long heavy line you have aboard. What if you need towed?

Lines deteriorate with age, start big or you will be replacing it often.

1/4 chain should be plenty and will likely weigh as much as the 150' of nylon.

I use 3/8's BBB chain but you don't need to.

Have at least 10' of chain, even if you don't anchor in coral there are plenty of things down there to chaff your rode. Plus the more chain the better your anchor will set.

Chain to rode chaffing, as mentioned recently on another thread a real threat. Heavier rode will make it take longer, then flip your rode end for end periodically, it will last longer, and require you to renew this splice, eliminating this as a likely failure.

Don't skimp on the ground tackle, at 2AM when a storm blows up you will sleep better.

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post #8 of 10 Old 03-28-2012
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Re: recommended "storm" anchor setup for small boat

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haha I know, but the same can be said about almost every part of the boat too, no? So I better buy the most expensive GPS, the most expensive standing and running rigging, the most expensive sails, the most expensive etc etc...
In my opinion, that is not an accurate statement.

You may not even need a GPS. There is nothing wrong with used sails. You might not need roller furling built for racing around cape horn. You should, however, buy a good set of over sized ground tackle.

I would go as high as 1/2" or even 5/8" with 25 ft of chain.

I know it's expensive, but, when it's blowing snot at 3AM you will thank yourself
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post #9 of 10 Old 03-28-2012
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Re: recommended "storm" anchor setup for small boat

Wow.. according to west adviser my boat only needs?

36'-40' 32'-36' 29'-32' 1/2" 1/4" PC

I was thinking of upping to 5/8 as I now have 1/2" with 3/8" chain. (about 20ft)

Peter, pray you don't ever have to ride out a Storm! or even a squall! It's no fun, you can't sleep, boat rocks and rolls, the rode is so tight you can play it like a guitar string! all you can do is worry about breaking loose.

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post #10 of 10 Old 03-28-2012
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Re: recommended "storm" anchor setup for small boat

Everyone has their own definition of "storm" and all anchorages provide different protection but the way that I define storm, it means anything short of a hurricane. The best estimates of loads is still the ABYC recommendations which would put your maximum load at 1500lbs. Obviously, if you were in an area with small enough fetch so that there were no waves, the loads would be lower and if you were in a wide open area with large breakers, the loads could be much higher but it is a starting point. Keep in mind that the forces seen on an anchor rode are approximately proportional to the square of the wind speed so if the definition of storm is only 35 knots, designing for 1500lbs is overkill but that never hurts.

Nylon line is great because of its shock absorption but it can degrade significantly without being noticed. Over time, UV will break it down and there has been some testing that shows this can decrease strength by close to 50%. Also, under repeated cycling, the line can get hot and chafe internally and they have been known to break at way less than their rated strength. For this reason, I recommend using a 5X safety factor with the line meaning that it must have a breaking strength of 5*1500 =7500lbs. This equates to a 1/2" 3 strand high quality line.

For chain, you do not need to introduce a safety factor as the chain manufacturer will provide a safe working load. Grade 30 1/4" chain has a safe working load of 1250 lbs which is slightly lower than the stated 1500 lb design load. It is up to you as to whether you need that extra bit of strength and either need to go up a grade or up a size.

Make sure that the entire system is up to the design load. Obviously, the anchor must reliably hold the stated load in the type of bottoms that you are likely to encounter. Just because it held that much once in an anchor test in an ideal bottom doesn't mean that it will hold the same amount in your situation. Also, many people use undersized, low quality shackles which are weaker than the rest of the system. Chafe is important because it is the most likely thing to weaken the line so make sure that you understand that.

In my opinion, the west marine recommendations only apply to day boaters who won't be relying on their ground tackle when a squall comes through. I may be overly conservative but I know that I end up anchored out in nasty weather a few times a year and I don't want to break anything when it is blowing 50.
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