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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation > Anchor Setting Woes
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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-02-2013 04:11 PM
Maine Sail
Re: Anchor Setting Woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
Obviously, the focus on the anchor in this thread is misplaced. A Danforth 12H is a common, standard anchor for the Chesapeake. Three strand nylon is a superior anchor line, if you are using rope, because of its stretch, which absorbs energy. You do not need any more than 6-10' of chain. Why make life difficult? Sailing is supposed to be easy, fun and relaxing, not some quasi-military exercise with night vision goggles, an all chain rode and an electric windlass.

What matters is the choice of anchorage and the technique.
The bigger picture is that finesse beats brute strength in virtually all aspects of sailing, yet brute force and equipment are the favorite topic of the forum threads. A novice who reads this thread would believe that he or she needs a $400 next generation anchor and 200' of chain in order to avoid dragging. Nonsense. The focus on conquering/overcoming nature helps sell unnecessary equipment.

The next generation anchor manufactures would love everyone to believe its the anchor type that matters.
A technique that leaves you with no idea how the anchor is set, or if it is adequately set, for what may lie ahead, is not a technique. IMHO it is like crossing your fingers and going to Vegas. Lucky better describes an anchoring process that does not involve adequately setting your anchor or testing how it's set by backing down hard and simulating higher wind conditions/load on your anchor.

I have seen far to many boats wind up on the rocks because they used the rock on a rope technique and relied on luck & drift to set their anchor. In a very high percentage of the dragging incidents we've witnessed, and we see lots of them here in Maine, properly setting the anchor was not part of the process. The "Gilligan toss" may work well for Hollywood but often not well enough in the real world..

You can get lucky for a while but eventually the luck runs out... That's not the wicked witch under the house it is his Danforth.........


This guy never set his anchor and dragged into us. He got "lucky" for about 14 hours until the wind picked up a bit then he dragged into us... Yes he is still in his PJ's because he went to bed using the "Gilligan toss" technique and felt comfortable with it. This time his luck ran out, and at 6:00 am, lucky us...... Arghhh......



Most any good reference to setting an anchor includes how to "power set" the anchor. Fortress anchors lays this out in STEP #3 as the POWER SET..

Fortress Anchors:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fortress Anchors
#3 "Power Set" Your Anchor

Know that your anchor is properly set! Back down very, very slowly.
Then as the anchor begins to set, very slowly increase the load with your
engine.

You can simulate the force of the wind by using your engine’s thrust to set your
anchor to a predetermined load. Match your boat’s total maximum horsepower
and hull type in the table above to determine how hard your boat can “Power Set”
your anchor.
West Marine also has a good reference:

Quote:
Originally Posted by West Marine Advisor
Setting
Anchoring Techniques

To ensure that an anchor "sets" well, apply tension to the rode so the anchor penetrates the bottom. Do this by making fast the line and applying power in reverse. If your boat moves, reset the anchor and try again.

Many boaters make only a half-hearted attempt to set the anchor by putting the boat in reverse for just a few seconds. To be sure the anchor is set you must put a reasonable strain on the rode for a reasonable length of time. Your boat should surge forward when you back off the power, indicating that you have put some strain on the rode to test the anchor set. We know of no way to ensure that your anchor will hold other than by pulling on it hard.
09-02-2013 03:49 PM
jameswilson29
Re: Anchor Setting Woes

Obviously, the focus on the anchor in this thread is misplaced. A Danforth 12H is a common, standard anchor for the Chesapeake. Three strand nylon is a superior anchor line, if you are using rope, because of its stretch, which absorbs energy. You do not need any more than 6-10' of chain. Why make life difficult? Sailing is supposed to be easy, fun and relaxing, not some quasi-military exercise with night vision goggles, an all chain rode and an electric windlass.

What matters is the choice of anchorage and the technique. The bigger picture is that finesse beats brute strength in virtually all aspects of sailing, yet brute force and equipment are the favorite topic of the forum threads. A novice who reads this thread would believe that he or she needs a $400 next generation anchor and 200' of chain in order to avoid dragging. Nonsense. The focus on conquering/overcoming nature helps sell unnecessary equipment.

The next generation anchor manufactures would love everyone to believe its the anchor type that matters.
09-02-2013 11:53 AM
noelex77
Re: Anchor Setting Woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
Amazingly, it held me in the derecho that came through Kiptopeake Beach sometime around last July 1st, with winds reported to be briefly in the 70s.
Wow 70 knots k anyone know where I can hold of a 12LB Danforth.
09-02-2013 10:51 AM
jameswilson29
Re: Anchor Setting Woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by noelex77 View Post

What is the strongest wind you have anchored with the 12 LB Danforth?
Amazingly, it held me in the derecho that came through Kiptopeake Beach sometime around last July 1st, with winds reported to be briefly in the 70s. I was anchored inside the L-shaped pier. It sounded like a freight train on shore. My boat was heeled over about 30 degrees with no sails or bimini up, vibrating up and down, and my Achilles inflatable with flipping over and over again.
09-02-2013 09:37 AM
noelex77
Re: Anchor Setting Woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post

That's right folks - no next generation anchor, no engine, no length of chain, no windlass, no backing up the boat - all easily down by hand with no particular strain. The anchor, chain and line are light enough to be easily lifted out of a cockpit locker - no heavy weight in the bow and no need for a windlass.
The Danforth can do very well in goog holding ground with a constant direction of pull.

What is the strongest wind you have anchored with the 12 LB Danforth?
09-02-2013 08:36 AM
jameswilson29
Re: Anchor Setting Woes

The Finesse Method of Anchoring (no engine, no heavy gear, no next generation anchor, no windlass and no extended length of chain):

For all you new sailors, to dispel the ridiculous notion that you need to buy all this heavy equipment and used complicated procedures to anchor effectively, here is my normal procedure - how I sailed in and out of my anchorage, and used light weight gear, to anchor my 7,800 lb Pearson 28, under sail only, this past Saturday night at Sandy Point in Great Wicomico River (I don't remember ever having "anchoring woes" or dragging anchor in the many years I have been sailing):

1. Drop jib as I approach anchorage;
2. Remove 12 lb. Danforth 12H anchor (YES just 12 lbs.) and 6 feet of chain from cockpit locker and secure to foredeck;
3. Remove 200' ft. of 3/8" (YES only 3/8") three-strand nylon anchor line and secure to foredeck;
4. Tack into anchorage under mainsail only (NO ENGINE);
5. Drop mainsail just downwind of intended anchoring place;
6. Drift into position slowly with no sail and no engine;
7. Gently lower anchor by hand until it just touches bottom;
8. Slowly allow anchor and chain to drop and pay out 100' ft. of anchor line as boat drifts away from anchoring point;
9. Cleat anchor line; and
10. Note with satisfaction how easily and effectively boat is anchored.

Next morning:

1. Ready boat to sail;
2. Put on gloves;
3. Raise mainsail with wheel locked;
4. Pull in anchor line over bow pulpit hand over hand until line is vertical;
5. As anchor breaks free and chain appears, move line back and forth to clean chain and anchor;
6. Raise anchor and place on foredeck;
7. Unlock wheel, trim sail and set auto pilot;
8. Remove anchor from line and replace in cockpit locker;
9. Coil anchor line and replace in cockpit locker;
10. Raise jib and trim; and,
11. Sail away.

That's right folks - no next generation anchor, no engine, no length of chain, no windlass, no backing up the boat - all easily down by hand with no particular strain. The anchor, chain and line are light enough to be easily lifted out of a cockpit locker - no heavy weight in the bow and no need for a windlass.

Although I now have a 12 lb. Danforth, a 20 lb. Danforth, a 25 lb. CQR, and a 7 lb. Mantus, I have never had to the need to use anything more than the 12 lb. Danforth.

The most important elements:

1. Pick a good anchorage - the single most important of all;
2. Plan it out;
3. Take your time; and,
4. Allow the boat to set naturally to anchor.
09-01-2013 01:12 PM
flandria
Re: Anchor Setting Woes

You also asked a question about communication between "anchor crew" and helmsman.

We have worked out simple signals to indicate

anchor down (arm straight up)
reverse (arm out, crooked elbow, hand down)
add speed (hand up, make circles)
idle (arm out, flat hand, horizontal back and forth)
cut engine (hand slice across the throat)
anchor up (same as anchor down, but since you cannot do both at once, there should be no confusion with that)
forward (arm out, crooked elbow, hand up)
go in given direction (point)

I listen to the change in engine noise to verify that the helmsman (my wife) received and acted on the signal. If not, I repeat til she does (she may have briefly looked elsewhere to check relationship with other boats). I need not look back unless I feel like it.

What this does not address is when the helmsman decides we have to change or abandon the process. It has happened only a few times to us, and we have not perfected that. I think a simple whistle would alert me to look back and then go check at the cockpit what's going on, or have some signal such as

abandon process
too close to other boat (point at boat, horizontal space between hands)
too shallow (vertical space between hands, narrowing)


If I come across something not covered by this, I walk back to the helmsman to say what is going on and what to do since talking from the foredeck, through a dodger, with the engine idling away requires shouting... and that is just entertainment for anyone anchored nearby.

As to the anchor set up itself, we have 100' of chain that covers us for most of our anchorages, supplemented with 150' of line, only 20-30' of which has ever been in the water. The more chain, the happier (and more mud collected, of course). If you constantly deal with mud (we do not) I would certainly invest in a high power bow hose-down!
07-22-2013 10:07 AM
Maine Sail
Re: Anchor Setting Woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
I'm just having a bit of fun, no worries.

The bolts on the mantus are galvanized. You ARE right that the bolts are another potential point of failure and another point to inspect. Personally I feel they are so overbuilt that it's not an issue, but I will have to inspect them once in a while.

What about welds, like on a rocna (the mantus has welded joints too)? Welds can go bad if not done correctly and are "technically" a point of failure too and should probably be inspected. That said, I never really worry about welds except for stainless...

MedSailor
Keep in mind this simple fact.

Each of the FOUR bolts holding the shank to the fluke on a Mantus is larger than the SINGLE/ONE screw you have in your shackle......
07-21-2013 11:08 AM
wcfrerichs
Re: Anchor Setting Woes

Used to use a Danforth. It held pretty well but sometimes would not set in the Hudson River mud. A clam shell would jam in the flukes and keep it from setting.Switched out to a Kingston Plow with 27 feet of chain, and it sets every time on my C&C 29 II.
I've used the plow in mud, sand, and ?? with great results.
06-30-2013 09:19 PM
engineer_sailor
Anchor Setting Woes

All

Thanks for the feedback. Lots to think about. We are currently on a multi-day trip and hopefully will get to practice. Also investigating the new "modern" anchors.

Josh
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