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engineer_sailor 06-26-2013 02:22 AM

Anchor Setting Woes
 
The Admiral and I have had some issues getting our anchor to set recently needing several tries to get it done.

We are in the Chesapeake (read: mud) and use a Danforth as our primary. 30 ft of chain and usually at least 5:1 scope

I am on the anchor and the wife is driving. General process is approach drop spot, coast to stop into wind, drop anchor and enough chain to hit bottom plus extra while boat begins to drift in reverse. Typically avoid piling chain on top of anchor.

Trying to narrow down the problem (procedure, anchor drop, driving, anchor type/condition). Would like to set it on one attempt and feel comfortable anchoring in tight quarters. Also, would like to reduce the discussions between anchor person and helms-lady :) and not be those people who have attempt a set 4 times.

Once set we usually back down under throttle and are good to go.

Advice welcome

Josh

chef2sail 06-26-2013 03:12 AM

Re: Anchor Setting Woes
 
Beleive or not the Chesapeake has many many varied varieties of bottoms.
For instance the Chester River has at least three. Greys Inn Creek is hard clay under small amount of mud, Corsica is dark black mud, Cackaway on Lankford Creek can have leaves and grass further back. All within 3 miles of each other.

This demonstrates the need for a good all round anchor. Ground tackle is very important in many ways especially in an emergency when you don't want to worry if it will set and hold. Another important consideration is what happens if the anchor pulls out. Will it reset immediately. Any anchor can pull out.

I would suggest on of the two new generation anchors Roncna ( we have) or Manson Supreme. We have never had an issue setting it, and 98% first time.
What size boat?

In terms of your technique, your first steps seem correct, just remember what 5 means. You add the depth of the water and take the distance from the water to your roller ( basically freeboard) and then take it times 5. My boat has 7 foot freeboard at bow, so in 8 feet of water it's 7+8 = 15 ft X 5 ( scope)= 75 ft of rode. In your case 30 ft or chain + 45 ft of line. I also prefer 7:1 when I can or in wind over 10.

After allowing the anchor to hit the bottom, wife puts the boat in reverse at idle and after the chain is deployed and under the water, I would cleat the rode and let it grow taunt. After turn raise the RPM of the engine in reverse some and set the flukes of the anchor. Then let out the rest of the rode. All done with hand signals.

Having a good anchor is important to safety as well as peace of mind when sleeping and when the wind pipes up. No anchor s good in all conditions, but some are ( in most ) like the new generation ones. Small price to pay.

Dave

Quote:

Originally Posted by engineer_sailor (Post 1049791)
The Admiral and I have had some issues getting our anchor to set recently needing several tries to get it done.

We are in the Chesapeake (read: mud) and use a Danforth as our primary. 30 ft of chain and usually at least 5:1 scope

I am on the anchor and the wife is driving. General process is approach drop spot, coast to stop into wind, drop anchor and enough chain to hit bottom plus extra while boat begins to drift in reverse. Typically avoid piling chain on top of anchor.

Trying to narrow down the problem (procedure, anchor drop, driving, anchor type/condition). Would like to set it on one attempt and feel comfortable anchoring in tight quarters. Also, would like to reduce the discussions between anchor person and helms-lady :) and not be those people who have attempt a set 4 times.

Once set we usually back down under throttle and are good to go.

Advice welcome

Josh


jameswilson29 06-26-2013 06:18 AM

Re: Anchor Setting Woes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by engineer_sailor (Post 1049791)
The Admiral and I have had some issues getting our anchor to set recently needing several tries to get it done.

We are in the Chesapeake (read: mud) and use a Danforth as our primary. 30 ft of chain and usually at least 5:1 scope

You don't state what kind of boat you have, but I will assume you have the average 30-35 sailboat. I will also assume you have the typical fin keel underbody configuration, which will sail from side to side at anchor.

The Danforth is one of the best anchors for the Chesapeake, which usually presents mud or sand on top of mud bottom, without too many plants. The Danforth flukes will dig in deeply in most Chesapeake anchorages and can flip and reset easily if there is a change in wind direction. There is no better anchor for the Chesapeake. Your greatest difficulty will be pulling it out of suction from the bottom the next morning (and cleaning off all the grey mud).

Why 30' of chain? Why only 5:1 ratio?

I use only 6-10' of chain and usually go with 10:1 ratio or more. For my Pearson 28, I carry 2 relatively light 200' nylon 3-strand anchor lines, one at 3/8" and one at 1/2". I typically let out half the line, or 100 feet in calm weather when I am in 10 feet or less of depth. If the wind picks up or a front comes through, I will release the rest of the anchor line. The great length of line and relatively small diameter allows for considerable stretch, which helps keep the anchor set. The Danforth works best with a high ratio, as every pull causes the anchor to dig in even more deeply, instead of pulling it up and out of the bottom.

The Chesapeake has so many beautiful, well-protected anchorages with relatively shallow water, there is really no reason why you should ever have an uncomfortable night or drag your anchor. You do not have to contend with any great forces moving the boat or exposure that you might have in other areas of the country. Avoid the crowded spots - not only will you have difficulty using the right length of anchor line, but you may also be affected by someone else who drags during the night.

Keys to anchoring in the Chesapeake.

1. Pick the right place to anchor - protected 7 -15' depth, plenty of space to sail at anchor. You can almost always find an isolated spot where you are protected from all directions and still pick up some cooling breezes. There is no reason to anchor in the open, an exposed area, or to feel crowded. (Buy Shellenberger's "Cruising the Chesapeake" for insight into the best spots.)

2. Use three strand nylon anchor line with a small bit of chain, maybe 10'. Three strand nylon is light weight and will stretch up to 50% of its length. It absorbs shocks so well that it allows the anchor to set better. There is no need for chain in the Chesapeake Bay - few rocks, no coral, rarely anything that could cut your anchor line. While you need some additional weight near the anchor, a great length of heavy chain could actually inhibit your anchor from setting or re-setting properly in the Chesapeake. Further, why should you subject yourself to dealing with such a heavy anchor rode, when you could be easily handling something much lighter, easier on your hands, and more suitable for this environment?

3. I like to turn off the engine, drift into the anchor spot, drop the anchor gently to the bottom, and allow the boat to drift where it will, while I slowly pay out the anchor line in order to set the anchor, allowing the 10:1 ratio mentioned, or more, then snubbing it down to set it. It takes some time, but at least your boat will be initially set in the right direction and the anchor will dig in. Your anchoring position may not be simply a matter of wind direction, but may also be influenced by the current, tide and coastal configuration in the area.

If you back up using the engine (I know the seamanship books recommend this), you are forcing the set, deciding the direction of the set, and the natural motion of the boat may reset the anchor, resulting in a bad anchor set and dragging when the wind picks up. Even if you look at how the other boats are riding to determine how you will back up, your particular boat may ride differently at anchor. While it may feel a little odd at first to allow the boat to drift in order to set, you will end up with a better anchoring position.

Minnewaska 06-26-2013 06:26 AM

Re: Anchor Setting Woes
 
I admire a skipper that will pull the anchor back up and do it over, if it didn't set the first time. They just don't always set right and how would I know if this is your 1st in 100 or your 40th in 100. I would rather you got it right! Also, not everyone would be expected to have the perfect anchor for all conditions. The next gens seem as close as one can get. If you don't have one, more tries are likely. So be it.

For some practical input, unless you are all chain, 7 to 1 scope is recommended. But this has more to do with holding than setting. I drop 2 to 1 and drift back to take up slack. You are wise to be careful not to foul the anchor with chain. Then I drop another 2ish to 1 and drift back against that. With 4 to 1 down, I then idle reverse against it and see if SOG drops to zero. In some cases, it will stick around 1kt as the boat is actually swinging side to side in the wind. I find the speed wheel will go to zero, even if I'm still slightly draging, however. If SOG goes to zero or I can visually assess from a stationary object that I'm not dragging, I may not be fully set, but I must be set. I then drop the rest of what it takes for the condition. For me, with all chain, 5 to 1 is a day anchor, 7 to 1 overnight and even more if conditions are rough. Once its all out, I power back against it to set it deeper and test the holding strength.

With the final power test, one has to be realistic too. While I might know I'm set in soft mud, there is no doubt that my 100hp turbo diesel can drag my CQR through it. As long as it doesn't pull out and a dart back at 4 knots, I may have to accept that the bottom/anchor just can't do better. This is where I have to assess how strong the winds will be for the duration. Light winds, no worries. Heavy winds and I'll not be able to stay the night.

Yorksailor 06-26-2013 07:27 AM

Re: Anchor Setting Woes
 
Your problems are easy to fix...Get a real anchoring system!

Get a decent sized Rochna (one size bigger that advertised) and 100 ft of chain. Drop rochna and slowly let out 4 to 1 scope of chain, set anchor and then let out another 1 to 2 scopes with a decent snubber. If any doubt let out more chain.

Works every time on my boat and we anchor 2-300 days per year. We get a first time set 95+% of the time.

I understand problems with weight and retrieval but when the security of your home depends on that anchor holding in 50 knot squalls that is what is required.

Yorksailor 06-26-2013 07:28 AM

Re: Anchor Setting Woes
 
Good luck!

xort 06-26-2013 09:42 AM

We cruise full time and live on the anchor most of the time.
I have had to anchor in 4:1 in tight spaces with strong tidal changes twice a day. Anchored in many 'soft mud' bottoms.

Chain helps, do not go with less.
Trying to set the anchor at 2:1 will increase the chances of pulling it out.

I suspect your problem is that you are trying to set too hard too soon. When we drop in likely soft mud bottoms, we do not throttle up hard in reverse. We put the boat in reverse with no throttle and let the boat back down gently until the chain is fairly tight. Then just a slight bump up of the throttle to around 1000rpm. If conditions are benign, that's all we do. This lets the anchor settle down into the mud. Later, if there is a threat of high wind, we'll turn the engine on and throttle up full in reverse to check if the anchor is holding. Works every time...so far! Just had 7 boats rafted to us in a soft mud Chessy bottom. Wind was under 5 when we set but over a 12 hour period it switched around 360d and picked up to around 15k at times; 4:1 scope and we held fine

BubbleheadMd 06-26-2013 09:51 AM

Re: Anchor Setting Woes
 
A danforth is fine for 95% of the Chesapeake.

Assuming your boat is 30 feet, I'd swap out your 30 feet of chain for a heavier size of chain. Have a section of chain rode that is at least as long as your boat.

Use more scope when setting the anchor. The goal is to pull the anchore more along a horizontal axis than a vertical one. Heavier chain and more scope will achieve that, resulting in easier, more secure setting.

Yes, you could upgrade to a more modern anchor and skip my other suggestions to acheive the same result of faster, secure setting. I'm just saying that it can be done for a lot less money, and a slight change in your technique.

chef2sail 06-26-2013 10:13 AM

Re: Anchor Setting Woes
 
To say there is no better anchor than a Danforth, even for the Chesapeake goes against all tests done by Practical Sailor, Mantus and even our own MaineSail'. It simply isn't so. The " new gen" anchors perform better and reset better not only in their tests, but my own personal experience having used both. Bottoms are different in different creeks even. A small creek like Granary or some of the Severn River ones in the fall will have a layer of leaves on the bottom from the surrounding trees. While a Danforth is a good anchor, I would suggest an anchor which is better in more bottoms conditions you will face as you really don't knw what you are anchoring in till you pull it up. Look on the docks at the sailboats. You will see fewer Danforths than others. The tests are dramatically different also ergo their growing popularity over the last 8. Most people with new gen anchors love them and will tell you they sleep better now.

James, have you used one of the new gen anchors on your boat.? Have you made an actual comparison yourself?

Minnie described the methods I use to set the anchor much more completely than I did. :):)Make sure you back down with the engine. If you don't, and you set the anchor in no wind and used the drift method, you may not have it fully set. Don't worry about backing slowly in idle in the same direction the wind is blowing to set. You are not forcing the direction. It's why the seamanship books suggest it. Course all that combined knowledge any be wrong:) if I see someone anchor like James suggested without backing down, and I know the wind may come up, I move away.

As far as chain, I would not shorten it. 30 feet is not that much at all. it doesnt hurt you. Chain does more than prevent cutting of the rode. Chain also will help prevent a boat from drifting around the anchor when there is dead calm, rope won't, doesn't have enough weight. Chain also decreases boats sailing on anchor in light winds. The rope is definitely more elastic as James mentioned, and you will have enough 3 strand out to get the elasticity.

No need to set out 10:1. Thats 170 ft of rode in a 10 ft deep anchorage. Overkill. That's how you float and get wrapped on a calm anchorage. Most other batters will not expect that either when they pass you or anchor near you and may foul or pick up your line. 7:1 is sufficient and recommended in most conditions.

Anchors are one of the most posted about subjects here and are important as is their use. When in an anchorage watch others for some of the tips mentioned.

I like to sleep well so my anchor is important. Also try " Drag Queen" as a old ap anchor alarm.:)


Quote:

Originally Posted by jameswilson29 (Post 1049827)
You don't state what kind of boat you have, but I will assume you have the average 30-35 sailboat. I will also assume you have the typical fin keel underbody configuration, which will sail from side to side at anchor.

The Danforth is one of the best anchors for the Chesapeake, which usually presents mud or sand on top of mud bottom, without too many plants. The Danforth flukes will dig in deeply in most Chesapeake anchorages and can flip and reset easily if there is a change in wind direction. There is no better anchor for the Chesapeake. Your greatest difficulty will be pulling it out of suction from the bottom the next morning (and cleaning off all the grey mud).

Why 30' of chain? Why only 5:1 ratio?

I use only 6-10' of chain and usually go with 10:1 ratio or more. For my Pearson 28, I carry 2 relatively light 200' nylon 3-strand anchor lines, one at 3/8" and one at 1/2". I typically let out half the line, or 100 feet in calm weather when I am in 10 feet or less of depth. If the wind picks up or a front comes through, I will release the rest of the anchor line. The great length of line and relatively small diameter allows for considerable stretch, which helps keep the anchor set. The Danforth works best with a high ratio, as every pull causes the anchor to dig in even more deeply, instead of pulling it up and out of the bottom.

The Chesapeake has so many beautiful, well-protected anchorages with relatively shallow water, there is really no reason why you should ever have an uncomfortable night or drag your anchor. You do not have to contend with any great forces moving the boat or exposure that you might have in other areas of the country. Avoid the crowded spots - not only will you have difficulty using the right length of anchor line, but you may also be affected by someone else who drags during the night.

Keys to anchoring in the Chesapeake.

1. Pick the right place to anchor - protected 7 -15' depth, plenty of space to sail at anchor. You can almost always find an isolated spot where you are protected from all directions and still pick up some cooling breezes. There is no reason to anchor in the open, an exposed area, or to feel crowded. (Buy Shellenberger's "Cruising the Chesapeake" for insight into the best spots.)

2. Use three strand nylon anchor line with a small bit of chain, maybe 10'. Three strand nylon is light weight and will stretch up to 50% of its length. It absorbs shocks so well that it allows the anchor to set better. There is no need for chain in the Chesapeake Bay - few rocks, no coral, rarely anything that could cut your anchor line. While you need some additional weight near the anchor, a great length of heavy chain could actually inhibit your anchor from setting or re-setting properly in the Chesapeake. Further, why should you subject yourself to dealing with such a heavy anchor rode, when you could be easily handling something much lighter, easier on your hands, and more suitable for this environment?

3. I like to turn off the engine, drift into the anchor spot, drop the anchor gently to the bottom, and allow the boat to drift where it will, while I slowly pay out the anchor line in order to set the anchor, allowing the 10:1 ratio mentioned, or more, then snubbing it down to set it. It takes some time, but at least your boat will be initially set in the right direction and the anchor will dig in. Your anchoring position may not be simply a matter of wind direction, but may also be influenced by the current, tide and coastal configuration in the area.

If you back up using the engine (I know the seamanship books recommend this), you are forcing the set, deciding the direction of the set, and the natural motion of the boat may reset the anchor, resulting in a bad anchor set and dragging when the wind picks up. Even if you look at how the other boats are riding to determine how you will back up, your particular boat may ride differently at anchor. While it may feel a little odd at first to allow the boat to drift in order to set, you will end up with a better anchoring position.


Capt.aaron 06-26-2013 10:26 AM

Re: Anchor Setting Woes
 
Anchoring is an Art. What do they say." ...any one can make a boat sail, it takes a sailor to make one stop." A lot of people here know my stance on size. Big chain and a big anchor. On my 28 foot sloop, I currently use 30 feet of 5/8 chain and a 35 pound Manson, with several 100 feet of 5/8 line on the dumb end. I just left my boat out on the hook in Central America with that set up in 25 knot winds and 2 foot chop and went back to work in the states. Put some good chafe gear on the line and I'm sleeping well, 700 miles from my boat. It sets immediatly every time. I'm even a little complaicant about it now. If the bottom is anchorable, it's gunna grab and it's gunna hold...period.


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