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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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Old 10-14-2013
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Anchor rode keeps wrapping around fin keel - can we prevent it?

Hi all,
We are in an estuary with a 3 knot tidal current, and twice in the last two days we have had our rode wrap around our fin keel necessitating fancy acrobatics to disentangle it. We keep the tiller lashed amidships and drag out dinghy out behind us, and we have some awnings on deck that provide a small amount of windage. Has anybody else had this problem? Can anyone suggest strategies to prevent it from recurring?
Thanks!
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Old 10-14-2013
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re: Anchor rode keeps wrapping around fin keel - can we prevent it?

I take it you don't have a chain rode? When we used to ride on two anchors with line in the rode, we used to run a 10 lb lead ball down the rode to sink it when the current went slack so the boat would clear it when it swung around. Wonder if something like that would work for you?
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Old 10-14-2013
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re: Anchor rode keeps wrapping around fin keel - can we prevent it?

Do some searching for anchor kellets. I have about 5lbs of lead tied to a piece of paracord. I clip the weights to my rode with a large carabiner, and let them out far enough so that the weight will be below my keel when the rode goes slack, but not quite on the bottom so that the rode gets held down vertically. Then you can spin over your rode and not get tangled.



I don't have a ton of experience with it, but I think it's a pretty old school technique. Here's an account of how it worked for me:

The Storm at Myers Hole | Sailing Fortuitous

There should be plenty of info around. (There are also a lot of other claims about kellets that I don't necessarily believe, but they're good at this one thing for sure).
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Last edited by chip; 10-14-2013 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 10-15-2013
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Re: Anchor rode keeps wrapping around fin keel - can we prevent it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gfh View Post
Do some searching for anchor kellets.
I carry a 10 lb kellet on my boat. I do not use it most of the time but I do use it when I am anchored where the wind and current are likely to be a problem.

I deploy as described above with a shackle and a retiever line.

I also deploy the Kellet in crowded anchorages to limit my boat's kiting, and to allow me to more effectively deploy a shorter scope. There is a generally accepted belief that a chain rode can more reliably anchor with less scope. Despite what the illustration suggests, even when the rode is stretched pretty tight, the kellet can help with holding. The kellet does two things. It acts as a shock absorber keeping the boat from jerking on the rode in a short chop, and the kellet adds weight to the line and lowers the angle of pull on the anchor in affect acting similar to having a long heavy chain rode.

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Old 10-15-2013
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Re: Anchor rode keeps wrapping around fin keel - can we prevent it?

Always called 'em a sentinel myself, but same thing... Quick and easy, cheap, non rust, DIY anchor sentinel.

Empty Gal Can (Plastic.. we used an empty latex paint can)
Small bag QuikCrete or similar
Scrap of SS wire (old lifeline or such)

Mix up enough QuickCrete to fill the can (make several for Christmas gifts)
Bend SS wire into U shape and stick into can (should extent at least 1/2 depth)
Let QuickCrete cure

Weighs about 20# You can string several in severe conditions. Plastic can cushions the concrete when its rolling around in the lazarette
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Re: Anchor rode keeps wrapping around fin keel - can we prevent it?

I have very limited experience with kellets, but my sense is that their effectiveness at improving holding power or acting as a shock absorber is inversely proportional to the conditions that would truly require such things. A 20lb sentinel like Cap-Couillon has suggested might do more in those scenarios, but you don't need more than 5lbs just to keep your rode off your keel, and that weight is much easier to manage if that's all you're trying to do. I'm thinking of reducing mine to 2.5lbs the next time I use it, and i think it will be plenty.

Here's an interesting article with some science on the subject: http://www.petersmith.net.nz/boat-anchors/kellets.php
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Old 10-15-2013
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Re: Anchor rode keeps wrapping around fin keel - can we prevent it?

Concrete makes a lousy weight.

The density of concrete is ~145 lbs./cu.ft.
Seawater ~64#
Lead ~709#

So if you've got one cubic foot of concrete in a pail, your net weight in sea water is about 80 pounds. If you used lead instead of concrete, you'd have a 640# weight. The lead is 8x as dense as concrete (which is largely composed of water and turns to dust when dessicated) which also means that if you use a lead weight, it will be 8x smaller than the concrete for the same weight and performance.

Scrap lead can often be had from tire stores cheaply (used to be free, but the recyclers buy it form them now) and working with it is not difficult, as long as you remember the fumes can be toxic when you're melting it.
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Re: Anchor rode keeps wrapping around fin keel - can we prevent it?

You all are awesome. This is exactly what I needed. Last night I wrapped soft lead ribbon around a spare zinc and slid it down the rode with a carabiner as gfh suggested (probably somewhere just under 5 lbs), and we haven't had another keel wrap yet. Thanks everyone!

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Old 10-16-2013
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Re: Anchor rode keeps wrapping around fin keel - can we prevent it?

If you attach a snubber to the anchor chain and once deployed you let extra chain out, doesn't it accomplish the same thing?
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Old 10-16-2013
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Re: Anchor rode keeps wrapping around fin keel - can we prevent it?

Great idea and I'll definitely keep it in mind.

We had this happen to us while anchored on the Delaware River in '77. We anchored at 0030 off the Salem Nuclear Plant but were wise enough to set an anchor watch. At 0300 my dad woke me when the anchor line was tight as a guitar string and leading aft. We had no idea what was going on when the line suddenly parted and we were adrift in 2kt current in unfamiliar water. We got underway and sailed the rest of the night to Cape May, NJ, so it ended well. But I'm real sensitive to wind and current ever since. It's happened to us twice more over the years but we corrected the problem before we lost the anchor.
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