Well a skiing accident has laid me up with way too much time on my hands to ponder spring commissioning! We returned to sailing just a couple years ago after 25+ years away with the purchase of a PSC31 (scheel keel, 4ft. draft) that we spent the first year with her as our floataminium getting her slowly ready as monies and time allowed while we sailed a 16 foot sloop (Compac 16) to remember what this thing called sailing was all about. Last year was the take her out in local waters (Chesapeake/Rappahannock.) to learn her systems and mostly how to dock her (backing in with close quarters) short or single handed, and the occasional night on the hook close by.
This is the year I plan to go for several nights at a time (single handing much), staying on the hook, and thus am now looking critically at what I currently have for ground tackle. Our boat came with a CQR 35# and about a boats length of chain (30ish) and probably 100ft. of rope. I have pulled this combination up a few times, never in a blow and with the motor in neutral and auto helm on taking up scope as i haul the rope aboard to guarantee no prop fouling, then shift into gear and take up the chain as she moves forward to break anchor loose). I am closer to 70 than 60 and as I heal from my ski accident am acutely aware of my lack of a younger body! I am seriously considering a vertical manual windlass secondary to having a simpler, less to go wrong system, with less up front cost, and a newer type of anchor with the appropriate type of chain and rope for the windlass and shift the CQR and it's associated rode to the other bow roller. She also has a Fortress anchor in the stern locker that can be used on the stern anchor roller. I have dreams of going along the east coast and down into the Caribbean but at least for the next couple years will be exploring the bay.
I am very aware that 50 people will have 50 different options. I am not planning to circumnavigate, I am mostly in charge of when I go and return so can try to avoid foul weather when possible (clearly not always possible). A clock can be a dangerous item on a vessel so I will be traveling when it makes sense, not on an inflexible schedule. I am looking for folk's input for my new ground tackle for our boat, who cruise where i do now and where I hope to in the future, on a boat like mine, and knowing my plan to keep it simple and not carry unnecessary equipment and weight.
Thank you all in advance for the knowledge that is so graciously shared here.
Well, at least you know you are going to get multiple opinions!
I've had back, wrist, and shoulder problems. I'm good now, but I have zero interest in fighting with ground tackle. So you have identified one factor.
With shoal draft and cruising the Chesapeake, your rode is fine. There is nothing to cut on and you can anchor in water less than 10 feet deep for a lifetime. If you visit coral or rock country, the all-chain thing will come up, but cross that road when you come to it. There is NO REASON to buy a world cruising boat until you are doing that, a very common mistake. You have a nice Bay boat that will be easy to handle and safe.
Windlass. I've generally not felt a manual windlass was that helpful on a small boat. I'd either...
* Go electric (a small vertical windlass is not expensive and they are very reliable on smaller boats). They are really nice. You will need to splice the rode to the chain either way. Not difficult.
* Use lighter tackle (if no electric windlass). I'd be perfectly comfortable with a 25-pound Rocna and 10-15 feet of chain. This will be controversial, but it will work. A loop of chain as a kellet, for occasional use, might be handy. Again, the reason this works is that there is no reason to anchor in an exposed location on the Chesapeake. It will be just s secure as your 35-pound CQR, just lighter.
I'm sure someone will say "I have no clue." In fact, I've done a LOT of anchoring and testing in the Chesapeake. My feeling is that if you want low-strain anchoring on the Chesapeake, make sure you spend the nigh cozily up a small creek. But really, you're not getting younger, I would consider the electric windlass. They're really nice.