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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
At about 4 PM Tues
June 9, 2009 I was at the following location on my first charter.

N39 06.161
W76 12.961

I was on a Lippincott 30 about the same as a Catalina 30.

As you can see I'm in the Grays Inn Creek a common anchorage all mud.
The main difference was that there was one of the worst thunderstorm anyone ever remembered. Trees were down, electricity was out and the wind was reported at 62 MPH.

My problem was I could not get the danforth type, maybe 20 lbs, anchor to stick. I would drop it over let out the scope, all I had maybe 60' in 12' of water and I could just pull it in.

The anchor did have a significant bend in the shaft right at the head of the anchor. At first I thought it was bent enough that the blades would not drop through but would catch on the shank. On checking it was really bent but the tines seemed to drop through. The next day I tried using the anchor again in calm conditions but still it would not catch.

Is there any special anchoring trick I should have used?

There was only about 4 feet of chain.
All I did was let it down over the side and let out scope as the boat was blown back. I had help at the helm the first three times but after that I was on my own as it was pretty blustery.

Out of five tries on two days I was only able to get it to catch once.
 

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Chain should be about one boat length or at a very minimum 1/2 a boat length. Your also short on scope; 12 feet of water, I would be looking for more like 85 feet, for those conditions probably more like 10:1 or 120 feet.
Another factor, its a Danforth, not the best choice in my opinion. They are notorious for not setting or resetting.
 

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Anchorsmith
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Isn't it obvious? The anchor is damaged. It's not built that way to start with, for a reason. A bent shank means uneven load and almost guaranteed roll-instability. You might say your anchor is trying to chase its tail :)

The scope is marginal, assuming your 60' figure is correct (you say "maybe"), and is it 12' of depth or 12' to the sea-bed from the roller (which is how high off the water?).

Dump the damaged Danforth, replace it with something decent, and next time maximize the scope up to about 8:1 [counting from the roller height] if possible.
 

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David, it sounds like you need a new anchor.:( With a bent shank, the anchor flukes will be dragging sideways along the bottom. The pointy ends of the flukes won't get a chance to grab the bottom to dig in. Also, as TJK states, you need more rode and a bit more chain, too. Remember, in 12 ft. of water, your deck is probably at least 15 ft above the bottom. Therefore 60 ft of chain/rode gives you a scope of only 4:1. Not at all adequate in windy conditions.
 

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I had a similar thing happen one time. My son and I were out n about 35 knot winds one night. Sailed into a cove and found a sandbar. Our old outboard had decided that it didn't want to run that day. I went to the bow and tossed the achchor out to pull the bow around and pulll us off the bar. I threw it out four times and it wouldn't catch. In the dark a couldn't see that the pin that braces the tines of the anchor was broken which caused the blades to have the wrong angle to catch. It was bad luck that every time I pulled it up the blades were flipped the other ay and every thing looked fine, but when it hit the bottom it was on the other side. I finally saw what was going on the forth time I pulled it in. I beat the pin out of it with a crosstip screw driver and hammer. I put the screwdiver shaft through and bent the end of the screwdriver shaft so it wouldn't come out. I worked fine after the field expedient repair. I wasn't real pround of it hanging on the anchor bracket when we sailed into the marina a few days later with a red handled screwdriver sticking out of it but it was better than spending the night on a sandbar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Like I said it was a charter boat. I'm pretty sure it was equipment not operator error but since I haven't anchored much was just checking.

The charter guy didn't seem too impressed with my story. Said the boat was chartered almost every week for three years with no complaints about the anchor.
I said, Yea but it might have been the last guy that bent it.
 

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You guys seem to have missed that this is a charter. This vessel was seriously ill-equipped. 60' of rode is enough for a short stop in calm weather. In 12' of water plus 4' freeboard, in a storm you want 160' of rode minimum. Also, I'd say your hook was too light for the boat.

Next time you charter, inspect the ground tackle before you go out. Danforth isn't a popular anchor on this forum, but it seems popular enough in all the marinas I've been to. Mine is also too small, but it holds in good weather. You probably want 30# or 35# for a 30' boat.

Basically I'd say the charter company is cutting corners here.
 

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SaltwaterSuzi/CapnLarry
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There has been much discussion over the years about anchors and anchoring methods. And there are those who can anchor, and stay put, with the same equipment with which someone else furrows the bottom all night long. Of course, equipment has something to do with it - you have to have a functioning anchor large enough for your vessel, enough chain and enough scope. The rest is technique.

Saltwater Suzi and I have anchored successfully for many years, in all kinds of conditions, high winds, reversing currents, mud bottoms, sand bottoms, rocky bottoms. We have a method which works for us. I'm not saying that it is the only method, or even the best method. I'm only saying that it works for us.

We've got a page about it on our website, The Frugal Mariner. Here's the link: http://www.frugal-mariner.com/Anchoring.html.

At the bottom of the page there are two buttons to click to take you to an article about Bahamian Mooring and about Rock and Roll - what to do when the wind is holding you in one direction but the waves are pounding you on the side. Hope this helps.
 

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Telstar 28
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I'd think that the charter company would be more interested in taking action, since if you and your family got injured chartering a boat with insufficient/inadequate ground tackle, it'd be their fault. Personally, I don't go out on boats that have inadequate ground tackle if I can avoid it. Good ground tackle is definitely required for safety's sake at a minimum.
 

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There has been much discussion over the years about anchors and anchoring methods. And there are those who can anchor, and stay put, with the same equipment with which someone else furrows the bottom all night long. Of course, equipment has something to do with it - you have to have a functioning anchor large enough for your vessel, enough chain and enough scope. The rest is technique.
I have seen many yachts try an anchor, with a technique that has no hope of working, but at least with some bottom types I believe there are also anchors which have almost no hope of working no matter what the technique.
It is discouraging to see a yacht try to anchor with good technique 6 to 7 times with no success. Sometimes they leave (and many of the anchorages in the area have a similar bottom type). More often they simply give up putting any reverse pressure on the anchor and unfortunately will drag when the wind rises.
In the anchorage I am in tonight ( I have seen about 30 anchors). I have not seen one plough anchor set. There is only one Bruce anchor reasonably set. These sort of statistics are repeated every day.
My anchor is burred. Why ? Good technique ? Yes I use that, but I have seen many boats use the same methods, but with different anchors (reptadly) with no success. A charter boat near me with a terrible technique, but the same anchor, has also ended up with a good set.
Experience and good technique wont make up for a bad anchor.
 

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I'd think that the charter company would be more interested in taking action, since if you and your family got injured chartering a boat with insufficient/inadequate ground tackle, it'd be their fault. Personally, I don't go out on boats that have inadequate ground tackle if I can avoid it. Good ground tackle is definitely required for safety's sake at a minimum.
This is why paranoia in sailing circles is called "prudence".:D

I think the issue here is that it has to occur to the person doing the chartering to a) inspect the ground tackle (along with other critical bits and pieces, like checking the oil level and appearance, whether the seacocks turn, evidence of corrosion here and there, etc.); b) recognize if the ground tackle is in good condition, is adequate to the boat size, and that the rode is sufficient both in general terms (enough chain) and specific to the cruising grounds (7:1 scope minimum based on the local anchorage depths).

A long sentence, but shorter than spending all night on deck in a thunderstorm trying to get a bent, too small, wrong-type anchor to set with insufficient, chain-poor rode.

We have here the impossible situation of a (perhaps) underinformed sailor renting a boat from a (probably) underinformed charterer. The bent shank merely highlighted a series of shortcomings predicated on less-than-extreme conditions. The charterer either has no clue that his "lunch-hook" tackle is inadequate to the job, or would rather lose an insured boat than subject his customers to heavier tackle adequate to the job that is almost certainly going to strain their backs, smash off their toenails and maybe break their fingers...because they don't anchor often (if ever) and don't know how to avoid getting hurt.

I'm not putting the OP in this category, but the fact that he is questioning his technique when his description of the equipment is damning says something to me.
 

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SaltwaterSuzi/CapnLarry
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We carry three anchors up front; our primary is a CQR with 80' of 3/8" chain and about 250' of 3/4 nylon.

Our second is a bruce - with the same chain and line.

Our third is a danforth - ~60 feet 5/16 chain and ~ 250' of 3/4 nylon.

(Many have chided us for carrying so much ground tackle - to a man the chiders are either weekenders or racer sailors - we've never had a cruiser think we carry too much.)

We have always had the worst luck with the danforth - though I know others swear by it, we hardly ever use it. We almost always drop the CQR first - unless we feel we must have it catch immediately - then we use the bruce. It may not hold as well as the CQR but it catches the first time.

We had our engine conk out about 100 yards from an opening bridge once - with fairly swift current - it's surprising how fast an old f*rt like me can move when it's necessary.

I have heard and read conflicting stories about which anchor is best in which type of bottom. I'd be curious to know other's opinions on this and if anyone knows if there have been any definitive tests. The tests (and opinions for that matter) would have to include, in my opinion, not only holding capacity but how easily it sets on the first try.

For those of you who read the info on anchoring in our website, The Frugal Mariner, you know that we like to ease it in slowly before setting it. (No comments.:eek:) This tells us very soon - by the time we've got only about 1/3 of my intended scope - whether it's grabbing or not. If it isn't, we don't have that much to pull back up. We have no windlass (other than me) so pulling it back up isn't that much fun.
 

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Anchorsmith
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Old generation anchors

We carry three anchors up front; our primary is a CQR with 80' of 3/8" chain and about 250' of 3/4 nylon.

Our second is a bruce - with the same chain and line.

Our third is a danforth - ~60 feet 5/16 chain and ~ 250' of 3/4 nylon.
Your problem is typical of old generation picks - you're carrying all three major types. Why? An attempt at versatility? If you think about it honestly, you will realize that it is to try to make up for the fundamental problems with each and every one of those types. Each anchor is present only to address the flaws of the others.

20 years ago this made sense, but has not for the last decade at least.

(Many have chided us for carrying so much ground tackle - to a man the chiders are either weekenders or racer sailors - we've never had a cruiser think we carry too much.)
Well you can no longer say that, you are hereby chided ;) - not that I am talking about the number of anchors, but the different types. As above, you are actually effectively carrying only one or two anchors which will be effective for the desired purpose at any given time. None of them are versatile good general purpose picks. We carry four Rocnas, nothing else, and consider this perfectly adequate for anything and anywhere - see PeterSmith.net.nz: anchors & anchoring, photos from Patagonia & Antarctica.

I have heard and read conflicting stories about which anchor is best in which type of bottom. I'd be curious to know other's opinions on this and if anyone knows if there have been any definitive tests. The tests (and opinions for that matter) would have to include, in my opinion, not only holding capacity but how easily it sets on the first try.
If you want opinions, I myself would direct you to the feedback here:
Rocna feedback (Rocna Knowledge Base)
and point you to the comparative feedback (re any mentions of old generation anchors).

A discussion of the problems with older anchors and the differences brought by newer types can be found here, written by the Rocna designer:
An Essay on New Generation Boat Anchors

As to controlled testing, the only interesting and comprehensive test of recent years is the West Marine / SAIL / Yachting Monthly comparison in 2006. You can read about that here:
Independent testing (Rocna Knowledge Base)
 

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Cam,

I would be the first to "chide" Craig for his relentless preaching on the virtues of the Rocna, but he has clearly (and frequently) stated his allegience and I would no more expect him to back down at this point than I would expect you to call your Catalina 400 an "barely adequate coastal cruiser".

It simply isn't going to happen! You love your boat, you sail your boat. Craig loves his brother's anchor and uses his brother's anchor. Advocacy can't be a surprise in either case, and it goes beyond mere propaganda.

Once we all acknowledge this, we can move on. You wouldn't ask MaineSail to stop exhaustively recording his laboratory results on crimping, would you?

You can toss all Craig's "the Rocna is great" posts into a small oil drum and burn 'em, for all I care. Yak, yak...it's the Internet, Jake...

However, the shots of the Rocna holding fast in his quite laudatory "I went to Antarctica and took a load of pictures" thread....well, that, sir, is persuasive.

Let's see the Raya advocate drop anchor on the arse-end of a glacier. Me, I find this data compelling.
 

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Telstar 28
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Valiente—

Cam doesn't have a boat, much less a Catalina 400, which is the choice of our esteemed moderator CruisingDad... :) You're confusing RV Boy with BBQ Boy. :)
 

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Val...I would not bash EITHER CD's Catalina OR the Rocna ANCHOR. I simply think that marketing trolls like Craig deserve to be rewarded by us taking our business to competitors. I would have full confidence in a Spade or a Manson as alternatives to anything that would enrich Craig for his constant spamming of not only this site but every other internet sailing site that continues to let him post.
For what it is worth, I feel EXACTLY the same about Ancora Latina and the Poiraud memes.
 

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Val...I would not bash EITHER CD's Catalina OR the Rocna ANCHOR. I simply think that marketing trolls like Craig deserve to be rewarded by us taking our business to competitors. I would have full confidence in a Spade or a Manson as alternatives to anything that would enrich Craig for his constant spamming of not only this site but every other internet sailing site that continues to let him post.
For what it is worth, I feel EXACTLY the same about Ancora Latina and the Poiraud memes.
If it wasn't for Craig, I wonder if you would have confidence in Spade and Manson, or if you would still be using the old style anchors?
 

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SaltwaterSuzi/CapnLarry
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Sheessss! You guys and your anchors. I repeat my earlier stand - you find something that works, you learn how to use it properly and you stick with it.

You can sell all you want - I ain't buyin'. I already own what works for me. I'm happy, and I haven't dragged at anchor but once in about 10 years. Maybe I'm an anachronism, but when I walk down the docks and look at hundreds of anchors hanging off the bows of boats at our marina, I see Danforth, CQR, and Bruce. Maybe the occasional Max. I haven't seen a Rocna except at the boat show: at $649 (West Marine Pirate price) I can't afford to experiment.

I repeat, if you have adequate anchor / chain / rode, the rest is technique. If you don't know how to anchor your only hope is a lead elephant, a slip somewhere or a condo in one of those square states.
 

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Amen! If you listen to these guys, you'd think my bruce anchor will all of a sudden stop holding because there is now a "new generation" anchor being produced.

MT

Sheessss! You guys and your anchors. I repeat my earlier stand - you find something that works, you learn how to use it properly and you stick with it.

You can sell all you want - I ain't buyin'. I already own what works for me. I'm happy, and I haven't dragged at anchor but once in about 10 years. Maybe I'm an anachronism, but when I walk down the docks and look at hundreds of anchors hanging off the bows of boats at our marina, I see Danforth, CQR, and Bruce. Maybe the occasional Max. I haven't seen a Rocna except at the boat show: at $649 (West Marine Pirate price) I can't afford to experiment.

I repeat, if you have adequate anchor / chain / rode, the rest is technique. If you don't know how to anchor your only hope is a lead elephant, a slip somewhere or a condo in one of those square states.
 
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