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What method do you use to mark depth on your anchor rode?

  • Zip Ties - 1 for 25', 2 for 50' etc...

    Votes: 18 18.2%
  • Color Coded Paint

    Votes: 16 16.2%
  • Color Coded nylon fabric threaded through the strands

    Votes: 28 28.3%
  • Other Method

    Votes: 29 29.3%
  • I just guess based on how much rode is left in the locker...

    Votes: 9 9.1%

  • Total voters
    99
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I've always heard that nylon twist rope offers better stretch for docking and anchoring applications, at the expense of chafe resistance....
Actually, 3-strand is more chafe resistant (I've tested them side-by-side in the lab).

The advantages of double braid are flexibility and knotting... although it is more complex to splice and the splice is less robust in some ways.
 

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I've used 3-strand, DB, and climbing rope for anchoring:
  • 3-strand gives better grip with gloves or combination gypsy.
  • 3-strand wears longer and resists cutting better.
  • DB and climbing rope knot better... but 3-strand is easier to splice, particularly to chain.
 

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Colors aren't going to help in the dark. We have pieces of marlin tied into the lay of the line for every boatlength of anchor line...
Since you brought it up, how do you see yours in the dark?

We all have our own practices and needs. I have never dropped anchor in the dark, and if I did I would use my deck light and/or head mounted lamp. I want color coded marks every 10 feet because I want to be able to tell when I'm approaching the chain/rode splice and starting to lift my chain out of the mud (1:1 scope). Then I go fix breakfast and afterwards resume raising my anchor with my mud-free chain. So much easier than having to hose the mud off the chain!
 

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I've used 3-strand, DB, and climbing rope for anchoring:
  • 3-strand gives better grip with gloves or combination gypsy.
  • 3-strand wears longer and resists cutting better.
  • DB and climbing rope knot better... but 3-strand is easier to splice, particularly to chain.
I'm interested in your opinion on splicing directly from rode to chain (no thimble or shackle) with a 5-6-7 tapered splice. I've done this over the past year so that it passes through my roller more easily, according to the WestMarine video shown below. I know that the tight bend of the strands around the chain causes some loss of strength and potential for chafe, so I check its condition thoroughly every time I use it. It passes through my roller SO MUCH better, and can even go around my capstan without taking a chunk out of the adjacent fiberglass if I end up in a situation where I can't pull the chain by hand. (I try to avoid pulling the chain around the capstan because over time it would take off chunks off chrome). Just in case, I've spliced a thimble into the other end of my rode so I can switch to it immediately if the inspection of the direct chain splice reveals issues.

 

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Since you brought it up, how do you see yours in the dark?

We all have our own practices and needs. I have never dropped anchor in the dark, and if I did I would use my deck light and/or head mounted lamp. I want color coded marks every 10 feet because I want to be able to tell when I'm approaching the chain/rode splice and starting to lift my chain out of the mud (1:1 scope). Then I go fix breakfast and afterwards resume raising my anchor with my mud-free chain. So much easier than having to hose the mud off the chain!

this won’t work if there is any wind (1:1 scope)
I always let out my chain (90ft) .

My line rode has marks easily placed between rope strands. My original set still looks new after 15 years. Cost me a whole $5

 

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this won’t work if there is any wind (1:1 scope)
It works fine in a protected cove (smooth water) up to about 10 kt of wind. Higher than that, and the chain doesn't sit on the bottom anyway, so it comes up clean without having to pause at low scope. With marks every 10', I can tell as I pull it up whether it's sitting on the bottom.
My line rode has marks easily placed between rope strands. My original set still looks new after 15 years. Cost me a whole $5
I'd buy it if it had marks every 10 feet. Since I'm usually anchored in <15 feet of water, I almost never put out more than 100' of rode.
 

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I'm interested in your opinion on splicing directly from rode to chain (no thimble or shackle) with a 5-6-7 tapered splice. I've done this over the past year so that it passes through my roller more easily, according to the WestMarine video shown below. I know that the tight bend of the strands around the chain causes some loss of strength and potential for chafe, so I check its condition thoroughly every time I use it. It passes through my roller SO MUCH better, and can even go around my capstan without taking a chunk out of the adjacent fiberglass if I end up in a situation where I can't pull the chain by hand. (I try to avoid pulling the chain around the capstan because over time it would take off chunks off chrome). Just in case, I've spliced a thimble into the other end of my rode so I can switch to it immediately if the inspection of the direct chain splice reveals issues.
a. No loss in srength for two reasons. First, there are 2 legs carrying the load around an eye or link, so 50% loss is acceptable. Second, because you have unlaid the rope, the effective diameter is now similar to the link diameter. Rope-to-chain short splices test at nearly 100% min BS.
b. Wear. There is no chafe because there is no movment. It is easier for the chain to flex at the next eye. The chain is basically locked into the splice.

I even splice to chain when there is no windlass. Easier on the hands, one less failure point, and easier down the hawse pipe, if there is one.

As for splicing to chain, when the rode goes through a vertical windlass, I like the Irony Splice. Strong and feeds like it isn't even there. But harder to learn. Be careful to keep the tensions even.
Irony Splice
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Your method requires securing the rode, backing down, checking the marker position under tension, and repeating as required. Otherwise the rode will not be at its shallowest angle. Or you could guess at the tension, based on the wind at the moment, which introduces an error.

Surely adding "3" to a small integer before figuring your scope is easier.

I've written many articles and a book on anchoring. Determining optimum scope for setting vs. spending the night, and with variations on ground tackle and conditions is complicated. But the math is dead simple.
I would HOPE that everyone that anchors secures the rode, backs down and looks at the rode, as well as ensuring that the boat isn't moving! And that they do this as often as necessary to ensure that the vessel is secure.

I have taught anchoring hundreds of times, on many different boats including: Bristol 19, Pearson Ensign, Colgate 26, Pearson 303, Hunter 33, O'day 35, Hunter 36, Cherubini-Hunter 37, Fountaine Pajot 38, Hunter 41, Hunter 43, and Caliber 40. Frankly, I don't know what the actual freeboard measurement is for any of them. The best I can do is guess, and my guess ranges from 1 foot to 5 feet on different boats. I believe that the freeboard on my boat, the O'day 35, is 4 feet, but I have never measured it.

Occasionally, I have had students (whom I consider to be OCD) that want precise numbers for everything. It was in response to this that I began to show students how to anchor by figuring the maximum depth (charted depth + tidal range) multiplying by desired scope (with rope/chain 3:1 for lunch, 5:1 for longer, 7:1 overnight) and measuring the rode where the waterline and the rode meet. I also teach them the (corrected, because the book is wrong) ASA method because there are several ASA 103 test questions on the subject.

I will continue to do what I do, and you do what you do. Let's leave it at that.

Back on topic: I use whipping to mark the rode every 30 feet.
 

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So, E, what do you do, if the estimated rode to get the mark to the surface is wrong, once you’ve backed down? Easy to let more out, I suppose. Harder to bring it back in, do you bother, if too much? If you don’t actually have a rode mark at the exact rode length, how do you even know at all? What is it you tell your students to look for at the surface?

Our windlass drops 1.5 ft of chain per second. We can count and get super close. Normally, however, I just go up to the next 50 ft mark at the bow roller. Part of our math requires considering the 50 ft snubber that will go in, after we’ve preliminarily set the hook too.
 

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I would HOPE that everyone that anchors secures the rode, backs down

Back on topic: I use whipping to mark the rode every 30 feet.
We NEVER back down on our anchor when setting it unless we are Med mooring or if there is no wind at all. We let the boat set the anchor, which it seems to do without fail every time. For the first year we had the Rocna we dove on it almost every time we set it and found it rarely moved more than one anchor length before setting.
I have watched literally hundreds of boats plow the bay bottoms in perfect sand bays by backing down and tearing their anchors out of a set, time after time.
We use colored paint every 25' after the first 50 on our chain and cloth every 50 feet on our #2 of 1" braided nylon rode. Our #2 is basically a heavy weather set up and we probably wouldn't use less than 300' if deploying it, so the 50' marks seem fine.
 

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Minne - You're gonna make me teach the lesson - aren't you.
First - figure out ho much rode you think that you will need.​
Second - find the spot (there's more to this), stop the boat, and lower the anchor.​
Third - allow anchor rode to pay out (don't just dump it in a pile) as the boat is blown backwards, or while motoring in reverse idle. With rope rode a turn should be made around a cleat.​
Fourth - when the scope reaches what you think is 3:1 stop paying out line (snub the rode against the cleat) and the boat should snap into line with the anchor rode. The engine should still be in idle. This is your initial set, and it can confirm or refute that there is good holding. If you are stopping for lunch in the cockpit, go to step 7.​
Fifth - if you are happy with the initial set then pay out more rode to your desired scope (see previous post).​
Sixth - When the desired scope is out (or when you think you are close) back down on the anchor (gradually increase to 50% throttle) to set it. Verify the scope that you have by looking at the mark where it meets the water (adjust as needed), and verify that the boat is not moving backward.​
Seventh - shut down the motor and relax.​

Without marks at every foot, you have to estimate ±15 feet... it's the best I can do. The OCD students could mark their rode every foot I suppose.

The Hunter 41, 43 the Fountain Pajot 38, and the Caliber had electric windlasses. I have no idea what the chainfall rate is for any of them. Every other boat uses a two arm windlass.

I have a Rocna on my boat, one boat that I teach on has a Spade, a couple of the boats have Deltas, most have Danforths (or knockoffs).
 

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It works fine in a protected cove (smooth water) up to about 10 kt of wind. Higher than that, and the chain doesn't sit on the bottom anyway, so it comes up clean without having to pause at low scope. With marks every 10', I can tell as I pull it up whether it's sitting on the bottom.

I'd buy it if it had marks every 10 feet. Since I'm usually anchored in <15 feet of water, I almost never put out more than 100' of rode.

Remember when we anchor at home it’s like you 10 -15 ft of water .
So in 10 ft of water.....4 feet of freeboard equals 14 ft. 7:1 scope equals 98 ft out. Pretty simple. 90 ft of chain and 10 ft of rode. Easy to figure out In our case. Very rarely do I need an EXACT measurement. Being too microscopic and needing 10 ft intervals is over examination IMHO.

so you are lucky as most of your sailing is here in the Chessie which has minimal tide change therefore you never have to compensate for the 5-9 ft tide changes on the LI Sound or up north. Nor do you Often anchor in a reversible current like the Delaware. Again away from the Chesapeake that can be commonplace.

you could drive yourself batty with trying to figure this out to microscopically. In my 40 years or so in sailing in many different areas having 25 ft deliniations has always been adequate.

in terms of letting the water rinse off the mud by doing a 1:1 scope, you must be 1- anchoring in creeks with non sticky mud and 2- our anchor and chain is a Rocna ( I think you have a similar Mantus) , and the phenomena these anchors exhibit is usually a shovelful of thick mud in the spade which requires either a good wash down system or some other Rube Goldberg way to get the mud off the anchor. The newer wash down systems generate powerful sprads making this an easy Instal and usage. Most people once they invest in an anchor wash down are suprised how well they work, and would never go back to any other technique.
 

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Think when using any of the nextgen anchors Capta is right. We drop and drift back. If no wind then engine at lowest rpm. We like to leave the engine in neutral for awhile so the oil pump and cooling system is working as the turbo cools off. Depending on the bottom may go in reverse at 1600 rpm for awhile. But this isn’t to set the anchor but rather to check the set.
Find Rocna and the like do much better if not backed down on hard. This is especially true in loose mud where they don’t perform as well as a simple danforth or fortress. Given we’re mostly in the Caribbean where it’s easy to see the bottom over time I know this is true. I’ve ruin a good set by backing down more than once so stopped doing it.
Our common practice is to anchor then put the boat to bed and launch the dinghy. Then leave to clear. When leaving the boat follow the chain out to the anchor. Upon returning find the anchor again. Do the same every time we leave and return to the boat as long as we are in that anchorage. Also check the anchor whenever fins go on or use the chain to pull myself down. It’s amazing how much the anchor continues to bury over time and how long that time is. Days not minutes.
Its clear you want just a wee bit of the roll bar or no roll bar to show. Then it will reset nearly immediately with a dramatic wind or current shift. It’s also clear this family of anchors do much better the longer they’re left alone and work their way in. Given people are routinely using 5:1 or even 3:1 in tight quarters a hard backdown doesn’t help. The angle to too much. They don’t dig - just pull out and maybe reset when you stop with the high rpms.
I was taught what Ed teaches. It was definitely true for my prior anchors but firmly believe not true for the current generation of anchors. I gave up on the traditional teaching some years ago
 

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Minne - You're gonna make me teach the lesson - aren't you.
First - figure out ho much rode you think that you will need.​
Second - find the spot (there's more to this), stop the boat, and lower the anchor.​
Third - allow anchor rode to pay out (don't just dump it in a pile) as the boat is blown backwards, or while motoring in reverse idle. With rope rode a turn should be made around a cleat.​
Fourth - when the scope reaches what you think is 3:1 stop paying out line (snub the rode against the cleat) and the boat should snap into line with the anchor rode. The engine should still be in idle. This is your initial set, and it can confirm or refute that there is good holding. If you are stopping for lunch in the ****pit, go to step 7.​
Fifth - if you are happy with the initial set then pay out more rode to your desired scope (see previous post).​
Sixth - When the desired scope is out (or when you think you are close) back down on the anchor (gradually increase to 50% throttle) to set it. Verify the scope that you have by looking at the mark where it meets the water (adjust as needed), and verify that the boat is not moving backward.​
Seventh - shut down the motor and relax.​

Without marks at every foot, you have to estimate ±15 feet... it's the best I can do. The OCD students could mark their rode every foot I suppose.

The Hunter 41, 43 the Fountain Pajot 38, and the Caliber had electric windlasses. I have no idea what the chainfall rate is for any of them. Every other boat uses a two arm windlass.

I have a Rocna on my boat, one boat that I teach on has a Spade, a couple of the boats have Deltas, most have Danforths (or knockoffs).
I was not taught how to anchor in my learn to sail course in the mid 80s. I read a book which I think was called Anchoring in All Bottoms... and then taught myself from experience.

I began serious anchoring in 91 when I moved aboard and sailed to the Windwards where I was anchored every day for 4 years. I had upgraded to 200' of 5/16 chain an a reversing vertical windlass. I kept my 36# CQR. I marked my chain as previously noted.

I discovered was has been a VERY reliable anchoring technique. I haven't dragged since then.

The KEY is that my snubber has a rubber mooring compensator with 3 coils. After survey and selection of my spot.... I deploy the desired scope.... rounded to the closest 25' mark on the chain. the mark is at the roller. I then hook on the snubber at the roller and hold the bitter end of the snubber using the windlass drum as a turning point to the cleat. Next I lower more chain which pulls the snubber with it. When the compensator is above the water level and visible I tie it off. Then I let more chain out and the snubber is now taking all the anchor load.

What will happen in there is some wind as is typical.... the wind will push the bow and it is not longer weather cocked. Wind pushes at the increased area of the boat. Here is the TELL:

If the coils on the mooring compensator untwist... this tell me that the tension in the rode has INCREASED. The tension will not increase in a dragging anchor. The MORE the coils untwist.... the greater the tension and this is a unambiguous sign that the anchor has properly set.

When the wind is light I back down and observe the uncoiling of the line around the compensator. No uncoiling means the anchor has not set.

Finally I lift the chain up so the line fits into the grove in the bow roller with the chain laying on top.

Compensator is the tell.
 

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Have a wash down. It’s wonderful on the chain. On the Rocna find once you’re away from other boats just leaving it in the water and going in reverse gets even the most tenacious mud off.
 

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Had one of those S. It broke. At that time also switched out to always using two snubbers and increasing the size (strength) of my snubbers. Seems snubber failure is a not uncommon reason for catastrophe .
Believe snubbers should be run directly to both bow cleats not through a roller except in unusual circumstance.
 

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Had one of those S. It broke. At that time also switched out to always using two snubbers and increasing the size (strength) of my snubbers. Seems snubber failure is a not uncommon reason for catastrophe .
Believe snubbers should be run directly to both bow cleats not through a roller except in unusual circumstance.
A compensator parting leaves just the nylon rope for the snubber... for me it's 3/4". I never had compesator break nor a snubber.

I use the bow roller lead because it's fair and no chafing.
 

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I almost always back down on my Rocna to ensure it is both set and dug in. In some substrates like soft mud, loose sand, or weedy bottoms, it is better to let it settle for a while. But I still try and dig it in with the engine unless the wind is really blowing hard already.

My view is that letting the conditions dig in the anchor is fine as long as wind/current directions remain constant. But if you've got the potential for shifting forces, I would much rather know the anchor is dug in, rather than leave it to uncontrolled forces.

I do this by slowly paying out rode, allowing the boat's momentum to set the anchor. Once we're out to around 4:1 I'll slowly start revering on the engine. Low RPMs first. If it holds, then slowly build to full cruising RPMs, which for us is around 1900. If it doesn't hold, or starts to slip, then ease off and add more rode.

This technique has never failed me with the Rocna. Once it holds it has never disengaged or dragged. And we do anchor in some challenging areas at times.

BTW, the reset tests conducted by Steve Goodwin (Panope) shows that the Rocna struggles at resetting once it is dissengaged from the bottom. Once it has dug in it crabs around on a reset, but if it's not dug in, it can disengage and not reset.
 

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Minne - You're gonna make me teach the lesson - aren't you.
Not really. Already know how to anchor. :)

I’m trying to connect with why you like math at the waterline better, while still estimating.

Without marks at every foot, you have to estimate ±15 feet... it's the best I can do.
This is all I was asking. Whatever works for you. For me, the math at the roller is pretty simple. You’re already adding the remaining tidal range, before multiplying, so I don’t follow why adding a few more feet for freeboard matters. But, it works for you, that’s all that really matters.
 

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Interesting use of those rubber snubber things Sander. I think I get it, and it makes sense, although I certainly don't do it that way.

I don't deploy my snubbers till after the anchor is set and dug in. I work with the chain until I'm confident I've got a good hold. Only then do I deploy the subbers. Then they are deployed in a bridle, with each leg going through the bow chocks to stout bow cleats.
 
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