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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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Being too microscopic and needing 10 ft intervals is over examination IMHO....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.
Good for you, but not good for me. I like having my marks every 10' near the chain splice so I can know when I'm starting to pull the chain off the mud. I've had my rode marked this way with paint for 4 years, and my mental acuity has not suffered. However, it does seem to drive you a little batty. :p

...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.
I've used washdown systems on charter boats and my friend's Mason 44 which she lent me in summer of 2015. It's much simpler to have my wife slowly drive the boat out of the anchorage while I dangle the anchor just under the water. The mud is gone in less than a minute, then I just pull it up through the roller - less time than it would take me to go down below to flip a circuit breaker for a washdown system. I guess that makes me a rube. :p

But just in case I ever need a little washdown, I still have this portable system that I put together for my prior boat:

 
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in terms of letting the water rinse off the mud
In our case sand, except for FdF Martinique. I guess we're fortunate that the trades blow hard enough that the bow dips under the waves a whole lot when crossing the channels. In other words, we let Neptune do that job. lol
 
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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.
The snubber becomes the stretchy part of the chain rode. If the anchor is not set it is hard to hell at times... unless you are backing down and the chain pulls taught and straightens. Otherwise it is really not set. When the anchor sets... the forces on the boat pull on the chain and on the anchor. The chain catanary will lift if it is set... if it's not set it will not lift. My system SHOWS tension increase (forces) when the coils unwind.... and more tension as the wind or current increases. Dragging does not develop MORE force.... it just pushes the boat and drags the anchor.

Lets say the anchor is not set and you reverse.... The catenary MAY lift, the chain straighten but it's not digging in or holding. The unwinding... stretching of the compensator is the TELL on force in the rode.

How do YOU know when your anchor is set and you can then deploy a snubber?
 

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The snubber becomes the stretchy part of the chain ride. If the anchor is not set it is hard to hell at times... unless you are backing down and the chain pulls taught and straightens. Otherwise it is really not set. When the anchor sets... the forces on the boat pull on the chain and on the anchor. The chain catenary will lift if it is set... if it's not set it will not lift. My system SHOWS tension increase (forces) when the coils unwind.... and more tension as the wind or current increases. Dragging does not develop MORE force.... it just pushes the boat and drags the anchor.

Lets say the anchor is not set and you reverse.... The catenary MAY lift, the chain straighten but it's not digging in or holding. The unwinding... stretching of the compensator is the TELL on force in the rode.

How do YOU know when your anchor is set and you can then deploy a snubber?
We just don't put that much energy into anchoring. We put out our normal 3:1 scope, put on the snub and go about our business cleaning up the boat after the sail or put down the ladder for guests to swim. Is there something about the bottoms you generally anchor in that require so much attention?
 
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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 ****ed. 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.
Seems like a great system.

Only disadvantage (other than the slightly added complexity) is that it is more difficult to change the length of the snubber. But maybe that is less needed since you have most of the elasticity needed in the rubber?
 

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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 did have a compensator break, not on a snubber but on a dockline in a storm. It was oversized, too.

Still have them on all my breast and sternlines. MUCH less load on the hardware and the lines.
 

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I did have a compensator break, not on a snubber but on a dockline in a storm. It was oversized, too.

Still have them on all my breast and sternlines. MUCH less load on the hardware and the lines.
I use an EPDM snubber my port stern dockline, which is only about 2.5' long attached to a cleat on a floating finger pier. I'm concerned that such a short dock line will not have enough stretch, and in a storm the dock and boat may bob at different frequencies causing a cleat to get pulled out from the sudden jerk loads. So the rubber gives the short line some "give" to protect the cleats from jerk loads. All my other dock lines are long enough that they have enough stretch IMO.
 

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We just don't put that much energy into anchoring. We put out our normal 3:1 scope, put on the snub and go about our business cleaning up the boat after the sail or put down the ladder for guests to swim. Is there something about the bottoms you generally anchor in that require so much attention?
Right..... I lay our the chain... attach the snubber... let out more chain so the snubber is taking the load and go about my biz... because 99% of the time everything is routine.... anchor sets. done.
 

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Seems like a great system.

Only disadvantage (other than the slightly added complexity) is that it is more difficult to change the length of the snubber. But maybe that is less needed since you have most of the elasticity needed in the rubber?
The snubber is a few feet from the chain hook and the line is about 30' long so if I wanted to I could let 25' of nylon and the rest chain... but the snubber would be invisible and submerged.

I have a bullet float near the end of the snubber line in case I drop it.... so I can retrieve it. :)
 

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Bold declarative statements that include "never", "not on my boat", or "always" are fraugth with peril. I've sailed a lot of places on a lot of boats, and with regard to anchoring, there are a LOT of variables.

Case in point. I sail out of a brown water port in the Chesapeake Bya, where the bottom type is often not identified. You can't see it; visibility is VERY seldom more than 5 feet and only 2-3 feet in summer. Much of the year it is too cold to dive, and just finding the anchor in cold deep water isn't easy. Within 2 miles the bottom can be:
  • Bottomless ooze, like thick water.
  • Good mud
  • Perfect fine sand
  • That same sand, only 3 inches thick, over hardpan
  • Smooth rock with some jointing
  • Oyster shell
  • Dense weed
You need to feel the initial set to get some clue as to the bottom type. Good luck not backing the anchor down; if you are in the thin sand over hard pan you will only figure that out when it blows in the night. If you are luck, you will notice the rode rise and fall when setting on the smooth rock. Or you will find out when the wind shifts and the anchor un-hooks.

Other places, I'm sure it's just mud or sand, the weather is settled, and I just drop the hook.

Just sayin', be careful about any hard rules. Just a few days ago I was reintroduced to that horrible jointed rock area (good fishing, through!).
 

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The snubber becomes the stretchy part of the chain ride. If the anchor is not set it is hard to hell at times... unless you are backing down and the chain pulls taught and straightens. Otherwise it is really not set. When the anchor sets... the forces on the boat pull on the chain and on the anchor. The chain catenary will lift if it is set... if it's not set it will not lift. My system SHOWS tension increase (forces) when the coils unwind.... and more tension as the wind or current increases. Dragging does not develop MORE force.... it just pushes the boat and drags the anchor.

Lets say the anchor is not set and you reverse.... The catenary MAY lift, the chain straighten but it's not digging in or holding. The unwinding... stretching of the compensator is the TELL on force in the rode.

How do YOU know when your anchor is set and you can then deploy a snubber?
The chain cannot go tight if the anchor is not holding, so it's quite easy to see visually. We never settle for less than bar-hard chain. If I can't achieve that I re-anchor.

In addition to the visuals I find anchoring to be a tactile experience. I can feel the chain to tell if the anchor is stationary, or if it's moving along. I can also tell much about the bottom this way.

And of course, there are transits to take to see if you're shifting position.

I understand your system. It's interesting. Might be a good one to use for inexperienced folk.
 

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I just put my bare foot on the anchor chain as the anchor is setting. I can tell exactly what bottom type and how well we are set in it this way. Can tell sandy mud from jello mud from silty mud. Hard pack from rubble. Can even tell the length taken to fully set the anchor. Might just be experience. Might just be sensitive feet. But it never fails to be correct.

Mark
 

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I just put my bare foot on the anchor chain as the anchor is setting. I can tell exactly what bottom type and how well we are set in it this way. Can tell sandy mud from jello mud from silty mud. Hard pack from rubble. Can even tell the length taken to fully set the anchor. Might just be experience. Might just be sensitive feet. But it never fails to be correct.

Mark
Yup, foot or hand can reveal much about what is going on at the anchor. It's how I've done it for the the last two decades.
 

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But agree with never say never in life not just anchoring.
we bought three of those compensators. Used two on dock lines a bigger one for the snubber. That one cracked and failed where the hole for the line to enter is. As with anything I looked at it carefully before using. Failure occurred within weeks of installation during the night as repetitive line squalls went through. Nothing too bad 35 rare to,40-45. Think once the thing is fully loaded it bends where that bit attaches to the main body of it so is subject to failure due to point loading.
The less acute the angle the less you hobbyhorse when it gets stinky in an anchorage. Some even move their snubber down to the waterline bolt on the bow if they have one. Going over the roller both increases the angle and puts the attachment as far forward as possible. At least on my boat both increase hobbyhorsing.
I want the most snubber out I can reasonably put and still see the mantus hook or trucker hitches. That way each little bit of it doesn’t have to stretch much to absorb shock loads. I want two so if one fails I don’t stress the windlass. Also loading on each is decreased. Know about the event some years ago when multiple boats were lost in an anchorage off the west coast of Mexico as snubbers failed. Sudden loading and boats dragged or the cam in the windlass failed. Experienced a minor event locally on a prior boat. Due to the forecast anchored off the beach in Marion as anchorage was full. Several others did the same. Blew a consistent 40 for a few hours. Fortunately it was during the morning so you could watch things. Saw a snubber on a neighbor fail. Saw all the rode let out and the boat go aground. We left that late afternoon as the canal was favorable so didn’t see the conclusion. But he was still aground when we left. So I believe in two very beefy snubbers and their being as long as possible. If I know it’s going to be really snotty I might even rig a third and run it over the roller as a fail safe. May also use the roller to change angle of attack to minimize sailing at anchor on occasion. But the go to is two snubbers lead to the bow cleats.
Anchoring is a chore. For many they won’t see weather at anchor so there’s no reason for overkill. Some will or can’t predict with confidence if they will. In that case it isn’t overkill at all to take every precaution. Didn’t mean to imply that I never backdown. I do whenever I have any concern about the set. I’ve even backed down a day or two after anchoring if I have concern. But still think a strong initial backdown can be counterproductive in many occasions.
 

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But agree with never say never in life not just anchoring.
we bought three of those compensators. Used two on dock lines a bigger one for the snubber. That one cracked and failed where the hole for the line to enter is. As with anything I looked at it carefully before using. Failure occurred within weeks of installation during the night as repetitive line squalls went through. Nothing too bad 35 rare to,40-45. Think once the thing is fully loaded it bends where that bit attaches to the main body of it so is subject to failure due to point loading.
The less acute the angle the less you hobbyhorse when it gets stinky in an anchorage. Some even move their snubber down to the waterline bolt on the bow if they have one. Going over the roller both increases the angle and puts the attachment as far forward as possible. At least on my boat both increase hobbyhorsing.
I want the most snubber out I can reasonably put and still see the mantus hook or trucker hitches. That way each little bit of it doesn’t have to stretch much to absorb shock loads. I want two so if one fails I don’t stress the windlass. Also loading on each is decreased. Know about the event some years ago when multiple boats were lost in an anchorage off the west coast of Mexico as snubbers failed. Sudden loading and boats dragged or the cam in the windlass failed. Experienced a minor event locally on a prior boat. Due to the forecast anchored off the beach in Marion as anchorage was full. Several others did the same. Blew a consistent 40 for a few hours. Fortunately it was during the morning so you could watch things. Saw a snubber on a neighbor fail. Saw all the rode let out and the boat go aground. We left that late afternoon as the canal was favorable so didn’t see the conclusion. But he was still aground when we left. So I believe in two very beefy snubbers and their being as long as possible. If I know it’s going to be really snotty I might even rig a third and run it over the roller as a fail safe. May also use the roller to change angle of attack to minimize sailing at anchor on occasion. But the go to is two snubbers lead to the bow cleats.
Anchoring is a chore. For many they won’t see weather at anchor so there’s no reason for overkill. Some will or can’t predict with confidence if they will. In that case it isn’t overkill at all to take every precaution. Didn’t mean to imply that I never backdown. I do whenever I have any concern about the set. I’ve even backed down a day or two after anchoring if I have concern. But still think a strong initial backdown can be counterproductive in many occasions.
Serious storm conditions are a whole other matter... and require storm gear... no different that sailing. Marking chain and use of a snubber for normal conditions is a different matter... your basic every day anchoring approach.
 

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S love you like a brother and apologize for being nit picking but a storm still means 48-55kts sustained to me. In many places you don’t know what’s coming up. T-storms in Florida or even repetitive line squalls in Maine during the fall. Or just hours/days of fresh breeze with the occasional gust down in the islands. Don’t consider any of that storm. Do think in many places you anchor in open large bays with episodic considerable wind at times. Can’t say about this year but last year it was real common to have enough chop, at times, to make getting in the dinghy interesting. Lots of places get a good wind going for a few hours in the morning as the land thermal adds into the trades. Every place gets good and gusty as a WAVE passes by. So think being conservative is worthwhile. Especially in your cruising area. We were anchored on the NY side of L.I. Sound some years ago. A pop up came through. Lasted less than 1/2 h. Not predicted. Clocked one gust at 57. You never know. So agree on a daily basis makes sense to leave storm gear in the locker. But your routine protocol should be able to stand up to a line squall or tstorm.
 

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In many areas, afternoon and evening thunderstorms are a given, with winds commonly reaching 40 knots and occasionally reaching 70 knots. Been there many times. They may pop-up, relatively unpredicted, sometimes long after you are asleep. The wind was only 5 knots when you bedded down, and 3:1 with no set was OK. It won't be in 60 knots in soft mud. Better to anchor for 60 knots than have to get up at 1am in a hail storm half naked.

Would I do this in the spring of fall? No. We don't get thunderstorms in those seasons, only predicted heavy weather.

Do I worry about coral cutting the rope? Nope, no coral.

Do I worry about swinging into others at longer scope? Nope, very few anchorages are that crowded and the water is often so shallow that long scope is not that far.

The point is that areas are different. I suspect all of the posters are correct within their expereince.
 

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The wind was only 5 knots when you bedded down, and 3:1 with no set was OK. It won't be in 60 knots in soft mud. Better to anchor for 60 knots than have to get up at 1am in a hail storm half naked.
I can't honestly ever remember a hail storm here in the Caribbean, but we certainly get plenty of vicious squalls. Two nights ago we had one in Grenada with 75 mph winds recorded.
We have yet (about 5 years on the anchor 350 nights a year) to have 3:1 with all chain and a 30', 1" three strand nylon snub fail to hold the boat in the 60 knot squalls we've had since we bought the Rocna.
I don't worry about our boat dragging, though I must admit I do worry about some boats that are anchored to windward of us in these squalls.
 
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