Anchors away

July 5, 2020 in Gear, Maintenance - 4 Comments

We’re slowly making our way through the systems on the boat that are necessary for the shake down trip to Catalina in August. This weekend’s project was sorting out the anchor locker and determining just what’s in there. Having only anchored a couple of times in Felicità, we didn’t really know what we had.

Here’s what we discovered. We don’t have an anchor locker faucet and hose (as advertised in the boat listing)–UGH. After we pulled everything out, it was disgusting down there! Sure would be nice to be able to rinse the muddy anchor off every time we pull it up. Add another project to the list…

We also determined that we have 120 of chain on our primary anchor that sits in the bow roller. And, the second anchor has about 20 feet of chain and 90 feet of rode (landlubber translation: rope). John Kretschmer suggests we carry 200 ft of chain and 200 ft of rode for offshore sailing. And that the chain be 3/8 inch. Put that on the project list, too (cha ching, cha ching, cha ching).

Tim put zip ties every 20 feet (1 at 20 feet, 2 at 40 feet, 3 at 60 feet, etc.) so that we can keep track of how much we’re letting out. There was a gauge on our charter boat this Spring, but like most gauges on boats, it did not seem accurate. The zip tie method is rudimentary, but reliable (until they fall off!).

We also confirmed the chain hook we bought in the Caribbean fits our chain. Yea! We were told that this is a great hook, but that you can’t find this kind in the USA. So, we drove all over Grenada looking for one. This was the only size we could find… and were a little afraid it was not big enough. Looking forward to trying this out as the hooks we’ve used so far seem to fall off easily.

Landlubber translation: A chain hook is a piece of kit used to connect a snubber to the chain when at anchor. A snubber is a short length of line attached to the chain and a strong point on the boat. Its purpose is to take the load off the windlass (the piece of equipment used to take the anchor up and down) and keep the chain from rattling around in the bow roller. Comes in very handy when you are trying to sleep!


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  • Stephanie Walton July 6, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    Hey Siri, how much chain do I need if it’s 4 knots of visibility? #hookandanchor

    • gntsailing July 20, 2020 at 7:19 pm

      Stick to the cocktails and sunbathing! #hookandanchor

  • Steve Polson July 12, 2020 at 9:19 am

    I recently went through the anchor tackle on our 2006 42 so perhaps have some things for you to consider.

    First is that I also considered upgrading to 3/8 chain but decided against it. If you look at anchoring issues it becomes clear that chain strength is seldom the problem (I’ve actually never read of a case where an anchor chain broke). The two main causes seem to be either the anchor was poorly set (insufficient scope, no back down test, etc) or there was insufficient snubber shock absorption (not used or too short) which causes a lot of jerking on the chain in a blow. Of course there are other causes but I believe those two are by far the biggest.

    My 42 came with 5/16 BBB and I wound up replacing it with a quality 5/16 HT as the working load was more than enough. It also meant the same amount of chain weighed less and I didn’t have to replace the windlass gypsy. After a year of cruising including a passage down the west coast to Mexico it has all worked fine. I have 300′ of all chain.

    The second issue you may have noticed is that the furling drum is very low over the anchor nest. My boat came with a Rocna 25kg anchor which is fantastic BUT it has a very long arm that would bang against the bottom of the furling drum. Not ideal as it required some effort to prevent it from happening that was challenging in rough conditions.

    To solve this I wound up buying the 25kg Rocna Vulcan anchor which has a much shorter arm and so doesn’t strike the drum. It also is easier to self deploy so that’s an additional benefit. Note that modern anchors can handle less scope so 3:1 is doable which comes in handy at crowded anchorages. 5:1 is good for almost all other conditions short of a major blow which also means you can get by with less chain.

    Anyway, food for thought.

    • gntsailing July 20, 2020 at 7:18 pm

      Thanks for the intel, Steve! We have 3/8 inch now and are replacing with same size chain as it seems to be working with all the other gear and are going with HT. We decided to go with 200′ chain and 200′ nylon 3 strand. Agree about the weight, we are hoping we don’t regret it… We’re weighing options between the Rocna Vulcan and a Spade. Good to know the 25kg is working for you. That purchase is a year away, so there is time to overly analyze. Ha! For now, we’ll sleep lightly on our Delta.

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