Anchors

How things work, what's hot and what's not
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Silkie
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Anchors

Postby Silkie » Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:57 am

Hopefully Alain and Craig won't find us here.

I have to confess to having only one anchor, a 20lb plough (not CQR) and so intend to add another different anchor for next season. The new anchor would become no.1 bower with the plough relegated to the no.2 spot. I'm tempted by a 10kg Sword (Alain says that the 5kg one will do the trick but it sounds awfy light - it's all about shape and area you know!)

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but keep coming back to a tried and tested 10kg Delta.

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NIck swears by his 10kg Spade and DaveS has every confidence in his 16kg Delta.

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(3 of us hanging off the Delta at Oronsay)

Shard has a CQR I think but wouldn't be without a BFO fisherman's as well.

What have you got? What do you use and when? What do you think of what you use? If you were refitting from scratch what would be your selection of anchors for the west coast and why?

Help.
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cpedw
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First season with a spade

Postby cpedw » Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:44 pm

I've been tempted to contribute to other discussions on anchoring but felt nervous knowing how heated these discussions get. Among you gentlefolk, I feel confident of a more restrained response so here are my own recent observations.
First some background. The present boat is a Westerly Falcon, 33 feet and 6 tons. We sail from near Oban, west coast and islands. When we got the boat in 2003 it came with a 35lb CQR.
We used the CQR for 3 seasons but found we had regular difficulty getting it to set. Once it was set satisfactorily, it held well. I can remenber only one occasion during that time when it dragged and that was a memorably windy June night in Loch Aline in 2005.
Last winter, we bought a Spade. According to the website, our boat's length should qualify for a size 80 but by displacement it needs a 100 so we chose that. It weighs 20kg, somewhat more than the CQR. In use this past season, it has never failed to grip on first setting and has never dragged (touching wood desperately). On several occasions, it has come up with a lot of weed wrapped around it but with a good dollop of mud or sand too. I have inferred that it is effective at penetrating weed and getting a grip in the ground underneath.
It's quite unwieldy and heavy. The cutout template from the website is a useful idea but in cardboard it's a lot more manageable and flexible than the galvanised steel version. We have difficulty using a mooring without removing the anchor from the bow roller completely. Hopefully a bit more thought will find us a way round that problem next season.
I'm quite sold on the Spade's gripping capability and I think the concave bit with huge weight on the point combine to be effective. I know others find the Delta similarly effective but it seems designed to cut through the ground rather than to dig in.
On our previous boat (30ft Kelt), we had a Bruce which seemed to be easier to set than the CQR but not so reliably as the Spade. It did drag every now and then too.
That's about the sum total of my information base; what do you think? Does anyone know what the yellow paint is for?
Regards,
Derek.

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Silkie
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Re: First season with a spade

Postby Silkie » Tue Dec 12, 2006 8:26 pm

cpedw wrote:I've been tempted to contribute to other discussions on anchoring but felt nervous knowing how heated these discussions get.

Know what you mean! I started one in the other place recently (Spade & Sword anchors) and was reluctant to post again myself after the first half dozen or so replies were up. :) Hence the reason for this one to get your valued opinions.

If money were no object I'd probably go for the 10kg Spade but at well over £200..! The Sword is essentially a Spade without the ballasted tip as I see it and the position of the shank is intended to perform the function of the Spade's ballast. I imagine therefore that once set the two would provide similar holding power, area for area. Note that the 5kg Sword is almost the same size as the 10kg Spade.

This might mean that the Sword wouldn't penetrate weed so well and the only respondant who had actually used one (Duncan) said also that you needed to make sure it was well dug in. If I go for the 10kg Sword I wonder about the ability (in reverse) of my 8hp Yamaha to set the much larger surface area.

What other anchor(s) do you have and do you ever use one since you got the Spade? I suspect the yellow is to help you see whether it's set or not if you're anchored in clearish water.
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Nick
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Just bite the bullet . . . its only money

Postby Nick » Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:01 pm

Get a ten kilo Spade and never wake up worried again. It's worth it. The 10Kg is easy to handle.

(Spend some of that money you've saved on mooring fees . . . you know it makes sense)
- Nick 8)

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Silkie
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So.. that'll be 2 votes for the Spade then

Postby Silkie » Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:31 pm

I thought you might suggest a Delta from Mailspeed. :D

I've emailed Ardfern for a price on the Spade but assume it will be £244. I could have sworn Aladdin's Cave were offering a small discount as a boat show special but can't find it on their site any more.
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DaveS
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Anchoring

Postby DaveS » Wed Dec 13, 2006 12:30 am

A few words on my thoughts (FWTW)...

I bought a Delta principally because I didn't like the anchor that came with the boat (a Danforth variant). Peoples' views on the latter are very polarised - a bit like Marmite; I fall firmly into the "dislike" camp. I've had personal experience of this type of anchor (a) catching fingers, (b) refusing to set at all, (c) getting a stone caught in the moving bits, and (d) bending its shank sufficiently for the fluke to be ineffective (the latter was, admittedly, in fairly extreme conditions as the final unsuccessful attempt at avoiding being washed on to a lee shore in F8 ish - a tale for recounting over a bottle some other time).

I had used a CQR and a Bruce on previous boats with mixed results: both definitely dragged on occasions. The blurb on the Delta promised self launching which sounded useful. So I bought a Delta. At that time the newer anchors had not really made their presence noticed.

The Delta certainly does not like holding in kelp, and is sometimes spectacularly unsuccesful! With a decent bottom it holds fine, but I have modified my laying technique quite a bit. I now do not give it a lot of astern welly to "dig it in". I let the chain straighten up by itself, taking as long as it needs, then very gently apply power, increasing in small stages each time the transits stop moving, until about half astern then leave it at that. My blog entries for 2-3 July 2005 here http://www.yotblog.com/DaveS/785/ gives a bit more detail on why I think this is better.

I haven't used the newer anchors, but would like to try!

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Postby claymore » Wed Dec 13, 2006 9:22 am

We have an oversized Bruce with 50m x 10mm chain - few people seem to attach much importance to chain in anchor threads. I think its about 45% of the issue.
We have never dragged and the nice part to the Bruce is that there are no nasty swivelly bits to nip your finger ends
Regards
Claymore
:goatd

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cpedw
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Postby cpedw » Wed Dec 13, 2006 11:15 am

We are still carrying the 35lb CQR but haven't felt the need to use itsince the Spade arrived. The boat came with a smaller CQR (25lb if I rmember right) and we are carrying that everywhere too, though it's never been used at all.
There's no doubt that chain is vital to the whole operation. I have a supplementary question on that. The 8mm chain attached to the CQR is very rusty. The first 10m or so is extremely flakey. Can anyone advise how much rust is too much? Should I try to measure the remaining thickness of metal as an indication of its state? Can it be regalvanised effectively?
Regards,
Derek.

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Aja
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Rusty Chain

Postby Aja » Wed Dec 13, 2006 3:00 pm

I wouldn't bother about it too much at this stage. You can judge yourself whether it is worthwhile brushing off the excess rust to see how much metal is left. I would consider end-to-ending the chain first though.

On anchors - I have a 35lb CQR that hangs off the bow roller and when not in use can be angled out the way by being tied with a length of cord.

I also have a Bruce that lives somewhere in the deepest recess of the cockpit locker that (with me) hasn't seen the light of day.

In 34 years of sailing our family boats - all using CQRs I have been aborad and dragged once. In Puilldhoran of all places - but once a second anchor was set - the wind blew the dinghy out of the water like a kite- we were fine.

I cant comment on newer anchors, but two things jump to mind. One is, as others have mentioned, is not the anchor - but the chain. For a good night's sleep put everything out. It may take you 5 more minutes in the morning to get it back aboard - but in my opinion the chain is both weight for weight and surface area what is holding your boat to the ground.
Second thing is the laying of the anchor. I agree with DaveS that full power astern is not going about it the correct way. We too like to ensure the chain is stretched and just begins to lift - maybe 1/4 throttle astern for a couple of minutes. Let everthing settle and check your transits (if you can see them - especiaaly at night!) Once the boat has swung a few times in wind and/or current it possibly needs a further dig in, on a quietish night we would probably not bother.

If forecast is to be a bit iffy - when you come into your anchorage have ready and use two anchors (not in tandem - dont like the idea of that) deploy your second anchor once you have laid the primary anchor and are happy how things are sitting and then lay the second anchor depending on what is expected.

You shouldn't move.

All is my opinion, however.

Donald[/i]

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ash
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Re: Anchoring

Postby ash » Wed Dec 13, 2006 5:40 pm

Testing Nick's Spade

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Ash

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Silkie
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Not like an anchoring thread at all!

Postby Silkie » Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:13 pm

Thanks for all the input chaps. Fully agree with Dave et al re best setting practice and with all the chain comments.

I too have never dragged but haven't done much extreme anchoring. Silkie's plough has about 15 fathoms 1/4" chain spliced to the same again of 12mm octoplait but this has only really been put to the test once, sitting out 24 hours of F6 & 7 veering 180 degrees with squalls gusting 40kts on the sloping bottom behind the moorings in Loch Aline.

Interesting that no-one has yet said that they use a different anchor for different bottoms eg a fisherman for Craighouse.

To re-cap then; Derek & Dave have had mixed results with cqr, danforth & bruce; Donald has only ever dragged once in 34 years of cqr anchoring and Claymore never at all with his bruce; Derek is impressed with his new spade and Nick swears by his (did I mention that already?) while Dave might like to try something new; Ash is playing his cards close to his chest; Shard and LBB have yet to put in an appearance.

Not sure if I'm any closer to a decision. :)
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ash
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Re: Not like an anchoring thread at all!

Postby ash » Thu Dec 14, 2006 12:36 am

Silkie wrote:Ash is playing his cards close to his chest.


I wasn't sure that anyone would want an opinion from someone who sails in a 'puddle', though I suppose Lakesailer inputs plenty on that other forum.

FWIW - I have a genuine Bruce (5Kg I think ) (It's actually 7.5 Kg)on the bowroller with about 30M 5/8" chain and 30M of 3 strand.

I have another Bruce at the bottom of a locker - would need to check - but must be 7.5Kg or 10Kg.(It's actually 10.0 Kg)

I have considered using the bigger one but would want to replace the chain at the same time - the existing chain leaves rusty marks on the GRP and has a shackle at about 20M.

We spend all our nights at anchor during our 8 days hols, in between 3M (scope 5)and 6M (scope 3)depending on location with scope measured from the stemhead.

I use a chain hook with a 3 strand bridle back though P and Stb fairleads for overnight stops.

I'm usually happy to see a good coating of mud on the Bruce and the first (last?) 5M of chain when we weigh.

We dragged once when we anchored in the wrong place - the bottom was small round stones like you would find on a beach.

Mistral doesn't do astern very well so if possible we drop the hook and the majority of the chain on the run. We're trying to develope a technique where I snub the chain at the same time as Joan swings the helm hard over. Once Mistral has settled to the anchor, I test the holding at about 1/2 power astern.

If we do have to anchor conventially, then I drop over about half the scope, set the anchor/test the holding at about 1/3 power astern, then gradually let out the rest of the scope.

I would agree that if enough swinging room, then plenty of chain is the answer.

My biggest concern is that Mistral tends to 'sail' around when at anchor. Unless the wind is fairly strong, she seems to spend the majority of her time almost beam on to the wind, alternatively on Port, then on Starboard. The bridle helps a bit, but doesn't stop it completely. You need to remember that I'm always lying to the wind, in the absence of tidal flow.

Bruce Anchor

BTW - Have to agree that this thread is nothing like that other forum.

Been back up at the boat since I posted this, so have corrected my mistakes on the size of the anchors.

Ash
Last edited by ash on Wed Dec 20, 2006 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Aja
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Puddles

Postby Aja » Thu Dec 14, 2006 10:16 am

I've only anchored on a friends mobo once on the Loch, one question - do you experience problems with weed? I'm sure there must be some grass like stuff.

Donald

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little boy blue
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anchor tyro

Postby little boy blue » Thu Dec 14, 2006 5:31 pm

i`ve been following the thread but i`m afraid i don`t have enough experience of anchoring to contribute much of substance. we have a cqr type anchor ( about 7.5 kgs, i think ) on 12 m chain and 13 m octoplat. that`s on a 7 m fin keeler.
we have anchored successfully in caladh harbour and off the kames hotel.
we have lain at anchor in brodick bay and carradale bay, but on neither occasion was i entirely convinced the the anchor was properly dug in. fortunately there was little wind on either occasion and we survived.
also spent an hour trying to set the anchor in sanda bay one evening. i don`t think it was even scratching the bottom.
the common denominator with sanda, carradale and brodick is they are all sandy bottoms. the obvious conclusion is that a cqr lookalike is not the best anchor for such bottoms but i can`t go further than that.
if i ever manage to sell the current vessel i would certainly be in the market for a different anchor for the new one.

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ash
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Re: Puddles and Weed

Postby ash » Fri Dec 15, 2006 12:04 am

Aja wrote: do you experience problems with weed? I'm sure there must be some grass like stuff.


No - Not really - well, with hindsght, maybe. I assume that it can only grow when the water is shallower than a certain depth.

We certainly get weed in the marina, it (the weed) can be seen growing longer and longer throughout the summer. We exit our berth in a big 180 deg sweep in astern (See This Post) and once had a problem with the prop being choked up with weed.

We used to often anchor in a bay, known as The Haven, on the south end of Inchconnachan, which is very shallow and has a lot of weed. It is very well sheltered, and has a lot of shoreline where the MoBo s can beach. I have had some concerns in there - seeing the weed so near the surface makes me apprehensive. One morning the wind picked up a considerable amount as we were having breakfast, completing ablutions, etc and I felt that we were moving. We didn't have much water under the keel anyway (less than 0.5 M) and I only have a whirley type sounder so I'm a bit over sensitive. Whether the anchor was 'ploughing' (don't think so), or it had never been set properly, or the chain had been sitting in a loop, I don't know. Certainly I've never lifted the anchor with a clump of weed on it.

I'm amending this post as I write as you've got me thinking. On another occasion in The Haven, we were attempting to anchor conventially in astern and it wouldn't bite. I never thought of weed as the possible problem but now I realise that it probably was. It might well stop the anchor getting that initial bite, but wouldn't necessarily show on the anchor when I lift it to retry.

Thanks for putting that idea into my head.

Since then, one day when motoring into the bay single handed, I ran aground on a bank in the middle of the bay. Haven't been back in since, and now I know that when the Seafarer 501 shows a circle of light all around the dial you're just about to ground!

Ash


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