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Old 08-01-2007, 14:26   #1
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Anchor dragging

What are some of your tricks for a good anchor set? Do you use a sentinel and has it really helped in a blow? What do you guys do in soft grassy bottoms- I have so much trouble staying secure in this type of bottom.
I've done some dumb mistakes over the years (luckily at no one else's expense!) and dragging anchor is always a concern for the cruiser out on the hook. Despite two 22' plows (and two spare danforth types), good for my small boat, and chain/nylone rode combos, I will drag in a blow in soft grass bottom while other boats are not. A more experienced friend said that I don't have enough chain (40') despite putting out a long scope. He also said that my boat type- bouncy and jittery on the hook, needs longer chain. Angel's big butt just has alot of windage. Okay, good, a longer chain did the trick. It sounds like there are other anchor types that dig in soft grass better, but I have no experience with those. Just my rusty ol' Deltas. Anybody use a Bulwagga? If a boater's gonna spend $$, good ground tackle is the place to spend it. But, it's a matter of getting the right stuff.
Also, anyone use swivels? Angel and I were the laughing stock when we took a "walk" across a bay because her chain wrapped around the anchor shank and yanked it out when the wind switched. I wonder if a swivel would've helped...
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Old 08-01-2007, 14:40   #2
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s/v Angel,

I'm a firm believer in all chain and a good snubber. It seems I'm in tune with the rest of the cruising population as chain/nylon anchorers are fewer and fewer. I think if you go to all chain you'll see a big difference. As for swivels I feel it's just another weak link so I do without them. I don't think a swivel would have prevented your chain from wrapping around the shank. This usually happens when you drop the chain on top of the anchor rather than paying it out. As for which anchor to use I'm sure you'll get a lot of advice.
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Old 08-01-2007, 14:44   #3
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It would help considerably to know where you are located.

In general, grassy bottoms are notoriously difficult places to get many traditional anchor designs to set properly. Partly, it's a question of weight. Partly, it's a question of anchor design. And, mostly, it's a question of technique and experience.

CQRs and other plough types generally do pretty well in grassy bottoms, while Danforth-types do less well. The newer designs, including Bruces, spades, Rocnas, Bulwaggas, and Hydro-bubbles reportedly do better. The old fisherman types, particularly those with relatively large fluke areas like the Paul Luke anchors, do well.

With any anchor, it's important to develop a methodology for setting it properly. I've found that most anchors need to be lowered slowly, not dropped and especially, not thrown like in the movies. The boat needs to be STOPPED completely and, preferably, moving very slowly backwards.

Most anchors do well if you back off enough to give them a 3:1 scope before applying a load. With a proper length of chain (15-30' or more) this puts an essentially horizontal pull on the anchor shank, helping it to bite into the bottom.

I've found it's best to SLOWLY put a load on the anchor, and NOT back down with the engine too strenuously. Give the anchor a chance to bite, then slowly apply force to allow it to bury deeper into the bottom. Then, give it some time with the boat swinging to the wind. After awhile, you can apply greater load. If the wind pipes up, it's often good to veer some more anchor rode, and put a good load on the rode to ensure that the anchor is fully set.

Use of nylon bridles and/or nylon rode is generally a good thing, because of the built-in stretch and shock-handling ability. It's easier on the anchor, and easier on your boat's cleats than is all chain rode used without a proper nylon bridle.

It's good to carry several types of anchor, not just one, since there is no one design which is best for all anchoring situations. Over time, you'll learn which ones are best for the conditions you encounter.

Hope this helps a bit,

Bill
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Old 08-01-2007, 18:04   #4
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s/v Angel,

I'm a firm believer in all chain and a good snubber. It seems I'm in tune with the rest of the cruising population as chain/nylon anchorers are fewer and fewer. I think if you go to all chain you'll see a big difference. .
Is this because of the anchor digging in or just the fact that you have more weight on the bottom ?

Some of us lighter boat's just cant carry all chain or choose not to, so have to go for anchors that actually dig in, in a variety of conditions and bottom types, and this has been discussed on multiple threads recently.

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Old 08-01-2007, 18:22   #5
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I'd agree with Vasco on not using swivels. Though I haven't used one myself, I've heard many people say the Bullwagga is a good grass anchor. The main thing in grass, is getting it to penetrate through the grass. Danforths definitely don't and plows don't really do well either. The "Bull" should, theoretically, but as I said, I have no first hand knowledge.
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Old 08-01-2007, 21:53   #6
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But where do you store it [Bulwagga], it does'nt look like you could have in the rollers and it does'nt look like it would fit in the average locker.

Dave
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Old 08-01-2007, 23:01   #7
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Art + Science

I'll stick with technique vs type since I've rarely been in lots of grass. I do agree on all chain.

Patience is what I've learned & used. As BTF explained, slow & steady will make a big difference. Knowing your depth & only starting with just a little over (marking increments on the chain helps) that in your initial drop. Then as the boat starts drifting payout the rode to match that distance/depth.
At about 3 to 1, I usually stop & let the boat's weight do the initial set.

Then as I go up to 5-1 (my minimum), I will let the boat do a set again at least 3 more times. At 5-1, I will then use the engine to do the final set/test. If I'm in areas where I can expect higher winds or storms, then I'm out @ 7 to 1............or all 'ya got.
Slow & Steady as she goes.............
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Old 08-01-2007, 23:38   #8
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An anchor will set better at 5:1 scope than shorter. If anything you should set long and then shorten. 5:1 minimum on a rope/chain combo before crawling into the fart sack for a snore off. Setting at a short scope might (and it's only a 'might' not a 'will') set your anchor at a shallow attack angle with the seabed. If this happens later when the weather gets bad it might not dig as deep as it could and in worst case let it slide thru the top of the seabed and out again. 3:1 is OK but 5:1 is better.

FYI: Commercial shackles i.e 99% of what you get in most chandleries, are a lot and I mean A LOT weaker than most swivels. Spooky but very true. Most people don't need swivels but in some cases they are damn good. In this particular case I doubt it would have made any differance though.
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Old 09-01-2007, 07:06   #9
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Originally Posted by cat man do
Is this because of the anchor digging in or just the fact that you have more weight on the bottom ?
Dave
Dave,

It's mostly the weight of the chain and having a catenary most of the time when it's blowing. In the days when I used to use 50' of chain and nylon, in strong blows the rode would stretch straight out for a long ways in front of the boat. Now if the snubber comes out of the water (I use about a 30' snubber in strong blows) it's a big deal. If it's not blowing I just put about 10' of snubber out.

GMac,

As for swivels, I've seen too many faulty ones to put my faith in one. All my anchor shackles have a SWL stamped on them. No cheap shackles on my anchors.
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Old 09-01-2007, 11:13   #10
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G'day Vasco
Only ever actually seen one lot of dodgy swivels and it was not a strength issue. Like most things it pays to be selective. Good to see you use good shackles though. I wish more people would think about the small things like that, we've seen so very spooky things over the years.

I agree a good length of chain is all good.
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Old 09-01-2007, 13:07   #11
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It's striking to see what variability there is between good theory and seamanship on the one hand...and the reality of anchoring & anchorages in popular places, in season. Perhaps fewer cruising boats may be using chain/rope rodes but that doesn't apply to the drove of chartering fleets out there, who seem to have very short chain leaders to my eye. Some may say they 'won't anchor in grass'...but at day's end when that's all there is throughout an entire cala or cove, then that's what you gotta make work. Conservative scope ratios (e.g. 7:1) might be highly desireable but one pays a price if anchored up a cove in a crowded gaggle of charterers & vactioners, all on 4:1, and you just know the island heating effect will die at sunset, followed by a night's flow off the mountains and down the valley, swinging everyone 180 degrees. Things can seem very tidy when we're all sitting around on the discussion boards...

Neat anchoring story from last season: a Brit friend had a German boat come in and, in a broad cove full of spare room, anchor right on top of him (Cala Fornells on Minorca, if you're wondering - all grass bottom, too). 'Bit close, I think,' sez the Brit. German owner says, 'Nein, ve're OK.' Brit points to the towering build-up and sez, 'Thunderstorms later.' German owner confers for a l-o-n-g time with crew and then announces, 'Ve vill stand anchor watch.' Realizing German is (surprise...) somewhat stubborn, Brit changes tack, goes below for digital camera, and returns on deck. Quietly walks all around his boat, taking pics of German boat from different angles. German owner picks up anchor and relocates, no doubt worrying about what 'authorities' would otherwise say.

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Old 09-01-2007, 13:59   #12
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It's striking to see what variability there is between good theory and seamanship on the one hand...and the reality of anchoring & anchorages in popular places, in season. Perhaps fewer cruising boats may be using chain/rope rodes but that doesn't apply to the drove of chartering fleets out there, who seem to have very short chain leaders to my eye.

Jack
Jack,

The Moorings and Sunsail fleets in the BVI went to all chain quite a few years ago. The immediate result of which was lots of broken fingers. At least that's what I heard. They still prefer charterers to pick up a mooring.
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Old 09-01-2007, 14:26   #13
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I find that at least 30 feet min..

of chain is required on many anchors but even then certain anchors just don't set as well as others. For a long time I used a CQR, like everyone, and would set it but never get what I considered to be a soilid set. I would even dive on it and find it dug in sideways, or that it just dug a plow trough the bottom while I backed down on it. I then Switched to a Bruce, which did set better, but I always worried about the holding power as I could definitely move it with my boats engine and it was oversized for my boat. Next I tried a Spade and I thought it was the end all be all until I hit some harder bottom areas and my aluminum Spade would NOT penetrate the bottom. After reading many reviews of the Spades I decided to try a steel version and guess what it set perfectly on the first try in the same spot the aluminum version did not.

At this point I thought I had found my ultimate anchor. I could not budge it with the motor, it set first try 96% of the time and when I dove on it it was burried in the stereo typical perfect set every time. I still beleived however that I could do better.

So one day I'm in Hamilton Marine and I see this new fangled funny looking anchor with a roll bar called a Manson Supreme. I figured what the heck I already own a CQR, two Spades, a Fortress, Bruce & Delta what the heck why not try this one too. I figured it may become a weed anchor for me or a very hard bottom anchor and my steel Spade would be my primary. Well the day I launced my boat it was dead calm so on the way to my marina I decided to try a few sets with the Manson in an area I know to be very tough to get any anchor to set. I could never get my CQR to set in this location and so I avoided it for three years. The problem is it's a beautiful spot to anchor in.

So I dropped the Manson and backed down on her attempting a set with about a 3:1 scope. I normally set long and then shorten scope to assure a good set and I NEVER set at 3:1 but I was experimenting remeber.. I backed down and BAM my boat just stopped dead in the water and then lurched forward as the elasticty in the rode pulled the boat back forward. In my 38 years of boating I have never had an anchor that set so abruptly and definitively as the Manson Supreme. With the Manson you KNOW your set and there is NO mistaking it. I have made approximately 170 anchorings so far with the Manson and asside from catching a string of lobster pots on one set this anchor has set a 100% on the first try. The highest wind we rode out was a 50 knot blow and although we were well protected 4 boats out of the 6 total around us dragged. We stayed put but 50 knots in protected waters is no Hurricane! No matter how hard I back down I have not been able to move this anchor with my aux engine. The boat actually winds up spinning in an arc, due to prop walk, and yet even while spinning through a 180 degrees the Manson stays set. If you don't want to drag I advise 30+ feet of chain and either a steel Spade or a Manson but the lead certainly goes to the Manson Supreme in my book..

Below is a video I made of my Manson setting in a very, very hard packed intertidal zone. Yes I was anxious to try this anchor and my boat was not in the water yet. I wanted to see the setting characteristics of how the anchor acted and I'd done this in the same spot with my CQR and Bruce before deciding to switch from the CQR to the Bruce. This intertidal zone is where I launch my brothers Boston Whaler and I drive my truck on it witout even sinking in. I am in no way connected to Manson, hell I live in Maine, and Mansons are made down under in New Zealand. I have no motive in promoting the Spade or Manson other than the more Mansons out the the less I have to worry about other boats draggin into me..... Enjoy the video click on Drop Shots Day to view it...

DropShots Day

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Old 09-01-2007, 14:34   #14
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Good video, Acoustic. I got a 45# Manson Supreme a couple of months ago and have been very happy so far.
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Old 09-01-2007, 14:42   #15
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Glad you liked the video Vasco..

Glad you liked it I plan on making more when I get bored enough. I'd really love to get the CQR's setting performance on video.
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