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Old 06-04-2011, 21:26   #1
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Anchor Stowage For Sailing Offshore?

I've read and heard that many long-distance cruisers recommend removing anchor(s) from bow pulpits and stowing them somewhere low in the boat & midships when sailing offshore. I understand the reasoning, but am having trouble figuring out the practicalities of finding a safe place to stow and properly secure my 70 & 55lb. anchors in this fashion so that they won't cause any damage in heavy seas. I have substantial rollers on my bow pulpits, along with wire lanyards secured to bow cleats to prevent them from going anywhere. In rougher conditions, I lash them down further with good quality line.

Any thoughts from long-distance cruisers out there??
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Old 06-04-2011, 22:27   #2
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Re: Anchor Stowage For Sailing Offshore?

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I've read and heard that many long-distance cruisers recommend removing anchor(s) from bow pulpits and stowing them somewhere low in the boat & midships when sailing offshore. I understand the reasoning, but am having trouble figuring out the practicalities of finding a safe place to stow and properly secure my 70 & 55lb. anchors in this fashion so that they won't cause any damage in heavy seas. I have substantial rollers on my bow pulpits, along with wire lanyards secured to bow cleats to prevent them from going anywhere. In rougher conditions, I lash them down further with good quality line.

Any thoughts from long-distance cruisers out there??
As you mentioned, remove the anchors from the exposed bow and position belowdecks as low, on centerline, and above the keel as possible. That's what I do...

if the anchor is dangerous or too heavy to move at all then you need to nail it down in place such that it cannot break free at all - e.g., bolt it in place (e.g., think of how a dock cleat bolts to the deck). Lashing, line, string, wire, snapshackles, those sorts of thing can chafe through or come undone and suddenly the anchor can become self-launching when you least expect it.

If you have a halyard and a foredeck hatch big enough to pass the anchor, consider craning the anchors below-decks into the forepeak and lashing them down there; the anchors aren't being slammed by waves, they can't launch, and you've moved the weight aft and lower in the boat.

While you're at it and have time to spare, consider moving the chain aft and lower in the boat as well. For trans-ocean trips I like to place the chain in a bag at the base of the mast (I've installed padeyes for lashing the bagged chain in that location). I have two locations slightly forward of the chain bag where the anchors will stow (mine are smaller at 55 pounds and 37 pounds). Depends upon how much performance vs. effort/work vs. safety you want to invest in preparation.

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Old 06-04-2011, 23:04   #3
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Re: Anchor Stowage For Sailing Offshore?

Good idea about using a halyard to move heavy anchors around. The hard part is getting them off the bow rollers and around the narrow space b'twn. the pulpit and the headsail furler. Have almost taken some involuntary swims with that maneuver. I do have a foredeck hatch that is likely large enough to drop them through.

Along with preventing bashings & potential launches from wave action, however, isn't the idea to also move as much weight as possible off the bow to prevent pitchpoling? I have a heavy boat with over 40% ballast/displ. ratio so I'm not overly worried. Anything I can do to improve safety, however, is worth doing. What about those chain stoppers that through-bolt into the deck and lock the chain in place?

As for your suggestion to move the chain aft, I have 75' & 125' of 3/8", respectively, for the two anchors. Each section of chain is permanently spliced into rode for a total of 200' for each anchor. I'm not sure it would be practicable to try and move this out of their lockers in the forepeak and lash it below. For a lengthy ocean crossing, I will definitely take a harder look at this.

Thanks so much for the input.
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Old 06-04-2011, 23:08   #4
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Re: Anchor Stowage For Sailing Offshore?

Moving sizeable anchors around sounds foolish. While they need to be secured, anchors also need to be ready to deploy. While I've been on dozens of ships, I've never seen them moved so as to be not immediately available for deployment. Or does the recommendation pertain only to toy boats with 20-pound anchors?
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Old 06-04-2011, 23:26   #5
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Re: Anchor Stowage For Sailing Offshore?

Being ready for deployment is a good point, although my question contemplated long ocean passages. Then again, trying to move heavy anchors around when landfall is approaching, but while still at sea, could present significant safety issues. Were these ships you speak of the type of sailing vessels in question here? Mine is a 20-ton, 47' sloop rig with 70 & 55lb. plow-type anchors.
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Old 06-04-2011, 23:34   #6
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Re: Anchor Stowage For Sailing Offshore?

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Good idea about using a halyard to move heavy anchors around.
I disagree. This is hazardous except in the calmest conditions. Anchors should be available for deployment in all conditions.
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Old 06-04-2011, 23:41   #7
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Re: Anchor Stowage For Sailing Offshore?

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Were these ships you speak of the type of sailing vessels in question here? Mine is a 20-ton, 47' sloop rig with 70 & 55lb. plow-type anchors.
The ships were diesel-electric powered between 600 and 1000 feet long. Still, the principle applies to all but the smallest of craft. Don't know where the safety lies with a heavy metal object swinging from a halyard. Don't see that an anchor is necessarily more secure in a boat's interior either. If an anchor gets loose, I'd rather lose it overboard from an exterior mount rather than bashing people, hull, and bulkheads in a boat's interior.
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Old 07-04-2011, 00:01   #8
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Re: Anchor Stowage For Sailing Offshore?

Yes, I've been worried about being able to stow an anchor securely enough down below. Even if I could find room in the bilges, there's the problem of water & fuel tanks, various hoses & wires, pumps, etc., being in harm's way should a lashing come undone. At one point I tried running a pin with a wire lanyard through both sides of the anchor roller with the head of the anchor sandwiched in-b'twn. After awhile, it seemed like even a stout pin was prone to distorting enough to potentially prevent the anchor from being deployed in any sort of hurry. Perhaps the answer is secure lashings with wire and/or line to the rollers, and then frequent checks for chafe.

I would be curious what various long-distance cruisers do since I have not yet done any serious passages. Thanks for your input.
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Old 07-04-2011, 03:14   #9
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Re: Anchor Stowage For Sailing Offshore?

OK, here's one long distance cruiser's answer: We lash the anchor in place in the roller, tighten up the chain and lock the windlass, and don't worry about it. This has worked on Insatiable I (36' ex-IOR one tonner, 44 lb Bruce) and Insatiable II (46' "performance cruiser, very fine entry, 66 lb bruce knock-off, then 60 lb Manson Supreme) for a total of around 125,000 miles. Oh, both boats have around 275' of 10 mm chain, left in the chain locker.

Would they have performed better with that weight off the bow??? Could be, but we never noticed any particular disadvantage. And I for one don't want to be rassling an anchor around the deck as we make landfall... perhaps under nasty conditions.

I don't claim to be a perfect sailor, but this lackadaisical approach has worked ok for Ann and I!

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Morning Cove, NSW, Oz
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Old 07-04-2011, 03:45   #10
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Re: Anchor Stowage For Sailing Offshore?

I agree with the concerns of moving an anchor back to the anchor davit when approaching a landfall,- the conditions might not be favorable. I'd rather have the anchor well secured where it is functional. No doubt, fastening can be made secure; however, there is the risk of depending on lashings that could chafe. As for the performance issue of weight distribution, that is an added issue that is very dependant upon the design and mass of the vessel. My plan is somewhat a compromise. My primary anchor remains well fastened at the davit and my second anchor goes below for an offshore passage. My third anchor rarely comes up from low center.
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Old 07-04-2011, 04:04   #11
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Re: Anchor Stowage For Sailing Offshore?

We keep a 35 lb Delta and a 45 lb CQR on the bow rollers, with 75 ft and 200 ft of 3/8" chain, respectively, in the locker below them. There is also rope rode on both. We always lash the anchors when under way. Properly secured lashings have no movement, so no chafe problem. We're on a 35 foot heavy displacement boat, so the trim issue is not a significant consideration for us. We've never had a problem in 20 plus years, and have occasionally had to deploy an anchor in a hurry when approaching shore, so we like having them ready to go.

Properly securing two anchors out of the way midships below decks would be quite a challenge on most cruising boats we've been aboard. If they're secured in the living space, they would be real toe busters, it would seem.

The weight distribution issue is a real one on lighter displacement boats, but the chain is much heavier than the anchor in most cases. On our boat, the chain weighs about 10 times what the anchors do, so, unless you can get the chain well aft, moving the anchor probably won't help much.
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Old 07-04-2011, 05:35   #12
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Re: Anchor Stowage For Sailing Offshore?

On our 34' tri we sucessfully kept the 35# Delta on a bow roller, and it's 35' of chain in a bow locker, even in nasty conditions at sea. After a decade this way, "back issues" required that I add a windlass, and for upcoming "deep" Caribbean anchorages, I added 110' of 1/4" HT chain. I made it as light an installation as possible, but this added about 75# to the bow of our boat. In moderate seas and island hopping daysails, this was not an issue, as we compensated by moving stowable items below, aft. Nevertheless, when on a multi day passage, we have adopted the practice of removing the anchor from the roller and putting it 20' further aft, in a wing locker. If it is a long or windward passage, I also put most of the chain in a canvass bucket, and move it aft to the wing locker too. About 5 hours before landfall, I start looking for the best moment to put it back on the roller and the chain back down the hawspipe. This only takes a few minutes. If it was too rough, I could turn downwind, but have never needed too.

Because we have a level platform to walk on, a relatively light anchor & chain, and convienient locker on deck, this is a safe, practical solution and well worth the effort. It doesn't really improve safety, but improves the motion & minimizes pounding when going to windward.

The benafit is definetly there for any boat, more so on smaller light weight ones, but you have to look at the effort involved & risk of injury. If these are low, go for it!
Otherwise, a compromise is to make the anchor VERY secure, and put 100#s worth of chain in a canvass bucket, and move it aft, if not down below and aft.

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Old 07-04-2011, 06:12   #13
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Re: Anchor Stowage For Sailing Offshore?

A ocean crossing might be a reason to consider at least 1 anchor that can be broken down for stowage below and/or a light weight that can be easily dragged up (kept?) on deck when getting near land again. When the s#%t hits the fan at sea I want the boat clear of all resistance to wind and waves. Chain can go below but nylon rode can be left in anchor locker to be used to deploy a drogue off the bows.
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Old 07-04-2011, 07:12   #14
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Re: Anchor Stowage For Sailing Offshore?

I've always kept my anchors where they belong, on the bow. Just have it well secured and there will be no problem.

There's no way I'm going to fight the anchor out from under the bow pulpit, over the railings and lifelines, carry it down the deck and stow it below.

Unless the conditions are perfect, IMO it's to dangerous.
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Old 07-04-2011, 07:27   #15
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Re: Anchor Stowage For Sailing Offshore?

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
OK, here's one long distance cruiser's answer: We lash the anchor in place in the roller, tighten up the chain and lock the windlass, and don't worry about it. This has worked on Insatiable I (36' ex-IOR one tonner, 44 lb Bruce) and Insatiable II (46' "performance cruiser, very fine entry, 66 lb bruce knock-off, then 60 lb Manson Supreme) for a total of around 125,000 miles. Oh, both boats have around 275' of 10 mm chain, left in the chain locker.

Would they have performed better with that weight off the bow??? Could be, but we never noticed any particular disadvantage. And I for one don't want to be rassling an anchor around the deck as we make landfall... perhaps under nasty conditions.

I don't claim to be a perfect sailor, but this lackadaisical approach has worked ok for Ann and I!

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Morning Cove, NSW, Oz
When you say "tighten up the chain and lock the windlass," I assume this means you're leaving the chain tensioned on the gypsy. I thought this could potentially strip out the windlass from wave action hitting the anchor (if not firmly lashed I suppose), or this concern only when the anchor is deployed? Given your 125K sea miles, I guess I already know the answer.

Thanks to all for taking some time to respond, esp. the folks actually out there doin' it. Hopefully I'll be out there with you in another year or two.
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