When we were anchored in the Tuamotu Archipelago of French Polynesia
, we had to float our anchor rode to keep it from wrapping around coral
heads. We were inside an atoll called Apataki, and there were coral
heads everywhere. The coral heads were deep enough that there was no problem with our keel
hitting the coral heads. The problem was that our anchor chain would wrap around the coral heads, damaging the coral, chafing the chain and shortening the chain placing it at risk for breakage in a squall because there was no effective catenary to decrease shock loading on the chain. We didn't want to damage the coral, and we didn't want to risk breaking our chain. What to do?
Simple. We attached inflatable
fenders along the length of the chain so that the chain no longer swept the bottom of the anchorage and interacted with the coral. It also created a reverse or upside down catenary, since the chain was being held off the bottom. If a squall came by, the chain would straighten and sink the floats that were holding the chain off the bottom. It actually worked! It was interesting to watch the floats attached to the chain. You could guage how much tension was on the anchor rode by how many of the floats sunk from view during a squall.
When you use this type of system, you need to be careful to maintain a safe scope
between your last float and the actual anchor or you will pull the anchor out in a squall. Once again, you have to use your common sense to make the system work safely.
Anyway, you might be able to use a variation of such a system to good effect. If you could do it in a chafe free manner, it would keep your nylon rode off the bottom and decrease the risk of chafe. And there are lots of anchorages
- some behind Fraser Island like Scotty's anchorage - where you wouldn't want to have a rope
rode on the bottom because the bottom may be foul.
I personally would not use a floating anchor rode. There's too much traffic and too many props that would run over it and liberate my boat at the most inconvenient of times.
I have only floated my anchor rode one time for a week in Apataki, but it can be done.