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Old 12-09-2011, 20:16   #1
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How Much Chain for Anchoring on the ICW ?

I am planning a cruise down the ICW this fall with my father, and wanted to get some opinion on how tight the anchorages will be, and how much chain is needed?

Route planned is starting in Boston Sept 23 and be in Annapolis by boat show, via Long Island Sound and NY City. Then later in Oct 27-5th heading from Annapolis to Jacksonville.

Hoping to spend about up to half the time on the hook.

J Boat 37', displacement 13,700, draft 5.5'
Current anchors:
Delta 36lb, Delta 22lb, Fortress FX-37 I just picked up as a storm anchor for sand.

Current rhode is a 250' 5/8" 8-plait and 30' of G4 5/16" chain.

How tight will the anchorages be packed this time of year? and does everyone else usually have all chain out at 3 or 4:1 so I will have a problem with a larger swing radius with the rope/30' chain combo.

Debating picking up a pale of 90' of 5/16 chain and re splicing to the main rhode(for that lewmar windlass that sometimes likes the splice).

Thanks in advance for your advice and experience
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Old 12-09-2011, 20:33   #2
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Re: How much chain for anchoring on the ICW?

When I made the fall trip south there were plenty of anchorages with not another boat around. If you are trying to anchor in populated areas that attract more tourists you might find otherwise but the places I stopped were usually closer to deserted than crowded.
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Old 12-09-2011, 20:41   #3
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Re: How much chain for anchoring on the ICW?

As usual, the answer to your question is "it depends". I just finished my fourth run of the ICW this past spring. Typically, I use Skipper Bob's anchoring guide and found it invaluable. Also, I prefer the less popular anchorages which are more isolated and less crowded. I use all chain rode with at least 5:1 ratio and found that works well. You will find plenty of room to swing in almost all anchorages. Beaufort, NC was a little tight in two of the four times I anchored there. Good luck and enjoy the cruise, it is beaitiful.
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Old 12-09-2011, 20:41   #4
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Re: How much chain for anchoring on the ICW?

By late October you'll usually be anchoring alone or with a couple of boats. I just spent a week going from New York to Annapolis and the most crowded anchoring night I had was Chesapeake City (a Saturday night no less) - four boats anchored.

Most ICW travelers spend almost every night in a marina. But last year I never called a marina before their docks were in sight and was never turned away. The recession has really reduced the number of boats.

If you want to spend some money, I'd invest in a salt water wash down on the bow to get the mud off the rode. Much muddier than you're used to in the NE. On a cold November morning it's no fun.

The one exception is a mooring or a slip during boat show week in Annapolis.

Carl
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Old 12-09-2011, 20:43   #5
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Re: How much chain for anchoring on the ICW?

i've been anchoring on the ditch for many years, but on the southern end (georgia/florida). it's mostly hard or soft mud or sand. i had good luck with the bruce and the cqr, but last year i switched to the manson supreme and am blown away by how good it is.

as for rode, 3 or 4 to 1 is, imoh, a joke. never less than 7 to 1, and be ready to let out 10 to 1 if there's a bad forecast. anchoring room is rarely a problem. i've only dragged twice - once because i had out 5 to 1 and once because i was in soft mud and didn't give the anchor enough 'soak' time before setting it.

as for chain, if you add the 90' you should have enough. most anchoring on the ditch is in shallow water. i have 200' of chain but have never had to put out more than the first 100'. in fact when i replace my chain i'm only buying 100'.....
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Old 12-09-2011, 20:56   #6
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Re: How much chain for anchoring on the ICW?

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Originally Posted by onestepcsy37 View Post
... as for rode, 3 or 4 to 1 is, imoh, a joke. never less than 7 to 1, and be ready to let out 10 to 1 if there's a bad forecast. ...
i have 200' of chain but have never had to put out more than the first 100'. in fact when i replace my chain i'm only buying 100'.....
If never less than 7:1 and never more than 100' rode...
if your bow roller is just 3 feet above water, that means you have never anchored in more than 14 feet of water? And that's assuming there wasn't ever "a bad forecast".

Is my math bad, or is it really that shallow out there?
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Old 12-09-2011, 21:04   #7
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Re: How much chain for anchoring on the ICW?

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If never less than 7:1 and never more than 100' rode...
if your bow roller is just 3 feet above water, that means you have never anchored in more than 14 feet of water? And that's assuming there wasn't ever "a bad forecast".

Is my math bad, or is it really that shallow out there?
ICW is mostly that shallow.
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Old 12-09-2011, 21:12   #8
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Eh? "Never less than 7:1" is not some hallowed truth. How about "As much as needed. No more. No less." ?

Plenty of times I've been on 2:1. In the morning the little pile of chain was still under the bow. And I've dragged on 10:1.
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Old 12-09-2011, 21:13   #9
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Re: How much chain for anchoring on the ICW?

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ICW is mostly that shallow.
NC is real shallow they dont call it the grave yard of the Atlantic for nothing...and thats on the ocean side..Ive been out 3 miles and the water was only 3 ft. deep(Diamond Shoals) the sounds are shallow also...
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Old 13-09-2011, 04:51   #10
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Re: How much chain for anchoring on the ICW?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, andyd55.
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Old 13-09-2011, 04:57   #11
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Re: How much chain for anchoring on the ICW?

The deepest anchorages are in Georgia in the rivers. At high tide it will be 20' deep, so with a 5' bow roller height and 5:1 scope you need 125' of rode. And these are reversing tide anchorages and a nylon rode will wrap around your keel, sometimes leading to disaster when it saws through. Seen it happen!!!.

Splice on 90' of extra chain and you can anchor with all chain everywhere on the ICW.

David
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Old 13-09-2011, 14:53   #12
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Re: How Much Chain for Anchoring on the ICW ?

Aloha and welcome aboard!
You're getting some advice already. With anchors, rode, chain there are never any absolutes.
kind regards,
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Old 13-09-2011, 15:10   #13
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Re: How Much Chain for Anchoring on the ICW ?

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Originally Posted by daddle View Post
Eh? "Never less than 7:1" is not some hallowed truth. How about "As much as needed. No more. No less." ?
Agreed. It's funny how dogmatic people can get about anchoring. I rarely go more than 5:1, and I haven't dragged in so long I'm not sure I'd remember how to do it. If I always went 7:1, the only difference would be a lot more mud in the chain locker.
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Old 13-09-2011, 19:23   #14
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Re: How Much Chain for Anchoring on the ICW ?

Nc Coast line is wicked dangerouse place.. a depth finder in GREAT working order is a must. too many shifting sand bars. very shallow with "holes". You pitch a blade in Oh lookie 10 ft of water.. and you drag 5 ft and poof 40 ft ... shruggs.. I sail here all the time.. and my depth finder is my best friend! I only have Hmm 120' on my 22 and that's about the most I use.
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Old 16-09-2011, 11:18   #15
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Re: How Much Chain for Anchoring on the ICW ?

I suppose everybody has different ideas. My personal philosophy on anchoring has always been one or two sizes larger for anchors and enough chain for 7:1 or more. And the chain does you no good if it's still in the anchor locker. You will ultimately be happy with that philosophy once you have been visited in the middle of the night by surprise thunderstorms, especially combined with significant reversing current. I've travelled the Atlantic ICW twice and you'll find several anchorages that are 20-25 feet deep. I've also never had trouble with anchorages being too crowded, but having said that, we like secluded places to anchor. If you follow the Cruising Quest link below, I have written articles on the ICW trip south, which might give you a few anchoring possibilities. Have fun. It's a great experience.
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