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Old 21-03-2016, 23:53   #1
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Help me flesh out my ground tackle

I have been thinking about this way too much, and need some fresh eyes. I need advice on my ground tackle plans. We will be cruising in the Pacific Northwest, down the coast to Mexico, and then who knows. Perhaps Hawaii and back to the PNW.

Boat:
43' 30,000lb ketch

Assets:
Rocna 33 (73 lbs)
44lb Bruce
20 lb danforth
12 lb danforth

250' new chain (16.5k breaking)
2 sets of ~40' chain (probably ~13k breaking)
450' new polyester 12 strand (17k breaking)
200' nylon 3 strand, unknown history (3/4 in)
300' new nylon 12 strand (light weight for stern, 6.5k breaking)

Current plan:
Primary: Rocna, 250' chain, cut100' of polyester
Secondary: Bruce, 40' chain, remaining 350' polyester
Tertiary: buy a fortress fx-37, 40' chain, buy "some rope"
Stern: 20 lb danforth, 300' nylon 12 strand.
Chop up the 200' 3 strand for use as snubbers

My over thinking dilemma is:
If I'm in a deep anchorage and use the Rocna, 250' chain and 350' polyester, and then have to ditch it all for whatever reason, I have precious little left of long rode for anything much over 25' of depth (5:1 scope).

Do I:
Buy another 300' or so of polyester for the tertiary anchor?
Buy 300' of nylon? Not excited about nylon (weakens as it stretches due to heat, water)
Cut the 450 polyester into 300 and 150 to mitigate the loss of line?
Stop over thinking and go sailing?

Thanks for any advice.





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Old 22-03-2016, 00:26   #2
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Re: Help me flesh out my ground tackle

Scott, if you plan on greatest anchoring depth is 80 feet, at 3 or 4 to one scope, you're well covered.

The thing about anchoring deep is it changes everything, and places where you might require 10:1 tend to be shallow, or sand over coral.

In our experience, our Bruce worked pretty well, it's major failure mode was if it picked up a Bruce handful sized rock, but then it would skitter along the bottom, and Jim, with his foot lightly upon the chain, could feel the motion.

The Rocna should be superb, and the two Danforths have lots of uses. They work fine as long as they pull in one direction. Clamshells and other detritus can interfere with their re-setting, but one way, they work really well.

I think you're more than set, with your gear.

Ann
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Old 22-03-2016, 00:39   #3
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Re: Help me flesh out my ground tackle

IMO, with your proposed itinerary you will never need all of the chain, let alone all the rope on the end of it. We spent a lot of time in those areas and never had to anchor in more than 50 feet, mostly less, and that, with your Rocna, will not require more scope.

You are more than adequately equipped. Have fun and don't worry so much!

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Old 22-03-2016, 06:56   #4
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Re: Help me flesh out my ground tackle

I have a different opinion: keep the Rocna, sell the rest, all of them. Then buy a Fortress FX-55 for your secondary instead of the small Bruce.

That's it, you don't need more than two. If possible, I would put 300' of chain on the primary and no rope. Put 20' of chain and all the rope on the secondary.

People used to laugh when they see our anchors... we have a 176lb Bruce, a Fortress 85 and the monster fx125. They stopped laughing after hurricane Ivan when the bay was wiped clean except for us and another couple of well equipped boats. Anchoring gear is the cheapest insurance you can get.
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Old 22-03-2016, 07:51   #5
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Re: Help me flesh out my ground tackle

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
I have a different opinion: keep the Rocna, sell the rest, all of them. Then buy a Fortress FX-55 for your secondary instead of the small Bruce.

That's it, you don't need more than two. If possible, I would put 300' of chain on the primary and no rope. Put 20' of chain and all the rope on the secondary.

People used to laugh when they see our anchors... we have a 176lb Bruce, a Fortress 85 and the monster fx125. They stopped laughing after hurricane Ivan when the bay was wiped clean except for us and another couple of well equipped boats. Anchoring gear is the cheapest insurance you can get.
I completely agree with this.

Quantity does not equal quality, and a bunch of crappy, undersized anchors is not equal to one good one, in fact a bunch of crappy anchors is not even better than one crappy anchor.

Concentrate your attention on your one main bower anchor, make it as large and as good as you can. If your Rocna is at least one size bigger than recommended, then that should be ok, but if you can fit and handle something even bigger, than upsize it. As Nick said, 100 meters of chain, then plus rope if you want, but as Anne said, deep water requires less scope, so 100 meters is likely enough for any possible situation. Even your existing 250' may be enough. If you lose the bower plus that chain, you've got your Fortress kedge to use until you get to a place where you can replace the bower and chain.

Throw or give away the rest of them. Undersized Bruce and Danforths are of no use at all to you and just add weight for no purpose.

Besides a killer main bower anchor you need a kedge which is of a size you can handle but big enough to be a backup to the bower in case you lose it. 99% of cruisers use a Fortress for this, and I do also -- it's ideal for this purpose. Your planned Fortress FX-37 is perfect, and that is at the same time a perfect backup to the bower and also a perfect kedge.

One tip on using the Fortress: as a substitute or temporary bower, you really want a chain leader on it. If you could keep 20 or 30 meters of chain with shackles to insert in the rode, that would enhance this system. For use as a kedge, the chain greatly hinders handling (don't ask me how I know). For this you want a very short chain leader, maybe only a meter or two.


Some long distance cruisers like to carry a spare bower anchor. I don't believe this is really necessary, but if you insist, then Spades can be dismantled for easy storage in the bilge.

If I were going to have a third anchor, myself, it would be a giant, grossly oversized Fortress to use as a storm anchor. But I'm not in a hurry because my oversized Spade is already a decent storm anchor.
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Old 22-03-2016, 08:03   #6
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Re: Help me flesh out my ground tackle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Scott, if you plan on greatest anchoring depth is 80 feet, at 3 or 4 to one scope, you're well covered.

The thing about anchoring deep is it changes everything, and places where you might require 10:1 tend to be shallow, or sand over coral.

In our experience, our Bruce worked pretty well, it's major failure mode was if it picked up a Bruce handful sized rock, but then it would skitter along the bottom, and Jim, with his foot lightly upon the chain, could feel the motion.

The Rocna should be superb, and the two Danforths have lots of uses. They work fine as long as they pull in one direction. Clamshells and other detritus can interfere with their re-setting, but one way, they work really well.

I think you're more than set, with your gear.

Ann

I agree with all of this, except the bit about the Danforths.

As a former Danforth owner, I say -- throw them away and get one Fortress. They are too small, and for some reason work far less well than the Forterss despite the fact that the Fortress, being made of alu, is far lighter size for size.


Concerning scope -- in 30 meters of water, you only need 3:1 scope, so 100 meters is enough.

I sail in an areas with huge tides (up to 14 meters range), which requires me to anchor in some places where the depth will be very great at high tide. With 100 meters of chain, I have never once felt myself wish that I had more.
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Old 22-03-2016, 08:12   #7
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Re: Help me flesh out my ground tackle

What size chain are you using? From the break load of 16k, I can only guess at 3/8" G40?

See more @ redemptiverepair.com
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Old 22-03-2016, 09:20   #8
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Re: Help me flesh out my ground tackle

Not trying to hijack but as someone whose experience is in relatively shallow water transplanted to a very deep water area my question is why does recommended scope diminish in deeper water? I can go pull out my books, but I'm lazy.
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Old 22-03-2016, 09:30   #9
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Re: Help me flesh out my ground tackle

You have way more rode than I ever carried. Your stern anchor rode will suffice as backup. Your stern anchor will very seldom get used at all.
Cool boat, those Amphitrites are nice!
Not a Bruce fan myself, but in rocks they aren't bad.
I find Danforth's great. But also like the Fortress. With either it isn't the weight , it's the configuration that is hard to handle.
Yes, the two or maybe 3 anchors mentioned is enough.
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Old 22-03-2016, 09:31   #10
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Re: Help me flesh out my ground tackle

Your question is likely to invite as many responses as there are contributors and in some regards all will be correct in some regards.

The only thing I would add to the above suggestions, after 23-years of cruising the tropical Pacific, is that your Danforths will be of little value once you head south.

I have been saved on countless occasions by carrying a large Northill anchor and or a Navy stock anchor aka a Fisherman anchor. These two are not good primary anchors where there is the possibility of swinging around and tangling the exposed fluke but when the poop really pipes up and the sand is washed away, these two anchors are fantastic coral hooks that can catch on even small declevities on a flat coral bottom and keep you from joining the pile-up on the beach.

Edited to add: you can always add and or subtract anchors along the way. Look what the local commercial fisherman are using. In Hawaii they often use coral picks, looks like a one fluke Fisherman.
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Old 22-03-2016, 09:59   #11
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Re: Help me flesh out my ground tackle

Quote:
Originally Posted by redhead View Post
Not trying to hijack but as someone whose experience is in relatively shallow water transplanted to a very deep water area my question is why does recommended scope diminish in deeper water? I can go pull out my books, but I'm lazy.
Hi Redhead,

Distant Shores did a good job of documenting deep water anchoring from a cruiser's perspective, with several linked resources...

If you prefer more to chew on, Alain Fraysse has enough information to keep most of us busy for a little while...

For comparison, we anchor in 50-90 feet ~80% of the time up here, with the remaining 20% being in 30-50 feet. All chain rode with long bridle, 4:1 in 90ft and can go to 5:1.

Our strategy is to stay away from the boats [if there are any...] that choose to anchor on the shallow shelves near shore of many bays. I prefer to drag uphill, if at all...

Our ground tackle inventory and many related references are available on this page of our blog in case it is of interest.

Safe anchoring to us all.

Cheers!

Bill
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Old 22-03-2016, 10:30   #12
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Re: Help me flesh out my ground tackle

Hi Scott,

It looks like you have a thorough ground tackle inventory.

You are miles ahead of the CQR anchors I had to depend upon when I made that run in the late 1980s, and they did the job most of the time...

I concur with the feedback offered by others on this thread re: keeping your Rocna [assuming it is right-sized...] and eliminating the 3 undersized anchors. Add what you feel might be more appropriate as a back-up bower, including at least 1 Fortress for kedging, etc.

Since you chose to use polyester for the rope component, and since it offers inadequate shock absorption in inclement conditions; if you haven't already I would add an adequately sized three-strand nylon snubber or bridle to your inventory, and deploy it every time you set the anchor.

[Practical Sailor published a good article in Mar-2016 about sizing snubbers, etc. for reference.]

You also didn't list any storm tackle [and perhaps you consider that independently from your ground tackle. e.g., drogue(s), sea anchor, etc.] I mention this because I lump everything for slowing or holding the vessel together into one inventory. [Here is our inventory for reference in case it is of interest.]

Best wishes and safe travels.

Cheers!

Bill
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Old 22-03-2016, 10:44   #13
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Re: Help me flesh out my ground tackle

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottMeilicke View Post
I have been thinking about this way too much, and need some fresh eyes. I need advice on my ground tackle plans. We will be cruising in the Pacific Northwest, down the coast to Mexico, and then who knows. Perhaps Hawaii and back to the PNW.

Boat:
43' 30,000lb ketch

Assets:
Rocna 33 (73 lbs)
44lb Bruce
20 lb danforth
12 lb danforth

250' new chain (16.5k breaking)
2 sets of ~40' chain (probably ~13k breaking)
450' new polyester 12 strand (17k breaking)
200' nylon 3 strand, unknown history (3/4 in)
300' new nylon 12 strand (light weight for stern, 6.5k breaking)

Current plan:
Primary: Rocna, 250' chain, cut100' of polyester
Secondary: Bruce, 40' chain, remaining 350' polyester
Tertiary: buy a fortress fx-37, 40' chain, buy "some rope"
Stern: 20 lb danforth, 300' nylon 12 strand.
Chop up the 200' 3 strand for use as snubbers

My over thinking dilemma is:
If I'm in a deep anchorage and use the Rocna, 250' chain and 350' polyester, and then have to ditch it all for whatever reason, I have precious little left of long rode for anything much over 25' of depth (5:1 scope).

Do I:
Buy another 300' or so of polyester for the tertiary anchor?
Buy 300' of nylon? Not excited about nylon (weakens as it stretches due to heat, water)
Cut the 450 polyester into 300 and 150 to mitigate the loss of line?
Stop over thinking and go sailing?

Thanks for any advice.





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Sounds as if you have enough ground tackle.
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Old 22-03-2016, 11:47   #14
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Re: Help me flesh out my ground tackle

Personally I think a boat should only have two anchors. The primary being a rediculiously oversized massive hunk of holding power on the roller. How big? As big as you can possibly make fit. Holding power goes up faster than weight does, so doubling the weight may increase holding power by 4 times.

Looking at the mass you have dedicated to anchors (~150lbs) I would have all of that in one massive SHHP anchor on the bow with 300' of chain. As Dashew said (paraphrasing) " you know your anchor is big enough when people walking the dock are laughing at it."

Then I would add a second largish Fortress disassembled and stored below. Just in case the primary anchor gets lost (though to be honest in 30 years of sailing I have never lost an anchor and consider this a pretty remote possibility).

If you need a kedge or stern anchor then use the dingy's anchor, or break out the Fortress. But I have rarely needed this strategy to be honest.

So how big is too big? Well Dashew specced a 250lb anchor on a 64' powerboat. That seems a good place to be to me.
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Old 22-03-2016, 12:21   #15
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Re: Help me flesh out my ground tackle

Thanks for all of the great responses, they are very appreciated.

I worry about losing my primary. But really, how many people do you know that have lost theirs?
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