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Old 28-03-2015, 10:31   #16
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Thanks for all the suggestions, and for making me blush! I just dove the anchor and now realise how lucky I was. One fluke of the Bruce had caught on a rock and that held me secure. What a blessing! I'll take what I can get!
Luckily that was the last windshift of the evening and probably would have held me for as long as this northerly cold front lasts. I've reburied the hook deep in solid ground and floated above watching to make sure it wasn't going anywhere. Feeling much better!
Thanks again for all the helpful suggestions!

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Old 28-03-2015, 13:35   #17
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

It sound like the problem is in the way the boat behaves not the ground tackle or the way you use it. The tackle described should hold with that scope unless fouled by the grass. A bot that shears that badly is however going to be near impossible to anchor and particularly if it also fore-reaches. The lighter a boat is for it's volume the more likely this is to be a problem (think about the way an inflatable gets blown around). High bows and little forefoot can also be a factor. You may need to think about how the change the way the boat reacts, can you damp the shearing somehow? have you tried a riding sail on the backstay? Might be worth trying a stern anchor. Basically anything that will get her to stay head to wind.

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Old 28-03-2015, 15:47   #18
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

I have had similar experiences just last summer...big winds at anchor, no where to go, pray the hook holds.

My boat also "tacks" at anchor, which is a total pain. Back and forth, just waiting for it to break out the anchor from the bottom.

I like to set 2 anchors at a big angle from each other. This shares the load, and stops the tacking entirely. Rock solid.

In grass or weeds, a bruce or danforth isn't much need a pointy anchor like plow, which can cut through to the actual bottom below. Having said this, I love my big bruce, even if it does drag sometimes.

I was at an anchorage last summer when the wind picked up to 40 knots. I sat and worried for hours, watching other boats break loose and drift away. Just before sunset it was my turn. There was only one boat that did not drag, the skipper sat and enjoyed the show without a worry. The next day I rowed over and inquired about his hook. He had a small ROCNA. Thats what I'm going to get now too.

As for sailing off...I do like you, reefed main, tiller midship, pull up the hook, run aft and start sailing. Sometimes I'll pull up the hook with no sail up, then run aft and unroll the jib. However, my boat won't go hard into a strong wind with just the jib (or part of the jib).

And finally, I sail onto and off of the anchorage every chance I get. Practice makes perfect. I take good care of my engine, but don't want to trust it. Sails and skills won't let you down. You sound like a fine sailor. Best of luck to you.
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Old 28-03-2015, 18:11   #19
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Well done.
I don't like complicating the anchor setup, invariably drogues, second anchors and Kellets will complicate (sometimes terminally) your anchor recovery and getting underway.

I like Bruces, we trust ours. Incidentally a Bruce sets better if it screws in as it is supposed to do, is is not supposed to set with the middle tooth first. We achieve this by letting the anchor hit bottom while we still have way on, we pay out chain while we bear off and away, and when we pull up, the anchor has to turn 180 and that gets it set right.

Sailing off, we put up main only, we sheet in tight, and keep helm midships. She will sail off on one tack, and then the chain will snub her short and tack her. In the meantime she has moved upwind. As the tack happens we recover chain till she is about to tack again on the opposite side. We snub the chain (stopper) and let the chain tack her again...repeat as required. As we know we are close to breaking her out we make sure that we are on the preferred tack and then give helm in that direction, this gives sufficient speed for the next shortening of chain to pluck the anchor. We bear off and recover chain frantically so as not to snag something. Usually the anchor bounces a few times but this is why we would choose to break her out on the tack that favors deeper water. Its an example, local conditions will vary the procedure.

We have all 1/2" chain, and a 110Lb Bruce (original)

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Old 28-03-2015, 22:57   #20
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Part A) - Glad you're okay, if a bit harrowed... and yeah, we all know that feeling.

I'll skip the anchor type & size thing, but comment that one idea (at least) has gone missing from this discussion.
You can drop a 2nd anchor with not much more rode than it takes for it to hit bottom, under foot it's called, and often times they're enough to stop, or well slow a boat from sailing around on her primary hook.

And a curious question, why does it sound as if you have some semi-dietic faith in 70' of chain? That & were amazed that it grew taut?
On land it weighs maybe 80lbs, in the water, a good bit less. So, doing the math, it wouldn't take a lot of wind to cause it to stretch out.

On thinking, one other idea that could help, & is mainly just prep. I always keep a full size #2 rode in the fwd locker (if not fully rigged with an anchor). That way, at most, I only have to drag the end of it back to the cockpit, where upon I can attach full size anchor #2.

Also, anchor #3/the kedge, which is a smaller Danforth than the one which would ride up forward, is always rigged & ready to deploy within arms reach of the helm. In addition to (in theory) being a kedge, it's an E-brake. And adds a bit of peace of mind, even if only illusory.

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Old 29-03-2015, 01:19   #21
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Had a similar issue with my last yacht she was light and sailed her anchor out quite frequently,my father lent me his manson supreme made a huge difference.I had to sail the anchor in as my outboard had bugger all reverse pull .with the plow anchor she would slow down and stop, with the manson it was like hitting a wall, huge difference.Another trick to try is tandem anchors with about 2 metres of chain in between,this works very well just a pain to retreive.
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Old 29-03-2015, 02:59   #22
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Don't question your anchoring procedures, you are in Key West. I would question your anchoring spot. Many of The sandy grass areas in Key West look good but only shallow sand and grass on top of smooth rock. Ask the locals near you about the holding. It is tricky in Key West you need to have some local knowledge. That is why you see so many boats clumped together there with beautiful water to the left or right of them. I have set anchor in KW many times and have had locals come buy and warn not to be to confident in my holding ability if a blow comes, heed ther advice.

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Old 29-03-2015, 07:15   #23
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Thanks for the post. It is always helpful to hear and hopefully learn from these problems.

I think the main issue is choice of anchor. I have a soft spot for a large genuine Bruce anchor, but it is not an anchor that scales down well. Larger sizes (say 60lb and above) seem to work better than the smaller models. It is also not a great anchor in heavy weed. As it rotates vertically it needs to force three large flukes through the weed roots. This is a tough ask, especially for a 22.5 lb anchor. Also, the Bruce has reasonably reliable setting, but not very high holding power so it needs to be oversized to work well. A 22.5 lb Bruce is on the small side for a 28 foot yacht.

The combination of a small Bruce in weed is not a great match. The Bruce is good at gripping the weed itself so it is often reliable in this bottom type in moderate wind, but it then fails to achieve the penetration of the underlying substrate that is necessary to hold in stronger conditions.

Finally, you don't make it clear if it a genuine Bruce or a "claw" copy. The Bruce is a model that is quite sensitive to geometry and some of the copies are nothing like the original, especially the twist in the outer flukes.

So a new anchor would be a big improvement. Particuarly if anchoring in a weedy substrate I would also increase the size. You could afford to go one step down in chain size if the overall weight is an issue. 70 feet of 1/4 inch chain would be 25 lb lighter than 5/16.

There is a lot of debate about the best weed anchors. If you are anchoring just in weed and the underlying substrate is always firm one of the specialised weed anchors like the fisherman is very hard to beat. However, these anchors need to be
very large, don't work well in other substrates and are very difficult to stow on modern boats. To overcome some of these difficulties there are some modern alternatives. The Marsh anchor is one variation. The main requirement is for very thin pointy flukes that can cut through the weed roots. While the modern alternatives like the Marsh solve the storage problems thay are still specialist anchors that do poorly in most other substrates. Generally they are unnecessary for most locations.

One of the modern new generation anchors will give you much of the performance of a specialist weed anchor, but will also work well in other substrates and this is what I would recommend. All of the new generation anchors will be much better than your Bruce in weed, especially in the smaller sizes that your boat needs.

There is great debate about which new generation models do best. Weed and importantly the underlying substrate below the weed is very variable. In addition, weed distrubition on the bottom is often not uniform so an anchor can appear to do better, or worse than the counterparts on other boats when local differences in the weed density where the anchor was dropped are producing the variation. An anchor's weed performance is one of the harder parameters to evaluate.

In my view the best (non specialist) weed anchors are the concave roll bar anchors. (Manson Supreme, Mantus, Rocna) The fine chisel tip unhindered by the need for bulky ballast chamber slices through the weed roots better than the alternatives.

In terms of technique, as has been pointed out, the substrate is important and in weed over rock nothing will be reliable. Holding power will increase too as scope is increased. In practical terms there is little gain over about 10-14:1. If you have the room in a deserted anchorage there is nothing wrong with letting out more scope. It does no good in the locker, but 10:1 should not be needed in 30mph. When setting the anchor in weed be careful about applying any force until you have a reasonable scope (say 3:1+). If you apply force early and the anchor moves backwards before the scope is sufficient for it to dig in the anchor fluke will collect weed which hinders the subsequent burial. When power setting your anchor, try and apply the force gradually. Often in weed the chain will hang up on a clump and too much power too quickly can cause a sudden large force on the anchor before it has started to dig in.

This photo is of a claw rather than a genuine Bruce, but it does illustrate the difficulty the anchor faces. When the anchor has rotated upright into the setting position, as this anchor has done, it then has to force all three flukes between the weed roots to gain much grip on the substrate below. This particular model was a large anchor and in this light weed it was doing OK. With a bit more force applied I suspect this anchor would have been successful in forcing its way through the weed roots and working well. However, it easy to see how with thicker weed particularly in relation to the anchor size that this design is not ideal.

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Old 29-03-2015, 07:21   #24
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

There are books written about anchoring only which is to say there are a bunch of things to consider and do. The easiest of which is to lay more rode. More rode means more shock absorption and, of course, a better holding angle.

Two anchors, IMO, means double the potential for trouble. That said, the only way I consider a second anchor is in line with the first. The first at some crazy scope and the second at no more than 3/4 the first. If the first is at 12:1 then the second s/b at 8:1. This arrangement is for high wind storm conditions.

BTW a Bahamian moor typically only sets to one anchor at a time and does not double your holding. It is designed to keep your bow in or near one location.

Recommended, by someone else not me, second anchor configurations are to place the second anchor at 60 degrees off the first anchor which causes you to set on both anchors.

My main reason for not setting a second anchor is that with wind and tide changes you wrap both of the rodes around one another. For those who have never had a pain in the ass this is one.
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Old 29-03-2015, 08:44   #25
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

A riding sail would help with yawing at anchor. I've had good luck with the FinDelta. Hint: Hoist it and get your line lengths and attachment points set in calm conditions.

With 70' of chain in 9' of depth and still dragging on a 28' boat, you have the wrong anchor. I'd get a spade type, such as a Rocna or Mantis.
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Old 29-03-2015, 15:29   #26
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Mammamia... this is the anchor line For a big inflatable in the Med.

22lbs and 70' chain is no serious imo (chain here is just for chafing, and 200' rope is needed)
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Old 29-03-2015, 16:09   #27
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Newbie Q here, but, is 22lb a little light (regardless of type)? I see you are on a 28' (or looks like to me). Thx
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Old 29-03-2015, 21:45   #28
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Ann writing this:

Two questions: is it a concern that the prop can eat a rope rode? I hadn't let out much more rope rode beyond my 70' of chain because of this idea (I was anchored in 9 feet with 4 feet of height off my bow). With a sudden windshift, you can get the rope wrapped on the keel. You might even be able to wrap the rope on the prop so well it'll stop the engine.

I had read that after 10:1 scope, more scope does little to change the angle of attack and isn't really worth it, but atoll it sounds like you put out more than that in a blow? It certainly helped me. The more rope rode you have out, the more room you take up in an anchorage, and your dancing promenades will be longer.

I have always liked Bruces in the past and never had a problem, but I think I can expect more grass anchoring in the Bahamas. Any suggestions on a new pick? The Danforth did hold her in similar conditions in the same place three weeks ago on 120 feet of rope rode with a short chain leader. Because the wind went through a 90+ degree shift, I didn't use it this time out of fear it would break out. First, take a look at noelex's Pictures of Anchors Setting thread. It is quite long, but I think it's quite informative. Second, if you plan it in advance, I think you can anchor in a "Y", using your little Bruce, and your Danforth, as atoll suggested. We have used a small Danforth (20 lb. High Tensile} to help hold our boat in strong winds and poor holding. We have a friend who uses a small parachute drogue off the bow, "footed", as mentioned above, with success, as well. Whether you use a kellet, a drogue, or an anchor, footed, it does add another step. Having had good success with our boat, which dances a lot due to small grip on the water forward plus two roller furling sails, in the "Y", where the arms of the "Y" are the two anchors plus their rodes, and the tail, the boat, works well, cuts down on the dancing (the arcs are smaller) and adds holding power, I like that solution, YMMV.


When you have time, you might also look at one of the many threads about anchors. See what you think.

I read some old emails from two owners ago, and he always Bahamian anchored her no matter what the wind condition was because of the sailing at anchor and the tendency for his rope rode to wrap his keel. I will probably begin doing similarly in conditions like this.
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Old 29-03-2015, 22:18   #29
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

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Old 30-03-2015, 12:15   #30
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Re: Leaving anchor under sail in a storm

Some good advice here. I would echo...

1] First action: ALWAYS let out more rode.
2] If you can stow more chain, get more chain. Cheapest insurance you can buy. Learned that lesson (guess where) in Key West 25 years ago.
3] if you can't stow more chain use what someone called a kettle - I call it a sentinel - to keep your rope rode low and away from keel and prop.

Someone mentioned 10-1 scope even with chain. Absolutely concur - and even more if possible - in stormy conditions.

You also mentioned having a Bruce anchor. I have one also, and while they tend to set quickly, they don't offer as much lateral resistance as a CQR or Danforth. My 45 lb. CQR and 200 feet of chain always kept me feeling safe and secure. (Except on rock in some of the Berry Islands).

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