That's a good question! I always figure that if you walk down the dock
and see one type of anchor over and over again - there's a good chance that is the best anchor for the area.
I am usually sailing on someone else's boat - often a charter
boat. Most of the charter
boats I am on in the Caribbean
have some sort of a plow on the bow with around 200' of chain. Then a large Fortress as a spare - usually with all nylon rode. Most of the anchorages I am in are nice soft sand bottoms with steady wind
to hold all the boats in line. Works well. Seldom have any need for the second anchor.
However - last spring had the opportunity to deliver a race
boat up from Antigua
to New York
, positioning it for the Newport
- Bermuda race
. We left the first day of Antigua
Race week and had hit the pre-regatta parties with my crew the night before. So planned to just make it to Barbuda that day - a short 30nm run. Spend the night there and get a fresh start early the next morning on our first leg up to Bermuda
. The boat was equipped with a single
anchor - a large Fortress with maybe 50' of chain and 150 feet of nylon rode. I have anchored many times in the lee of Barbuda - nice sandy bottom with no obstructions as long as you stay away from the coral
heads further out. The anchor set well and I set the anchor alarm
. We lit the BBQ and made "Cheese Burgers in Paradise". The crew all turned in and just as my head
hit the pillow, the anchor alarm
went off. I hate those things and usually don't use them due to false alarms from not getting them set right. As I cursed what I assumed was another false alarm - I saw that the boat was moving at almost two knots toward the reef!!! We fired the engines and pulled in the rode to find a frayed end - no chain - no anchor...
So - no spare - only choice was to start watch rotation and get going!
On the return delivery
from Bermuda to Antigua, we made a point of stopping for the night at Barbuda again. I had marked the spot where we had left our anchor and spent a couple of hours snorkeling around the area looking - but to no avail!
Lesson learned? One anchor is definitely not enough!!!