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Old 14-04-2010, 20:28   #1
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Assess My Ground Tackle

I have never anchored the boat for a longer period then lunch. Im planing on doing some weekend trips in the near future and have upgraded all my ground tackle hoping to gain some piece of mind while im swinging on the hook. So Let me know how I did or what I should change.
30 ft sailboat with average windage. 8000 lbs cruising weight (people and gear) Fortress fx 16 anchor, new 200 x1/2 3 strand rode 10 feet of 3/8 high test. Planing on cruising in the keys and south end of biscayne bay. Anchorage depths of 6-14 feet
I also have a 22 lb bruce on 10 feet of 5/16 that came with the boat.
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Old 14-04-2010, 21:16   #2
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If you are anchoring in areas that could have unnoticed coral, I would have an all chain rode.

I saw a Tartan 40 sailboat destroyed on the reef in French Polynesia because his rope rode chafed through after coming in contact with coral.

I know that you would not intentionally anchor in coral, but a wind shift or a dragging anchor could make your rode come up against coral in the areas where you plan to cruise.
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Old 15-04-2010, 04:35   #3
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Nice sailing area, but I would increase the length of chain. Squalls are common, so swinging is a problem. 50-60 ft of chain will do, but I would put on as much as possible that the wallet will allow. Eventually you will want to open up your cruising areas, and why buy twice?........i2f
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Old 15-04-2010, 05:55   #4
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b-rad -
With the exception of Fortresses, which are designed to be lightweight, the old rule has been one pound of anchor for every foot of boat length minimum.
Likewise for chain, one foot of chain for every foot of boat length minimum.
I will do us all a favor and refrain from discussing type of anchor.
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Old 15-04-2010, 06:01   #5
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Can't comment on the sailing area, but have to ask whether you are thinking of using the fortress as your main anchor? I would suggest you use the Bruce instead.
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Old 15-04-2010, 07:06   #6
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This is a bit of a dangerous thread since it sounds like you have already spent the money. Here is my take on it.

Fortress anchors have extremely high holding power for their weight but setting them seems to be hit or miss. In some bottom types, they set extremely well whereas in others they almost will not set. In sand, they tend to do pretty well. I would still be a little worried about when there is a wind shift since they usually have to reset. Some of the benefits of the "new generation" anchors have been discussed recently in other threads and where those anchors excel is setting and veering.

3/8" chain is overkill in my opinion. 5/16" G40 chain will have plenty of strength for anything that you could reasonably expect your anchor to hold you through and it is much lighter. In addition, 10' of chain is not very much when you are anchoring in places with coral and other things that may chafe a nylon rode. I would think 60' would be more appropriate.

1/2" 3 strand sound pretty light to me. The breaking strength when new is plenty for your boat but the line looses strength quickly, especially if it is allowed to chafe on something. In addition, line that light will act like a rubber band and could actually have the effect of making your boat "sail on the hook". Having some shock absorption in the system is necessary however too much can cause the boat to surge back and forth on the anchor. The more line you have out, the less stretch you want per length of it. If you only have 10' out, then the stretch characteristics of 1/2" are probably pretty good but if you have 50' out, they might be excessive. People using snubbers on all chain rode can actually tune this by changing the length of the snubber.

Two things that you haven't mentioned are what you are using for a shackle and whether you have a windlass. If you don't have a windlass, keeping everything (especially your chain) as lightweight as possible is important.

I hope that we are not causing you buyer's remorse.
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Old 15-04-2010, 08:06   #7
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Think you should have 60 feet of 5/16 chain for each anchor as you never know when you may need a back up. You don't say how much rode you have on the Bruce anchor but think 200 ft would be a minimum.
BTW is a a real Bruce anchor or one of the knock-offs. The real thing sets and holds very well, the knock-offs not so much.
Also there are threads here and on other sailing forums on proper anchoring technique. You might want to brush up before you anchor out.

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Old 15-04-2010, 09:12   #8

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Fortress was a good buy decision. For kedging and multiple anchor setups they're top notch. I keep a danforth on the stern with a rode for quick deployment in grounding occurances. As mentioned I'd use the bruce for the primary.
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Old 15-04-2010, 09:26   #9
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most of us carry at least two complete anchors/rodes. Keep your current setup as the backup anchor/stern anchor, and then get a proper primary anchor that will have at least 40 feet of chain backed up by some beefier nylon. It would be unwise to get another Fortress, only because you want something that might excel in conditions where the Fortress will not. If you can swing a 2nd generation anchor, that would be ideal.

For what it's worth, I carry a Fortress FX-55 as my backup anchor, and have complete faith in it. Primary anchor is a Rocna.
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Old 15-04-2010, 12:02   #10
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Agree with Bash, keep the Fortress as the spare anchor with the rode and start again with a modern anchor (Delta/Rocna) and good length of 5/16 chain, say 100ft.

We have a similar set up btw on 31 feet.

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Old 15-04-2010, 12:18   #11
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Yep. Neither Bruce nor Fortress is really ideal for your main anchor. Get a Spade, Delta, Rocna, or Manson (use the search function to browse the impassioned arguments about which of those) as others have suggested. And keep the other stuff for spares.

That 10-pound Fortress is a great kedge, but I would not spend a night lying to it, neither for love nor money.

You might think about an all-chain rode for your main anchor.
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Old 15-04-2010, 18:31   #12
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Wow...No idea I did that bad.
After reading everything I could on every anchor manufactors websites, 1/2 rode was the recomended for my length and weight by fortress, lewmar, westmarine. They also all recomend 6-10 feet of chain. I do have 175ish feet of 5/8 rode on the bruce, and it is a real bruce. Using 3/8 shackes to connect chain to anchor and rode to chain.
60 feet of chain sounds great untill I have to snub it off to pull the anchor in 10 feet of water , being that I have no windlass and no bow roller.
They are on the wish list.......... The roller may come soon but windlass is way way down the list. I mean the boat is 30 years old, been here most of its life and made due with out windlass or roller, and probaly made out ok with the same bruce I have now. But since it sounds like Im going to need another new anchor, the roller may get bumped a little further.
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Old 15-04-2010, 19:18   #13
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The ratings that you will find from west marine, fortress, etc tend to be very undersized by most true cruiser's standards. They are generally based on 30 knots of wind, no seas and good holding bottom. While this works for most days, an anchor really needs to work all the time since it is generally a last resort in poor conditions. How poor of conditions your ground tackle should actually be designed for is a subject of a lot of debate. The only manufacturer that I know of who does a decent job of it is Rocna who size their anchors for 50 knots of wind and waves with only average holding ground.

Very few people on these forums have actually used all of the different types of anchors so it is a bit difficult to get a straight answer from anyone. Some of us would prefer to lay to our own anchor during poor weather while other people will pick up a mooring or find a slip. There have been several tests done by bodies like Practical Sailor but it is very hard for them to do extensive enough testing for it to really mean much. They tend to get results for setting ability and holding power in a very specific bottom type but don't simulate things like wind shifts, lots of current and all bottom types. One set of videos that I think are helpful just to get you thinking are by MaineCruising on youtube who tried setting different anchors on a local beach. The tests are not quantitative but let you see what would be happening under the surface since you can rarely see it. The reason that I refer you to these videos are that he is unbiased in my opinion whereas most other videos are promotional.

Your anchoring gear is not a total waste, it is a good start but you may want to think about a primary setup with a new generation anchor, more chain and slightly heavier nylon line. So are you broke yet?
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Old 15-04-2010, 19:47   #14
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G'Day B-Rad,

Wow, all these folks are sure free with your money! But, in general I reckon that the aggragate advice above is on track.

If I were in your place just now, and had limited cash to spread around solving your problem, I would: First, do the bow roller. Having it will eventually be necessary, and in the short term will reduce wear and tear on both your rode and your boat and your back. Second, buy as much 5/16 chain as you can afford -- at least the 40-60 feet others have suggested -- and put it between your 22 lb Bruce and its 5/8' nylon. This will give you a reasonable (if minimal) working setup. Third, when funds are available, upgrade to a so-called new generation anchor (Manson Supreme, Rocna, etc) of around 30-35 lbs and replace the Bruce. Keep the Fortress and short chain/rode as a stern anchor, or to deploy as a second bow anchor if you are stuck in difficult conditions and don't quite trust the Bruce. Fourth, if you ever want to use the boat for longer term cruising, buy an all-chain rode and a windlass... it's really the only rational system when anchoring all the time, often in unfamiliar anchorages and in uncontrolable weather situations.

There is enpugh junk on the bottom these days that coral isn't the only chafe issue, and I just would never trust 10 feet of chain to protect your nylon lifeline.

Hang in there, and sleep well when you go!


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