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Old 22-09-2013, 20:24   #1
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Ground Tackle Systems

I noticed several threads here, asking about chain size, anchor size. Thought some of you might find this chapter from our book, Capable Cruiser interesting. It compares the anchor system gear used by three different crews who circumnavigated at least twice on boats ranging from our 24 foot long Seraffyn to Beth and Evans 47 foot Hawk. Hope you find it helpful.

A Ground Tackle
System List
Eight of us sat in a tight circle, almost oblivious to the rest of the party that ebbed and flowed around us. Every one of the forty or fifty guests in that Newport Beach bayside home were involved in sailing—yacht designers, equipment manufacturers, racing sailors—but interesting as their conversations were, our attention kept being drawn to our kindred souls, the long-distance voyagers who had all ended up in the same place at the same time, all bound away within the next few months for yet another voyage. Together the four couples had voyaged over 300,000 miles on boats ranging from 24 feet on deck to 62 feet. Two major topics held us together as hors d’oeuvres dwindled and the other guests left: the perfect place to cruise, an unanswerable question and, the ideal ground tackle system, one on which all eight of us seemed to agree in principle if not in detail. A week later we got together with two couples who were out fitting their first offshore boats in anticipation of their first long cruise and the same two topics dominated the evening but with one big difference. Whereas the experienced cruisers had talked about their ground tackle as a system, the soon-to-be-cruisers, seemed interested only in anchors and anchor types.

Larry and I sat down later that week to make up a list of what gear we still needed for the final outfitting of Taleisin. Then we grew more sympathetic towards all new cruisers. Anchors, chain, windlass, anchor-roller fittings, cleats, all the gear for the ground tackle system our voyaging experience taught us we needed to carry, came to a total retail cost in excess of $9,000 (and that was in 1983, today inflation would make that closer to $20,000). Even with the most careful shopping, trading and fabricating of some of our own gear, in 1983 we still spent over $4,000 on our anchor system and added 800 pounds to our boat’s cargo burden. Or, to put it another way, we used five percent of her eventual displacement just for ground tackle. If she had been a lighter, length-to-weight displacement type boat; say a 32-foot boat displacing 12,000 pounds, which is more normal for production type boats, this weight burden would have increased to almost seven percent of the boat’s total displacement. Fortunately for us, we were building our own boat so we could incorporate some parts of this ground tackle system right into the design, parts like the stern roller, the bits and boom gallows that serve as mooring cleats. The person who buys a stock boat, has to add labor costs to their budget as they try to fit rugged offshore ground tackle on a boat that was originally planned for coastal cruising. It is no wonder they look for the lightest, cheapest, simplest way to go. This can be the biggest single mistake potential sailors make. If you drag anchor and lose your boat, insurance money will never replace the boat preparation time or the confidence of family and crew.

The following list shows the gear Taleisin carries, gear we feel makes up our anchor system. Remember this is a system for extensive offshore voyaging. The person who is going for a four-month voyage, choosing his seasons carefully, could probably cut this system down 30 percent in weight and eliminate back ups that are much more important when you get far away from sailing centers. I know the spare anchor we carry is not an absolute necessity, but it means the loss of our working anchor would not be quite so problematic. We wouldn’t have to resort to using the bulky, hard to winch up, storm anchor until we reached the next marine stores. The starred items are discussed briefly after the list. Other items marked with cc are discussed elsewhere in this book.

TALEISIN’S GROUND TACKLE SYSTEM
*Working anchor 35 lb. CQR 35
Stern anchor 12 H Danforth 12
Spare anchor 20 pound Danforth 20
Storm anchor 65 lb. Luke 3 piece fisherman 65 cc
Dinghy anchor 5 lb. Danforth 5
Main chain 275 feet 5/16-inch high test 302 cc
Main bower line snubber 50 feet 5/8-inch nylon 5 cc
Second bower 30 feet 5/16-inch high test chain 33
Second bower line 300 feet 5/8-inch nylon 34
Stern bower 10 feet 1/4-inch B.B.B. chain 8
Stern bower line 250 feet 1/2-inch nylon 16.5
Dinghy bower line 60 feet 3/8-inch nylon 2
*Anchor windlass Two speed bronze A.B.I. 75
Chain pipe and splitter 5
Second bower pipe 3
2 bow rollers 14 cc
Stern roller 14 cc
Mooring cleat and bits 15
Bowsprit end pennant block 2 cc
Snubber lines Two—15 foot 1/2-inch nylon 2 cc
*Boat hook/chain scrubber 3
*Dinghy and long oars 90
*Lead line 130 feet marked every five
fathoms, 3-pound lead 12
Line chafing protection hoses 3
Shackles, swivel for permanent mooring,
spare thimbles and galvanized seizing wire 17

Total weight 796 LB


* Although our anchors may appear oversized when you first compare them to the manufacturers’ recommendations, once you read all of the fine print, you’ll find they are not. Manufacturers of anchors must suggest sizes for the whole range of sailors and fishermen they sell gear to. According to the Danforth company, over 70 percent of their anchors are sold to inland fishermen for use with small open boats. They would therefore be unwise to base their recommendations on the needs of offshore voyaging boats when people like ourselves make up less than two percent of their customer base. They try to cover the cruising sailor by stating that the recommendations are for winds of up to 60 knots with moderate protection from the seas. Offshore voyagers cannot guarantee they will avoid winds over 60 knots, so it is necessary to choose working anchors at least one size higher than manufacturers’ recommendations.
* Not only does a windlass make it possible for all of the crew to handle the proper size ground tackle, but, used in conjunction with well arranged cleats, it could also prevent future back strain problems and keep you more active all through life. For any chain over 5/16-inch we would recommend the use of a hydraulic anchor windlass with electric as a second choice.
* A hard dinghy with long oars becomes part of your ground tackle system when you must kedge out an anchor, either to increase the anchoring power you need because of an approaching hurricane, to get another anchor set if yours starts to drag, or to set a stern hook in a crowded anchorage. You may not have the time to inflate a rubber dinghy and attach your outboard in this situation. Using the longest oars possible will assist tremendously when you have to row against heavy winds and pull the weight of ground tackle with you.
* Although many people rely on their depth sounder to decide where to anchor, a lead line is still necessary. It serves two purposes. It picks up a sample of the bottom to show you which anchor to use, and it can be taken with you into the dinghy so that you can sound a suspect channel or check all the way around the boat to make sure there is no chance of bumping into rocks or shallow spots should the wind shift.


Eric and Susan Hiscock, who sailed three and a half times around the world including voyages as far north as Alaska and to the southern Fiords of New Zealand on boats ranging from 30 feet to 49 feet in length, provided the following list of their primary ground tackle for each of three Wanderers. They told us they had never once dragged anchor.

Wanderer III, sloop. LOA 30 ft, LWL 261/2, beam 81/2, displacement 9 tons. Bower anchor 35-pound CQR on 45 fathoms of 5/16-inch chain. She was fitted with a chain pawl at the stemhead to assist when weighing.

Wanderer IV, Ketch. LOA 491/2, LWL 40, beam 121/2, displacement 22 tons. The original bower anchor was a 60-pound CQR, but this got badly bent in a storm and we replaced it with a 75-pound CQR on 45 fathoms of 1/2-inch chain. Handling was by electric windlass with hand lever back-up.

Wanderer V, sloop. LOA 391/2, LWL 331/4, beam 121/4, displacement 11 tons. Bower, 60-pound CQR on 40 fathoms of 3/8-inch chain. Handling by electric windlass with hand-lever back-up.

The bower anchors of Wanderer IV and V do not have to be lifted on board as they stow themselves on the bow rollers. Of course the above yachts all carried kedges (CQR’s) and nylon rodes and had five fathom ground chains to go with them.


Beth Leonard and Evans Starzinger have just completed their third voyage through the canals of Patagonia on board 47 foot Hawk, their medium-displacement cutter. Their primary anchor is larger than they would use if they confined their voyaging to mid-latitudes, but as they say, “Like most high-latitude cruisers, we prefer to carry one storm-sized anchor on our bow and rely on it all the time.” This list of anchor gear is from their Voyagers Handbook, Second edition, pub. McGraw Hill, 2006.
110 lb. Bruce on bow roller: i50 ft. of 3/8”high test chain plus 250 ft. of 5/8 in. three strand nylon. 150 ft. 3/8”high test chain stowed ready to connect in the bilge.
55 lb. Delta stowed in stern locker with 25 ft. of 3/8”high test chain and 300 ft of ¾”double-braid nylon line
40 lb. Danforth-type high tensile anchor, 12 ft. of 3/8”chain and 300 feet of ¾”double braid nylon line as kedge
32 lb. aluminum Fortress anchor
Vertical electric windlass with hand crank back up
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Old 22-09-2013, 21:22   #2
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Re: Ground Tackle Systems

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Originally Posted by Lin Pardey View Post
Wanderer IV, Ketch. LOA 491/2, LWL 40, beam 121/2, displacement 22 tons. The original bower anchor was a 60-pound CQR, but this got badly bent in a storm and we replaced it with a 75-pound CQR on 45 fathoms of 1/2-inch chain. Handling was by electric windlass with hand lever back-up.
1/2" chain is recommended after 140# QCR, this is where i can say they had something so overkill, it was silly.
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Old 22-09-2013, 21:42   #3
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Re: Ground Tackle Systems

Boy Scoobert, better look these folks up on line ! If ya know how ! LOL, yall don't know when your ahead !! LOL
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Old 22-09-2013, 22:24   #4
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Re: Ground Tackle Systems

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1/2" chain is recommended after 140# QCR, this is where i can say they had something so overkill, it was silly.
Unless your first name is Ernest and your last is Shackleton you should probably avoid critiquing the Pardeys.

Evans Starzinger is a regular on this board as well; the guy has set me straight a few times.
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Old 23-09-2013, 00:25   #5
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Re: Ground Tackle Systems

wanderer 4 is parked just down from my boat she is a big heavy beasty if eric thought he needed big chain he would have had a reason,There is nothing wrong at all with having oversized anchoring gear best insurance there is.
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Old 23-09-2013, 02:24   #6
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Re: Ground Tackle Systems

One thing to keep in mind with respect to Wanderer IV, is that she was outfit in the 1968 (And Eric cruised her thru the 1970's), when "high test" chain was used much less frequently. I would guess she had BBB chain. We all moved down 'one size' when G4/"high test" became common.

Eric was "thrifty". He would not have bought 1/2" chain unless he thought he needed it. And he had enough experience to know whether he did or not.
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Old 23-09-2013, 04:58   #7
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Re: Ground Tackle Systems

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Boy Scoobert, better look these folks up on line ! If ya know how ! LOL, yall don't know when your ahead !! LOL
simply going off of this:
http://www.lewmar.com/products.asp?i...pe=3&channel=1
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Old 23-09-2013, 05:28   #8
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Re: Ground Tackle Systems

Almost 30 years ago when I lived 500 miles from the ocean and I was working 70 hour weeks the Pardey's were the inspiration that kept me going until I had enough money to quit work and go sailing.

I hung on every word in every article as they built and sailed their boats. Behind me as I read was my old medical school mentor telling me that, "smart people learned from smarter people and repeating other peoples mistakes was pure stupidity."

Well I read and learned from the Pardey's and the smallest of my 4 anchors is a 65 lb CQR, it came with the boat. It is actually a 'paperweight' for my boat and last year in hurricane Sandy it started to pull until we came down on the bigger ones....much bigger ones!

Many thanks Lin and Larry for the inspiration you provided!
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Old 23-09-2013, 05:31   #9
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Re: Ground Tackle Systems

The interesting thing about ground tackle would be how and where and what conditions you anchor. Crusiers doing extending live aboard cruising clearly need bullet proof systems, over-sized and with redundancy. A weekend cruiser who anchors and does one or two extended cruises in their local waters of relatively knowable conditions is a different story. But of course conditions can go severe anytime and anywhere.

The ground tackle described in this thread is an excellent guideline for serious cruisers but I suspect a bit of over kill for 98% the others. I suspect most sailors more gradually up to more and more robust anchor tackle over time... even if they don't become live aboard world wide cruisers.
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Old 23-09-2013, 06:18   #10
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Re: Ground Tackle Systems

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The interesting thing about ground tackle would be how and where and what conditions you anchor . . . . . . The ground tackle described in this thread is an excellent guideline for serious cruisers
Yes, certainly true, all three boats have for instance cruised in the Beagle - we saw Wanderer IV (not with Eric & Susan but new Kiwi Owners) the first time we were there and Lin & Larry the second time.

We and L&L had the OP stated ground tackle. Wanderer had gone thru a comprehensive rebuild and refit and I would guess they changed the ground tackle (from Eric's system) but we never discussed it with them.
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Old 23-09-2013, 07:09   #11
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Re: Ground Tackle Systems

^^

I might also note that one of L&L's formative experiences with anchoring was in Baja (in 1982) - they saw the aftermath of one of the great (non-hurricane) 'anchoring disasters' in the history of the cruising fleet - 28 boats driven ashore. So, you don't have to go very far, and can still be 'coastal' to absolutely need serious ground tackle.
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Old 23-09-2013, 07:20   #12
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Re: Ground Tackle Systems

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^^

I might also note that one of L&L's formative experiences with anchoring was in Baja (in 1982) - they saw the aftermath of one of the great (non-hurricane) 'anchoring disasters' in the history of the cruising fleet - 28 boats driven ashore. So, you don't have to go very far, and can still be 'coastal' to absolutely need serious ground tackle.
I was reading Earl Hinz's book on anchoring yesterday and just came across that picture. Low pressure system that blew into Cabo San Lucas; if we're talking about the same one. All of the boats I've seen on the beach/rocks are from abraded nylon or shackle pins working free. The nylon abrasion was from sand bottoms with rocks here and there, the nylon snagging on a rock, and there you go. That's what happened to this guy, and another just like him in Banderas Bay this last winter.

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Old 23-09-2013, 07:53   #13
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Re: Ground Tackle Systems

I do have a question about length of chain rode. In the three boat presented, there is a lot of variation in the length of the rode. Do we have any evidence that 300 feet of chain is better than 150? My boat came with an all chain rode. I reduced it to 200 ft of chain and 200 ft of rope. I am adding a second anchor with 50 foot chain and a stern anchor with 30. Too light? I do not plan on cruising north or south of the 40s.
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Old 23-09-2013, 08:49   #14
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Re: Ground Tackle Systems

It's Lin's thread and I would be curious to hear her perspective on chain length?

On Silk (4' 3" draft with the board up) we normally carried only 75' of chain (plus some rope) in the bow. We liked to sneak into shallow water to anchor, and usually aimed for about 6' depth and rarely anchored in more than 10'. In the pacific we added another 75' (for 150' of chain in the bow) because of the coral and there were deeper anchorages, although in fact we still were mostly able to find a shallow shelf to anchor over (although I do remember we anchored in 80' in the Bora Bora 'town anchorage')

On Hawk with 7' draft (as Lin says in the OP) we started with 150' in the bow and another 150' normally in the bilge that we added on for chile and for the pacific. But a couple winters ago I got new chain and I just put all 300' in the bow as one piece. I still rarely use more than 100', but I am single handing a bit more and I want to have it all ready if I need it - I have fewer hands and thus less time and thus more risk if I am not prepared.

The only time we have ever used anywhere near all of the 300' is when backing into a stern tie (either a med-moor or a small cove anchor and stern tie). When doing that it's hard to judge the distance accurately and you want to error on the anchor being further out rather than too close. I usually aim to put the anchor 200' (4 boat lengths) out from shore/quay but sometimes it ends up closer to 300' (and I am never unhappy with that).

Do remember that L&L sail(ed) without an engine, which might affect their ground tackle choices (more conservative).
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Old 23-09-2013, 09:23   #15
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Re: Ground Tackle Systems

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
I do have a question about length of chain rode. In the three boat presented, there is a lot of variation in the length of the rode. Do we have any evidence that 300 feet of chain is better than 150? My boat came with an all chain rode. I reduced it to 200 ft of chain and 200 ft of rope. I am adding a second anchor with 50 foot chain and a stern anchor with 30. Too light? I do not plan on cruising north or south of the 40s.
just a couple thoughts on it. with 200 ft of chain you can anchor 5:1 in 40 feet of water without getting to the rope. If you ever have a need to anchor in say 75+ feet of water.... keep in mind that you'd better have a way of using the windlass to pull the rope rode in.... the weight of the chain dangling below the boat is too much to hand it in.
Also, let's say you have 80 feet of depth, when you come to the chain rope splice... how will you hold the rode while you try to wrap the rode around the rope drum on the windlass? (ie: what is the weight of 80 ft of chain?) You need a plan/ and items to do this. With the catenary you might be dealing with the weight of all 200ft of chain.
Everything is a compromise for sure. and I have often went with 200 + 200 like you have.
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