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Old 04-07-2013, 11:15   #1
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Is Your Anchor Set?

I'm back on the "hook" for most of the four months of summer vacation using our new 45kg Ultra Anchor and swivel... but this thread is not intended to promote or champion one anchor brand over another. Since the Ultra is new to us, and the water has been warm here in the Med, I've been making it a habit when in clear waters (not harbors or marinas) to snorkel over the anchor and check how well it's set; and I have to tell you... there's been some surprises.

I'm just wondering how many regulars on CF do the same? I got the idea after watching a seasoned cruising couple just outside of Mahon, Menorca looking at the anchor they'd just set using a five gallon bucket with the bottom cut out and replaced with clear plastic. Here in the Med. a wind change 180 degrees sometimes twice a day is expected, so it's a good idea to know how well the anchor will hold in order to get a good nights sleep.

One time I thought the anchor was well set in heavy eel grass, I drifted back for a while, then motored back.... did everything right, only to find out that just 8 inches of the anchor had dug in. In weed that tough, that's not good enough for a wind change. Another time in a very small (tiny) anchorage just south of Mar Menor, Spain surrounded by rocks and a sea that had us rockin' & rollin' all night, I found the anchor was set just fine in a sandy bottom, but unless I pulled in 20ft of chain, I could expect to get all tangled up in a nasty goal post shaped hunk of metal protruding up 4-5ft off the bottom and have to go scuba diving in the morning. 90% of the time, the anchor sets & digs in just fine as advertised.

Our anchor is easy to find from the surface as I have a bright yellow six inch ball attached with five feet of cable to the grab bar/chain deflector on the anchor.

For those of you who have an almost religious faith in your anchor.... you might be very surprised at what you actually find down there.

I have a good friend who has a 45ft sailboat and thought he had 40ft of chain for his Danforth, so while anchored in Dana Point Harbor overnight in 12ft depth, he let out all his chain & tied off the rope rode. It was a calm night without any problems, but when he pulled up his anchor the next morning... he discovered he only had 14ft of chain! Somehow, the boat stayed put
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:21   #2
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Re: Is Your Anchor Set?

how was it he did not know the difference between 14ft of chain out and 40?
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:33   #3
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Re: Is Your Anchor Set?

Not to dis CQR's again but it was almost always sitting on it's side. Many times it was the weight of the chain keeping us put.
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:57   #4
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Re: Is Your Anchor Set?

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how was it he did not know the difference between 14ft of chain out and 40?
First time anchoring, he pushed a button from the helm to lower the anchor and went by the seller's listing sheet on yachtworld regarding the amount of chain in the locker. A mistake he'll never make again, no harm done... fun story.
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Old 04-07-2013, 12:59   #5
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Re: Is Your Anchor Set?

On our Ericson 38 in the Bahamas & Florida we used our primary 35lb Bruce with 100ft of 5/16 Ht chain. When the water was clear enough, I dove the anchor or did the look bucket thing every-time we dropped the hook. We almost always used all of the chain and enough nylon rode to either get the scope we needed or serve as a snubber.

One time near Munjack Cay, I snorkeled the anchor and as is typical of the Bruce we had two of the three flukes dug in pretty good. The next morning I snorkeled it again. The Bruce was not visible and the sand for 100ft in an arc of 270-300 degrees around the anchor was raked into a sand dollar pattern by the chain. The Bruce had screwed itself into the sand with the boat swinging on current and wind changes during the night.

One more story. We anchored in a sheltered little cove off the ICW behind some houses near Placida, Florida and I thought I'd give the Fortress a try in the soft bottom. The FX37 Fortress had about 70 or 80 feet of 3/8 chain on it. The dang thing refused to set. It simply would not get a grip on the bottom. The water was too murky to dive it but what I surmise happened was that the heavy chain sank into the mud and pulled the shank of the anchor down into the mud but the flukes simply 'planed' on top of the mud and because of the shank having a negative angle of attack, the flukes could not bite even with the mud palms installed.

Not trying to promote either brand and I like both anchors ... just sharing. Horses for courses they say. Oh yeah, and chain in the locker ain't helpin' hold sweat.

The other point is that the chain catenary helps smooth the boat's motion too if there's any wave action in the anchorage.

Lot's more anchoring tales where those came from.
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Old 04-07-2013, 13:12   #6
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Re: Is Your Anchor Set?

I get the idea of checking it out, I do it sometimes. Typically in the tropics I hop in the water as soon as the engine is off and invariably I'll head over to the anchor and see what's up (if I can see that far).

I don't worry about it much because wind and tidal shifts happen so frequently (around here, anyway) that you get yanked 180 and the anchor is always resetting. So yes it's great to know it's set, but the reality is that in some places you'd need to dive on it several times a day to verify it stays that way.

Bigger fan of just scouting for general fouling issues, using good ground tackle, and spending time on the boat for a bit before you launch the dinghy and head to shore.

A lot of chain and a heavy well designed anchor probably won't let you drag that far anyway. No one's just sliding around the bay on a Supreme (or whatever) with 5:1 scope dragging around.

If the holding is crap or there is fouling that's a different story.
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Old 04-07-2013, 13:24   #7
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Re: Is Your Anchor Set?

Quote:
First time anchoring, he pushed a button from the helm to lower the anchor and went by the seller's listing sheet on yachtworld regarding the amount of chain in the locker. A mistake he'll never make again, no harm done... fun story.

Ahhh! Makes sense now--and it does have good entertainment value.
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Old 04-07-2013, 13:41   #8
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Re: Is Your Anchor Set?

I find diving on anchors interesting so generally look at mine and all the others in the anchorage.
Maybe its the equivalent of train spotting for sailors

In the Med its not unusual to dive on your anchor. After a sail the first thing you want is a swim. What is surprising is the number of people that take the trouble to put on a face mask look at the anchor, but then they do nothing even if its not set at all
They sort of look and say "the anchor is on the bottom" that's OK then

It would be great to get some more reports of how the ultra is performing.
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Old 04-07-2013, 16:27   #9
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Not to dis CQR's again but it was almost always sitting on it's side. Many times it was the weight of the chain keeping us put.
Yes had one , shocking bad anchor IMHO

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Old 04-07-2013, 18:47   #10
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Re: Is Your Anchor Set?

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Yes had one , shocking bad anchor IMHO

Dave

44LB Original CQR holding a 35000 pounds boat for the past of 8 years, 2 tropical storms, a couple late afterrnoon 40knts plus Squalls, Hurricane Dean in martinique, day by day in the trades , in shallow water or deep water , the anchor still showing a nice galvanized finish, hummmm....

Saying CQR is a bad anchor only show a lack of knowledge from your part,
is not the best anchor maybe , but he save our ass in many occasions , we just drag anchor in one occasion and by our fault, many dont realize why is so important the right amount of chain in the bottom or how to set the anchor properly, 80% of anchoring problems is related to improperly set anchors, short chain rodes, etc.. the french is the winner in doing weird things with a anchor...

A good trick is to dive to the anchor when your crew or wife is at the helm and with the engine running, a soft pull backwards and you digging the anchor in tricky bottoms, or checking if the anchor hold their position, we do that in countless occasions and never have a problem... love the CQR , probably we try the Manson next season and keep the old trusted cqr as a spare in the bow rollers...
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Old 04-07-2013, 19:16   #11
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Re: Is Your Anchor Set?

I think we were talking about diving on your anchor. When you dive on your anchor and it's laying on it's side like CQR's do, you get to comment on that. Saying that you need to dive on your anchor to get to set is not much of an endorsement either. Hoping that it rotates 90deg and digs in is wishful anchoring, however even laying on it's side with 200' of chain it stops most boats. I guess that says something. I also guess that is why we are buying new anchors.
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Old 04-07-2013, 19:56   #12
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Re: Is Your Anchor Set?

In our experience never have a problem with the CQR, i dont consider the CQR as a fast setting anchor,he need some care to set it properly , when is set it properly he do the job well in many conditions, we dont dive at anchor to set the anchor as the primary reason i do that always with any anchor, with the cqr in many occasions to check if is holding with a good kick at the engine in reverse, but we do that with a spade anchor, a fortres and a bruce, after Dean we found the cqr buried 4 ft down in mud , new anchors looks fantastic , thats why we want a try with the manson, but saying the CQR is a bad anchor is not really true, compared with what? manson, Rocna? yes is inferior in many aspects , but is not a bad anchor, check by yourself how many boats are in a RWT with CQR as a primary anchor, the CQR serve well to many sailors for many years today and in the past, new anchors are far superior but for many the old trusted CQR is a good anchor ....inferior to the new ones yes, bad anchor ? no..
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Old 04-07-2013, 20:07   #13
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No one dived any anchors here in Annapolis tonight. I did witness my first lasso Danforth throw. Not sure what advantage there is in throwing an anchor. The only thing that was of greater concern was the 8 people in a 18 foot boat who's knees could not support their body weight. They tried to shot put the anchor from a sitting position. One sailboat managed to Hook 5 different boat rhodes. Kids in Sanray had great fun
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Old 04-07-2013, 20:11   #14
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Re: Is Your Anchor Set?

One time finding shackle loose was enough to get me swimming on a regular basis!
Even if i cant see i pull myself down the line and feel it every week our two when anchored long term.
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Old 04-07-2013, 20:58   #15
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Re: Is Your Anchor Set?

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Yes had one , shocking bad anchor IMHO
Interesting. Maybe I have much lower expectations from an anchor, than I should, or maybe I've been lucky with my anchoring conditions. But I had an original CQR (40- or 50-something pounder), used it in gravel, sand and a couple of times mud, and found it plenty good enough. Lower it to the bottom, maintaining a bit of tension on the chain, rather than letting it drop, then back up (or let the wind drift you backwards, if anchoring under sail). If it didn't set, lift the anchor a foot above the ground, lower it back, rinse, repeat. The number of times it didn't set on the first attempt was like one in twenty, at most. The number of times it set firmly and later dragged more than 5 meters was zero.
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