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Old 21-02-2011, 07:51   #1
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Kedge Anchor Thoughts and Questions

Just back from a few days winter sailing in the English Channel. No wind! But rather nice weather -- even some sunshine.

Because it was calm, I thought it would be fun to try out some more risque anchorages, and spent a night anchored off Freshwater Bay, on the SW coast of the Isle of Wight. A beautiful spot with picturesque cliffs. The wind was N and light and so we theoretically had perfect shelter and unchallenging conditions.

We lay to our 55kg Rocna in about 11 meters of water with most of our 100 meters of 12mm chain out. Unfortunately, the bay is open to swell from the English Channel itself, and the fetch from the SW is thousands of miles. In the course of the afternoon, the swell built up, and because of the current, the boat lay beam-to the swell, producing an uncomfortable rolling. We thought about buggering off to Yarmouth, but I decided it would be a good time to try using our kedge anchor, a Fortress FX37, to hold the bow into the wind. The kedge came with the boat and I had never used it before. It looked brand new so I assume no one had ever used it before.

I had one crewman maneuvre the boat in reverse to hold her head to the wind, and I carried out the kedge downwind in the dink. After paying out the 100 feet of 1" nylon warp and another 30 feet of chain, I dropped the Fortress in the water and got back to the boat. We motored ahead and the Fortress set instantly, then we pulled in some of the main anchor's chain and some of the kedge warp to try to hold the boat between the two anchors.

It didn't help much. With only 130 feet of warp on the kedge, I was afraid to pull in too much of it in such relatively deep water. I also didn't want to bring in too much of the main anchor chain. So I was not able to straighten the boat out entirely, and the rolling was not much reduced. Lesson #1: kedge needs a much longer warp in order to be able to position it where it will do some good.

After a sleepless rolly night (but absolutely secure -- with both anchors set like in concrete, we didn't budge an inch), I woke up to see that surfers were out -- the swell had built up overnight to create mountainous waves in the bay. It was an amazing but frightening sight to see the swell turn into mountains a few hundred meters inshore from us.

I puzzled a little about how to recover the kedge and decided to pick it up separately. So we tied a fender on to the end of the kedge warp and jettisoned it. I recovered the main anchor while nervously eyeing the surf further inshore, but in fact the weather was calm and we had no problems. After getting the main anchor on board, we circled around, picked up the fender on the first try, and hauled in the kedge warp using an electric primary sheet winch. This worked ok, but I couldn't figure out how to create any decent fairlead over the rail, with the result that I chafed the warp somewhat and abraded my teak rail in one spot. Lesson #2: figure out some fairlead for the kedge anchor.


Any of you folks have any wisdom to add to this? Do you have a better technique of using your kedge?

I am kind of stumped about a fairlead for the kedge warp. I have seen people who have actually put anchor rollers on their transoms, but I do not want to clutter up the transom with such a radical solution.

My windlass has a chain-only gypsy. Since the gypsy is knackered anyway (at least, the female cone clutch mating surface which is part of the gypsy), maybe it makes sense to replace it with a chain-rope combination gypsy. Then I could use the second anchor roller on the bow as a fairlead. At least for recovered the kedge. Any other ideas?
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Old 21-02-2011, 08:03   #2
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Re: Kedge anchor thoughts & questions

Well, you've hit upon the obvious one, to have both a rope and chain gypsy on the windlass, and bring the kedge back in over the bow roller. I frequently use a second anchor in shallow waters here along the East Coast of the USA in order to limit my swinging room in crowded anchorages, or to keep me away from some hazard. The problem in your situation is that you would probably have to let out lots of the main rode in order to be able to get over the second anchor. Depending upon how well set your second anchor is you can sometimes pull it up with the dinghy, which I have done many times. With a well set Fortress it might take some time to pop up. What I usually do is pull the chain up over the transom of the dinghy until it is as tight as possible, wedging the chain on the top of the transom I then move my weight back towards the bow, which depresses the bow and raises the transom a bit. You can gradually work out a Fortress anchor this way if it is not too embedded.
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Old 21-02-2011, 08:12   #3
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Re: Kedge anchor thoughts & questions

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
Well, you've hit upon the obvious one, to have both a rope and chain gypsy on the windlass, and bring the kedge back in over the bow roller. I frequently use a second anchor in shallow waters here along the East Coast of the USA in order to limit my swinging room in crowded anchorages, or to keep me away from some hazard. The problem in your situation is that you would probably have to let out lots of the main rode in order to be able to get over the second anchor. Depending upon how well set your second anchor is you can sometimes pull it up with the dinghy, which I have done many times. With a well set Fortress it might take some time to pop up. What I usually do is pull the chain up over the transom of the dinghy until it is as tight as possible, wedging the chain on the top of the transom I then move my weight back towards the bow, which depresses the bow and raises the transom a bit. You can gradually work out a Fortress anchor this way if it is not too embedded.
Thanks.

I suppose recovering the kedge from the dink would be a good plan if it were just too scary to bring the boat over it. But it would be a great deal more hassle since you have to launch and recover the dink on top of the anchor.

Another way to do it which I just now thought of would have been to let out all of the kedge warp and then bend on another warp long enough to allow me to get over the main anchor so that I could recover that. Then just haul in all the kedge warp.

In shallower water, if I had no more than say 50 meters of main anchor chain out (out of 100), and no more than 50 meters of kedge warp out (out of say 100 meters, after I have a longer kedge warp), I guess it would be possible to just let out the rest of the main anchor chain while hauling in the kedge, until this was recovered, then haul in the main anchor chain.


Concerning a fairlead at the stern -- I bet there must be some kind of fitting I could mount on the after rail?
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Old 21-02-2011, 08:15   #4
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Re: Kedge anchor thoughts & questions

These are the reasons why I don't use the kedge!

I kinda wondered if the kedge anchor could be a very light anchor? It doesn't need to hold much compared to the main pick.

If the budget allowed it I was gunna buy a big dinghy size anchor (little rocna etc) and set it on a 10mm light line and just a few feet of chain. Then it could be pulled up over the stern without damage.

Currently my kedge is a full size anchor (britany) and 40 meters of 10mm chain, then 40 meters large rode.

The Med based cruisers have a large reel of 1 inch tape off the back to run a line ashore. I wonder if the small kedge could be clipped onto the end?
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Old 21-02-2011, 08:29   #5
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Re: Kedge anchor thoughts & questions

Yes, numerous times I have pulled in the main anchor first and then the kedge. It all depends on what the wind direction is, where your anchors are located, and how much scope you have out. In general I have found it is far superior to pull anchors in over the bow whenever possible because that is where I have all the proper equipment: anchor roller, windlass, gloves, buckets, wash brush, etc. If for no other reason it is better to keep the muddy mess up on the bow then to have it in the cockpit. For the situation you described you would have been better off with a far smaller kedge, like maybe the FX-23. A true kedge only needs maybe 6 feet of chain and you can get away with no chain at all, making it easier to deal with in the dinghy or with your sheet winches. The sailing schooners up in Maine all use a cathead arrangement for hauling up their anchors--a small crane that pivots out from the deck with a pulley on the end so the anchor can be hauled up over the side of the bow without damaging the topsides.
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Old 21-02-2011, 08:31   #6
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Re: Kedge anchor thoughts & questions

You should at least double the warp on your kedge, especially if you make a practice of anchoring in depths over 10 meters. Your problem was not with inadequate technique, it was with insufficient line.

I carry a nearly identical kedge, by the way, a Guardian G-37, but mine is backed up by 50' chain and 250' nylon.
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Old 21-02-2011, 08:42   #7
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Re: Kedge anchor thoughts & questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Concerning a fairlead at the stern -- I bet there must be some kind of fitting I could mount on the after rail?
Spinnaker block hanging down from the middle pushpit rail ?

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Old 21-02-2011, 08:47   #8
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Re: Kedge Anchor Thoughts and Questions

See also ➥ http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...lines-653.html

"... using the bow anchor that is already set and a spring line. Simply tie a long dock line to the bow anchor's rode or chain at the bow of your boat. A roving hitch works well for this. Lead the line aft alongside the hull to (in this case) the starboard cockpit sheet winch. On a center cockpit boat it would be best to pass the line through a stern quarter turning block before leading it to the winch. Check that the line is running outboard of the bow pulpit, stanchions, and shrouds.

Next, pay out the anchor rode, about 1/3 to 1/2 of a boat length. Finally, take up on the spring line until there's roughly equal pull on the rode and the spring. The boat will swing broadside to the wind and will face the swell.


The above example illustrates a perpendicular wave (or current) to wind angle. But you can adjust the vessel's heading to suit other conditions: If the waves are forward of the beam, feed out less of the rode and/or take in less on the spring line. To head her further off, slack the anchor rode more and/or haul in some more on the spring. A little experimentation and you'll easily master this useful technique ..."

And ➥ http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...hor-32665.html
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Old 21-02-2011, 08:54   #9
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Re: Kedge Anchor Thoughts and Questions

Whilst the bay has a SE current on the flood, I think the ebb is pretty much static. How about 3 anchors ?

The bottom is rock with the gullies filled in with fine sand which leads to smooth peebles at the shore under the cliffs. Good fishing spot in the summer for Mackerel and Cod at this time of year.

A wee pic of the area.

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Old 21-02-2011, 10:14   #10
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Re: Kedge Anchor Thoughts and Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
See also ➥ http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...lines-653.html

"... using the bow anchor that is already set and a spring line. Simply tie a long dock line to the bow anchor's rode or chain at the bow of your boat. A roving hitch works well for this. Lead the line aft alongside the hull to (in this case) the starboard cockpit sheet winch. On a center cockpit boat it would be best to pass the line through a stern quarter turning block before leading it to the winch. Check that the line is running outboard of the bow pulpit, stanchions, and shrouds.

Next, pay out the anchor rode, about 1/3 to 1/2 of a boat length. Finally, take up on the spring line until there's roughly equal pull on the rode and the spring. The boat will swing broadside to the wind and will face the swell.

The above example illustrates a perpendicular wave (or current) to wind angle. But you can adjust the vessel's heading to suit other conditions: If the waves are forward of the beam, feed out less of the rode and/or take in less on the spring line. To head her further off, slack the anchor rode more and/or haul in some more on the spring. A little experimentation and you'll easily master this useful technique ..."

And ➥ http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...hor-32665.html

Thanks, Gord -- this is great information. I think you posted something about this before, because the idea of an anchor spring line is well imprinted in my memory. It did not occur to me in this case because I wanted her head into the wind -- not off it.

But now that I think about it -- why wouldn't it work against a current, too? Hmmm. Wow, why didn't I think of that??
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Old 21-02-2011, 10:19   #11
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Re: Kedge Anchor Thoughts and Questions

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Whilst the bay has a SE current on the flood, I think the ebb is pretty much static. How about 3 anchors ?

The bottom is rock with the gullies filled in with fine sand which leads to smooth peebles at the shore under the cliffs. Good fishing spot in the summer for Mackerel and Cod at this time of year.

A wee pic of the area.

Pete
We went ashore at low tide, and my hair stood on end when I saw the jagged, rocky bottom. The chart says "rock" where we were anchored. But we had no problem setting or retrieving either anchor. As usual I backed down on the Rocna at 3000 RPM for several minutes to check it after setting it.

It was springs, so maybe that current flows all the time. Apparently it did, as we lay perpendicular to the wind on both the ebb and the flood. There wasn't much wind -- mostly less than 10 knots.

Lovely spot, but I don't think I will overnight there any more. Nice spot to drop anchor and have lunch, have a ramble on the shore, then bug out for Yarmouth.
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Old 21-02-2011, 10:26   #12
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Re: Kedge anchor thoughts & questions

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You should at least double the warp on your kedge, especially if you make a practice of anchoring in depths over 10 meters. Your problem was not with inadequate technique, it was with insufficient line.

I carry a nearly identical kedge, by the way, a Guardian G-37, but mine is backed up by 50' chain and 250' nylon.
Good idea. I'm thinking 100 meters of somewhat lighter line than I would use on the bower. Fortress recommend 19mm nylon; maybe I could get away with 16mm nylon octoplait, which has SWL of 1000kg and break of 5000kg.

The warp I used is actually not an anchor warp -- it's one of two 1" three-strand nylon long (100 feet) dock lines which I use when tied up to a quay where there are big tides. I had a hell of a time getting it made off to the chain (tried to splice it, but even the strands were too big to go through the chain links, so I ended up making my own soft shackles). So I need to buy a dedicated anchor warp for the kedge anyway.

Do you use your kedge much? How do you recover it? Do you have problems with chafe?
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Old 21-02-2011, 11:05   #13
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Re: Kedge anchor thoughts & questions

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Do you use your kedge much? How do you recover it? Do you have problems with chafe?
I probably only use mine two weeks per year, at the most. I much prefer to anchor in situations where it isn't necessary.

Best way to recover it--and this is on a windlass with two drums--is by the bow, which is why you want extra line. What we will usually do is have Wonderblond play out the kedge while I take up the primary anchor on the windlass. Once it's up, we attach the kedge's warp to the second bow roller and begin taking it up, in essence spinning the boat around in the process. But then the windlass does the work on both anchors.

The best thing about this method is the you keep the mud out of the dink and/or cockpit. But you need to be careful not to allow the kedge warp to foul the prop. It's clearly an operation that works best with a second hand.
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Old 21-02-2011, 11:12   #14
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Re: Kedge anchor thoughts & questions

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Thanks.

I suppose recovering the kedge from the dink would be a good plan if it were just too scary to bring the boat over it. But it would be a great deal more hassle since you have to launch and recover the dink on top of the anchor.
Recovering a large well-set anchor after a storm from a dink can also be next to impossible. I've done this a few times, helping other folks, and it's terrible. I would not consider this a plan; it's what happens when someone drags and you have to sort things out.
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Old 21-02-2011, 11:18   #15
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Re: Kedge Anchor Thoughts and Questions

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A roving hitch works well for this.
Okay, not only does Bash not have a clue how to tie a roving hitch, he looked it up in Chapman's Knots and Chapman doesn't seem ever to have heard of one either.

Regardless, I'd be disinclined to tie a hitch to my chain in a situation such as Dockhead described, lest I wouldn't be able to weigh anchor quickly enough once those swells got too big. I wouldn't want this mystery hitch to jam the hawse.

I might, on the other hand, consider using a chain hook for such an operation. Unfortunately, the ones currently spliced onto my snubbers would not have enough line to stretch from a boatlength up the chain to my stern cleat.
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