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Old 17-01-2020, 13:09   #1
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Stern anchor

We carried the ability to drop an anchor off the stern for 40,000 miles without ever actually using it. Does anyone use a stern anchor regularly and in what circumstances?
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Old 17-01-2020, 13:41   #2
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Re: Stern anchor

Very seldom. In the end only when in a small spot, tied to shore, with many boats around.
Early in my cruising life I tried to use a stern anchor in current or wind to keep the boat headed a certain way, it's a disaster.
A good stern anchor setup can be good for rowing out an anchor on a moment's notice. SO not bad to have it there at the ready though.
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Old 17-01-2020, 13:50   #3
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Re: Stern anchor

I've used them on rare occasions, mostly when trying to limit swing, and/or when anchoring close in to shore, or even tying off from land. I've also used it to kedge off when oopses happened.

So nice to have, but rarely used in practice.
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Old 17-01-2020, 16:03   #4
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Re: Stern anchor

Jim fitted a stern anchor with a roller for it on our previous boat. We used it a lot, mostly either to anchor in areas where everyone is anchored bow and stern (you can fit in more boats that way), or to keep the bow into the swell if the anchorage is rolly. The other use for it we had was to limit swinging onto a hazard, like a reef or a rock.

My guess is that your need for one will vary with where you are cruising. I would not start out on a circumnavigation without one. You will surely encounter the need for one at some time.



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Old 17-01-2020, 16:23   #5
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Re: Stern anchor

We have used a stern anchor once, in 5 years while tying down in a narrow creek for hurricane Dorian. We have used a second anchor in a Bahamian moor three or four times.

I wouldn't cruise without the second anchor, but for most boats the need to have one ready to deploy off the stern is highly overrated, IMHO. In an emergency, we can deploy our main bower as quickly from the bow as we could any manually released anchor from the stern.
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Old 17-01-2020, 16:27   #6
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Re: Stern anchor

I rarely use a stern anchor, so similar experience to all above.

What I have found to be far better than a stern mounted system is simply a double system forward, a big anchor and a small (lunch) anchor. If I need a stern anchor, I first drop the big one, drop back until the bow is over where I want the stern anchor, and drop the stern anchor. Then I slowly center the boat between the two anchors, and then, using a boat hook over the side, walk the lighter rode back to the transom, and tie off aft.

Reverse the process to pick up the anchors. Depending on how you set things up, it is possible to use the same windlass for both. There are vertical shaft windlasses (which I prefer) that can be used in this way, but many cannot.

For example: https://www.wmjmarine.com/vw1500.htm...iABEgJDmfD_BwE

Easy.

Has the HUGE advantage of keeping the anchor and rode away from the rudder, self steering, davits, dinghy, prop, ...
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Old 17-01-2020, 16:41   #7
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Re: Stern anchor

All the time for me. Where I am we all (or mostly all) anchor bow and stern regularly. Most local coves are small and you can pack more boats in that way. Plus, swinging on one hook could put you into a cliff or some rocks when the wind or tidal currents shift at night. I have a stern hook ready to go on the roller and I like having the option to drop that first if needed. I can see dropping two off the bow, Iíve done it many times. Then I walk back the (nylon in my case) rode to the stern cleat. The negatives there would be the extra weight of chain in the bow and do you have a quick and no-tangle way to get both rodes out. The other thing would be how to set the stern hook well. If you want to motor up on it youíve got the rode sliding along the hull. I prefer to pull one anchor against the other. I can feel them set and I can tell right away if one of them is dragging. All of that is far easier when using a stern mounted anchor. And that is probably way more info than you needed!
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Old 17-01-2020, 18:37   #8
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Re: Stern anchor

We use a stern anchor on the ICW all the time. Itís helps to prevent swinging into a channel or to gain use of a narrow anchorage. Ours is quite small, a fortress fx11 with 25 feet of 1/4Ē chain and 125 feet of 1/2Ē 3 strand. This configuration has successfully held us sideways to surprise 30ish knot winds. Itís lightweight and doesnít take up a lot of storage space.
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Old 17-01-2020, 18:38   #9
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Re: Stern anchor

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Originally Posted by Don C L View Post
All the time for me. Where I am we all (or mostly all) anchor bow and stern regularly. Most local coves are small and you can pack more boats in that way. Plus, swinging on one hook could put you into a cliff or some rocks when the wind or tidal currents shift at night. I have a stern hook ready to go on the roller and I like having the option to drop that first if needed. I can see dropping two off the bow, Iíve done it many times. Then I walk back the (nylon in my case) rode to the stern cleat. The negatives there would be the extra weight of chain in the bow and do you have a quick and no-tangle way to get both rodes out. The other thing would be how to set the stern hook well. If you want to motor up on it youíve got the rode sliding along the hull. I prefer to pull one anchor against the other. I can feel them set and I can tell right away if one of them is dragging. All of that is far easier when using a stern mounted anchor. And that is probably way more info than you needed!

What type of anchor do you use for your stern anchor? I'm also in SoCal and need to use both anchors on occasion, but my stern anchor doesn't hold as well as I'd like as it's a fortress, not great for rocky or grassy bottoms.
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Old 17-01-2020, 18:44   #10
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Re: Stern anchor

Not often, but sure is handy on those occassions and allows us to anchor in places that would not otherwise be an option.

I do not have a dedicated stern anchor rigged. I use my secondary, a Fortress.
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Old 17-01-2020, 19:20   #11
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Re: Stern anchor

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What type of anchor do you use for your stern anchor? I'm also in SoCal and need to use both anchors on occasion, but my stern anchor doesn't hold as well as I'd like as it's a fortress, not great for rocky or grassy bottoms.
I have Danforths, bow and stern. Yeah I know old school, but for one direction pulling, they are hard to beat. Yes, while we don't have too much kelp in So Cal, we do have kelp that can pile up on the bottom at times. Danforths will foul easily when it catches some kelp, but then most anchors will I think. For rocks, yes we have those, and my strategy is the same when I've used plows or Danforths: buoy the anchor when in rocks. You can almost always pull any anchor out of rocks backwards, which in my experience is usually necessary if you don't want to have to dive on the anchor. My 12 lb Danforth holds my little 29' 8k lb boat really well, it's never dragged (when it's set right) and even still I have a 20 lb. Danforth on the bow and that will hold me and just about anyone else who drags down on top of me. Now, the 12 lb for me can get buried if subjected to a very strong and sustained stress, and then it can take quite a while to coax it up without bending it. Fortresses have a good rep but I haven't tried them yet. They may be more prone to bending a fluke if anchored in rocks, but I'll defer to owners on that one. Perhaps yours is too small?
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Old 17-01-2020, 21:42   #12
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Re: Stern anchor

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Originally Posted by Don C L View Post
I have Danforths, bow and stern. Yeah I know old school, but for one direction pulling, they are hard to beat. Yes, while we don't have too much kelp in So Cal, we do have kelp that can pile up on the bottom at times. Danforths will foul easily when it catches some kelp, but then most anchors will I think. For rocks, yes we have those, and my strategy is the same when I've used plows or Danforths: buoy the anchor when in rocks. You can almost always pull any anchor out of rocks backwards, which in my experience is usually necessary if you don't want to have to dive on the anchor. My 12 lb Danforth holds my little 29' 8k lb boat really well, it's never dragged (when it's set right) and even still I have a 20 lb. Danforth on the bow and that will hold me and just about anyone else who drags down on top of me. Now, the 12 lb for me can get buried if subjected to a very strong and sustained stress, and then it can take quite a while to coax it up without bending it. Fortresses have a good rep but I haven't tried them yet. They may be more prone to bending a fluke if anchored in rocks, but I'll defer to owners on that one. Perhaps yours is too small?

I have Fortresses bow and stern. At this one particular location, it's common to use a dinghy to drop the stern anchor closer to the beach. Last time I was there, both anchors held well until the next morning (through wind and tide changes), so I suspect one of the small powerboats that were anchored closer in may have dislodged the stern anchor when they left. But maybe there were rocks under the sand, so it wasn't set as well I thought? The best holding I had there was when the bucket holding the chain was caught in the chain so the guy in the dinghy (from another boat) just dropped the whole thing in. Chain in bucket in water ended up acting like a kellet, which probably reduced swing and kept the force on the anchor more unidirectional.

So, I'm thinking through my options for the stern anchor - either get a different type of anchor or actually add a kellet on purpose. Additionally, maybe I should reduce the scope of the stern anchor, which may be counter-intuitive, but the holding might be better in deeper water and there would be less chance of someone else snagging it.

Do you use the buoy just to help with retrieval or are you using it for another purpose, like shock absorption?
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Old 17-01-2020, 22:15   #13
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Re: Stern anchor

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Originally Posted by BlueSlue View Post

So, I'm thinking through my options for the stern anchor - either get a different type of anchor or actually add a kellet on purpose. Additionally, maybe I should reduce the scope of the stern anchor, which may be counter-intuitive, but the holding might be better in deeper water and there would be less chance of someone else snagging it.

Do you use the buoy just to help with retrieval or are you using it for another purpose, like shock absorption?
The buoy is only for retrieval and is tied off to the end of the anchor, and, for me, only when I know rocks may be around or I am unfamiliar with the anchorage and I suspect rocks. Most anchors have one or two locations to attach the line. Be sure it is a stout line fixed to the lowest of the rings (if on a newer anchor) so it can pull the flukes straight out. I once got a CQR jammed low in some large boulders. I dove on it and attached the buoy line to the ring on it; it popped right up with a little coaxing once I was back on deck. Now that I'm older, and I don't have that nice custom fit wetsuit anymore, I'd prefer not to have to dive on my anchors. The buoy process is only a minor hassle, but be aware, some folks may not appreciate the buoys in the anchorage and may express their displeasure. If you warn them about potential rocky snags, they may warm up to them though. And it's a good idea to weight the line in some fashion so that there is less chance of dinghies snagging buoy lines.
I do not buoy the line for shock absorption, nor do I use kellets. I could see using kellets to hold the anchor lines vertical so that passing dinghies don't snag them though! (when conditions are calm in the anchorage.) As far as anchor holding power, nothing beats scope IMO. BTW, sometimes, depending on the beach profile, the sand closer to shore can be more coarse and more loose, or more stirred up by wave action so may not offer the best holding ground. As well, the Fortress being a lighter anchor may be at a disadvantage in that kind of bottom as well, unless it was really well set and buried to begin with.
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Old 17-01-2020, 22:46   #14
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Re: Stern anchor

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The buoy is only for retrieval and is tied off to the end of the anchor, and, for me, only when I know rocks may be around or I am unfamiliar with the anchorage and I suspect rocks....And it's a good idea to weight the line in some fashion so that there is less chance of dinghies snagging buoy lines.
..... BTW, sometimes, depending on the beach profile, the sand closer to shore can be more coarse and more loose, or more stirred up by wave action so may not offer the best holding ground.
Gotcha. That's a good tip, thanks. It's a pretty protected anchorage, so it wouldn't normally get too rough. Ideally, I should head over there when no one else is around and experiment.
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