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Old 12-03-2013, 10:30   #16
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Re: Untangling Anchor Rodes

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
In your situation I doubt you routinely use both of those big ones at the same time. I would think that you use one or the other depending on the bottom, and maybe drop #2 at a 45-degree angle if for some reason you feel you need greater holding. I have seen and tried pushing the boat around in circles with the dinghy, but it doesn't work well unless it is pretty calm out.
Exactly. In fact, I have never used more than one anchor at a time (yet) except when also using stern lines to shore - so no swinging.

Steve
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:33   #17
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Re: Untangling Anchor Rodes

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Here's the rule: if you spend the night on two bow anchors, each with its own rode, the rodes will end up twisted together "making retrieval difficult" 99 out of every 100 times you attempt this lunacy.

Don't do it. It's that simple.
YEP......
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:41   #18
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Re: Untangling Anchor Rodes

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Why do something that in an emergency can kill you and/sink your boat?

If you need to pull them up to get the hell out of a lee shore wind reversal at nit in torrential rain, you are going to do it when you full well know your tackle could be tangled?

So you cut away both anchors then what do you do? Find some handy marina?

I am firmly in the group that use one anchor in any, or Maoist any, conditions

MarkJ, I agree, the situation you describe is to be avoided. It may very well be that I never set the two anchors at once before the emergency.

Steve
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:52   #19
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Re: Untangling Anchor Rodes

I share the negative views of deploying two anchors from the bow with the aim of increasing holding. (There are lots of other sensible reasons for deploying two anchors)
I must admit I am biased, but my experiences has been that many yachts that use this as routine in stronger wind have developed the technique because there anchor/s are unreliable.
They often seem the first to drag and if they tangle with your anchor rode it can be a real mess.
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:53   #20
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Re: Untangling Anchor Rodes

Cruising in Greece years ago with the Med tie being common, in crowded anchorages there were many instances of tangled rode as boats would anchor over each other and back down to the stern tie ashore. While the most interesting aspect of the adventure was to listen to uni-lingual greeks, italians and others screaming at each other with no one understanding or much caring what the other was saying, there always seem to be an enterprising young man in a skiff to dive down and sort the mess out for a few drachmas (pre Euro days). Very difficult to do from on board with other vessels involved and poor communication.
Good reason to avoid crowded anchorages if you can find one these days! Phil
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:56   #21
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Re: Untangling Anchor Rodes

Well, I suppose MarkJ has a scenario where it might be a problem, but in 35+ years of cruising I have never had the problem or had to abandon an anchor, and I have been on two anchors hundreds of times. My philosophy is to prevent problems in the first place by anchoring in such a way that I won't be leaving the anchorage in a mess, rather than to plan for how to best deal with the mess. If one anchor is sufficient, than so be it, but if I can get into a more sheltered spot that might require two anchors to be safe, I'll do it and sit comfortably listening on the VHF to everyone lumping around out in the main harbor hanging on their single big anchors and long scope as the waves crash.
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Old 12-03-2013, 11:15   #22
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Re: Untangling Anchor Rodes

Generally one apropriate anchor is better. Noelex give the strongest case against (if they drag, then raising the pair in adverse conditions can be bad if not rigged properly).


However, setting a second should take only minutes and knowing how to do this easily is basic cruising seamanship. When I set a second (generally because the creek is very tight or because of strong reversing tide) it is a light Fortress.
  1. Set the first anchor.
  2. Place the second. Generally I can do this by letting out extra rode and backing to where the transom is over the selected spot.
  3. Take up the primary rod to normal. Set the second by pulling against the primary. Can use engine.
  4. This is the trick. Conect the secondary rode, which is ONLY AS LONG AS NEEDED to the chain or bridle apex of the primary.
  5. Any tangle is simply resolved as there is no extra rode to fool with. simply unwind, ease the primary rode, and collect the second anchor.
There are a few variations when the wind shifts (attach a second line below the tangle to relieve tension, then retrieve the primary first), but I never have a tangle and it never takes more than a few minutes.

Two bow rollers with 2 hawse pipes is NOT the answer, not for most folks.
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Old 12-03-2013, 11:49   #23
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Re: Untangling Anchor Rodes

I think that, when deciding whether (and how) to do something, it's more useful to take the advice of people who routinely do it, than to listen to those who say they would never do it.

Or who used to do it, but have stopped.

In the first case, the "Don't do it" crowd are presumably basing their assesment on seeing other people do it with poor outcomes

... and in the second, on recollections of themselves doing it with poor outcomes.

Those vessels which do something well do not generally attract much notice.
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Old 12-03-2013, 11:59   #24
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Re: Untangling Anchor Rodes

To answer the OP's question the best way to untangle them is to get into your dink and push the big boat round and round. Make sure you are pushing it the right way or you will just add another twist in the rodes. You should do this every morning so as to not get too many twists in the lines. This is from the olden days when we often used two anchors.
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:06   #25
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Re: Untangling Anchor Rodes

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Thanks for all the responses.

It sounds like "motoring in a circle" to untangle is not very common. Is this because the tangle is more than just a simple helix?

Is there fear of fouling the propeller?

Does the tangle occur below the surface - making it difficult to see what to do?

......
Steve

I think part of the problem is (as others have implied) is this: it's just not possible on most boats, in anything other than a flat calm.

You need steerage way to steer most boats (I guess the name is a giveaway) and dragging a great lump of knotted ironware from the bow is a great antidote to being able to point the boat in the desired direction.

I guess it's one situation where a massive amount of 'paddlewheel effect' in reverse might be used to advantage (the other being docking, 50% of the time) - but this would still only work, very slowly, in a virtual calm, I'm thinking.... still, it would at least not require detailed supervision if you had swinging room.

The small minority of boats where the engine thrust can be vectored could conceivably use it to get the twists out as you suggest, provided the water is clear enough to know when to stop!

I'm thinking twin screws, stern thrusters, pod drives, outboard motors, or ...

On small boats where an outboard motor makes the manoeuvre possible, the gear is generally so light as to make it unnecessary. It's simpler to untie and unwrap.

And on boats big enough to have one of the other vectoring possibilities, laying several anchors is generally unpopular, for reasons of practicality and risk which this thread has amply traversed.
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:12   #26
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Re: Untangling Anchor Rodes

Using two anchors used to be much more common.

1. The older generation anchors had a relatively narrow range of bottom types which gave adequate holding. Setting two anchors increased the odds that one anchor would hold.

2. Anchor winches were rare, underpowered, or unreliable. Only lightweight anchors could be deployed

3. Anchors were very expensive. The "spare" anchor was expected to earn its keep

4. "Men were men" and sorting out tangled anchor rodes at 2am was not a hardship.

5. Anchorages were uncrowded so the extra room a required by a boats lying on one and two anchors in the same location was not a great problem.

6. Older generation anchors did not stay set with a change of tide/wind.

I have been anchoring for a long time and don't think many modern cruising sailors realise how fortunate they are. The days of rowing out multiple anchors. Waking up when the wind picks up and thinking " I should have set a second anchor". Diving for hours to locate the second anchor that was cut away when it tangled. Heaving too outside the shelter of anchorage because no anchor you have will hold. These are the joys lost ( thankfully ) on the modern cruising sailor.
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:16   #27
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Re: Untangling Anchor Rodes

Thanks Vasco, Unfortunately my dingy's "engine" will not quite be up for that challenge.

Steve
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:22   #28
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Re: Untangling Anchor Rodes

Just spent the last three days lying to an open moor in Aberdeen Bay on a large anchor handling tug.
Came out of Aberdeen Harbour into a NE'ly Force 7, the anchorage was empty, everyone else had upped anchor and were heaved to.
Set out both anchors on a 45 degree spread with 7 shackles on each, she lay really well, no yawing, ECDIS indicated that we moved laterally 50 meters over the 3 days.
Fuel consumption 1 tonne per day, estimate those boats heaved to would be burning at a minimum 8 tonnes per day. At over $1000 per tonne, using two anchors made quite a saving, and its greener
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:45   #29
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Re: Untangling Anchor Rodes

Nigel,

You'd better explain to us sailboat guys that a shackle of chain is 15 fathoms or ninety feet. That's for us guys that only have 200 feet of chain.
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:51   #30
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Re: Untangling Anchor Rodes

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Nigel,

You'd better explain to us sailboat guys that a shackle of chain is 15 fathoms or ninety feet. That's for us guys that only have 200 feet of chain.

Have to explain that to my youngster watchkeepers, terms like shackle and fathoms usually bring on looks of confusion.
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