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Old 30-03-2022, 01:46   #1
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When to upgrade ground tackle

I purchased a 40 foot (12 meter) catamaran last year. It's my first sailboat.

The plan is to take the boat around Australia, starting next April (to play nicely with cyclone season).

The boat is 25 years old and has some.... "agricultural" upgrades from previous owners. The normal kind of things you'd expect on any 25 year old boat.

I've worked my way through the list of things I want to swap out, and I'm to the ground tackle. The boat has 45 meters of 10 mm chain and some sort of Rocna looking triangular anchor with a roll bar. Definitely not a Rocna, but that's the closest thing I've seen from the new generation of anchors, to get a picture into your mind's eye.

I've set anchors on other boats, but the first time I tried to set this anchor, I dragged. Reset, and held enough to make me happy for the conditions, but far from perfect. The next time we set, it dug right in and held throughout 20 knot winds. So the anchor can work. In the right conditions.

Reading up on other peoples' experiences, 45 meters of chain will in no way cut it. I've already run into problems, because I've wanted to anchor in 10 meters of water and that means I needed more chain than I carry. Anchor is sold in 50 meter and 110 meter increments in Australia (from what I've found), so I'm leaning towards 110 meters.

The hiccup I face is, because of Covid and the glorious weather Sydney has had the last year, I haven't gotten to use the boat near as much as I want. I've only taken it sailing a handful of times and motored around a bunch more. When I have taken it sailing, sluggish is the word that comes to mind. Now, a lot of that is on me being an inexperienced sailor and also getting used to the boat. But I'm not sure what throwing an additional 150 kg (2.2 kg per meter, 70 extra meters of chain) in the chain locker will do to the performance of the boat.

The boat is a Roger Simpson design, so it's meant to be a bit sportier than something like a Lagoon. It doesn't have daggerboards, but the hulls are a bit skinny and she's 8.5 ton loaded up (or so I've been told).

I'm in 2 minds:

1. Keep the existing tackle. Try to use the boat more in known anchorages and short trips. Get a feel for how she sails and anchors. Then decide what to do. This will limit what trips I'm comfortable making though.

2. Put 110 meters of 10 mm chain in the locker, put on a new anchor, and go wherever I want, knowing I've got enough chain and a quality anchor to hold me. I may never know what performance I'm losing, but it's a cruiser, not a race boat. I can always chop 30 meters of chain off the end at some point if I really want to save some weight.

For the next year, my partner and I will be working full time still, so keeping the boat "fun" to sail would be an added bonus. We'll be able to work remotely for a week or two to spend some extended time on the boat, but 80% of our usage will be day or weekend trips for the next year.

I guess it boils down to: Keep the ground tackle as is, and hope I don't find myself in a situation where I want more and better stuff for the next year or buy the good stuff now and take a bit of top end speed off now.

I'm leaning more having the comfort and confidence of the new ground tackle, but would love to hear what others may have done in my situation.
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Old 30-03-2022, 05:14   #2
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Re: When to upgrade ground tackle

Quote:
Originally Posted by workmaster2n View Post
I purchased a 40 foot (12 meter) catamaran last year. It's my first sailboat.

The plan is to take the boat around Australia, starting next April (to play nicely with cyclone season).

The boat is 25 years old and has some.... "agricultural" upgrades from previous owners. The normal kind of things you'd expect on any 25 year old boat.

I've worked my way through the list of things I want to swap out, and I'm to the ground tackle. The boat has 45 meters of 10 mm chain and some sort of Rocna looking triangular anchor with a roll bar. Definitely not a Rocna, but that's the closest thing I've seen from the new generation of anchors, to get a picture into your mind's eye.

I've set anchors on other boats, but the first time I tried to set this anchor, I dragged. Reset, and held enough to make me happy for the conditions, but far from perfect. The next time we set, it dug right in and held throughout 20 knot winds. So the anchor can work. In the right conditions.

Reading up on other peoples' experiences, 45 meters of chain will in no way cut it. I've already run into problems, because I've wanted to anchor in 10 meters of water and that means I needed more chain than I carry. Anchor is sold in 50 meter and 110 meter increments in Australia (from what I've found), so I'm leaning towards 110 meters.

The hiccup I face is, because of Covid and the glorious weather Sydney has had the last year, I haven't gotten to use the boat near as much as I want. I've only taken it sailing a handful of times and motored around a bunch more. When I have taken it sailing, sluggish is the word that comes to mind. Now, a lot of that is on me being an inexperienced sailor and also getting used to the boat. But I'm not sure what throwing an additional 150 kg (2.2 kg per meter, 70 extra meters of chain) in the chain locker will do to the performance of the boat.

The boat is a Roger Simpson design, so it's meant to be a bit sportier than something like a Lagoon. It doesn't have daggerboards, but the hulls are a bit skinny and she's 8.5 ton loaded up (or so I've been told).

I'm in 2 minds:

1. Keep the existing tackle. Try to use the boat more in known anchorages and short trips. Get a feel for how she sails and anchors. Then decide what to do. This will limit what trips I'm comfortable making though.

2. Put 110 meters of 10 mm chain in the locker, put on a new anchor, and go wherever I want, knowing I've got enough chain and a quality anchor to hold me. I may never know what performance I'm losing, but it's a cruiser, not a race boat. I can always chop 30 meters of chain off the end at some point if I really want to save some weight.

For the next year, my partner and I will be working full time still, so keeping the boat "fun" to sail would be an added bonus. We'll be able to work remotely for a week or two to spend some extended time on the boat, but 80% of our usage will be day or weekend trips for the next year.

I guess it boils down to: Keep the ground tackle as is, and hope I don't find myself in a situation where I want more and better stuff for the next year or buy the good stuff now and take a bit of top end speed off now.

I'm leaning more having the comfort and confidence of the new ground tackle, but would love to hear what others may have done in my situation.

I have just circumnavigated Australia with 40M Chain and only dragged once at the end of the journey in the Brisbane river - Had the tide and gusting to 50Kts when the cyclone recently hit further North.


I went from Airlie to Perth where I intended to get more chain, but 12mm in Perth was like hens teeth with Covid and shipping from the East coast was ridiculously expensive, so I came back round and purchased 80M on the Gold Coast.


There were a few times when I had to look for shallower anchorages and other times I anchored at 3:1 in mild conditions.


You can definitely get different lengths - They told me I could only have 50 or 100M, but I said neither worked for me and then they checked how much they had (300M) and said that they often get asked for 60M so were happy to do me 80M as they new they would still be available to sell what they had - Just ask.


You can also add some high quality rope to your 45M, but its not cheap in itself and I personally prefer all chain.
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Old 30-03-2022, 05:59   #3
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Re: When to upgrade ground tackle

Buy a big Fortress anchor...really big and keep it for storms. Improve the strength of wherever the attachment point is on your vessel. Invest in a high tech snubber system. Anchoring is a system, not one or two components.
Happy trails to you.
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Old 30-03-2022, 06:01   #4
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Re: When to upgrade ground tackle

Quote:
Originally Posted by workmaster2n View Post
I've worked my way through the list of things I want to swap out, and I'm to the ground tackle. The boat has 45 meters of 10 mm chain and some sort of Rocna looking triangular anchor with a roll bar. Definitely not a Rocna, but that's the closest thing I've seen from the new generation of anchors, to get a picture into your mind's eye.

I've set anchors on other boats, but the first time I tried to set this anchor, I dragged. Reset, and held enough to make me happy for the conditions, but far from perfect. The next time we set, it dug right in and held throughout 20 knot winds. So the anchor can work. In the right conditions.

Maybe helpful to post a pic and weight of your current anchor.

In your neck of the woods, could be a different AUS or NZ brand, might be viable depending on match to your cat and match to an upgraded rode.

Or at least that'd give folks here more of a starting point for discussion...

And there's a chance your experience so far may be more about technique than product.

-Chris
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Old 30-03-2022, 06:06   #5
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Re: When to upgrade ground tackle

The Bugel and the Sarca would both have rollbars and be triangular and 'Rocna looking'.
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Old 30-03-2022, 06:53   #6
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Re: When to upgrade ground tackle

Maybe a Manson, too?

-Chris
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Old 30-03-2022, 07:50   #7
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Re: When to upgrade ground tackle

Workmaster,

I would definitely post a pic of your current anchor - I suspect someone here could ID it, and then you would be able to research whether replacing it makes sense.

40M of chain seems a bit short to me, but this is highly dependent on where you intend to anchor - the West coast of Florida or the Chesapeake Bay (USA) would be fine with that much rode while other areas would be VERY sketchy. Your fellow Australians should be able to help here.

For sailing performance, get a pro sailmaker (and hopefully sail racer) to come out sailing with you and see if your sails/rig/technique are the problem - an expert eye here could work wonders. They will also probably be able to help you learn how best to use them!

Good Luck!

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Old 30-03-2022, 16:23   #8
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Re: When to upgrade ground tackle

Hi Workmaster2N,
I own a Brava 45 power catamaran, and had a 35kg highly regarded stainless anchor on 80 metres of 10mm Gal chain. Displacement is probably 15 tonne, enclosed flybridge, so add more for windage.
The chain was due for replacement due to age, and I had 1 dragging event in what was recorded at Hamiltion Island of 49KTs (at night, of course), where in 6 metres depth, the anchor held for 3-4 hours, dislodged and wouldnt reset 3 times until I reanchored in the same position but with less chain out (go figure, I cant). 45 m out initially, going out to 65m, then holding at 35! Crook nightg.
I also had a couple of attempts at holding at Whitehaven Beach, until I moved and settled for the night. This was over 5 months in the Whitsundays last year.
The designer and builder of the boat specifies 35kg Manson Supreme and 8mm high test chain, but says 25kg works equally well.
I wanted to go down in chain size for weight reduction reasons, so changed the anchor up to a 40kg Rocna for peace of mind (SHHP and 5kg more), to compensate for the lighter chain.
The chain I ordered was 78m of Australian made PWB 8mm Gal (the last that was available Aus made), but not Grade L, not P, so I changed my mind and went for 100m Chromox 8mm to get the test rating. That 78m is probably still available at the Gold Coast.
So far, Ive only anchored in Moreton Bay in Mud, and sand, and found the Rocna digs in so quickly, you have to be careful not to damage the windlass.
I use a Manson anchor swivel, Catamaran bridle and chain grab for all anchoring to stop windlass damage.
I also now use a short S hook on a soft shackle to motor forward on to release the anchor from the bottom on retrieval - that Rocna really grabs the bottom.
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Old 30-03-2022, 19:35   #9
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Re: When to upgrade ground tackle

my advice : don't cut any corners on your anchor gear. if you are living aboard / travelling it is critical for you. i like sleeping at night...

first thing we did when brought our cat was replace everything with best available. we choose sarca excel (one size up on recommended), but also chose 8mm high tensile instead of 10mm. saved 50kg

we have 75m chain and no problem to get the length cut that we wanted

cheers,
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Old 31-03-2022, 05:12   #10
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Re: When to upgrade ground tackle

We live onboard so perhaps a different attitude but perhaps not.

No one ever woke up in the middle of the night with a storm blowing through and wished they had cheaper, lighter anchor gear. Put the best on you think you need, if you are not racing it wont' really matter.

We oversized our anchor, chain and got 100m of it (we are on a larger cat and cruising ). recently caught in winter storms of up to 58kts for over a week, we broke our bridle but never moved an inch and it was a wonderful feeling to be able to sleep with confidence.

Put the ground tackle on that will give you that confidence. You'll never regret it.
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Old 31-03-2022, 08:07   #11
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Re: When to upgrade ground tackle

45 meters of chain as your only rode is not enough for all anchoring conditions and when you're a cruiser you do need to be prepared for all conditions.

The easy fix is to attach a rope extension, either with an eye splice and soft shackle as needed, or with a rope to chain splice.

Dragging when setting can be because of the bottom, the technique (going too fast or dragging the anchor before the minimum scope), or not enough scope.

Without knowing which anchor you have, a roll bar is a sign that it is a new gen design so it's probably a good anchor, but how an anchor sets and holds is dependent upon the scope and your 45 meters is not long enough for 5:1 in more than 7 meters of water because you need to add the distance to the bow roller when figuring scope, so that would be closer to 9 meters and your existing rode would be at it's limit without ability to add scope for fresh conditions or setting challenges.

You're lucky to live in Australia, home to one of the world's best anchors, the SARCA Excel. We love ours.
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Old 31-03-2022, 10:00   #12
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Re: When to upgrade ground tackle

that's plenty of chain, too much IMO, for a performance catamaran. weight is important. just splice on some rope so you have 100m total.
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Old 05-04-2022, 17:02   #13
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Re: When to upgrade ground tackle

Good ground tackle is better than good insurance. Cheaper in the long run too. I agree with splicing rope to the chain if needed to save weight. I'd hope that a 40' boat wouldn't notice another 322 pounds. Compare it to your freshwater or holding tanks, at 10 pounds a gallon, that's only 30 gallons of water. A bit more if thinking of fuel. Dragging may have had more to do with what your anchor landed on than any actual problems with the anchor as well. As others have noted, an oversize fortress Danforth anchor is a force to be reckoned with. Probably lighter too.
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Old 05-04-2022, 17:26   #14
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Re: When to upgrade ground tackle

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that's plenty of chain, too much IMO, for a performance catamaran. weight is important. just splice on some rope so you have 100m total.
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Old 05-04-2022, 19:05   #15
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Re: When to upgrade ground tackle

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Invest in a high tech snubber system.:
I'd like to learn more about what that means. Any links or past threads I could read?

Thank you.
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