An Accident at Sea can ruin your whole day!


By Michael Tamulaites

An anchorage can be truly appreciated once you've anchored your boat securely with appropriate swinging room and know that your anchor will hold even if the wind strengthens and/or changes direction. To choose the correct anchor for the circumstances, a design that will allow you to set it with confidence, you need to answer a few simple questions, in this order: (1) In what type of bottom will you be anchoring? (2) How big an anchor do you need for your boat? (3) how will you store your anchor?

If you sail in areas with more than one bottom type, you will need to carry at least two types of anchors. Having two anchors and two rodes (the rope and/or chain combination between the anchor and your boat) increases safety and convenience. If you lose an anchor for any reason, the others are backups. And if you're anchoring in close quarters with a minimum of swinging room, you can set one anchor at the bow and one at the stern to hold you in place, or you can set both off the bow so that you swing in a small circle. For bluewater cruising you may want to carry as many as four anchor types.

To help with your research, SAIL's technical consultant, Jay Paris, put together the following tables. He used manufacturers' recommendations and recommendations from such authorities as Chapman Piloting, Seamansbip, and Small Boat Handling, and notes from experienced world cruisers Eric Hiscock and Don Street. Anchor weights are for a general-purpose anchor suitable for lying-to overnight. For a storm anchor, choose an anchor about twice the weight suggested in the tables. Manufacturers can offer more specific information, so go through the anchor section of this Buyer's Guide and get in touch with them directly. The anchors chosen for the tables are the most widely used but by no means comprise a complete list. Other anchors to consider include: The Max, Hans C-Anchor, the Tallon, Fluke, and Delta, to name just a few. New anchors are being developed all the time.

                                        Anchor Weight Guide

  BOAT SIZE                                                     ANCHOR WEIGHT
  Length(ft) Weight(lbs) Bruce(lbs) Danforth*(lbs) Fortress(lbs) Plow(lbs) Yachtsman(lbs)

  20-25        2,500       4.4        8-S, 5-H**       4           10         15
  26-30        5,000      11         13-S, 12-H        7           15         25
  31-35       10,000      11/16.5    22-S, 12-H       7/10         20         35-40
  36-40       15,000      16.5       22-S, 20-H       10           25         50
  41-45       20,000      22         40-S, 20-H       15           35         65
  46-50       30,000      22/44      65-S, 35-H       21           45         75
  51-60       50,000      44         85-S, 60-H       32           60        100

                                        Anchor Rode Guide

  BOAT SIZE                                        ANCHOR RODE
  Length (ft)   Weight (lbs)      Chain (dia.-inch)      Nylon (dia.-inch)    Length (ft)

  20-25            2,500               3/16                    7/16              90
  26-30            5,000               1/4                     7/16             135
  31-35           10,000               5/16                    1/2              190
  36-40           15,000               3/8                     9/16             225
  41-45           20,000               7/16                    5/8              240
  46-50           30,000               1/2                    11/16             315
  51-60           50,000               9/16                    3/4              360

  *Danforth is a registered trademark.  Similar-style anchors may differ significantly in 
  performance. **S indicates standard anchor; B indicates high-tensile anchor

This article was found in the SAIL 1997 Sailboat Buyers Guide. Their Web Address is: www.sailbuyersguide.com

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