Chandlery July 1, 2004 Issue

Bungy

Simple, clever, convenient, but not cheap, this little device can take the load off your rode.

Among the more worrisome situations for any boat owner is lying at anchor in roily conditions. It usually calls for an anchor watch, especially at night, particularly if the bottom conditions are unknown. 

This photo of four Bungys clearly shows the gadget’s simplicity. Beginning from the lower left, a Bungy sits in the closed position; above is one with the cap snapped open, ready for line; and above that, a bight of half-inch nylon anchor line is inserted. At the top right, a piece of three-quarter-inch braid has been inserted in the Bungy with the cap locked down, ready for deployment. The line itself holds the Bungy closed. At $29.90 per pair, they're hardly inexpensive, but certainly effective at absorbing loads.

In these situations, the boat's deadly rhythmic dance can jerk fearsomely on the anchor rode. Chafe and drag become far more than the scary words you encountered in some book on anchoring.

Fear not. There are lots of ways to ease the relentless shock on the rode. And because it's an important subject, PS never passes on an opportunity to present ideas for dealing with that shock.

In our December 2003 issue, in a report on anchors, we included a sidebar about kellets (a.k.a. anchor sentinels); it sparked some reader interest. And in the March 2004 Double Issue (see Chandlery, pg. 34), PS presented a clever new product called a Shockle.

Here's another. This one is devilishly clever, simple, convenient, though not inexpensive. It's called a Bungy—a one-piece molding of very dense, strong, rubber that just snaps on or off the anchor rode anywhere—that's just as easy to slide up and down the rode singly or in combinations of 2, 3, 4, or 5 to give excellent shock absorbing in most any condition. Each Bungy gives up to three inches of firm snubbing and, being made of tough, heavy rubber, avoids the "rubber-banding" sometimes experienced with softer shock absorbers.

Even better, it can be used on anchor rodes up to three-quarter-inch (which should cover most boats) and doesn't give a fig whether the line is laid, braid, plait, or you made it yourself out of horsehair—like the line made by the famous St. Kildean mountain climbers, the best the world has ever known. (The history of St. Kilda—an island 40-odd miles off the coast of Scotland—is fascinating, especially to sailors, but we digress.)

Bungys seem ideal as anchor line snubbers because they can be ganged for differing loads. (In its long series of anchor tests, PS has used a carefully calculated and tested figure of 400 pounds on the anchor rode for a 32-foot displacement boat in 42 knots of air and flat water.) 

The Bungy is made in Sweden by Aronowitsch & Lyth AB and is being imported now to the U.S. by Scandvik, Inc., of Vero Beach FL. Scanvik’s CEO, Per Stalquist, recently spotted the Bungys on a trip home. "They looked great," he said, "so I grabbed a handful, which is what ought to be on all boats. A half dozen of these could save your boat."

In addition to giving the anchor rode some help, the Bungys could also serve on preventers, soft boom vangs, and mooring lines. A couple of Bungys could also tame that hard jerking that often seems to occur, in certain conditions, when towing a dinghy.

Unlike some shock absorbers that require knots or involve metal-to-rope friction, Bungys should be virtually chafe-free and, because of their construction, are not breakable. Continuous exposure to the sun for a couple of years might do them in, of course; the sun eats everything.

Putting it plainly, PS greatly admires the mind that came up with this idea. For their ingeniousness, the inventors deserve the $29.90-a-pair price, which otherwise seems like a lot for a couple of small rubber moldings.

Stalquist told us that when the discount catalogs and marine stores begin to stock them, the price of the Bungy should come down—maybe 40 percent—to about $18. If you can’t wait, call Per.

Contact - Scandvik, Inc.: 800/535-6009, www.scandvik.com

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