Again we speak heresy! Practical Sailor has published at least four articles explaining why stretchy nylon bridles and snubbers are vital. But if the rode is nylon instead of chain, this no longer applies. The rode provides all the impact absorption we need, perhaps more than we need. By analogy, a bridle should function like an anti-sway bar on an automobile, keeping the boat centered.
Even when your anchor is well designed and ideally matched to your boat, there are four common factors that can cause an anchor to drag: poor bottom, short scope, insufficient shock absorption, and yawing. Each of these reduces the holding capacity of the anchor, and they are additive. That is to say that any one of them can ruin your day, solving only one or two of them does not ensure good holding, and the more problems you solve, the better youll sleep.
I really appreciated the article Anchoring in Crowded Harbors (see Practical Sailor, June 2019). The difficult and critical part is always estimating distances, and the guides you gave (two-to-three mast heights, using fractions of a nautical mile, etc.) can be difficult to do accurately in a crowded harbor with the sun setting, with some of that information available only at the helm, and multiple boats moving to anchor. As a bow hunter, I am…
A big rollbar-style anchor on a bow roller is now synonymous with cruising. They are efficient in many types of bottoms and reliably rotate or reset when the wind and tide change. Unfortunately, they are shaped awkward and are difficult to stow anywhere other than a bow roller. Lacking this, many smaller boats, both sail and power, are forced to store the anchor in either a shallow bow locker, a snag-prone railing bracket, or in a lazarette.
We often get questions about anchoring rights. While it is commonly understood that the first boat arriving in an anchorage has privileges, many see this as a matter of etiquette, but it is also a legal issue. The below citations are from the case Juniata 124 F. 861 US Admiralty Court, E.D. Virginia, 1903. Other rulings we reviewed generally agree.]
Over the years Practical Sailor has conducted dozens of anchor tests, and like many publications, weve repeated the common guidance that cruising sailors should buy an anchor that is at least one size larger than what the maker recommends for your size vessel.
One of all-chain rodes most popular features among cruising sailors has little to do with anchoring-and everything to do with stowing. With a well-designed bow roller, windlass, hawse hole, and chain locker, your rode and anchor will deploy and stow belowdecks faster and with far less effort than nylon rode requires. But for a smaller boat without a windlass or deep chain locker, an all-chain rode is often impractical. Even cruising sailors who are perfectly equipped for all-chain anchoring often find that their nylon secondary anchor better is suited for some anchoring situations.
Regarding your recent article on joining chain segments, Ive been coastal cruising from Canada to Panama since 1983, and continuously since 2005. I have wondered about using a single 5/16-inch shackle, which will connect two lengths of 3/8-inch, G-43 chain. The Crosby top of the line 5/16-inch will go around the gypsy pretty well. I tried it, but I am reluctant to use it. Any thoughts?
So, a couple of years back, you acquired a good old boat at a pretty good price-thanks to the market-but now youre wondering how many coats of bottom paint it has. And what kind? Youve put on a few coats of ablative antifouling since youve owned the boat. It has adhered well and has done its job. But each year, the bottom looks rougher and rougher-with big recesses where paint has flaked off. You sweated out some extra prep-work this season, and thought you had a nice, durable subsurface for painting, but each pass of the roller pulls up more paint. Whats going on here?