Fenders and Lines for Seawalls

To the lubber, tying-up to a bulkhead seems like the simplest of all docking situations. Perhaps with floating docks this is true. You just throw in a few fenders and tie a few lines. Simple. But in the world of tidal bulkheads with pilings or rough concrete facings, it is often a hammer and anvil situation, with the wind and waves hammer incessantly as the anvil moves up and down with the tide, causing fenders to slip out of position.

In Sand, The Spade and Bulwagga Rank at the Top of 15 Anchors

Round 2 of Practical Sailor’s continuing series of anchor tests produced some surprising results. The holding-in-sand tests revealed that:1. Two relatively unknown anchors—one called...

Dinghy Anchors: Big Anchor Tech Scaled Down

Sailors spend considerable time pondering their anchoring arsenal for the mothership, but what about the dinghy? With the new Mantus Dinghy Anchor, it seems that all of the design schools are now represented in small sizes. We were interested to determine which of these might offer the best performance.

Mailport: anchoring etiquette, stern-tied boats, and wind generators

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…

Choosing Ground Tackle for Cruising

Choosing an anchor best suited to your cruising style must take into account the area you are cruising, the type of boat you will be sailing, and the demands you will make on your gear. Purchasing an anchor and its chain and rode can be an expensive proposition.

PS Advisor: Sea Anchor Sizing

While most sea anchor manufacturers may use similar formulas for determining the right size sea anchor for a boat, other factors must be considered, including the weight of the material used in the anchor and a boat’s windage. Ultimately, what matters is that the anchor can displace enough water mass for your size boat. It’s a good idea to select a sea anchor, and then use that maker’s criteria to determine what size you need for your boat. If you have questions or concerns, contact the manufacturer for clarification. According to Don Whilldin, president of Para-Tech (maker of the Sea Anchor), the company figures Sea Anchor sizing based on a boat’s length, displacement, and type. If the result is on the line between two sizes, Para-Tech recommends going with the larger size.

Dodging a Bullet When Caught on Bulkhead

The following is aimed primarily at boats that are unable to leave an alongside dock or bulkhead before wind and seas become dangerous. Any fetch beyond 200 yards is dangerous, and there may be nothing you can do to protect the boat. However, if you are in a protected marina, well up a creek, and the storm is moderate, these actions can help. Just remember that low breakwaters will be overtopped, wooden breakwaters fall apart, other boats will come loose, and there will be lumber in the water from broken docks.

Testing the Limits of Tiny Anchors

Each anchor was pulled in both a straight line and at 90 degrees in both soft mud and firm sand at a 10:1 scope. All findings regarding load were recorded with a calibrated load cell. Testers performed the 90-degree test by lightly setting the anchor (with a 15-pound load in mud, 40 pounds in sand) and then slowly pulling at a 90-degree angle, as though the wind or tide changed. Additionally, each anchor was used day-in, day-out aboard an inflatable dinghy to evaluate ease of use and real-world effectiveness.

Collapsible Anchor Prototype Tested

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.

Caring For Your Marine Diesel Engine

Expecting calms for most of the passage, we set out in a flat calm with 70 gallons of fuel. Six hours later, around mid-day, the engine wailed, screeched, clanged, and died. Hardly a ripple stirred the Gulf of Panama.