We did not test every drogue that appears in the accompanying table, PS Value Guide: Drogues. However, we collected a huge amount of test data and observations from model testing and from multiple sources, including Victor Shanes Drag Device Database (www.dragdevicedb.com), and incorporated these into our test findings.
When youve tested anchors as long as Practical Sailor has, you feel pressed to explore unconventional arrangements that others advocate-particularly if the advocates include experienced sailors and a major anchor manufacturer. Such is the case with the tandem anchor setup, in which two anchors are connected to a single rode leading to the boat. The anchoring system is widely discussed on online sites catering to cruisers and is endorsed by at least one manufacturer, Rocna, which has encouraged tandem anchoring with the placement of a special hole at the base of the Rocna shank for shackling on a second rode and anchor.
Recent tests on a miserable holding bottom in the Chesapeake Bay (see PS, February 2015 online) showed that conventionally sized anchors just don't hold in a soupy bottom. Those that can-pivoting fluke anchors-arent always the easiest to set, and security during wind shifts is much debated. Setting a second anchor is an option-one weve studied previously (see Tropical Storm Dos and Donts, PS November 2011 online)-but tandem rigs intrigued us. Could two anchors on a single rode provide more secure holding in tricky bottoms, and if so, what is the ideal arrangement? We were particularly interested in single-line tandem rigs (which Rocna designer Peter Smith referred to in his report) and V-tandem rigs (which several PS contributors have had success with).
The consensus among anchor makers (Fortress, Bruce, Manson, Mantus) is that holding power in soft bottoms increases in approximate proportion with anchor mass; exponents range from 0.92 to 1.0. While there are differences between models and manufacturers, a 35-pound Mantus should hold roughly 18 times more than a 2-pound Mantus, and a Fortress FX-16 should hold four times more than a Guardian G5.
No sailor can resist the temptation to look over another sailors work, and nothing draws the eye faster than your neighbors docklines. We like to know our boat and our neighbors boats will be where we left them when we return, not rubbing together or worse. Sometimes, however, a stroll down the dock makes us nervous. This gallery of rogue docklines represents only a taste of what PS tester Drew Frye found within a short walk of his slip. How many of these will come loose during the next storm?
This months report on tandem anchoring rigs was on my mind as the winds began gusting above 30 knots in the Dry Tortugas. Wed stopped there to wait out the passing of a late-season cold front during our recent voyage from Sarasota, Fla., to Havana, Cuba, aboard a friends 42-foot Endeavor, Lost Boys.
A well-secured boat in the best-designed marina can't be expected to survive a direct hit from a hurricane. Major boat-insurance companies recommend hauling out and tying down your boat, but that isn't always an option, nor is it any guarantee.
Practical Sailor has covered storm preparation on several occasions. The two most extensive articles appeared in July 2008 Gear for Battening Down Ahead of Storms, and Tropical Storms Dos and Donts, from November 2011. We also have an online article How to Help Your Boat Survive a Major Storm. What follows are just a few tips relevant to securing your boat in a marina when you have exhausted all other safer alternatives.
The true test of marine gear is not whether it works when installed, but rather how it functions after years in the field. To that end, we have left samples of sewing materials and sewn test samples in the sun, wind, rain, and snow for two years, and have also sailed with sewn samples in service on our test boat.
Weve sewn our fair share of eyes in nylon webbing, but heres an easy no-sew alternative for creating a webbing strap with a buckle (shackle) that can be used for easily lashing down the dinghy, a battery, or even holding up your pants in a pinch. It is based on stuff a sailor has on hand-webbing, a chain link, and a shackle-and is as strong as professionally sewn ends, plus it can be untied after loading. It has tested at greater than 85-percent breaking strength and 100 percent of minimum rate strength, and it works on both nylon and ultra-high strength materials like Vectran webbing.