PS Advisor April 1, 1998 Issue

PS Advisor 04/01/98

To Move or Sell?
I am relocating the Portland, Oregon to Lake Huron. I have an Aloha 34 which I am very attached to. However, I need to make the move sensible and economical. I obviously have three options: 1) the Panama Canal and a long and costly trip (just think of the charts alone!), 2) motoring up the Columbia and Snake, trucking a few hundred miles, and floating down the Mississippi system to the Great Lakes, 3) selling here and buying there.

I suspect the market value of my boat is better here; so, with all the additional cost of moving it, the third option is probably the smartest. Except if I have to sell for a murderously sacrificial price. I would be grateful for your advice.

E. Skublics
Silverton, Oregon

We can sympathize with your dilemma. Some years ago, when we were contemplating a move to the Northwest, we investigated shipping charges and came to the reluctant conclusion that it would be difficult to justify the cost, especially in relation to the value of the boat (spend $10,000 or whatever to move a $50,000 boat?). We like the boat, but that much?

We also considered sailing her around, but that would cost $10,000, too, and require time we don't have. We did not consider trying to use the river system for part of the trip. This was partly based on our experience taking a small powerboat from Chicago to New Orleans with the quick-flowing current. We would not relish going upstream in a slow sailboat, what with the busy barge traffic and the relative inavailability of fuel for much of the trip (we carried 12 jugs and had to lug them to gas stations in most places, as there are few marinas on the rivers and none that we did see carried diesel; this means lashing drums to the deck!).

It left us with the sad conclusion that selling the boat and buying another out there was the only one that made sense. As it turned out, we did not make the move. Hopefully you can get a good price for your Aloha 34, then enjoy the experience of shopping for a new one. Lord knows there are plenty of used boats, many at good prices. No matter how attached we've gotten to various boats, one thing we've learned is that there's always another one in our future to make us forget our last love. And often the next boat has proven better than the last. That helps.

Problem with Fortress Setting
I am writing about my experiences with a Fortress anchor which seems inconsistent with your report.

We had been using a 35-lb. Danforth which worked very well but was breaking my back. Last year, I read your articles and several books on ground tackle. Since I am mostly cruising protected areas on the coast of Maine with mud anchorages, I decided on a Fortress. I have an S2 9.2A, which displaces 5 tons. I went by the manufacturer's recommendations for size of anchor and chain. These were consistent with other sources, so I used an FX-11 anchor, which weighs 7 lbs., 25' of 1/4" chain and 300' of 1/2" 8-plait nylon anchor rode.

My problem was in getting the anchor to set. We would stop the boat, drop the anchor in, say, 15' of water, drift back 90 to 100', and begin to back slowly under power. At least half the time the anchor would drag along. We would have to try two or three times to get the anchor to set where we wanted it. A few times we thought it was set and woke in the morning in a different spot and when raising the anchor were able to pull it off the bottom with one hand. This is very disconcerting. On the other hand, a few times it set so hard we had to motor back and forth over it to pull it loose. What am I doing wrong? Would those add-on mud-flaps they mention in the directions help? This boat does not have a good place for a winch so I am reluctant to go back to a heavier anchor.

Berkeley Pemberton, DDS
Berlin, New Hampshire

We don't think you're doing anything wrong in your attempts to set the Fortress, at least from what you've said. The small models of Fortress anchors are known to have more difficulty setting than the larger ones, presumably just because of their light weight. After all, 7 lbs. isn't much. And in soft bottoms, common in New England, you should try the mud palms as they increase the angle of attack. That's why they are provided. And be sure to keep giving the anchor plenty of scope, as you apparently are.

If you still have problems, your only recourse, to our mind, would be to use a heavier Fortress, such as the FX-16 (10 lbs.) or FX-23 (15 lbs.) or go back to a Danforth or West Marine Performance. Considering that your old anchor weighed 35 lbs., even the FX-23 would be light by comparison.

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