Severed Anchor in the Bahamas: Seven Lessons Learned

Seven lessons get deposited in the experience bank from an anchor rode failure off Georgetown, Exuma.


Leaving Rhode Island to sail to the Bahamas, I wanted to be untethered, for a while. Adrift at dawn and heading for rocks in a blow was not what I had in mind. Anchor failure was one of my nightmare scenarios. The morning my severed anchor parted with my boat, an unusual snapping sound and lurch woke me, and I slammed my knee leaping out of my berth to investigate. Hobbling on deck, I found the wind blowing around 20 knots, and in the day’s first light I watched my anchor bridle drifting limply ahead of my boat. It should have been tight in this wind. My anchor was clearly not attached. OH ****!

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Alex Jasper
Alex Jasper went to live aboard sailing school for her 40th birthday. She then started sailing on New England lakes in the summer. After waking up one morning at anchor on a 16’ boat in Lake Champlain, she was hooked. In 2017, she started sailing a 32’ catamaran in Rhode Island and southern New England waters. Then, after racing for a year in California, she pointed her own bow south and headed down the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway to the Bahamas. Who knows what is next?


  1. I’m fairly new in the boating game and right from the start I was always skeptical of the length of boat=length of chain then the rest rode formula for the reasons in the article. Where I’m at there is lots of rock and extreme tide swings so I feel comfortable with all chain for my anchor.

  2. I know that catamarans have to be very weight conscious, but a rope rode in the tropics is a risky idea. Coral bommies will cut rope in a flash. On our Outbound 44 (monohull), we started with 200′ of 5/16 high tensile chain with a 5/8 rope tail of 400′ (rarely used). After two seasons in the South Pacific we upgraded to 3/8 HT. The weight of the chain seems to be an important component of the holding power.
    Having the secondary anchor rigged and ready to deploy is a great idea.