Our big goal for this season is to get comfortable with anchoring – including overnight. Given that we have yet to anchor at all on our boat, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that our goal this season is to anchor! As future full-time cruisers, anchoring is a skill we’ll definitely need. There are big savings from not needing to stay on a mooring ball or in a marina every night, so we figured we might as well start working on it now. Plus, this is an upgrade that we can take with us on the next boat for use as a backup anchor.
Pegu Club came with a standard Danforth anchor which we aren’t comfortable with using overnight.
The Danforth is actually not a bad anchor for the generally muddy bottoms that are found in Fishers Island and Long Island Sounds, but they have a reputation for not resetting when the current changes or the wind shifts. We can get some fairly strong currents (and changeable weather) around here, so we weren’t too keen on testing it out only to find ourselves dragging in the middle of the night.
A new anchor design was introduced several years ago. Generically referred to as “new generation” anchors, they do an excellent job of holding and resetting when necessary. From what we’ve read, as long as you anchor properly to begin with, new gen anchors aren’t going anywhere until you’re ready to leave. We had thought about getting one last year but blew the boat budget on other things (Hello, composting toilet! Whoo-hoo!) so we are very much looking forward to getting a new anchor this year. As is typical however, given that we’re relative newbies with a 40 year old boat, it isn’t as easy as simply driving down to Defender and buying it. There are a lot of decisions to be made first:
(1) Which new gen anchor to get? There’s Mantus, Manson, and Rocna – all virtually identical, with near universal acclaim from their owners. Mantus unbolts for easier storage, but we weren’t crazy about having an anchor that could unbolt, so that was out. Manson has a dual shank configuration depending on the bottom, but we’ve read mixed reviews as to whether or not that should be relied upon vs. just using a tripline, so that was out. That left the Rocna. The people that have it, love it, so that works for us. Based on the weight and length of our boat, we’ll need one that is 22 pounds.
(2) How much rode do we need, and of that amount, how much should be chain? Full-time cruisers typically go with all chain because they’re anchoring in all kinds of wind – from dead calm to tropical storms and stronger. We’ll be fair-weather anchorers until we’re out full-time, so all chain is overkill for the time being. Not to mention we don’t have a windlass, which means Jeff will be hauling the anchor up by hand. I’m calling him the “human windlass.” Anyway, we’re going with 25′ of chain and 275′ of rope. This will give us a lot of flexibility for the depths that we can anchor in.
(3) What kind of chain and rope? For the chain, do we want BBB or high-test? Rocna recommends high-test, which is stronger, so that one was easy. For the rope, do we want three-strand or eight-plait? Eight-plait is a bit more expensive but it doesn’t twist and knot-up, and it doesn’t get as stiff in salt water, so we went with the eight-plait.
(4) Should we connect the anchor to the chain with a shackle or a swivel? Our research indicated swivels have the potential for more complications. We like to keep things simple, so we are going with a shackle.
(5) Should we get a snubber? After more reading, apparently we don’t need one if we aren’t using all chain. Who knew?
(6) Finally, how are we going to store the anchor on the boat? We thought about getting a bowroller, but Jeff decided that we didn’t have enough room on the bow for one. Fortunately, Mantus makes a universal bracket that fits all new-gen anchors and attaches to the bow pulpit. Of course, it took several more hours of internet research before we were able to figure out whether it would attach to our bow pulpit (since it’s a single rail vs. double), but we finally found the right image the Mantus website which showed us it would work.
I have to say, I was starting to get a bit frustrated with all of the decisions. It seemed like every time I thought we were all set, we discovered something else that needed an answer (shackle vs. swivel, snubber, etc.). Then we needed to research the best prices. I griped to Jeff that just once I would like to be able to decide to get something for the boat, and simply go out and get it. He pointed out that doesn’t really happen when you have a 40 year old boat. Given that the next boat won’t be much younger, I guess I’ll just have to get used to it. At least we have a lot more anchor knowledge so hopefully it will go a bit more quickly with the next boat! But that’s o.k. It will all be worth it when we’re sipping cocktails on Pegu Club in a cove, all alone, watching the sunset – for free.