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Thread: Anchor setting

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    71

    Default Anchor setting

    This summer we have been using a new to us yacht that cam with two very expensive aluminium spade anchors. On our previous boat I fitted a Rocna which gave seven years of faultless service and normal set first time every time with 4-5 times depth for scope just by dropping it overboard, settling gently back and immediately using moderate engine revs to set it.
    Using the Spade anchor with the same scope several times this season it has dragged as soon as reverse is engaged even though we are over a clean sandy bottom. It seams to me that in firm /hard sand I need to use a longer scope to set it and to very gradually ease it into the sand.
    Once set it performance has been faultless even when we have seen 50+knot gusts several times this summer.
    Has any one else found the Spade hard to set into hard sand

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    3,367

    Default Re: Anchor setting

    The steel Spade is excellent, but unfortunately the aluminium Spade while still a good anchor, is not as capable, especially in hard or weedy substrates. I am not surprised you found the Rocna set more reliably.

    As you have noted, very gradually and slowly increasing the setting force particularly in the early stages will help. A longer scope also helps the anchor initially dig in.
    Last edited by noelex; 05-10-19 at 20:13.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Sydney, Australia.
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    Default Re: Anchor setting

    We use 4 aluminium anchors, Excel, Spade and Fortress and now do not carry anything else. We use the Excel as the primary and deploy the Spade when we want to anchor in a 'V'. We have 2 Fortress a FX16 for sand and a FX 37 for soft mud. The Spade is an A80 and it and the Excel weight around 8kgs (for setting it does not matter - but we are a 38' cat of 7t in cruising trim, 2 x 20hp Volvo with Volvo folding props).

    We set in a 'V' for minimise yawing.

    We have used this combination of anchors from slightly north of the Whitsundays to 'almost' the southern tip of Tasmania (basically all down Australia's east coast, a bit of Bass Strait and all round Tasmania).

    After about 14 years of regular use we have never, ever, had difficulty in setting the Spade (or Excel). We normally set at 3:1 scope, have been using 6mm chain for 3 years now (prior to that 8mm chain) power set and then deploy a scope appropriate for the conditions. In very hard seabeds, that we have never experienced (that we know of) a Spade, steel or alloy (we have a steel Spade sitting in my workshop alongside a steel Excel, both 15kg - they just collect dust) will not be as good as an anchor with a sharp toe, like an Excel. Educated recommendation, by the US Navy, for hard seabeds is to have a sharp toed anchor - though its not a modification I would suggest for an alloy or steel Spade. All of these anchors are demountable, though we keep the FX 16 and Excel assembled).

    We would not use the Fortress in seabeds where there is likely to be weed, stones or shells - so we choose our anchors for the substrate. We would avoid dense weed - you should not be anchoring there anyway.

    I have heard anecdotally of one specific person having a problem with an alloy Spade - but it is not our experience - and after 14 years I'd have expected us to experience the issue if it was common.

    I believe Spade increased the proportion of the ballast in the alloy Spade.... 15-20 years ago. I believe ours is the more recent version. Similarly Anchor Right have incorporated a stainless toe plate in their galvanised steel Excel so that the toe can be sharpened - our Excel predates this modification - and I have heard of no negative comments. The other method to improve performance in hard seabed is to alter the fluke/seabed angle - but this compromises hold in common seabeds - so not a practice to be followed - unless all your seabeds are hard.

    Alloy is obviously chosen for its light weight. On the bow roller for many yachts saving weight on the bower anchor is unnecessary though on some catamarans and lightweight high performance yachts weight saving (and thus aluminium anchors) is part of a philosophy. (This is why we use 6mm high tensile chain). Also one reason Fortress are found on most racing yachts as THE anchor. For most people aluminium anchors really come into their own if you deploy and retrieve by hand (no windlass) or from a dinghy.

    No anchor is perfect - horses for courses.

    In your case carrying 2 aluminium Spade anchors (the same size?) seems excessive and I would consider changing one for a different design. Unless you are in a rush I would wait to see what the new Lewmar anchors (not demountable) are like - or fall back on your previous experience and buy a Rocna. I would, obviously keep, at least, one alloy Spade. If weight is an issue I would look at the aluminium Excel (they do deliver to Europe individual anchors - but you do not define your yacht nor location). If demountable is important then the only reliable anchors currently available are those I list above, Spade, Excel and Fortress (and the Lewmar Fortress clone). Carrying more than one anchor is prudent and we carry anchors to suit the cross section of anticipated seabeds - and each anchor is large enough (or good enough) to be the primary.

    Jonathan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Default Re: Anchor setting

    Hi Jonathan
    I very curious to understand your comments that you carry 4 anchors for different subsoil. ( seabeds) .
    My question is at which point do you decide what anchor do you use .
    In other words do you arrive at an anchorage , and take a dive or look over the side ,
    Do you keep trying different anchors till one sets , do you decide before hand by what ever info your chart have , or is it just the case where you anchor in the same place before and know before hand which one to change too .
    It no trick question J .

    Has you know we are full time cruisers, has the word cruisers seen to apply more to us then the word liveaboard , we may live on the boat but cruising is what we do .
    And I would say 70% of the time we have no idea what seabed we be dropping our hook in ,
    Like most if we can see the bottom we head for a sandy bit but that's not always the case.
    The chart may say sand but years on and its full of weed , we may arrive in the dark, or when the sun is in a position that the bottom not clear even murky waters .
    Our bow anchor is a Rocna and we keep a fortress which we only ever use when we anchor in a V combination .
    What ever the sea bed is when we arrive we Deal with it .
    If it means moving over to a different spot that's what we do , I can't ever remember a time when we had to change anchor even before the Rocna in Delta days to anchor .
    We did carry a Delta for some years as well but we found all we was doing is carrying extra weight as it sat in the locker .
    Has I said it no trick question , I just can't imagine turning up at a anchorage say in a blow then messing around changing anchors .
    You know what they say , you lean some thing new every time you go to sea no matter how little it is and I happy to learn new stuff if it's going to useful to me .
    Warning forumite dyslexia near by
    www.bluewatersailorcroatia.webs.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Default Re: Anchor setting

    Very simple Vic

    We have limited anchorages down the east coast south of Brisbane and all the way to Eden. However we do have rivers, commonly 'protected' by bars. These rivers are slow moving and are famous for their oysters. The rivers are characterised by their muddy bottoms. Get down to Tasmania - similar, lots of oysters farms, lots of mud (some like brown windsor soup). We don't think about it - if its bad weather forecast, if its oyster farm area - use the FX 37.

    Most of our coastal anchorages are in large bays and the whole coastline is based on sandstone. The eroded sandstone fills the bays - the sand is white, weed is dark. In Tasmania kelp is obvious - it floats in huge beds.

    Its not rocket science here.

    We don't change anchors when we are 'cruising'. The Excel is on the all chain rode and we have a windlass. If we use the Spade in a 'V' or use the Fortress we have a spare rode with 15m of 6mm high tensile chain and 40m of 3 ply 12mm nylon. When the anchors weigh 8kg - you really don't need a windlass. We deploy by hand off the bow or if deploying in a 'V' from the dinghy.

    I can deploy an anchor by hand off the bow ( Josephine prepares dinner) - its really not difficult.

    The spare rode is kept in a milk crate, nylon coiled round the perimeter (inside) and the chain dropped into the centre of the coils. Each anchor always has its shackle attached and the shackles all fit the end of the chain. After retrieval I religiously re-coil.

    Many of our coastal anchorages offer good protection from the southerlies (where our bad weather comes from) and we do not challenge the weather but hunker down. We find that many anchorages enjoy gusty winds causing our cat to veer - anchoring in a 'V' offers more stability.

    We are lucky in that though coastal anchorages are few and far between they are very well documented - the Admiralty Pilots (here) were prepared in vessels not dissimilar in size from yours and ours and they made copious notes of anchorages and seabeds. Not much has changed over the last 150 years - and what was recorded then is still true today.

    Maybe you could be looking for old copies of Admiralty Pilot books - the anchorages are the same, as are the seabeds. Better - move your cruising ground - Oz is different!

    I specifically scoured second hand bookshops and chandlers for old copies of the Pilot books.

    I might add - when we sailed in Hong Kong and went down to the Phillipines - we used the Admiralty Pilots, to the same good effect. Its, the Pilot books, a bit of Colonial past that is much underrated.

    Jonathan

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Anchor setting

    Quote Originally Posted by sailaboutvic View Post
    I very curious to understand your comments that you carry 4 anchors for different subsoil. ( seabeds) .
    Maybe more of an issue with little anchors. As you know most long distance cruisers (nearly all?) like to go up a size or so, even in soft mud the holding should be fine with a decent size new gen , good blast full revs will confirm. The anchorages with really soupy mud where a fortress might come into it's own are probably pretty well known.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Anchor setting

    Quote Originally Posted by Neeves View Post
    Very simple Vic

    We have limited anchorages down the east coast south of Brisbane and all the way to Eden. However we do have rivers, commonly 'protected' by bars. These rivers are slow moving and are famous for their oysters. The rivers are characterised by their muddy bottoms. Get down to Tasmania - similar, lots of oysters farms, lots of mud (some like brown windsor soup). We don't think about it - if its bad weather forecast, if its oyster farm area - use the FX 37.

    Most of our coastal anchorages are in large bays and the whole coastline is based on sandstone. The eroded sandstone fills the bays - the sand is white, weed is dark. In Tasmania kelp is obvious - it floats in huge beds.

    Its not rocket science here.

    We don't change anchors when we are 'cruising'. The Excel is on the all chain rode and we have a windlass. If we use the Spade in a 'V' or use the Fortress we have a spare rode with 15m of 6mm high tensile chain and 40m of 3 ply 12mm nylon. When the anchors weigh 8kg - you really don't need a windlass. We deploy by hand off the bow or if deploying in a 'V' from the dinghy.

    I can deploy an anchor by hand off the bow ( Josephine prepares dinner) - its really not difficult.

    The spare rode is kept in a milk crate, nylon coiled round the perimeter (inside) and the chain dropped into the centre of the coils. Each anchor always has its shackle attached and the shackles all fit the end of the chain. After retrieval I religiously re-coil.

    Many of our coastal anchorages offer good protection from the southerlies (where our bad weather comes from) and we do not challenge the weather but hunker down. We find that many anchorages enjoy gusty winds causing our cat to veer - anchoring in a 'V' offers more stability.

    We are lucky in that though coastal anchorages are few and far between they are very well documented - the Admiralty Pilots (here) were prepared in vessels not dissimilar in size from yours and ours and they made copious notes of anchorages and seabeds. Not much has changed over the last 150 years - and what was recorded then is still true today.

    Maybe you could be looking for old copies of Admiralty Pilot books - the anchorages are the same, as are the seabeds. Better - move your cruising ground - Oz is different!

    I specifically scoured second hand bookshops and chandlers for old copies of the Pilot books.

    I might add - when we sailed in Hong Kong and went down to the Phillipines - we used the Admiralty Pilots, to the same good effect. Its, the Pilot books, a bit of Colonial past that is much underrated.

    Jonathan
    Thanks for clearing that up , I had visions of you on the bow , shouting to your wife , " no not that one darling we need number 3 for this sea bed "
    Warning forumite dyslexia near by
    www.bluewatersailorcroatia.webs.com

  8. #8
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    Nov 2011
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    Sydney, Australia.
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    5,595

    Default Re: Anchor setting

    GHA raises a different issue.

    We carry 4 anchors

    One anchor is our primary anchor, I believe caution and prudence dictates you should have a spare primary anchor.

    The large Fortress is needed, essential, for soupy mud. Based on Fortress tests you would need a new gen anchor (Rocna, Spade, Ultra) greater than 2 times the recommended size to offer credible security under even sheltered Storm conditions.

    We cannot consider either Fortress as a spare, in case we lose the primary, as it or they will be unsuitable in weed and stones. We cannot use the Spade nor Excel in soupy mud - they would not develop sufficient hold - and having anchored for a Storm on Tasmania's west coast - we have got that decision right.

    We often anchor in a 'V' and should we lose the primary we would use the spare (primary) and the FX 16 (the FX 37 is a bit of a monster).

    Based on usage we found it very difficult to bury the original Fortress, a FX23 - and now carry the FX 16 which we can bury - under engine power (virtually every time we have tried it). I note that a part buried Fortress leaves the stock protruding - no wonder people complain they trip their Fortress.

    The total weight of our, 4, anchors is about 35kgs.

    If you lose an anchor in SW Tasmania its a long way to the nearest road and a very long way to the nearest chandler.

    We meet long term cruisers, one particular couple, from the UK were half way round their circumnavigation - they did not have large anchors, but did carry 7 in total, none of which were NG.

    Multiple anchors is part of a philosophy - We also carry a storm jib, trisail, No 3 (or jib), life raft, HF radio, spare aerials (HF/VHF).......I confess we have never used in anger the LR, spare aerials nor storm sails - though having used them on a RORC China Sea race - would not be without them.

    Jonathan

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Anchor setting

    Quote Originally Posted by GHA View Post
    Maybe more of an issue with little anchors. As you know most long distance cruisers (nearly all?) like to go up a size or so, even in soft mud the holding should be fine with a decent size new gen , good blast full revs will confirm. The anchorages with really soupy mud where a fortress might come into it's own are probably pretty well known.
    I agree , if I want to believe the spec we just about be ok with a 20 kg anchor and 8mm chain , but I rather believe my own experience what I learned over the years and the type of anchoring we do so we use a 25kg anchor and 10mm chain , and all the spec in the world isn't going to get me to go down a size ,
    maybe just maybe if we only prepared to anchor in enclosed bay /rivers on subsoil we know we going to get I might then consider it , but not the type of cruising that we do .
    Warning forumite dyslexia near by
    www.bluewatersailorcroatia.webs.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Default Re: Anchor setting

    Vic,

    I'm responsible for the anchoring, Josephine is the chef. We can swap - but my culinary skills don't quite match Jo's skills in the galley (and she is quite capable on the anchoring front as well - but then women are well known for their abilities to multitask.

    Jonathan

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