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June 2013

Anchor bites

Essential tips for anchoring your boat

Anchor bites

Despite the plethora of different anchors on the market, the anchor is one of the most critical and most neglected pieces of equipment on a boat. The anchor along with the shackle, chain, line or rope, and deck cleat make up the overall anchor system.

A short length of chain (6 feet minimum for every 25 feet of water depth) protects the line from chaffing and helps provide the necessary horizontal pull when setting the anchor. All nylon line, whether twisted or braided, provides elasticity to reduce shock loads on your boat.

Variables such as anchor weight, anchor material, wind speed, current, boat hull design, and boat beam determine anchor-holding requirements. Here are some holding force (pounds of tension on the anchor/chain/ line/cleat) guidelines provided by Fortress Marine Anchors:

Boat length

Wind speed

20 feet

25 feet

30 feet

35 feet

40 feet

15 knots

90

125

175

225

300

30 knots

360

490

700

900

1,200

42 knots

720

980

1,400

1,800

2,400

Scope is the length of anchor line relative to the distance from your boat’s deck to the sea bottom. A general rule of thumb calls for a scope of 5:1 (5 feet of line or chain for every 1 foot between your boat’s deck and the bottom). At 10:1, the holding power will double, while at less than 3:1, you will give up significant holding power and may have problems setting the anchor.

To retrieve your anchor, slowly move the boat directly over the anchor, pulling in the line as you go. Then snub the line on a cleat and slowly power backward (not forward) to pull the anchor out of the bottom.

To learn more, take the USPS Anchoring seminar at a squadron near you.

 

  

 

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