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2011-06-06

Rode work ahead


Even though I continue to repair and refashion Alchemy, it doesn't mean I don't tend to the needs of the old sloop Valiente. Getting her in fit fashion this year in the face of bad timing, daunting weather and the need to make money in Non-Boat Land has taken some time, but I finally got the ground tackle sorted.

As can be seen, this involved putting on a short bow roller (salvaged from a C&C 35!) and a hawse pipe hinged cap (found in the "spares" locker at my club, and putting in anchor hangers (alas, I had to actually buy these). One club workshop-fabricated backing plate made from a length of genoa track later, one garage-fabricated U-bolt and backing plate installed in a bulkhead for the bitter end, and everything looked like it had been on the boat for ages. Mainly because it's old.


The hawse pipe (please ignore the dirt) can only contain the rode, unless I take apart the short length of chain. This is not necessary unless I am leaving the boat for some time and want to remove the anchor itself. This anchor, by the way, is a steel "hi-tensile" Danforth knockoff from (likely) the '70s. I will keep it as the "lunch hook". The "main" is of course the thing I didn't take a picture of, the Fortress FX-23:




That's the anchor we actually tested for the first time today, in admittedly benign (a mere five knots of wind, firm sand and grass bottom) conditions.

What benign conditions resemble:



Lacking foresight, means and a sense of nautical decorum, we simply used a fender to buoy the anchor, in case the somewhat modest rode parted due to the mighty backing down power of a recently tuned Atomic 4 engine with a wee prop, or the aforementioned sheer age of the thing.


But all went well. We let out 80 feet of rode in about 15 feet of water, which was, to be sure, only just over five-to-one scope instead of the recommended seven-to-one, but the anchor is sized for a boat 12 feet longer and the wind consisted largely of angel farts, so the recklessness continued unchecked.

In short, we held just fine. Veering hard in reverse did nothing...once set, the Fortress did not break free when subject to a mighty churning aft. Not fancying my chances with the rode, however (which I will size up to perhaps 1/2 inch or 9/16ths or something beefier, I think{I eventually purchased 5/8"
}), we merely pulled in the slack by hand, and, when directly over the anchor, a half-hearted yank upwards freed it and it was soon on the deck looking suspiciously clean.


So that test went in the right direction: sticking firmly when deployed, and easing out cleanly when hoisted.

Lurching into a crowded anchorage with 30 knot gusts and a square chop will no doubt prove more educational, but I suspect this anchor will rise to the challenge as it sinks into the bottom.

I will play further with the "as found in bottom of locker" steel Danforth to contrast and compare. I have a 33 lb. CQR and a 33 lb. real Bruce I could fling off the front as well, but it's best to invest in more robust rode first, I think.

2 comments:

Silverheels III said...

Marc.....80 ft of rope in 15 ft of water is only 4:1 scope since you have forgotten to add the 5 ft or so height from the bow roller to surface of the water. Oddly enuff, the Fortress guide advises users to initially set a Fortress at 2:1 and then let out the remaining scope afterward. Our 23# Fortress has remained unused on the stern rail for nearly three years now. It was acquired as a kedge to haul us off when aground; so far, not required.

Rhys said...

Ken/Lynn: I actually included the "stem to water" measurement in my calculations; the count didn't start from the boat, but from the water.

In addition, I measured the "five feet" as a fist-to-fist tally of rode at full arm extension. It's been a while since I boxed, but my reach was over six feet, so three runs of rode is more like 18 feet than 15.

I did this because "too much" is inherently OK in this shallow an anchorage, so if I call it 80 feet out and it's 90 feet from water surface to anchor stock, that's 6:1 and no harm, no foul.

I also did it because the bottom features a bunch of sand ridges, as you likely remember, and the depth varies from 15 to 21 feet in any given 100 feet of bottom.

Nonetheless, I could not, with a hard veer in reverse, break out this rode at 5 or 6:1 scope, once it had set. This doesn't prove I'd hold in a blow, of coyrse, rather that a direct-drive A4 with an 11.5 inch Gori is a glorified egg-beater.

I will be going to a larger diameter rode with a rode to chain long splice because I want to get all the rode below in the five-gallon bucket in the forepeak. Right now, the thimble at the end of the rope rode is preventing this.

Thanks for commenting. You might wish to try that Fortress of yours (also apparently oversized as it's for 39-45 footers) just to see if you can veer it out with your more powerful engine, or just how short a scope you can manage without breaking out.

I have every confidence that it would do well as a kedge as it seems pretty tenacious in a straight line haul.

I think you would like your Fortress and might consider using it regularly.