Copyright (c) Marc Dacey/Dark Star Media unless otherwise indicated. Above photo (c) Marc Dacey. Powered by Blogger.

2013-08-29

Wanchoring

Like this, only with minor rust spots and a couple of dents.

I've had reasons to deploy the 33-footer's anchors this year, both the 22 pound (10 kilo) steel Danforth Hi-tensile "lunch hook" (with 13 feet of chain and 200 feet of 7/16th-inch three-strand rope rode, and the 15 pound aluminum Fortress FX-23 (with 15 feet of 3/8" chain and 210 feet of 5/8-inch three-strand nylon rope rode).

Like this and still pretty minty after several anchorings.
As mentioned previously, while the Fortress and the Danforth bear a superficial resemblance, I use them in different conditions. I favour the Danforth for "no wind" conditions (because it is good enough when one does not expect a wind shift or increase and is always ready to deploy), and the Fortress for when I need better holding (due to the heavier rode and greater fluke area) and anticipate a wind shift that might break out the anchor, which must reset quickly...which I've found the Fortress generally will do, faster than the Danforth. I have bigger Bruces and CQRs in storage that I could use instead of the Fortress, and even a venerable "yachtsman's" aboard Valiente, but to this point, they have not been necessary. The Fortress's rode is substantial enough, however, to switch to a heavier 33 or 45 pounder should we ever need it on Valiente. I don't know if my back is, however.

It's a bridle because it has two attachment points either side of the bow, but it's a snubber because it hooks on only one spot on the chain rode. Sailing terminology ain't easy.


Because this particular Fortress, aided by waterline snubbers and perhaps a bridle I will employ on Alchemy, will be both the "lunch hook" and the kedge anchor (and maybe the stern anchor, too), I like to play with it on Valiente as much as is practical...in the sense of "we need the practice".


The bobstay plate supports both the bobstay (the top hole) and, if desired, a snubber that can be pinned beneath it. Note that this brings the attachment of the boat to the anchor down to the waterline, and relieves strain on the deck gear.

Similar to Alchemy's setup, this bobstay tang attachment has nice stretchy nylon, which helps to lessen "hobbyhorsing" at anchor. Photo (c) The Hacking Family


We recently anchored out in the closest quarters yet...at an event in Toronto's inner harbour called "Sail-In Cinema".  While the event itself was an unqualified failure (we were too far from the screen and the advertised frequencies over which we were allegedly hearing the soundtrack emitted only the sounds of silence, and static), it was an Instructive Evening for the crew.

The prevailing SE foofy wind clearly was no strain on the ground tackle.
The anchor drop (performed ably by Mrs. Alchemy in the uncharacteristic and welcome absence of shouting and the customary sailorly epithets) and backing down went well.  The trick is to lower the rode to the bottom (in this case 32 feet below the roller) without letting the chain pile on the shank.  As has been pointed out, the doughty but underwhelming Atomic 4 cannot provide a great deal of reverse to set the anchor, so it is best accomplished with decent technique, i.e. yank on the bugger until you sense it is starting to bury.

A calm, nay, torpid evening.
It was clearly not a night to fray nerves or chafe rode. The C&C 29 crew of the boat below seen on the right actually scrawled a cell phone number on a piece of paper towel and then Zodiac'd away to a dinner at a nearby club. "Confident or foolish" would be revealed shortly thereafter, but given the parking lot aspect of the anchoring situation, you can guess which way it went.

The Hunter 42's crew to the left proved to be old hands at fending off.
There's one in every crowd: After all the sailboats anchored in a near-perfect semi-circle, Mr. Skyhigh Flybridge Shirtless Powerboater came in and dropped his hook directly in front of us (later, others), cranked up the stereo and barbequed like he was replicating the destruction of Dresden. Oh, to see ourselves as others see us.

Just prior to ignition of the incendiaries.
This well-equipped and ably crewed Hans Christian 38 was the first one we'd seen outside of sailing magazines. A pretty boat, but note the well-protected stern.
I don't consider canoe sterns particularly practical, but they certainly look nice.
 As the evening proceeded, the foofy SE wind backed to a foofy NE wind.  We noted how the all-chain rode boats obediently rotated 90 degrees, while our lighter vessel, with mostly rope rode (even if oversized) began to wander. We fended off a 42 footer and later a 29 foot Bayfield. It was more annoying than particularly hazardous as we were fully fendered and moving at cold-syrup speed.
Picture this with double the density. I had to stop taking pictures and wield the boat hook and the "sorry!"
It did, however, make me consider the value of bridles, all-chain rode and even the seldom-seen (around here, anyway) riding sail. In addition to its obvious qualities as a yaw-reduction tool at anchor, the recent discussion on LED-lit boat exteriors did not consider that the relative rarity of riding or anchor sails off a boat's backstay is an equally if not superior method of finding one's boat in a dark anchorage. Heck, one could put a luminescent initial smack in the middle of the thing, and it would clearly identify one's boat without casting appreciable light on surrounding boats, all the while keeping one's bow toward the prevailing wind.



I suspect one or more of these anchoring techniques, added to the proper anchor, which I feel we had, would have allowed us to, if not enjoy the silent movie more, kept us from wandering like a lost toddler in traffic to the same degree as we did. How did I know it was the right anchor? I was hosing and poking good, gummy Toronto harbour clay out of the Fortress's "mud palms" for some time the following afternoon: the anchor, even with the weak set in reverse, had clearly dug deep with all the gentle tugging. Nonetheless, with the rode scope reduced to 1:1, also known as "vertical" (basically by me pulling the boat to directly over the anchor's set point), the anchor came out cleanly, if not clean, so to speak. Having hauled anchor now multiple times by hand, the Danforth seems to require more effort than the Fortress beyond what the seven pound difference in weight would suggest. Not effort ever likely to call for the installation of a windlass, however...it's just not that hard a task unless we anchored out every night in this boat...which we are unlikely to do. Alchemy's all chain, all the time, however, is a different story. So are anchor/marker buoys, also called trip lines, a topic for the future.

So, it was an educational, if not particularly entertaining, evening of Adventures in Tight Anchoring. On the way back to the marina (a 15-minute motor), just in front of us, a C&C 41 hit an Island tender squarely amidships with a bang that sounded like glass being chucked into a dumpster, so it could have been worse. Our son spotted it before myself and the missus; we are pleased at his as-yet non-myopia and his improving watchkeeping skills.

Bonus retro post: Parody of how some folk might test their anchors.

4 comments:

Robert Salnick said...

The snubber attached at the waterline also keeps the tensioned part of the rode off of the bobstay. Probably not a big deal if you have rope rode, but it is a big deal if you are all-chain.

We have a 66 lb Bruce and 300' of 3/8" chain on Eolian. We try not to anchor near boats on rope rodes - they veer all over the place, and they always have a lot more scope out than we use (typically 3:1, unless a big blow is forecast).

And we saw a guy get surprised last weekend when his boat collided with another at slack water - there was very little wind, and with no tidal current, the boats then, of course, assume random positions.

bob

Chip said...

I love my riding sail. My boat is considerably lighter than yours, with a minimal keel and a flat bottom, and that dumb tarp riding sail makes a dramatic difference in how much we swing.

http://sailingfortuitous.com/riding_sail

Rhys said...

Robert, I agree with your technique. I think a nice length for a waterline snubber is maybe 10 feet of fairly beefy line, like 5/8" or even 3/4", wrapped around one of those rubber "shock absorbers" (which I use already for dock lines on the steel boat). Our experience with undesirable veering is leading us to the virtues of all-chain exceeding the minuses (weight at the bow and difficulty of handling and stowage). Random positioning is best saved for the aft cabin, I think!

Rhys said...

Chip, your experiments in part inspired this post. We are finding that the decent anchor is only part of the solution and that going to the trouble (which is really minimal when you figure out the hazard of smacking other boats at anchor) of things like snubbers, bridles and riding sails is very much worth it.

And, of course, a riding sail needn't be more more than a board-flat section of tarp...it is just there to act as an "air rudder" to cancel out the forces of the wind on the boat's inevitable windage, so to speak.

Thanks for the comments.