Anchoring & Mooring

We bought a new Rocna anchor to replace the seized up old Danforth anchor on Wildwood for our trip up to the Marlborough Sounds. My friend Jared recommended it and after doing some research and hearing nothing but good things, I decided to splash out the NZD$500 to buy a 10kg anchor and a further 10 metres of short link chain – I can’t remember the size off hand.

There were a few issues – the shape of the anchor and the bow roller meant that it couldn’t sit on the bow, so it would have to be stored in the anchor locker, and I was worried that it wouldn’t fit in there – but with a bit of a re-jig it squeezed in ok. The other problem was that we were worried that we (i.e Andrew) wouldn’t be able to lift it back up once it was set! Without having a windlass on the bow made this a bit of a tough job for Andrew and made it less appealing for us to set the anchor knowing that it would need to be pulled up again!

However that issue aside I was really happy with the anchor and chain set up that we had. We had some quite extreme weather over the holiday and the anchor stuck like glue every time. We had a particularly windy day before our sail home with gusts of over 40kts and we didn’t move at all. Brilliant! So it goes without saying that I will want a Rocna anchor on the new yacht too! (oh and a Windlass!)

We also bought 100m of 10ml line as a stern line. In the Sounds you can anchor close to shore as it is so deep and by putting an anchor out and a stern line ashore meant that you could tuck yourself in some cosy coves without the worry of swinging around in the night. We bought bright yellow floating line – while yellow wouldn’t normally be my colour of choice – I highly recommend this colour as you can easily see it in the water when you shine your torch on it, and it is highly visible to other people who might be zooming around in their dinghies.

The 100m length also meant that we could usually take the line around a tree and bring the end back to the yacht, so we could easily just let go of the end and pull the other end back in to the yacht without having to row back to shore to untie – handy if you need to leave in a hurry. It could also be used as a drogue in heavy weather to slow us down. We got a big sugar sack to stow it in as we were told that coiling it up nicely could mean that it tangles, and it was better to just put the end in and feed in the rest.

So in terms of preferred anchoring systems for the new yacht – here is the wish list:

  • Double bow roller – one side for the anchor and the other side empty for picking up moorings, and a suitable size for carrying the Rocna anchor
  • Rocna anchor – recommended size as per the weight of the yacht
  • Chain – as much as possible
  • Deep self stowing chain locker – with drain
  • Electric Windlass
  • Spare anchor and chain
  • Bow and stern lines – stretchy rope
  • Two spring lines – stretchy rope
  • Location of deck cleats – are there any amidships?
  • Ensure the deck cleats have backing plates and are strong
  • Four big fenders
  • Boat hook x 2
  • 100m of bright yellow floating line (for taking a line ashore)
  • Buoy – in case you need to drop your anchor and come back for it later.
  • Snubber – length of line made fast on the anchor chain and secured to the yacht – then ease the chain – reduces noise
  • Anchor weight – you can shackle this on to your chain and then lower it down – it increases the horizontal pull on the anchor and shortens up your swing room in a crowded anchorage (but will be harder to pull up!)

I have found a fellow blogger/sailor who has just bought a new Sun Odyssey yacht – Lyn from Pink Diamond. She said that they had the bow roller extended to house their Manson anchor which looks very similar to a Rocna. We will have to take this in to account also as we will be looking for a similar anchor. The Rocna doesn’t currently fit on Wildwood’s bow roller. So it is good to know that this extension is an option.

Anchoring techniques

  • Check the chart for the ground conditions – Sand (s) Mud (m) and Clay (cy) are the best holding conditions
  • Ensure there are no hazards – cables or rocks in the vicinity
  • In calm conditions and good holding, then you should pay out four times the depth of water in chain. More if the conditions are not perfect.
  • Watch the tide – pay out more chain if necessary
  • Watch your swing room
  • Reverse back to ensure the anchor is dug in
  • Get a transit bearing or set the GPS anchor alarm
  • In heavy weather you can set your anchor in a Y configuration or two anchors in line.

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