This is part of a series describing some of our common boat systems and their operation.
We refer to these often not only for our own use, but also when asked specific questions about systems on Denali Rose, and when participating in discussions on various forums.
We aren't implying our choices are the best or only way to go; they just happen to be the decisions we made [...or sometimes what came with our boat...]
We also include relevant, qualified links to external resources on the topic.
Denali Rose is 50 ft. LOA and displaces 22+ tons cruising weight. We typically frequent deeper anchorages above 56°N. [e.g., We anchor in 50 to 90 ft. of water about 80% of the time, with the remaining 20% spent at anchor in 30-50 ft.]
———— Latest revisions: 8-May-2019 [by Bill] ————
Ground and Storm/Safety tackle inventory on SV Denali Rose
Before getting started, it is worth noting that the anchor roller design on our boat's bowsprit does not accommodate anchors with roll bars. Therefore we don't have any...
Both bow anchors in stowed positions
Anchor inventory: [6 total; we frequent remote areas, and have lost anchors before...]
Note: We adhere to the philosophy of setting one oversized anchor and sleeping well...
- 1- Spade [Model S180 galvanized steel; 45 kg/ 99 lbs; primary bower; rated for vessels up to 75 ft, displacing [weighing] up to 57,300 lbs. [Denali Rose is 50 ft. LOA @ 44,000+ lbs. cruising displacement.]
|Spade [with removable shank]|
- Excellent performance in all bottom types
- Self stows beautifully on our bow sprit
- Self deploys from anchor roller on bow sprit
- 45 lbs. of lead in the tip [i.e., 45% of the anchor weight is the tip...]
- Works well in short scope situations— especially in deep anchorages
- Setting technique is similar to the SuperMAX anchor [described below]
- Lifetime warranty
- Post about retrofitting new Spade as best bower
Note: This anchor is 2+ sizes larger than the minimum recomended size on Spade's sizing chart [below]. Ignoring boat length, we chose our anchor based upon our cruising displacement. [44k lbs]
The model 140 [66lbs] would have likely been adequate for most of our needs. But because we like to sleep well, and since we can easily fit a larger model [up to the 200 (121 lbs) by my measurements] we went up two sizes. [We also plan to explore higher latitudes...]
Spade Anchor Sizing Chart
- Minimum based on partially laden displacement [not cruising weight]
- Minimum based on actual [measured] cruising weight [44k lbs]
- One size up from minimum
- Two sizes up... [Our choice...]
- 1- Super MAX [Model 20 (One size larger than 'needed'...); adjustable shank angle; 80 lbs; secondary anchor ready to deploy on bow; rated for 55,000 lbs. displacement vessel in hurricane force winds @ 5,000 lbs. holding force.]
- Excellent performance in all bottom types: [Adjustable shank; 3 angles; first set at 3:1 scope, then set again at 5:1 scope for all bottom types.]
Note: We rarely set 2 independent anchors simultaneously. [The last time was 25+ years ago when both anchors were CQRs on a different vessel...] Instead, the secondary anchor is there in case conditions warrant its use instead of the primary bower, or if we lose use of the primary bower for any reason.
|Spade S180 on left in photo; SuperMax on right|
|Spade S180 stows in bow roller without manual intervention [unlike the SuperMax...]|
- 1- CQR [Genuine original; 60 lbs; back-up anchor; mounted on custom chocks amidships on deck.]
- We will also use the CQR rigged in an asymmetrical 2 anchor set-up.
- Note: This is NOT 2 anchors in series...
- See this Practical Sailor article for details.
|The genuine CQR fits well on our bow|
|CQR normal position: stowed amidships in custom Starboard chocks|
- 1- Luke [AKA Fisherman; 100 lbs; stowed disassembled low against hull on custom chocks
- Uses: Storm/ rock/ coral/ extra deep anchoring
|3 piece Luke [Fisherman] Anchor|
- 1- Fortress FX27 [Stern anchor; kedge]
- 1- Fortress FX37 [Stern anchor; kedge; possible secondary bow anchor in all sand or mud bottoms in unidirectional anchoring situations only (e.g., Bahamian moor, etc.]
- Adjustable shank with two angles;
- 45° for very soft, soupy mud
- 32° for sand
- NOTE: 32° works for everything; 45° only works in very soft mud...
- Selecting, assembling, and setting a Fortress Anchor
- NOTE: Our experience [and that of others...] is Fortress anchors hold extremely well in sand or mud, but cannot be trusted to reliably and repeatably reset after a shift (60°-180°) in direction of pull under inclement conditions, so we only use one as a kedge, or in unidirectional anchoring situations only.
Windlass: [LightHouse 1501 with 2 chain gypsies (port and starboard) and 1 rope drum]
- 1000+ lb. continuous pull @80A, 12V DC; more if amperage is available
- 2 manual retrieval methods using a standard [or ratcheting] winch handle
- 10,200 lb. manual kedge capability applying 35 lbs. force on a 10 in. winch handle
- Details about windlass refit with annotated installation photos
- Anchor Locker Design Details
- We have a portable electric winch driver as back-up for the windlass [and use on any winch as needed]
Anchor Rode and Tackle:
- Bow: [to windlass]
- Primary Anchor [Starboard side]:
- 360 ft of 5/16 in. [8 mm] grade 43 chain spliced to 100 ft. of 1 in. 3-strand nylon rode. [To be replaced with ~200 ft of 5/8" [16mm] 12 plait polyester in near future; see Planned changes, below...]
- We use a forged double-clevis to attach the rope rode to the end of the chain rodes. This makes the annual reversing of the chain [end-for-end] an easier task as we don't have to re-splice the [rarely if ever used] rope to the new chain end each time.
- How our rodes are marked for depth on our scope calculator
- Chain hooks [2- 1 for each anchor] on 3-strand nylon line to both bow cleats
- Chain stopper
- Back-up Anchor [Port side]:
- 190 ft. of 5/16 in. [8 mm] grade 43 chain spliced to 220 ft of 3/4 in. 3-strand nylon rode [To be replaced with 5/8" [16mm] 12 plait polyester in near future; Spool of line onboard- see Planned changes, below...]
- Chain stopper
- Planned Changes in Future:
- Rope portions of bow anchor rodes  will be replaced with ~200 ft each, 5/8 in.[16mm] 12 plait polyester [Sampson Tenex; 600 ft. spool already on hand...]
- When our chain is due for replacement [hopefully several years- and several regalvanizings- away...] we may very well switch to G70 chain [heat treated G43...]
- The devil is in finding strong enough fasteners to use with G70 chain. [Two manufacturers will add oversized links at each end, but they won't heat treat them like the rest of the chain, so they are only as strong as what we have now; G43...]
- One option is to use connectors from the lifting industry. e.g., Omega-Link. [Grade 80 or 100; Galvanized not yet found as of Jan-2017]
- Practical Sailor article which includes options for G70 chain connectors
- Can G70 be regalvanized without being weakened by the process?
- Yes, per the results of testing by Practical Sailor
- Anchor bridle: 80 ft. 5/8 in. 3-strand nylon
- Details about use and techniques
- Practical Sailor article Mar-2016 about sizing
- Attached to chain using one of the following methods:
- Middle of bridle is attached using a Prusik knot to anchor chain or rope [current SOP in all conditions]
- Holds if one side of bridle releases [unlike a cow-hitch]
- See Practical Sailor article on this topic
- We may experiment with either a Klemheist or Icicle hitch in the future. [Easier to tie/untie in middle of a long bridle.]
- Soft shackles or double loop pendant [made from Dynema] will likely become our chain [and rope] bridle connection SOP in the near future
- Slotted Stainless Steel Chain Plate for 2 line bridle
- Mantus Chain Hook
- Mantus Snubber Pendant [New Sep-2017; looks interesting]
- Shackles: We only use forged, load tested shackles
Important Note: Beware load rated [vs load tested] shackles. [You want forged, load tested hardware...]
[e.g., I can hand you a paperclip and tell you I estimate (rate it) it will handle 1/2 ton. Testing might reveal it yields at 10 lbs. force... An extreme example, but hopefully you get the idea...]
- We typically use USA made Crosby brand shackles and chain connectors
- There are also other credible manufacturers of forged, load tested, alloy pin chain connectors
- The SWL [Suggested Working Load] of shackles must at least equal the SWL of the Chain
- We use 5/16 in. [8 mm] grade 43 chain = 3,900 lbs. SWL
- Note: SWL on G43 chain is 1/3rd breaking strength; 1/4th on G70 chain
- Here are the Crosby G209A galvanized anchor shackles we use [A 1/2 in. pin fits 5/16 in. G43 chain; SWL = 4,000 lbs.]
- Here is a CM forged alloy shackle we also keep in hand in case we cannot find Crosby.
- I prefer the bolt type of anchor shackles that have a nut and cotter pin [eliminating mousing safety wire through the pin eye...] but they are sometimes more difficult to source, and the pins are not always galvanized
- Don't use cheap, non-forged [e.g., Load Rated vs. Load Tested] shackles unless you want them to be the weak link in your ground tackle...
- Swivels: None installed; We haven't found the need, and don't have the desire...
- We do have two each 5/16 in. and 5/16 in. and 5/8 in. chain size; new, older [25+ years] SS Kong swivels on hand for unique circumstances like hurricanes [e.g., 3+ independent anchors in circle pattern to swivel; single chain to boat from swivel], semi-permanent moorings, etc.
- Practical Sailor article: How well do swivels reduce twist?
- Chain connectors: Can chain be spliced? Yes, but be careful what [and how] you use to connect the chain pieces together.
- Brief Practical Sailor article: Reliable Chain Connections
- Here is one account [from a very credible source] of a forged, high quality forged connecting link [C-link] that catastrophically failed after years of service [at rest- not under load...] Includes proven techniques to greatly reduce chances of failure. [Gluing— in addition to peening— the C-Link with 3M 5200 would have helped prevent the above mishap]
- We prefer to use a forged double clevis [H-link] instead because they match the G43 chain working load [forged C-Links are ~30% weaker than the G4 chain...] are quick to install and remove, and they go through our windlass chain gypsy under load just fine...
- We also use a forged double-clevis to attach the rope rode to the end of the chain rode. This makes the annual reversing of the chain an easier task as we don't have to re-splice the [rarely if ever used] rope to the new chain end each time.
- Spare anchor rodes in mesh anchor bags:
- 4- 3/8 in. BBB chain x 40 ft. spliced to 300 ft of 3/4 in. three-strand nylon
- Misc lengths and diameters of nylon 3-strand, and 5/16 in. and 3/8 in. chain
- 10 lb. collapsable grappling hook with 200 ft. of 3/8 in. nylon 3-strand rode; snatch block for shore retrieval
- Future: We need better dinghy anchor, perhaps a mini Mantus or small Fortress?
- 2 ft. diameter sea anchor/drogue
- Also used on boat's primary anchor chain- just below the waterline on the tensioned part of the chain rode- to dampen horsing at anchor in high wind conditions
Shore Lines/Tackle: [AKA shorefasts; We try to avoid using, but some situations warrant...]
- Quickline Reel of heavy duty polyester strap rode mounted on pushpit
- Line reel for shoreline [holds 600+ ft. of 3/8 in. hi-mod line]
- 2- 600 ft. lengths of 3/8 in. bright colored Spectra line [14,000 lbs tensile] with soft eyes at both ends- stored in bags
- Shore lines can be cow hitched together at soft eyes to extend length
- Small, brightly colored fishing floats used to make line more visible when floating on [or hanging above] water when necessary
- Various lengths of chain
- for securing shore fast to rocks/boulders
- Galvanized cable chokers with soft eyes [i.e., no thimbles] at both ends
- for securing shore fast to rocks/boulders
- rocks can sometimes be lassoed from dinghy
- Heavy nylon vehicle towing or lifting straps with eyes on both ends and tubular webbing
- for securing to the base of trees to help prevent damaging them
- Related Resources- Shorefasts:
- 24 ft. diameter Paratech sea anchor connected via very heavy duty SS swivel shackle to 600 ft. of 1-1/8 in. 12 strand Mega Braid [34,900 lbs. tensile]
- 6 ft. diameter Delta Drogue with 200 ft. of 1-1/8 in. 12 strand Mega Braid [34,900 lbs. tensile]
- Future: Jordan Series Drogue
- Battle Testing a Jordan Series Drogue [Article in Attainable Adventure Cruising]
- Chafe Pro Yacht Series [The best we have used in 30+ years]
- Dyneema Chafe Sleeve
- Oversized firehose [Great stuff, and cheap if you can obtain a small roll... Must be oversized so water and air can enter to help keep a working line cool in spunky conditions.]
- Books: [There are many great books available. The following just happen to be the ones we find ourselves referencing the most.]
- Rigging Modern Anchors
- 2018; Drew Frye; This is not a rehash of what has already been documented. It goes well beyond theory to practical application.
- The Complete Anchoring Handbook: Stay Put on Any Bottom in Any Weather
- By the late designer of the Spade anchor, Alain Poiraud
- Complete book of Anchoring and Mooring [I have used the 1st Ed. of this book for decades, and the 2nd Ed. is even better...]
- Practical Sailor Anchoring eBook Series [Scroll to bottom of linked page...]
- Creative Anchoring: Everything a Cruising Sailor needs to know about Anchoring and Anchor Gear
- Happy Hooking - the Art of Anchoring
- Online Resources:
- Anchoring and ground tackle; engineering and mechanics: [In no particular order...]
- Practical Sailor articles re: Anchoring and mooring [subscription required]
- Brief technical overview of anchoring and ground tackle [Alain Fraysse]
- Anchors and Anchoring [Peter Smith- Rocna]
- Short Scope Anchoring in Deep Water [Like Alaska...]
- Photos of anchors setting
- Videos of anchors setting
- Drag Device Database [Storm Anchoring using Sea Anchors and Drogues]
- Jordan Series Drogue
- Attainable Adventure Cruising
- [Membership required; well worth the modest annual fee to us...]
- Related articles, blog posts and forum discussions: [This is a work in process and is not all inclusive. I will add to this list as I encounter useful, first-hand information...]
- Cox Engineering [Detailed chain info- among other topics]
- How to set a Bahamian moor
- CQR 1st hand experiences
- Sleeping well at anchor [blog post]
- Our new best bower post
- When the windlass fails [blog post]
- Cleaning mud off the anchor chain [blog post]
- Battle Testing a Jordan Series Drogue
- Choosing chain [and challenging the size myth...]
- Chain marking methods [Cruiser's Forum discussion...]
- We have decent success using plastic wire ties [zip ties]
- We understand that paint must be sandblasted away before regalvanizing- adding considerably to the expenses