Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Anchor System - More Questions Than Answers At the Moment

 Gardens is a fun boat to day-sail. We have an anchor, chain, and rode on board but have not figured out how to rig an anchoring system.  I have an idea of what I'd do in some sort of emergency if I had to, but I'm trying to sort out a system for more deliberate, non-emergency, planned situations - like lunch stops and overnight outings. 

What we've got:

  • 2kg (4.4lbs) Lewmar Claw anchor
  • 15' 1/4" Chain (with shackles)
  • 100' 3/8" Nylon 3-Strand Rode (with thimble)
  • Two 6" Forward Cleats (approximately 30" from the stem)
  • Bow Chocks (at the stem)
  • A Bucket (stowed in starboard side of foreward cockpit)
  • An Impractically Small Foredeck
  • Large (3/4" ID) Padeyes along side decks 

The impractically small foredeck means I need to handle (lowering/raising) the anchor from the foreward end of the cockpit. Since the sail bundle sets on the port side, it makes sense to me to work the anchor from the starboard side of the boat. The anchor bucket rides in that foreward starboard corner of the cockpit. So... so far, so good. 


  • To what do I secure the bitter end of the anchor rode? Years ago ('67, '68, '69) I learned that anchor chains were "secured" to the keel of a ship with snake stuff -  so that if the anchor ran loose the chain wouldn't tear the ship apart. Of course, I'm talking about a much smaller scale...
  • How do I store the rode/chain in the bucket so that it doesn't fall in on itself (tangle itself in knots)?
  • Does an anchor bridle make sense to use on a mono-hull?  If yes, how should it be rigged?
  • What is the "correct" orientation for the bow chocks?
  • Is there a simple/easy way to mark the anchor rode to know how much has been let out?
  • Is 3-strand nylon or double braided nylon 'better' for an anchor line?
  • Is 115' of rode (chain + line) enough? I know it depends on where one expects to anchor...
  • And so much more that I don't know what I don't know enough to ask about...
Good thing Gardens is patient. We'll get out a couple of times locally before heading to the Upper Peninsula for a four-day get-away where we'll do some exploring in Les Cheneaux Islands. By the time we get back from that trip we'll have, hopefully, answers to some or all of our anchoring questions.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Side Deck Seats, Auxiliary Power, and a Kayak Paddle

Side Deck Seats: My variation of the Side Deck Seat has survived the mock-up stage. I'm using a wooden cleat/foot/support rather than the stack of garden-pad foam Mike used. 

There are two smaller cleats that straddle the coaming and hold the seat in place.  The 'real' seat will be  1/2" plywood. The entire assembly will be epoxied and painted.

We'll see how it works. If it scratches the deck, I'll modify it - but the deck will be repainted this winter anyway.

Auxiliary Power:  Two SUP paddles are ready to be put into action should the need arise. Fortunately, the wiring issues (my bad) with the trolling motor have been repaired - so we are hopeful that we'll never need the new paddles. But, we have them just in case...

The paddles have been sealed and varnished since this photo was taken early last week.

Kayak Paddle: I decided to build my granddaughter a kayak paddle for her birthday next month - but the kids are taking their kayaks with them on a Labor Day vacation so I need to get the paddle done. The paddle will be two-part take-apart using carbon fiber ferules from Duckworks. The wood is white pine from a tree on our property.

We're working on a sailing trip in Les Cheneaux Islands in Michigan's Upper Peninsula for mid-September which means we need to get out as much as we can over the next few weeks to make sure everything is ship-shape.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

It Doesn't End, Does It?

So, we're (Gardens, Jan and I) sailing again after a long (winter-into-spring-into-summer) offseason of repairs, modifications, improvements, etc. Just about everything added to, or improved upon, Gardens works as well or better than expected: Lazy-jacks, the mast 'lifter,' the mizzen slot, the hinged tiller, and the boarding assist handle all work very well. The only real disappointment is the bronze mast traveler. I believe it is a great idea but it does not seem to suit the Pathfinder's configuration; I believe in a completely open boat the mast traveler would work just fine. 

But already, after just a single sail, the to-do list is growing! 

Paddles: During last week's outing, several short-comings made themselves apparent. When the trolling motor failed (I did a poor job of wiring a plug to the motor's power cable), the absence of paddles became painfully apparent. Yes, I know, I should have had paddles on board... but I didn't. To remedy the situation I am building two SUP paddles (it occurred to me that standing up to paddle Gardens will be more comfortable than sitting). The wiring for the trolling motor has also been corrected. We may never need the paddles, but we'll have them just in case.

Cockpit Comforts: 

Side Deck Seats: Gardens' coamings are only 3/8" thick so they are not at all comfortable to sit on. Jan caught a rare moment on last week's (light air) sail:

Jan commented that she, too, would sometimes like to sit up on the coamings - but they are too uncomfortable (not a direct quote but good enough). So, remembering a FaceBook post from May,  I'll adapt Michael Olson's side deck seat to fit Gardens' coamings. NOTE: For some reason I cannot create a link to the FB post re coaming seats. Please search the John Welsford Small Craft Designs FB page for "coaming seats," scroll to Michael Olson's May19, 2020 post. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Cup Holders: Jan also wants cup-holders. I haven't figured that one out yet, but I am working on it.

Anchor Set Up: Gardens has an anchor, chain and rode suitable for the waters we sail. However, I don't have a decent way to secure the anchor to the boat... I opted against utilizing the anchor well (part of the design and built as per plans) by not opening up the foredeck.  I am rethinking that decision. If I decide to use the anchor well, the modification probably won't happen until later this year. But, I am pondering the possibilities.

Camping Set-Up: While we aren't there yet, I am thinking about, and planning for, boat camping. Sleeping pads and bags, shelter (cockpit tent [boom or otherwise], dodger, or?), galley box and gear, porta-potty, and more will be needed. 

When you build and sail a wooden boat, the ideas keep coming and the work list doesn't end, does it?