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.


  1. Bob at the bitter end of your rode put a small brightly coloured buoy on it. One day you may not be able to haul in the rode, so you ditch it and come back later to retrieve it.Also a buoy makes sure you can find it again if your crew throws the lot over the side! Storing it on bucket should be okay it is unlikely that you will get any tangles in it - always leave the anchor out and that ensures it cannot tie knots. When stowing in the bucket always lay the rope in a circle the same way each time it is retrieved. Total length of rode depends on where you regularly boat. On my boat the deepest area is about 55 metres - I carry the main rode as 100 metres warp and 15 metres chain (9 metre launch) and another 100 metre spare warp which can be shackled to the bouy on the main warp.
    Nylon is the preferred anchor warp, 3 strand is perfectly okay. For a pathfinder I think you have plenty. Always try to anchor in the shallow part of a sheltered bay depending on tidal range. My boat draws 0.85 metres, and average tidal range is about 2 metres so I will anchor in 5 to 6 metres with 25 to 30 metres of rode out. Your pathfinder can anchor closer in and will require less rode. There is no fun anchiring in deep water if you have to pull all that rode using armstrong power.

    1. Don, Thanks for the suggestions and comments re anchoring. All good ideas.

      For now, at least, I expect to anchor in pretty skinny water so I suspect my rode is adequate. As I practice and gain experience I may find I want/need more rode than I have right now.

      We're getting packed for a 4-day get-away for some day sailing, anchor practice and some peace and quiet. Looking forward to it.

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and comments.

  2. Hi Bob,
    i have my rode tied to a bit inside the anchor well (Navigator "Leighton". Works for me. I only anchor in shallow water and I fit a shackle to the tip of the Bowsprit and capture the rode in that so the pivot point is the tip of the sprit rather than a bow chock on one side and chafing is minimal(hope that makes sense?). If I regularly anchored in deep water I would keep that shackle on a short line and haul it out to the tip of the sprit after I captured the rode. The rode and then the chain and the anchor all go back into the anchor well - no tangles. Cheers