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The Plough/Plow is my own particular
It is best suited to sea-beds such as mud, sand and
This is popular on sailboats and trawlers as it is a
very durable hook, easy to stow, set, has considerable holding power
and is resistant to breaking loose when the boat swings.
The CQR is a trademarked version of the plough which is
made to very exacting standards. This is considerably more expensive
than many other versions but it is quite simply the best.
The Danforth is an excellent choice for small boats, it can
firmly in soft mud or sand or shingle.
They provide great holding power for their weight
however, they do have a tendency to trip or break loose when the boat
swings, which is a concern when anchoring overnight.
While they will hold in rock and coral they can sometimes be difficult
to retrieve intact.
If the danforth is damaged such as having its flukes bent it will lose
much of its holding ability.
Those made by the Danforth Company themselves seem to be of the best
quality particularly those marked H, for high tensile.
On large boats
they are particularly useful as kedge anchors because
they save on space by folding flat.
Often they are mounted on the
taffrail ready to let go as a stern anchor.
This is the traditional type, suitable for all kinds of seabed particularly rocky and weed covered areas.
Most have a folding stock which allows for ease of storage.
They don't seem to be so popular on recreational craft
anymore, perhaps because they are heavy or maybe just old fashioned.
All I can say is that mine has saved me on a number of
occasions, when I have had problems getting my CQR to set or
it has dragged.
BRUCE / CLAW.
The Bruce is one of the newer designs but one which has
gained a reputation for versatility and providing good holding power.
It was originally developed for use on oil rigs in the
It is best suited to sand but also works well on rocky
beds however, it is not so easy to set when it comes to grass and weed.
The Bruce is almost indestructible and is very resistant
to breaking loose when the boat swings.
The folding grapnel is a handy choice for small
dinghies, rowing boats and the like as an occasional short term stay.
As they fold up quite neatly it is worth keeping one in
you dinghy just in case.
Other Anchor Types
There are several new anchor designs, which
would probably be better classified as 'scoop' or 'spade' anchors.
They are designed to increasing holding
power especially in mud and other soft bottoms.
The sophisticated shapes and angles are
aimed at using physics instead of mass as the anchor holding mechanism.
The most common complaints heard about
these types of anchor is that they set so well and bury so deeply that it is
sometimes difficult to break them out and that they invariably bring up loads
of muck when they do break out.
All of the ground tackle described also need
chain on the rode
to weight the shank of the anchour down so that it lies on the bottom
and sets properly.
Some sturdy galvanized chain will also help to resist
If using a combination of rope and chain, the chain
needs to be at the very least the length of your vessel.
While I prefer to have an all chain rode, some prefer to
have some nylon rope to help absorb any shocks from surging which could
cause the anchor to break out.
sure that the bitter end of the rode is securely affixed to the boat
before dropping the hook, otherwise, you could lose your
whole ground tackle.
If you have an all chain rode,
you must have the bitter
end secured to the boat with something which can easily be undone or cut in an
emergency such as a length or rope.
It should also run freely in the locker and
through the hawse pipe.
It is a good
idea to have the warp and chain marked off in increments
so you can easily tell how much is being let out.
you mark it in feet or meters should be based on the standard of
measurement you are used to using on your charts and tide tables.
You can use color codes for the different lengths but I personally find
it simpler to just count the number of marks as I let it out rather
than trying to remember some complicated code.
Galvanized chain will need a suitable primer before painting,
then a nice big splash of your favorite color.
While you have the paint out
why not paint your hook as well, it will make it easier to spot down in
the murky depths.
If you are going to use a windlass your chain will have to be
calibrated and you need to make sure to choose the appropriate one for
The table below gives suggestions for appropriate rope and
6M - 20ft
7mm - 1/4inch
8M - 26ft
8mm - 5/16inch
8mm - 5/16inch
10mm - 3/8inch
There are several situations where having a weight or
can be beneficial.
When it starts to blow, or you are caught out on a lee shore
and all your chain is out the extra weight will help overcome any lift
exerted on the anchor.
When anchored in a crowded bay, it may not be possible to let
out enough scope.
It will also help resist any sideways shearing by keeping more
of the chain dragging across the bottom, help dampen any snubbing
effect and help reduce the swinging circle.
The weight should be suspended from rode so that it is off the
seabed at all stages of the tide.
It should be attached to the rode with a large shackle or
something similar which will allow it to be easily attached and slide
up and down the rode and adjusted with the control line.
It has become common practice, particularly in production
boats to stow the hook over the bow roller and the chain in a locker
right up in the bows.
While this may be convenient in many ways, it is not good
practice to concentrate too much weight in the ends of a boat.
Weight in the ends will contribute to pitching.
Your boat will ride more
comfortably and safely if you can position the chain locker nearer to
the center of buoyancy and once under way remove the hook from the bow
roller and stow it further aft.
Despite the proliferation of marinas there are still many
delightfully tranquil anchorages all over the world.
There really is little to compare with spending an evening
secured by your own ground tackle, far from the maddening crowds and
the light pollution, except perhaps for being woken the next morning by
the gentle lapping against the outside of the hull and the sound of the
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