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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Capt. Jeff Jones

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Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Clean battery wiring


Anchoring Basics
Your anchor and rode (rope and chain) is the most important piece of safety equipment on your boat. In the case of engine failure for any reason, the ability to drop your anchor and depend in it to hold is of utmost importance. Often I see guys go all out with electronics and fishing gear and skimp on the anchoring equipment. So lets go over the basics.

adeltastyleanchor
A DELTA-STYLE anchor wired to trip. The proper set of anchor gear gets used with confidence.


The Bruce, Claw or Delta style anchor has proven to be the best for setting fast and holding in most conditions. When choosing one of these style achors, stick to the information available that indicates the size that works best for your boat. If you have a 25’ center console and the chart at the marine store calls for a 22lb anchor, that’s the one to get. Bigger is not better. Same with the chain, stick to the size appropriate for your vessel. I’ll explain.


The weight of your vessel (relative to the waterline length), will work specifically with a certain set of anchor and rode. When you drop the anchor you will want it to set on short scope (the amount of rope and chain you set out when anchoring). The anchor will need to sink into the bottom whether it be sand, mud or rocky structure. If the chain is too big, it will hinder the anchors ability to sink in because the boat isn’t heavy enough to sink the chain into the bottom. Also, an anchor that is too big for the boat will not set properly for the same reasons. All too often I get the call to help a customer solve his anchoring woes, and find he has purchased anchor and chain that are too big for his boat.


All chain setups are a thing of the past now that windlass companies have perfected equipment that will pull both rope and chain. Simply purchasing a windlass that’s appropriate for your size vessel will dictate in the manual what size chain and rope you’ll need, and that’s a good fit. The length of chain is very important. Choose a length that is the length of your boat rounded up to the tenth. For example, for a 26’ boat you’ll want 30’ of chain. For a 42’ boat you’ll want 50’ of chain. Again, more is not better, it will not effectively “set” on short scope. Only in the case of very large vessels will you want to round up more on the chain length, but still rope and chain has many advantages over all chain.


properanchorgear
PROPER ANCHOR GEAR is the most important safety feature on any boat.


Use commercial passenger carrying vessels as an example, if all chain was safer and more effective, they would be using it.


Lastly lets talk about rigging your anchor to trip if it gets stuck on structure. Terminate your chain on the front end of the anchor, then use stainless seizing wire at the back end of the anchor. How many wraps of seizing wire isn’t an exact science, but start at 4 wraps for a 20’ boat, 5-6 wraps for a 30’ boat and 7 wraps of stainless seizing wire for a 40’ boat. You get the idea. When the anchor gets hung up, you can gets straight up and down and break the seizing wire and get your anchor back. Be sure to wrap the anchor rope around a solid bow cleat when attempting to break free a hung up anchor. Do not attempt to free it with the anchor windlass, as it’s a good way to strip gears or break something. Always stand clear of the bow when freeing a stuck anchor so if something breaks you and your crew are out of harms way.


Following these guidelines will lead to you gaining more confidence when anchoring. When you have dropping the pick wired you can not only fish wrecks and reefs like a pro, but you’ll have the most important safety feature on your boat down pat.


sevenwrapsof
SEVEN WRAPS OF stainless seizing wire on a 40-foot boat.


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