ESSENTIAL KIT - Anchors & Chain
I won't get into types of anchor because everyone has their favourites but to ensure a peaceful night's sleep the following holds true for any anchor type
- Buy the largest / heaviest anchor you can carry on the stem head. Sadly most production yachts are fitted with the smallest and lightest they can get away with, which is no good for cruising.
- Ensure it has a sharp fluke to dig thru weed and into hard bottoms
- Mount it on a self-launching stem roller
- Galvanised steel seems to grip the ground the best but stainless steel cleans more easily looks pretty on the stem head.
- DO NOT mix stainless and galvanised fittings on the anchor rode
- Check the shackle before every launch.
- Rotating shackles are prone to cracking so I won't use them and have never missed them.
- Have a minimum of 100m of calibrated chain sized to suit the boat. Carry more if you can as many eastern Med anchorages are deep.
- Carry a second bower anchor of a different pattern together with chain and warp for those difficult anchorages
- Fit a second stem head roller.
- Have a heavy nylon snubber with chafe cover to smooth out rough water anchorages. You need about 10m to be fully effective. I use an anchor hook but a "rolling hitch" is just as good.
- Fit a good sized stern anchor mounted on a self-launch roller if you can. Most yachts can use a sheet winch for recovery given a little ingenuity and a few turning blocks. I use 10m of one-size lighter chain with 65m of multi-plait warp.
- Have a good, easily handled kedge and warp.
- Finally an Angel weight (aka chum weight) will help keep the anchor well set when you don't have the room to lay plenty of chain. I use a 20kg lead block on the bow. The general rule is 1 kg per tonne of yacht.
- Mark the anchor with a bright colour. I use yellow on the anchor fluke & stock so I can see it more easily on the sea bed. If I can only see the stock then it is a pretty good bet its dug well-in.
- Mark the chain with a depth system so you know how much chain is in the water. Again I use long yellow blocks on the chain so they are easily visible as they pass over the windlass, night or day, and can also be spotted on the sea floor when snorkeling.