View Full Version : An anchor for Prairie Islander....

11-03-2002, 03:56 PM
Well I got one, a Danforth type, but thinking if a big one was good a bigger one would be better. Now what the heck do I do with that sucker? There isn't room on the foredeck to store it hardly. So I've been reading a little here and there. The Max anchor sure gets good press especially from the manufacturer. http://www.creativemarine.com/catalog/text/anchor.html Can it be that good? If so I'm wondering if the Max #9 mignt be the right one for Prairie Islander considering there are not hurricanes likely anywhere we sail and nothin's gonna hold in a tornado.


On Vacation
11-03-2002, 04:05 PM
Comment: Adding a longer length of chain is what makes a small anchor work better than a big anchor in most cases along with scope of the line. Improper storage area for something that doesn't fit anyway while underway in weather can do lots for added repair hours in the winter.
Note: This thought was free.

Art Read
11-03-2002, 04:07 PM
Norm... I've got two "philosophies" re: anchor size. A nice, handy, "manageble" hook for when I just want to keep the boat in one spot while I'm awake and aboard and the weather is settled. AKA a "lunch hook". And a beast twice as big as I think I'd ever need for leaving her unattended or going to sleep if the weather might turn on me. (In other words, ANY time.) Stow your big anchor down below amidships someplace where it isn't so hard to get at that you'll never use it and experiment with a more user friendly anchor for light duty. My two cents...

J. Dillon
11-03-2002, 06:23 PM

Also consider a "sentinel" as some call it.

A weight placed on the anchor line that is retreivable by a line attached. It helps keep the chain , rhode, parallel to the bottom. I think Defenders sells them but with your imagination I know you can devise your own. Got any left over hardware from your hip replacement ? ;)


11-03-2002, 06:28 PM
No left over hardware but the sawbones talked as if he might find a used piece which he could let me have. You asked about the head on the two screws but they don't show on the xray. I'll ask next time I see him.

What do you all think of the Max anchor?


Peter Malcolm Jardine
11-03-2002, 06:54 PM
I agree with you Norm, storage is an issue. It seem that the well rated anchors for holding power are also very awkward shapes unless you use a bow pulpit (not an option for me) The max looks like a design variation on the bruce, and I assume one of the great challenges for an anchor is to provide equal holding power over 180 degrees. Danforths are not too good at that, and yet I still prefer them for rock bottoms, since they seem to slip out of rock more easily. CQR's are my favorite at the moment, and ten feet of chain at the beginning (rubber covered or stainless) is a good idea... My dad, a great anchor enthusiast, carries 150 feet of chain joined to 550 feet of 3/4 nylon. On his pulpit he has a 35 pound cqr, a bruce of the same size, and a sixty pound folding kedge lashed to the deck. oh, and needless to say, an electric windlass. I think the max looks good... is a pulpit an option for storage for you?

Scott Rosen
11-03-2002, 08:07 PM
Youíre lucky Norm, with one anchor youíre halfway there. There are lots of different opinions on anchors. Iíll give you mine, even though youíve never listened to me before. ;)

A boat like yours needs at least two anchors. One should be easy to stow and deploy. One should be big enough to hold you in bad weather.

In choosing the anchor style, you need to consider the type of bottom you will be anchoring in. The Danforth types are good in sand, okay in mud, poor in everything else.

If the Danforth style is the right one for you, then an excellent choice for a storm anchor if you have limited space is the Fortress, which is made of aluminum and collapsable. You can easily stow it collapsed in small locker or even in the bilge.

One of your anchors, preferably the storm anchor, must be immediately deployable at all times. For a Danforth style, youíll need chocks on you deck or brackets on your pulpit, if you have one. A small anchor can be kept attached to its rode and stowed in a cockpit locker.

I would only use an anchor design thatís been around for a long time and has a history of good performance. Your anchor is probably the most important piece of safety equipment on board. Donít take any chances.

I have a Fortress FX-16, a CQR 25 and a CQR 45. I almost always use the CQR 45. I've found that it's best to deploy your big anchor first, because the weather can change very fast and changing anchors is not always easy when a squall is passing through. The CQR has held me in some very nasty weather, even on short scope, when other boats were dragging.

Make sure your rode is plenty long. Chapman's has a good chapter on anchoring which will explain how to calculate the length of your rode. I've never used more than about 200 feet, but I keep 300 feet ready to deploy and another 175 feet stowed.

11-04-2002, 08:20 AM
"...Got any left over hardware from your hip replacement ?..."

Good idea!
We could hold a scrap-collection drive, then melt down the metal and cast it into anchors!
...Sort of like swords into plow-shares?

I've got three titanium pins you can have (may need a claw-hammer to get them out...).

11-04-2002, 10:19 AM
What size anchors do you have, Norm?

Ian McColgin
11-04-2002, 01:03 PM
Anywho, anchor storage in a small boat.

I'm somewhat remembering the pix of PI so here goes -

You all are rigged to to a bit of trailor cruising and roaming about. That makes easy anchoring a huge value and you may get to dropping the hook a couple times a day.

One thought is that you could make a bit of a bow platform and roller to keep the anchor out in front. The roller just needs to be a bit further ahead of the stem than the fluke length. The platform does not need outside support if it's through bolted on the deck.


11-04-2002, 08:35 PM
I need a lesson in geography. Where does a guy with a boat go sailing when he starts in Omaha?? The Green River?? (which is not green) The Platte?? The Big Muddy? The Missouri?...or would it be lakes? (Doesn't Omaha have a 0deg compass correction??) If its the big lakes, you need a variety of methods, iIncluding mountain climbing petons for those places where the bottom is made up of pebbles and small stones (or shear rock). I didn't have petons, (Is that spelled right?) but I've tied to trees and wrapped anchor rodes around stout bushes.

We had a confluence of weather systems in Guilford not long ago, when tropical storm Gustave met with a strong high coming down from the steppes of Canada. The wind was whipping around 40kts and may have hit 60kt a couple of times. A young woman had sailed her 25' cutter into my harbor and proceded to drop her 10lb 'Spade' anchor, which dragged. She tried again with a heavier version of the same anchor, which dragged. I loaned her my extremely expensive, highly rated 26lb 'Fortress'...which also dragged. Finally, as I was on a fairly stout mooring, I loaned her my 35# CQR. Problem solved!
(I was exhausted, by the way.)(Oh! for a sauna. I have not ached that much since high school football...c,mon, you don't think SHE dragged these anchors across the river to set them.)

Fortunately for me, I have learned that you need a variety of ways of keeping your boat off the shore, or the rocks.

Prarie Islander is a light displacement sailor, so you don't need 400lbs of gear and 400' of rode. Most of the time you're going to anchor in mud, and mud is easy-Its suction that holds you in one place-Her 'Spade' would have been perfect were it not for the 6" layer of stone and oyster shells over the mud. For your style of sailing, I'd add a small 'CQR' plus a couple of stout tent stakes for those rare times when there is no holding ground.

Perhaps the 'CQR' counterfeits are just as good. Not for me. I owe them. ALITA would have been on the rocks a half-dozen times were it not for that anchor. That 35#, and only once, the 45#, have held in some very frightening weather.

Ian G Wright
11-05-2002, 07:25 AM
Planing a little sea cruising Norm?
Use your Danforth with (say) 30ft of chain and 150ft of nylon as a kedge and/or lunch hook... or (better) as a 'get you off' device. Keep it handy for loading into the dinghy.
Get a real CQR, 20lbs should do, with 150ft of chain and a low profile windlass for 'real' anchoring.
Try to stay away from rocky lee shores if a hurricane is expected.
You do not need the equipment that an enginless world cruiser might carry.

11-05-2002, 08:09 AM
Yes, I spell "anchor" as "CQR" also. But I fancy Norm can get away with a 15 pounder. I had one on my Dragon when I cruised her, and I very well remember dropping a 15 pounder as a kedge from a 32 footer, in a tearing hurry (engine failure, strong tide...rocks....) and seeing it bite and bring her up.

I would not stow it on the bow, but as far aft on the foredeck as you can - in way of the mast, ideally. It is less likely to snag sheets and bite your ankles, and the weight is less objectionable. You should not need a winch, but if you do use chain, a chain pawl in the fairlead is handy (if the anchor stows near the mast, the chain pipe can go there too, and the weight of chain can be stowed low down in the bilge as useful ballast).

If you use rope you can take it to one of the sheet winches to break the anchor out.

John R Smith
11-05-2002, 09:15 AM

I would endorse everything that Ian and ACB are saying. There is a LOT of difference between a genuine CQR and the numerous copies.

Kate and I anchor very frequently, often two or three times in an afternoon, usually in a mud bottom. We have a 15lb CQR on 200 feet of chain, no windlass. This so far has held our 23 foot yacht perfectly well.

One proviso I would make - the CQR will often pull out if the direction of pull reverses (tide goes from ebb to flood, for example). In these circumstances it may fail to re-set, and if you are not aboard at the time, well :(


Ian McColgin
11-05-2002, 10:00 AM
We saltwater types sometimes get terribly serious about our anchoring.

I do think it well to have a chain leader about the same length as the boat. Even though the weight may seem like a good thing, don't get a chain seriously oversized for the anchor as it may actually inhibit setting.

I've only had my CQR fail to reset once in a kind of freak turn around where the anchor had not been correctly dug in in the first place. The chain wrapped around the plough. After that I learned to actually set the hook for sure and have not had a problem with the anchor resetting itself in a reverse. But resetting is always an interesting risk. Danforth's don't reset well at all. I don't know about the Bruce.

I'm a deep believer in brand names. Grana came equipped with a thing that looked like a CQR that does not set or reset well. Putting them side by side shows very subtle differences in blade shape, shaft angle and the angle of that hinge. Same with danforth knock-offs. Ogg really knew what he was doing with that one.

I'm not personally familiar with most of the newer ones and even though I revere Practical Sailor, I'd move away from Danforth or CQR or a proper Luke ("fisherman") with great care.

I have great trouble taking things like the aluminum fortress seriously. World's finest (floating) anchor if you ask me. No weed penetration at all.

I'd not worry about the weight of a 20# or so hook out front, especially if you have the leade come back to the cockping and stow under the sole there.

The main thing is to avoid acrobatics up on a tiny bow. If you can't go with the roller approach you need a way to set and retrieve from the cockpit. I made a lot of experiments, including a kind of nip-line and all sorts of stuff before figuring that the simplest is best.

I used to (and may well again on the Thistle) keep the hook under the stern sheets. The rode was led from about at the mast up through the chock and then back along the gunnel clear of jib sheets and such. I had a little up turned hook at the shrouds to hold the rode in place there and avoid droop over the hull.

So dropping the hook was easy. The one trick was that in shallow water you might need to pull it up a bit before letting it out again to keep it from being all chain fouled.

On this rig, by the way, I did not use any chain at all. Anchors used were a danforth, a heraschoff pattern and a 5 prong grapple (which, by the way, holds nicly in mud. The folding 4 prong grapples are worthless.)

Anyway, most important bright idea if you're not going for the platform idea -- Recovery was facilitated by having a trip line and float at the crown of the anchor. I'd get sail up, pull and or sail up so I could grab the bouy on the trip line, and then pull the anchor up into the cockpit. Easy and neat.


11-05-2002, 10:15 AM
No windlass and 200' of chain? You're a lot tougher than I am, John. I was in an unfamiliar harbours for the last two summers and once, when the weather looked threatening, I felt compelled to drop my 45# CQR with 40' of 3/8 chain into 35' of water and gave myself about 250' of scope. I have no windlass, either. Getting the nylon rode in was not too bad, but as soon as the anchor was off the bottom I was convinced that the first thing I need is a windlass. I wish they were not so expensive.

About the CQR's breaking out. Ever since I have had a way to track my position while at anchor, the boat has done a few 180's directly over the anchor and more than half the tracks show full 360's and the CQR has yet to drag or fail to reset. (I am knocking on wood as I type this.) There were some suggestions in previous owners logs that the CQR's may have broken loose, so the first thing I did was put a boat length of chain on each anchor rode. It seems to have worked.

Surprising to me is that Fortress does not recommend a long chain for their anchors.

John R Smith
11-05-2002, 10:50 AM
Er, well, yes, um . . .

We have never actually put all the chain out, yet, I have to admit. In fact I try to make sure we never anchor in more than about 3 metres (say 10 feet) of water. So we would have about 40 feet of chain out, I suppose. And sometimes, when it has been a bit breezy, it has been rather hard work getting it all back in.

I have actually had the CQR pull out and drag on reversal twice recently, but I must confess both times were when we were anchored mid-channel in a creek. So the bottom was most likely stoney, not mud, and CQRs don't like stones. Lulu is the most weird boat at anchor, any way - on more than one occasion she has been lying bows to the wind with the cable running away underneath the boat (from bow to stern).

smile.gif John

[ 11-05-2002, 10:52 AM: Message edited by: John R Smith ]

11-05-2002, 01:21 PM
Mytica had a 22lb danforth, which I hated, and 23 fathoms of 5/16" chain, with a chain pawl on the bow roller. She was all of 18ft long, but she had a cabin, a self draining cockpit, a Stuart Turner 4hp petrol engine and a gaff cutter rig.

The point of this story is that there is a huge difference between hauling in 138ft of chain when lying in 10-20ft of water, which I did all the time and thought nothing of, and hauling in 138 ft of chain and an anchor in 150 ft of water - I managed to have the old rotating neon echosounder set on "fathoms" and to misread it once, when in Holland. The effort required was extraordinary.

Scott Rosen
11-05-2002, 02:25 PM
I have never dragged or broken out with my either of my CQR's--the 25 or the 45. I anchor in tidal waters where I have shifted 180 degrees. I use a lot of scope. I try never to have less than 7 to 1, preferably 10 to 1.

I used to use only the CQR 25 for my 30 foot boat and never had a problem. I got nervous, though, because some of the places I visit, like Block Island, get very crowded with people on short (3:1, 4:1) scope. It's extremely important to me that my boat stay put when I drop anchor. I figured for short scope situations, I should use an oversized anchor. Hence the CQR 45.

I've used my Fortress as a lunch hook when I know I'm only going to be anchored in calm weather for no more than a few hours. I don't really trust the Danforth types, especially if the boat changes direction. When ever I've seen a boat drag, it either had a Danforth type anchor, too little scope or both. But Practical Sailor has a lot of faith in those anchors.

[ 11-05-2002, 02:32 PM: Message edited by: Scott Rosen ]

Scott Rosen
11-05-2002, 02:31 PM
Another thing that causes a lot of anchoring failures is the rode itself. You have to protect from chafe at any point on the rode. Many accidents are the result of rode failure, not anchor break-out.

One particular fetish of mine is the eye splice and the shackle connections. Most people take three to five wraps in an eye splice. I take ten. Why take any chances? I like to sleep at night. I also seize all of my shackle pins with monel or stainless wire. It wouldn't do much good if my way oversized shackles worked loose.

Don't forget to make the bitter end fast to the boat. I've seen people lose their anchor and rode over the side because the rode wasn't tied to the boat. Ouch.

[ 11-05-2002, 05:47 PM: Message edited by: Scott Rosen ]

Scott Rosen
11-05-2002, 02:40 PM

The CQR's are expensive, probably the most expensive of anchors.

Don't let the cost influence your decision on anchor choice. That's the worst kind of false economy. The CQR's are worth their weight in gold.

11-05-2002, 05:33 PM
Good advice, Scott, not that I'd ever take it. I was indeed letting the cost influence me until this discussion. Phyllis didn't blink an eye but then she'd probably rather be at anchor than at sea (or lake as it were)

But tell me, what is the difference between a Danforth and a Fortress? They and others look a lot alike in the catalouge.


Scott Rosen
11-05-2002, 05:46 PM
Danforth is steel. Fortress is aluminum. Danforth is welded into one piece. Fortress is colapsable. There may be subtle differences in dimensions, but I wouldn't know about that.

11-05-2002, 06:03 PM
Jaysus Norm, you heading off around the world or sumpthin'? Lots of good advice here, though I s'pect if you are worried, a little bigger Danforth would do.

As has been stated, what bottoms are you likely to encounter(down, down in the back, that's bottom of the water)?

A slightly oversized Danforth, shackled and seized to twenty foot of chain, and 200 ft. of 3/8 or 1/2 nylon ought to see you through most anything. IMO


11-05-2002, 06:35 PM
This conversation got me thinking, too. I'll bet that in every anchoring situation I've been in, there would have been another anchor design that would have been better than my CQR. 'Practical Sailor' didn't rate it that well. Indeed, if I remember correctly, they said that cruising sailors were dedicated to the CQR, yet the performance of the anchor was average. Then they recommended an anchor called the Bulwaga(sp?)...truly a 'butt ugly' anchor.

I got to thinking about when I anchor. It is usually late in the day, and sometimes well after dark. I'm tired. You can't see the bottom, so you have nothing but the chart to tell you what's there. I want my martini and I want to cook dinner without worrying about floating off into a catastrophe. As a result, I'm in the same group as Scott: 7 to 1 or 10 to 1 works fine with me. I'm lucky as ALITA draws 40" with the board up and can handle sitting in the mud for a few hours. I get to hunt around the perimeters of favored anchorages. So far, I've always found a spot. This anchor may not be the best anchor for any situation but it is a good anchor in every situation.

11-05-2002, 08:03 PM
Jack, I let your question earlier pass my mind. I can't be sure what bottom I will be anchoring over. Around here it is minor day sails from a launch ramp. However, I drive a gas guzzeling Ford so we will be able to pull to any sailing area we please. Could be we will anchor over rock, sand, weeds or mud. Coral, probably not.

The trouble with the anchor I have, a 16# Danforth Standard from Hamilton Marine is it's size. To big, dimensions-wise, for this little boat. I was asking about the Max since it it touted to set well and reset in any kind of bottom on extremely short scope. Sounds too good to be true, eh?



Rob H
11-05-2002, 08:04 PM
I have a small Fortress (FX-7) which I use as a fishing anchor in a river with strong currents and a sandy bottom. In those conditions it works fine.
BUT, on weedy or rocky bottoms, or on mussel beds, it doesn't set very well, and in strong wind it can sort of sail along behind you without dropping to the bottom. I think it's simply a factor of weight to sail area.

So I guess I wouldn't recommend it for your _only_ anchor,or as a "hand of God" storm anchor.

Great lunch hook, though!

Ian G Wright
11-06-2002, 08:30 AM
It might seem that there is a problem with anchor choice what with a fisherman being better than many in rocks and others being better than most in mud or sand or whatever,,,,,,,,
Truth is that the CQR is never as good as the best in 'interesting' seabed conditions,but it is the 'only' one that will cope with all sea bed conditions. (except flat unfissured rock and unsolidified lava).
If you only have one anchor make it a real CQR, use chain rode, never less than 3:1 scope and you will come to no harm.


Bill Dodson
11-06-2002, 10:55 AM
I've had good luck with using a CQR and plenty of scope, but I've also been getting curious about the old style fisherman/Herreshoff anchors. Does anyone have experience with using a Kingston or Luke as their working anchor and not just keeping it in reserve as a storm anchor?

Seems like it would have the reliability and versatility of the CQR but be able to function on a shorter scope, if needed. On the other hand they look like a bitch to get over the side or back on deck...

Ian McColgin
11-06-2002, 12:06 PM
Yes. I used a fisherman extensivly on Goblin before I bought a CQR. I also have had a nice maybe 10## folding fisherman - proper curve to the flukes and all - that works well as a dory hook.

People are stunningly sloppy at setting out an anchor. How often have you seen someone hurl the anchor over the bow. Even with modern stockless anchors, the rode can foul. With a fisherman pattern, you're almost sure to tangle the rode around the stocks or around a fluke and eliminate any chance of a good hook-up.

A fisherman will work fine even without chain so it's quite easy to let it down slowly and feel when it first touches the bottom. Then, again all by feel, you can have it tip towards you as you back down slowly, pay out the rode with just a little tension until it enters the water about three times as far from the bow as the chock's height is above the water, and snub. If it feels like dragging, ease some slack to five or six to one and snub again: You can always shorten scope once the anchor's set.

The problem with the fisherman pattern is retrieval and stowage. On Goblin, with bow sprit rollers, I'd bring it up to an out of the water dangle and then use a boathook to grab a two fathom bouyed line from the crown that I'd use to cat the anchor up. A heavy fisherman is a huge pain to get up and stow - if you don't have a bowsprit, then you may want to have that quaintest of old time yacht gear, and anchor davit.

The luke, by the way, takes down but is not a folding anchor. For easy stowage on something like PI, a 20# folding fisherman, if a good pattern can be found, would be nice. The method of pulling it into the cockpit with a crown line that I outlined in the earlier post will work fine as you can bring it up over the gunnel with the flukes parallel with the gunnel and get the stock over as you rotate the shank from verticle (anchor upside down) to horizontal. Wrestling a fisherman aboard right side up is a sure route to lots of topside scars as the fluke gouge and bang.

If you can't get a good folding anchor and use the Luke, I'd say keep it set up and just lay it on the starboard quarter in some purpose made chocks, flukes verticle with one hanging over the transome and one up in the air but hopefully abaft the mainsheet so it won't tangle, and the stocks on the aft deck. Or maybe fold the stock and have chocks that take the flukes horizontal on the aft deck. Either solution may take some imagination depending on how big the lazarette hatch is and how the traveler is arranged.

Small boats actually take more physical strength than large boats as they have not much room to lay stuff out large and very little in the way of extra lifting gear. You'll be limited by your upper arm strength. You might gain from a trick I adapted for a single handed sailor friend who was not so strong. I rigged for her a bale under the boom to which a handybilly with cam cleat could be snatched. She'd bring the anchor up over the gunnel on that, holding the boom out with one hand. The boat naturally hove-to in this general attitude so the whole bit worked quite elegantly. She'd get off in some crowded place like Cuttyhunk all undersail and alone in finest style.

The best rule is what ever anchor pattern, do not look for the lightest anchor that will hold. Get the heaviest anchor you can possibly manage.


11-06-2002, 12:23 PM

Norm, you orginally asked about MAX anchors. My CRS went into remission and I dug up an endorsement from another group:

"For the last several years, I've used a 28 lbs. Super Max from Creative Marine (enter it in google, it'll come up pronto) and I'm getting a 10 lbs. Max for the Mud Hen. The Super Max only failed once and that was when the first gust of a 70 knot thunderstorm literally (I saw it happen from shore) lifted the bow of the boat right out of the water and yanked the anchor out of the tapioca pudding silt bottom in the North River of Mobjack Bay, VA, off the southern Chesapeake. I swear by Super Maxes and so do hundreds of others. ...
BTW, the beauty of the Super Max (articulable shank) and Max (rigid shank): no chain needed, a real plus on a small boat."

I hope this helps.

30N, 90W

Roger Cumming
11-12-2002, 02:49 AM
Ian's comments about sloppy anchor-setting reminded me of the time I was on the foredeck of a family member's cruiser when the order came to set the anchor. As I reached for the light Danforth on the deck, my brother-in-law picked it up, reared back and threw it 20 or more feet just like a forward pass! The captain then killed the motors. No backing down, no making sure we were secure. Toss it, and then get the swim ladder down. For some reason, this boat never once drifted away while everyone was swimming, and I was the only one wondering why. It was like the way cowboys carelessly tied up their horses in front of the saloon. They never seem to worry about the horses galloping away, but it must have happened.

My experience with fisherman type anchors, and the CQR is very similar to Ian's. Once we wrapped the cable around the upstanding fluke of the fisherman and didn't know it until we pulled the anchor up the next day. The 25-lb fisherman was versatile, and never dragged once in 5 years of summertime cruising in our 9,000 lb sailboat over a variety of bottoms. Our bowsprit with rollers out near the end allowed us to raise the anchor up until the shackle reached the roller, then retrieve the other end via a short rope tied to the fluke end with the boathook. A little hook secured it to the whisker stay so it never came aboard, and we didn't have to worry about mud. Later we switched to the CQR and folded up the fisherman for use only when 2 anchors were needed. In 10 years the CQR dragged twice, both times due to inadequate scope in crowded anchorages - Block Island and Stonington, Conn. It lived on the whisker stay like the fisherman. We've seen many boats larger than ours with CQR anchors smaller than our 35-lb model. Summertime cruising on the East coast doesn't seem to make great demands on anchors, especially in harbors.

A 13-lb Danforth saved a 25' powerboat we were piloting in fairly open Noyac Bay in Southhampton, NY, at the start of a gale. The engine quit, so we let the boat drift into shallow water, carefully dropped the anchor, let out the entire cable and there she stayed for 2 days until the nor'easter blew itself out. Our rescuers said that the anchor completely buried itself in the stoney bottom. I like to think that it was our care in anchoring in shallow water with maximum scope that saved the boat.

11-12-2002, 05:23 AM
There are two good old "tricks" to coping with a fisherman anchor on a smallish boat. I've tried both.

Both had the great advantage that you do not need to unstock the anchor.

1. Cat the anchor "Brightlingsea fashion" (the term comes from the fishing smacks based in the Essex, England, port of Brightlingsea, which very often went in for "stowboat" fishing for sprats, using a huge net which was spread under the bows of the boat when she was at anchor in a tideway - a stowboat anchor was massive, since it had to take the drag of a 40ft smack, two 40ft stowboat net baulks and 400ft of net with maybe six tons of sprats in it!

Haul the anchor to the stemhead, then, instead of getting it on deck, get a loop of rope round one fluke, haul that to the rail and belay it. Still standard practice on Thames barges, and good enough for coastal sailing. The anchor is available for immediate use. The drawbacks are that the weight is on the bow, it can bang about a bit, and it is a world class can opener if you are beating through an achorage full of plastiques. Also, you cannot pick up a mooring easily as the fairlead is occupied by the chain. Suitable for any size of fisherman anchor.

2. Francis B. Cooke's method. I used this for years, and it is a real winner.

The anchor is placed on shaped chocks, and lashed to them. with the shank pointing outboard and the stock flat on the deck, pointing fore and aft, with the crown just over the side, clear of the rail, immediately ahead of the shrouds.

This is easy to do with Fisherman anchors up to say 45lb. Once again, the anchor is available for immediate use, but it is secure and cannot foul anything, and the weight is off the bow. You may, of course, trip over the shank when walking forward, but I don't recall that I ever did.

11-12-2002, 05:57 AM
Are genuine Simpson Lawrence CQR(tm) anchors going to continue to be available since the conglomerate owning the brand (and several other famous english brands) went under?

Is it too far off this topic's thread to ask about anchor-related gear? I'm curious about manual windlasses (worth having?) and something I only dimly recall about a pawl and ratchet mechanism for when you don't have a windless.

I'm particularly wondering about the merits of a vertical capstan vs. a horizontal capstan manual windlass...?

Oh yes, and what about stern anchors?

[ 11-12-2002, 05:59 AM: Message edited by: Meerkat ]

Dave Hadfield
11-13-2002, 12:15 AM
My favourite anchor, my working anchor, is a rather old, out of date, irreplaceable Northill. This is a kind of fisherman design. I've never wrapped the chain around a fluke and plucked it up, though to be fair I sail in fresh water -- no tides.

On Drake I have a plough, a danforth, a bruce, and the northill. All the others have dragged at one time or other. Never the Northill.

If I ever lose it, God forbid, I'll replace it with a Kingston or other fisherman style anchor. They bite in rock and in weed and in hard-packed clay. Anything'll bite in sand.

They're more trouble to store, sure, but you're a creative guy Norm. You'll figure a way. In fact you'll probably figure out some new better way and then we'll all copy you!

11-13-2002, 10:03 AM
"...and then we'll all copy you!"

Ha! At your peril.

I really appreciate all of you. Thanks for the advice.

I guess at the moment I have my eye on the 15 lb. CQR Hamilton Marine sells for $300. CHOKE! They want another $150 or so for a bow roller. GAG!! That is pretty strong incentive for creativity to be sure.

A sky hook maybe as long as there are not tides.


Ian McColgin
11-13-2002, 10:53 AM

It's supereasy to make a better roller and platform. Take a couple of lengths of oak maybe 1-1/2" thick and each about 4" wide.

Essentially, you're making a platform in two halves as that way it's easier to get it around the headstay and to have the bigger notch where the roller is.

The roller can be one of the narrow hard rubber notched rollers sold for boat trailors. Just support it on a ss pin.

Have the platform extend out beyond the roller far enough that even with the anchor up and at rest, you can have a keeper pin out at the end to prevent the anchor (when underway) or the rode (when anchored) from hopping out.

The platform can be throughbolted with backing plates on the foredeck.

Figgure that the roller needs to be about 10" or so ahead of the stem. You can reduce the overall length of the thing by making the keeper a sort of U shaped bale out at the front of the notch. If you go with a straight pin, the notch needs to be very deep.

But anyway, the point of downward stress is only a little way out and the verticle pressure is pretty light. With a 6:1 scope even if you got a 1000# strain on the rode, the down vector is still less than 170#.


Bill Perkins
11-14-2002, 08:42 PM
Norm I'm glad to see you're gravitating toward the CQR . Might there be an electric foredeck winch in your future ? It could be rigged to handle your formidable centerplate as well as the anchor . The CQR works beutifully with a bow roller and a winch , one reason they're so popular .Just crank her up till the anchor seats on the roller and make fast . You'd like it .

11-14-2002, 08:52 PM
I've considered a wench for the foredeck. Saw a perfect one down at the University today. Awesome. But Phyllis objects.

The CQR and Ian-on-the-left's idea seems workable.


John B
11-14-2002, 09:46 PM
There are some nice setups which use the bowsprit for partial support of the roller too.

I have a thing called a "spare man". IE lump of wood with roller cantilevered out the appropriate distance. It runs out to port of the sprit at an angle about 10 degrees off centre.
It's got a roller bearing bronze roller which decreases the effort needed to get the pick up significantly.

Like my little sailcloth coat to protect my staysail when weighing? It's the clew of an old mainsail from memory....worth it's weight in gold that thing.

[ 11-14-2002, 10:08 PM: Message edited by: John B ]

John B
11-14-2002, 10:12 PM
what the fish see.
A good fairlead setup is well worth getting right Oi reckun.

11-15-2002, 09:01 AM
Good, John, excellent, in fact. The search for a suitable roller begins....


Ian McColgin
11-15-2002, 09:23 AM
Remember, it's a little boat. I doubt you need a windlass or winch. I very frequently pull out my 65# CQR on all chain rode because I don't want to take the time to crank on the windlass. When anchoring in a couple of fathoms of water, the shere weight once it's broken out is not too much - anchor and that much chain still under 100# - and the break out is all boat momentum anyway.

One thought assuming you use a chain leader: A nicely balanced crown knot and back splice on the last link will do just fine and there really is almost nothing in the way of chafe problems with that. If you're good, try 4stranding the line and going with a rope to chain splice but that's actually far harder to do and if not done well it's weak.

The more common eye splice on thimble with shackle to the chain allows changing anchors readily and all but provides a clunky spot. If you go with the home built platform and roller, the roller will be wide enough that this is not a problem but if you end up with a store bought roller, the eye and shackle might not fit.

Oddly, the eye and shackle are subject to more chafe than the unprotected backsplice approach because the outside of the eye drags and wears on everything.


Scott Rosen
11-15-2002, 09:55 AM
I'm with Ian on the uselessness of a windlas. I have a manual windlas that's more trouble than it's worth. It's easier and quicker just to pull the CQR#45 by hand.

I suppose if you had a physical problem or handicap, then a windlas would make sense. But in that case, I'd go for an electric one.

John B
11-15-2002, 02:42 PM
I don't have one either.

Norm, the roller bearing is made really simply.
Imagine the roller with a large hole in it( I don't have the measurements and I'm not going to work them out) 1 1/2... 1 1/4? in or so. then a 1/2 axle and some nominal 3/8 in bronze rod cut to the width of the roller. greased up and voila... Roller bearing. In other words.. you get the axle and rod stock first and then work out the hole diameter in the Roller. Honestly, the difference it makes is unreal. 60 lds comes up easy on my boat , 40 on the boat I just went away on was significantly harder.

Alan D. Hyde
11-15-2002, 02:55 PM
What John B says is right; it makes a HUGE difference. If the grease you use is graphite-based, it seems to work a little better too.


Ian McColgin
11-15-2002, 02:57 PM
Oh, I'd not say the windlass is useless by any means. When I made my mush-ashore home for the winter, I'd not have got off without the power of the windlass.

And sometimes I take extra time breaking out just cranking forward on the windlass, expecially if gooey bottom as I have a chain cleaner on a line that brushes the chain just below the water and works best with the line pretty much up and down.

Just that when I'm in any sort of hurry and don't need huge tension on the rode, pulling it in is not that hard. Any normal sized guy and most normal sized women can pull 75# - 100# if they know how to brace and use their legs for the job - not back at all and not arms for most folk. Use big muscles intelligently and you can haul in something over 20 fathoms in less than 2 or 3 breathless minutes. Then splice the main brace.

I may be a bit fat but still a tough guy and since I row all the time my hands are hard enough. Weekend warriors might want gloves.

Supposed to get some exercise, eh?