Upgrading the Ground Tackle

Although I haven’t anchored Sundance since I’ve had her (I haven’t needed to and there’s not many decent anchorages in the Bristol Channel), I want the option of being able to throw the hook in and not have to worry about it. It can be argued with the thick gloopy mud we have a decent sized mooring shackle would hold and I agree but my thoughts are if I’m anchoring it’s because I either can’t get back on my mooring or I can’t get into a port with water in it!

Sundance has a 15kg (33lb) CQR anchor, she also has 30m of 8mm chain and about 20m 22mm multiplait (old mooring line) which this has done her well for I’m guessing the last 30 years or more. She’s done a lot of sea miles with the previous owner and he’s not dragged onto rocks yet. As always technology moves on and things evolve, there are newer generations of anchors and they dig in faster, hold better, cost a fortune, and they prey on people worried they’re going to drag during the night!

I do plan on staying out at anchor if and when I can, I also think if I’m going to anchor it’s because I can’t tie up anywhere else and if I’m doing that I want a bit of piece of mind then the anchor will keep me and the boat safe. A friend of mine, the chap I did the RTIR with has a Rocna on his Rustler 31 and on a trip to Scilly said he was the only one in group of boats he was with that didn’t drag. I’ve heard good things about the Rocnas and other new generation anchors but I’ve always taken it with a pinch of salt but David really did convince me.

I stumped up and bought a Rocna 15 from Marine Superstore, I considered a 10 but again the thought of me anchoring because I have to (either nowhere to get into or a mechanical failure) I opted for the bigger model. The old saying you would rather have it and not need it then need it and not have it doesn’t only apply to condoms! In reality, when you look at the 10 and 15s sizes they’re not massively different and although it’s a bit pricier I’m considering it a bit of an “self” insurance policy.

30 meters of chain is enough for most boats, most places but in the Bristol Channel with the world second highest tides ideally you would want more, but there’s only so much heavy chain a small sail boat can carry. I have the 20m of multiplait which is fine for just waiting out a tide on a half decent day (3m of water, another 1 to the bow, stick 10m of tide on top of that and you’re not far off a 3:1 scope, add a bit of wind into that and you could find yourself in a sticky situation).

I thought, in for a penny, in for a pound and bought myself 100m of 16mm nylon octoplait from Rope Services UK. I’ve got a heavy duty S/S thimble to splice onto it and a shackle to extend my chain. 100m is more then I would ever need for an anchor line but it can be used for my spare anchor (Danforth) or as a shore line, or even a tow rope. 16mm is again a bit of an overkill, people suggesting a smaller line is better for stretch to stop snatch but I would prefer to have that extra bulk for piece of mind.

Anyway, here’s to life on the hook and a full night’s sleep.

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