, 2022-07-19 23:27:11,
YM instructor Rachael Sprot steps aboard to help. This month Sophia Lagus and crew want to… anchor off the beaten track with confidence and improve their anchoring skills
Anchoring is one of the greatest joys of sailing, yet for many people the sound of the chain rattling over the bow-roller is the start of an anxious night. Will it hold? What if the wind shifts? Will you swing into something? There are many questions and many anchoring skills to master for the uninitiated.
If you can master the art of anchoring you’ll enjoy a huge sense of freedom and independence, dropping the hook miles from the nearest settlement. I joined Sophia Lagus in Dartmouth on board her Malo 46 Wimsey to help build her confidence to leave the pontoons behind.
Diagnosis: Sophia and her crew are planning to cruise the west coast of Ireland in her Malo 46 Wimsey. Although they’ve got lots of sailing experience, they tend to marina hop and don’t often spend time at anchor. But there aren’t many marinas where they’re heading, so they need to put the lines and fenders away and become more familiar with their ground tackle.
Like most seemingly simple tasks, anchoring takes planning. New generation anchors offer much better holding power-to-weight ratios. The bow roller needs to be correctly sized for your anchor, ideally with a chain groove to prevent twists.
Anchor chain is an important part of the equation. It will usually be 3-4 times heavier than the anchor itself, adding valuable weight and helping achieve good scope. A length of 40-60m facilitates anchoring in depths of 10-15m, adequate for most of the UK.
Warp should be octoplait with eight strands. This has less twist than three strand, and can be spliced through the chain to give a strong, seamless connection. Wimsey has a stainless Bruce anchor, which should give good holding in mud, a swivel, and 60m of 10mm chain.
Anchoring skills – choosing an anchorage
Identifying a good anchorage is half the battle. The better-known spots are in the pilot guides, but you needn’t limit yourself to those. Choosing your own anchorage is simple when you know what to look for. Shelter For open anchorages, an offshore breeze for the duration of the stay is essential, as well as protection from the sea and swell.
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