Sailboat anchoring is extremely important. It is one thing to be out sailing and boat, and another to be securely and safely anchored. Like most of us I have had my scary anchoring moments, had the panic of a dragging anchor, usually in a crowded anchorage or being pushed onto a lee shore when the wind is up. The whole subject of anchors, anchoring and anchor handling is a very complex one. Even the big guys in large merchant ships experience anchoring issues. It is about choosing the right anchor for the right bottom conditions and then having the right anchor rode and the right anchor handling windlass. So where does one start? All the main anchor windlass makers have very informative websites with lots of useful tools to work out what is needed. Yachts and sailboats tend to do more extended anchoring than power boats and fishing boats in harsher weather conditions and also in varying bottom conditions. Power boats and fishing boats are more often just out for the day or a weekend in relatively local areas. While the principles are the same they will be covered elsewhere.
So where do you start with boat anchors? The deceptively simple boat anchor is actually quite complicated. The average sailboat anchor and yacht anchor have many selection considerations. For some its relatively simple and if a local sailor or boater and you have known bottom conditions then choosing anchor types is easy. But for those who venture further away there are many choices, from the CQR Anchor, to the Danforth anchor or the kedge anchor. Then there are the claw anchor and the Bruce anchor, and the grapnel anchor. So initially that seems a bit daunting but it all depends on what type of boating and cruising you do.
The rode is the connection between the anchor and the boat. That means in simple terms it’s the anchor chain or rope. The type of size of anchor rode proposed depends on many factors, from size of boat and whether its rope, rope and chain or all chain. This also be connected to anchor style choices.
In my view, anchor windlasses have a level of importance and criticality way up there at the top along with the sails, sail handling, standing and running rigging and engine. Anchor windlasses are right up there on my list of things that must be well maintained and be in perfect serviceable condition. A windlass or anchor winch properly selected is essential to boating safety. Top of list for most boats cruising around is the electric anchor windlass. The electric anchor winch electrical installation is something that fazes some people. Then when things do not go right then electric windlass trouble shooting has several elements to consider and get back operational. Anchor windlasses need to be looked after and sailboat windlass maintenance needs to be a priority. Plenty to learn about sailboat anchoring and most everything else on board.