Anchors and anchoring


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David Tyler
David Tyler
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Dick,
Even after this one failure, I have to say that the Rocna is whole lot more reliable than the Delta I used to use, and I 'm with you and Alex that the modern generation of scoop anchors represents a great leap forward in anchor design. There 's just this one flaw to address, and I was very interested in Steve 's and the Sarca designer 's findings that the addition of perforations to the fluke will cause the clod of mud to be shrugged off. Now I 'm wondering if I should bring the anchor ashore and put it under the drill...
Dick
Dick
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Hi David, Agreed. For those of us who anchor regularly and sometimes in marginal conditions, these anchors are a very impressive leap in vessel and personnel safety even with a few rarely encountered glitches (now becoming more predictable). Steve 's experiments are fascinating and may prove the way to go. Early days yet, but I am sure there are those out there getting the drill bits out: and hopefully reporting to the various streams of info.
My best, Dick
David Tyler
David Tyler
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When I anchor Weaverbird in a tideway, at the turn of the tide the anchor rode (short chain plus 12mm nylon) has an annoying habit of getting caught around one of the bilge keels. This means that she lies athwart the tide, and puts a great deal more load on the anchor.
So, I thought, I need a chum. But looking around the UK online chandlers, all I could find was a Buddy at Jimmy Green, a snip at £158.40 !!!
So, I thought, there has to be something cheaper than that, surely.
So I looked at weight training apparatus, and found that there is such a thing as a kettlebell, which looks darned near perfect for the job. It comes in many different weights, and I think I'm going to get one at 8Kg. This one is cast iron, with a neoprene casing as well, which may be kinder to the boat. There are also models made of cement, which are probably not worth considering as the density of cement is not so much greater than seawater.
Initial thought on deployment is that I'll lead the nylon rode through the loop permanently, and secure a 3 metre line to the loop, with a soft eye that I can drop onto a foredeck cleat.
Dick
Dick
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Hi David,
I believe your chum (sentinel/kellet) will solve (or at least make less likely and easier to resolve) the problem you refer to. I have all chain on the bower, but a stern anchor or a second anchor off the bow often can get into mischief in just the way you describe and a kellet has always made a difference.
For what it is worth (in other words “no scientific evidence” just an observation) I try to position the kellet just longer than the distance along the rode as the water is deep. In that way if the rode goes slack, the kellet sinks to the bottom and keeps the rode fixed in place until the wind/current stretches it out again. I always also have the kellet adjustable/retrievable from the deck. I have a slick “slide” I found in a fire sale decades ago, but a snatch block works just as well. In a mid-night fire drill with the boat bouncing around, you do not want a heavy weight needing anything fancy or difficult to separate from the rode
You might check the actual immersion weight of the chum you are referring to as iron is also less dense than lead. Also, iron will rust quickly and the expansion will get inside the neoprene cover and (I suspect) you will have a messy gross difficult-to-store, piece of gear in short order. My larger kellet is a handful of lead dive weights with a long ss eyebolt passed through the weight’s belt slot. It is surprising how often these end up in marine flee markets where they can be bought inexpensively.
Let us know how things work out.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
David Tyler
David Tyler
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The kettlebell was delivered today, and as I thought, it's going to be perfect as a chum/buddy/sentinel/kellet (how did so many names arise?). The handle is smooth and easy to grip to lift over the stemhead, as I'd expect for an item that is intended to be swung around (its origin as a cannonball with added handle is very apparent). It's well painted, so rust will not be an issue. The neoprene casing is thick, solid and tough, and will stand being thrown into the chain locker. I think probably the best thing to attach it to the rode is a http://www.gsproducts.co.uk/stainless-steel-winch-hook/ , lashed on.
edited by David Tyler on 2/13/2018
Dick
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Hi David,
I very much hope that your kellet will work out for you as hoped for.
As I write with the idea that others may read our words, I will say that I, respectfully, disagree that a painted iron ball used in an anchoring system will be anything but a maintenance/storage-messy problem just down the line. The fact that it is neoprene covered just means that salt water will infiltrate the cover and percolate where it can’t be seen or gotten to. For an illustration of what I mean, just look at the owners of iron keel vessels every spring and the work they must do to keep rust and deterioration away and to ensure adhesion to the paint. Lead solves all issues and adds density as a bonus.
In any case, time will tell and it is not a big deal either way and certainly not a safety issue. Please give us a field report on down the line.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
David Tyler
David Tyler
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Hi Dick,

With equal respect, I have to disagree with your comments. Has the galvanising never been abraded from your steel anchor and chain? The answer must be yes, if you've used them at all. Show me a boat with a rust-free anchor, and I'll show you a boat that doesn't get anchored very much. And what have you done about it? The answer must be to have done some maintenance. So what's new? We all know that boats need maintenance. My cast iron keels will need painting in the future, but at the moment they're not so bad that I can't live with them.

In the case of this kettlebell, I think that it may be powder coating rather than soft paint, as it seems quite thick. If it were to wear off in places, I should think nothing of applying a dab of Hammerite, or other rust remover or treatment. Really, I don't think that you're in a position to comment on this particular device without having held it in your hand, and I can't understand why you've made an issue of this.

Certainly, when my sailing season begins in April or May, I'll report back.
Dick
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Hi David,
As I said in the previous post, I was writing for other readers. You have made your decision and that is fine. I in no way wished to keep poking at you and am very sorry that it was taken in that manner. Were we to have been having a private dialogue, I would not have pursued any further communication on the subject, but we were having a public discussion.
I consider the Forum as a place to communicate and pursue “best practices” and learn from others in the process. Sometimes that entails an awkward back and forth. I admire your creativity to see the possibilities in a piece of equipment from another recreation which will likely serve a new function in our sport as a kellet and save considerable money as well.
I wrote initially to answer your question as to a problem you were having and support your use of a kellet as a solution. I chose to share some of what I had learned over the years in using kellets in hopes it might accelerate your (and others) learning curve. I also chose to flag some of what I saw as limitations of an iron ball over lead. I believe a lead kellet to be “best practices” (and suggested a way of obtaining lead at reasonably price) but absolutely understand that one can choose alternatives that work for them.
My only other consideration when writing for the Forum is whether there are any safety issues in deviating from best practices and there are certainly none embedded in our discussion.
I wish you very good luck.
My best, Dick
David Tyler
David Tyler
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I've now been using the cast iron kettlebell as a chum for three months full-time cruising in my 23ft Weaverbird, anchoring mostly, with time alongside pontoons at a minimum, and with the chum deployed nearly every time that I anchor.
[ul][li]Yes, it's getting a little rusty around the handle, but not at all bad, and a coat of rust treatment in the winter will fix it.[/li][li]Weight in air = 8kg, weight in seawater = 7kg, by digital balance. The weight of a lead equivalent in seawater would be ~ 7.5kg, so hardly worth worrying about.[/li][li]It helps in two ways, with a short chain + nylon rode: keeping the rode from fouling the keels and rudder, as hoped, and slowing the tendency to sail around at anchor, but not eliminating it.[/li][li]When the wind blows, it does very little to improve the angle of rode to seabed, even though it's a similar weight to my anchor (9kg Vulcan). The average OCC ocean cruising boat, deploying a 20kg Vulcan, say, is also going to need a 20kg chum to do any good, and that will be quite a tussle to lift over the stemhead. I think I agree with the anchor gurus, the better place to add the extra weight is in the anchor itself, when using an all-chain rode, and the chum is only really of use to keep a nylon rode clear of the keel(s) and rudder.[/li][/ul]
Dick
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Hi David,
Thanks for the field report and I concur with your conclusions.
While reading your report, I remembered another reason (I do not think this came up before) to shy away from chums (sentinels/kellets) as a regular thing and that is the occasional midnight fire drill where I want to get the anchor up and secure with speed and simplicity. Now, this did not happen so often in Northern Europe, but I do remember them (with no fondness) in the tropics where squalls were more common and un-predictable and being able to be up and underway with a minimum of fuss was important.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy, Baddeck, Nova Scotia
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