Anchoring on a rocky seabed


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Philip Heaton
Philip Heaton
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We have done anchoring in places like the Tuamotus where it is extremely hard to avoid bommies and coral, and we hated doing any damage and always tried to drop in sand. We did the toing and froing to unwind the chain successfully each time.
We are now in the Med and have been in the Balearics and currently Corsica.  When in Ibiza we anchored off a sandy beach - the cruising guide warned of rock in the middle. Having dropped in sand we fell back to dig in and got the chain in the midst if some rock.  Thinking it was better to re-anchor straight away, we had the devil if a job freeing the chain and I thought I may have to dive on it - not a pleasant prospect as the sea was full of jelly fish.  Anyway we eventually got recovered the chain and anchor. 
We no longer anchor in any place where the cruising guide says rocky seabed.
The irony us that we carried an enormous Fisherman anchor around the world just in case ... and gave it away to friends who were heading for the Pacific. 
Our main anchor is a Manson Supreme and we also have a Delta and a Fortress.  Should I try to get my Fisherman anchor back or simply carry on staying away from rocky bottoms?
Bill Balme
Bill Balme
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Did the chain foul or the anchor?

We have a little gizzmo should the anchor foul ever - made by the same folk that make Monitor windvanes. An attachment sits over the chain at the shackle, with a light duty chain from it to the head of the anchor. If a foul occurs, we haul on the chain so that it's tight and the boat right above, send a mating gizmo down the straight rode, it attaches itself to the first gizmo, then you relax the main rode and pull up on the joined gizmos - which means that you're effectively pulling from the head of the anchor and she *should* pop out. Not used in anger yet - hope to never have to...
The Anchor Rescue




Bill Balme
s/v Toodle-oo!

Philip Heaton
Philip Heaton
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Bill Balme - 6/19/2019
Did the chain foul or the anchor?

We have a little gizzmo should the anchor foul ever - made by the same folk that make Monitor windvanes. An attachment sits over the chain at the shackle, with a light duty chain from it to the head of the anchor. If a foul occurs, we haul on the chain so that it's tight and the boat right above, send a mating gizmo down the straight rode, it attaches itself to the first gizmo, then you relax the main rode and pull up on the joined gizmos - which means that you're effectively pulling from the head of the anchor and she *should* pop out. Not used in anger yet - hope to never have to...
The Anchor Rescue



Thank you. No not the anchor, it was the chain. However I will look at your gizmo. Is it as effective as a duberry ferkin
Philip Heaton
Philip Heaton
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Philip Heaton - 6/19/2019
Bill Balme - 6/19/2019
Did the chain foul or the anchor?

We have a little gizzmo should the anchor foul ever - made by the same folk that make Monitor windvanes. An attachment sits over the chain at the shackle, with a light duty chain from it to the head of the anchor. If a foul occurs, we haul on the chain so that it's tight and the boat right above, send a mating gizmo down the straight rode, it attaches itself to the first gizmo, then you relax the main rode and pull up on the joined gizmos - which means that you're effectively pulling from the head of the anchor and she *should* pop out. Not used in anger yet - hope to never have to...
The Anchor Rescue



Thank you. No not the anchor, it was the chain. However I will look at your gizmo. Is it as effective as a duberry ferkin

Had a look at your $260 item plus delivery.  The other alternative is simply to use a buoy and line to the head of the anchor at a cost of  say 10% of your duberry ferkin.  A buoy also means you have a good idea where your anchor is placed ... and so do other folks.
Bill Balme
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Hmmm...

Do you use a buoy every time you anchor Phil? I hate the things - especially in a crowded anchorage... When you launch it, how much scope do you put out - the right amount based on how deep you are - or just throw the whole lot over with the anchor? Ever got it tangled in the prop?? 

Your analysis is spot on though - waaay cheaper than this gizmo. BUT - it's a pretty cool gizmo! and it's always deployed and since with probably $3500 invested in the anchor and rode, a reasonable insurance premium...


Bill Balme
s/v Toodle-oo!

Philip Heaton
Philip Heaton
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Bill Balme - 6/19/2019
Hmmm...

Do you use a buoy every time you anchor Phil? I hate the things - especially in a crowded anchorage... When you launch it, how much scope do you put out - the right amount based on how deep you are - or just throw the whole lot over with the anchor? Ever got it tangled in the prop?? 

Your analysis is spot on though - waaay cheaper than this gizmo. BUT - it's a pretty cool gizmo! and it's always deployed and since with probably $3500 invested in the anchor and rode, a reasonable insurance premium...

No we only use a trip line buoy when we know there is a risk of foul ground ... and now that we are avoiding rock ... BTW you can get the scope on the trip line to match the depth of water and adjust for tide by having the line from the anchor go through a block on the underside of the buoy and a small dive weight attached to the end of the line.
Dick
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Philip Heaton - 6/19/2019
Bill Balme - 6/19/2019
Hmmm...

Do you use a buoy every time you anchor Phil? I hate the things - especially in a crowded anchorage... When you launch it, how much scope do you put out - the right amount based on how deep you are - or just throw the whole lot over with the anchor? Ever got it tangled in the prop?? 

Your analysis is spot on though - waaay cheaper than this gizmo. BUT - it's a pretty cool gizmo! and it's always deployed and since with probably $3500 invested in the anchor and rode, a reasonable insurance premium...

No we only use a trip line buoy when we know there is a risk of foul ground ... and now that we are avoiding rock ... BTW you can get the scope on the trip line to match the depth of water and adjust for tide by having the line from the anchor go through a block on the underside of the buoy and a small dive weight attached to the end of the line.


Gavin.French
Gavin.French
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Dick - 6/21/2019
Philip Heaton - 6/19/2019
Bill Balme - 6/19/2019
Hmmm...

Do you use a buoy every time you anchor Phil? I hate the things - especially in a crowded anchorage... When you launch it, how much scope do you put out - the right amount based on how deep you are - or just throw the whole lot over with the anchor? Ever got it tangled in the prop?? 

Your analysis is spot on though - waaay cheaper than this gizmo. BUT - it's a pretty cool gizmo! and it's always deployed and since with probably $3500 invested in the anchor and rode, a reasonable insurance premium...

No we only use a trip line buoy when we know there is a risk of foul ground ... and now that we are avoiding rock ... BTW you can get the scope on the trip line to match the depth of water and adjust for tide by having the line from the anchor go through a block on the underside of the buoy and a small dive weight attached to the end of the line.


I have gone back and forth with using, or not using,  the trip line for a few years. Initially i loved it, mostly for knowing where my anchor was and a visual on my potential swing diameter, or for the quick reference to be sure not dragging when on shore looking out. Then i hated it for the added complexity during anchor retrieval and risk of it fouling the prop.  My wife always hated it.   Recently it really saved us when our Spade fouled on a giant mooring chain. 

But i must say, it's the little things in these forums that i love reading and the tip to put a block and weight on the trip line/buoy to get the scope right... love it. Thanks! I will be doing that whenever i use it next. Even when i use the same buoy to mark our lobster pot:)

Regarding trip line use for fouled anchor, having now used it for the first time I think of it differently then before i used it. Perhaps i was just uninformed, but i thought the idea was to pull on the head of the anchor. In our case, it actually worked much better to lift the anchor with our windlass some, then snug the trip line but not pull, then release the anchor chain. We thus flipped the anchor vertically and dropped the mooring chain it was hooked on. Simply pulling on the trip line didn't seem to work and i worried it might snap. Only relevant if you can lift the anchor off the bottom a little.  There is more to the story, but that would require a cockpit chat to do justice:)
Dick
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Gavin.French - 11/2/2019
Dick - 6/21/2019
Philip Heaton - 6/19/2019
Bill Balme - 6/19/2019
Hmmm...

Do you use a buoy every time you anchor Phil? I hate the things - especially in a crowded anchorage... When you launch it, how much scope do you put out - the right amount based on how deep you are - or just throw the whole lot over with the anchor? Ever got it tangled in the prop?? 

Your analysis is spot on though - waaay cheaper than this gizmo. BUT - it's a pretty cool gizmo! and it's always deployed and since with probably $3500 invested in the anchor and rode, a reasonable insurance premium...

No we only use a trip line buoy when we know there is a risk of foul ground ... and now that we are avoiding rock ... BTW you can get the scope on the trip line to match the depth of water and adjust for tide by having the line from the anchor go through a block on the underside of the buoy and a small dive weight attached to the end of the line.


I have gone back and forth with using, or not using,  the trip line for a few years. Initially i loved it, mostly for knowing where my anchor was and a visual on my potential swing diameter, or for the quick reference to be sure not dragging when on shore looking out. Then i hated it for the added complexity during anchor retrieval and risk of it fouling the prop.  My wife always hated it.   Recently it really saved us when our Spade fouled on a giant mooring chain. 

But i must say, it's the little things in these forums that i love reading and the tip to put a block and weight on the trip line/buoy to get the scope right... love it. Thanks! I will be doing that whenever i use it next. Even when i use the same buoy to mark our lobster pot:)

Regarding trip line use for fouled anchor, having now used it for the first time I think of it differently then before i used it. Perhaps i was just uninformed, but i thought the idea was to pull on the head of the anchor. In our case, it actually worked much better to lift the anchor with our windlass some, then snug the trip line but not pull, then release the anchor chain. We thus flipped the anchor vertically and dropped the mooring chain it was hooked on. Simply pulling on the trip line didn't seem to work and i worried it might snap. Only relevant if you can lift the anchor off the bottom a little.  There is more to the story, but that would require a cockpit chat to do justice:)

Hi Gavin,
Thanks for the field report: always the best.
Please see the following post for another option to a trip line and buoy.
In the Med, doing as you described to free your anchor is quite common and there are gadgets that make this quite easy. This is because Med-mooring frequently gets chains crossed and one is often pulling someone else’s chain up with your anchor.
I am surprised that pulling on the end of the trip line did not release the anchor. I suspect that lifting the chain as you described got the tripline clear so it could do its job.
Your worry about breaking the trip line is one I share. Three strand nylon is actually very strong, but I have also considered that this might be an area where high modulus line might be the best choice: small diameter for ease of use and storing and very strong.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Dick
Dick
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Dick - 11/2/2019
Gavin.French - 11/2/2019
Dick - 6/21/2019
Philip Heaton - 6/19/2019
Bill Balme - 6/19/2019
Hmmm...

Do you use a buoy every time you anchor Phil? I hate the things - especially in a crowded anchorage... When you launch it, how much scope do you put out - the right amount based on how deep you are - or just throw the whole lot over with the anchor? Ever got it tangled in the prop?? 

Your analysis is spot on though - waaay cheaper than this gizmo. BUT - it's a pretty cool gizmo! and it's always deployed and since with probably $3500 invested in the anchor and rode, a reasonable insurance premium...

No we only use a trip line buoy when we know there is a risk of foul ground ... and now that we are avoiding rock ... BTW you can get the scope on the trip line to match the depth of water and adjust for tide by having the line from the anchor go through a block on the underside of the buoy and a small dive weight attached to the end of the line.


I have gone back and forth with using, or not using,  the trip line for a few years. Initially i loved it, mostly for knowing where my anchor was and a visual on my potential swing diameter, or for the quick reference to be sure not dragging when on shore looking out. Then i hated it for the added complexity during anchor retrieval and risk of it fouling the prop.  My wife always hated it.   Recently it really saved us when our Spade fouled on a giant mooring chain. 

But i must say, it's the little things in these forums that i love reading and the tip to put a block and weight on the trip line/buoy to get the scope right... love it. Thanks! I will be doing that whenever i use it next. Even when i use the same buoy to mark our lobster pot:)

Regarding trip line use for fouled anchor, having now used it for the first time I think of it differently then before i used it. Perhaps i was just uninformed, but i thought the idea was to pull on the head of the anchor. In our case, it actually worked much better to lift the anchor with our windlass some, then snug the trip line but not pull, then release the anchor chain. We thus flipped the anchor vertically and dropped the mooring chain it was hooked on. Simply pulling on the trip line didn't seem to work and i worried it might snap. Only relevant if you can lift the anchor off the bottom a little.  There is more to the story, but that would require a cockpit chat to do justice:)

Hi Gavin,
Thanks for the field report: always the best.
Please see the following post for another option to a trip line and buoy.
In the Med, doing as you described to free your anchor is quite common and there are gadgets that make this quite easy. This is because Med-mooring frequently gets chains crossed and one is often pulling someone else’s chain up with your anchor.
I am surprised that pulling on the end of the trip line did not release the anchor. I suspect that lifting the chain as you described got the tripline clear so it could do its job.
Your worry about breaking the trip line is one I share. Three strand nylon is actually very strong, but I have also considered that this might be an area where high modulus line might be the best choice: small diameter for ease of use and storing and very strong.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Hi all,
The following describes an alternative to a tripline and anchor buoy.
Alchemy anchor float
I generally abhor anchor buoys/trip lines (unsafe and un-neighborly) and feel that getting one’s anchor trapped on the bottom is partly technique, but mostly bad luck. (Part of the technique element is to always initially use plenty of scope so the anchor sets with a minimum of dragging around the anchorage before getting a stick: dragging an anchor around hoping it finds a stick is a recipe for a fouled anchor). I use trip lines only when I know of reports of a foul bottom, and (hopefully) a night with steady wind direction and an uncrowded anchorage: rarely in other words. That said, I also wished for a plan for when the anchor does become stuck and there is no trip line.
In friendly waters I usually dove on the anchor and realized that it was a regular occurrence that all I saw was chain: the anchor was buried. Recovery is dependent on getting to the end of the anchor, attaching a line and pulling the anchor out backwards. It is also possible the anchor is tangled in a stump or some discarded appliance and getting at the end of the anchor could be difficult or take time. In warmer waters, I would be doing this free diving and only had seconds to attach the trip line, so I wished to make the finding and attaching quick and easy. Even if I put on a tank, and dive gear (if quite deep) I would want it easy to attach the trip line.
To get a line attached to the end of the anchor quickly, I attached a shackle on the end of my anchor to which I tied 6-8 feet of nylon 3 strand with an eye on the end and a brightly colored small commercial fishnet float (shaped like a small football: the US game). The float “floats” the eye high above the anchor and accessible and easy to find. In clear water, I can often see the float (bright orange) from on deck if not too deep. If the anchor is fouled, it is far more likely and easier just to dive to the float and attach a spring-loaded shackle/carabiner with a line taken back to the boat. Then from deck it is easy to pull the anchor up backwards.
The 6-8 foot line serves a secondary purpose when stowing the anchor of always being there to tie the anchor off on the roller.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
Note: With effort, I have found that most anchor foulings get free with some creative boat maneuvering. First, I let out lots of scope while moving away from the anchor in the opposite direction from initial set and slowly attempt pull it free. Next, I might try a short scope, attach a stout snubber (here you do not want stretch, but you do not want to load up the windlass) and then power in various directions taking up slack as it occurs. Pay attention as it is not likely to make things worse, but certainly possible.


GO

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