Hello sister sailors. Hope to have a topic that shares anchoring tips, tricks and techniques. I'm always interested in learning how other solo-cruisers contend with certain conditions while anchoring or weighing anchor. My own system is simple and easy for me- just hauling the hook up by hand and feeding the chain and nylon rope rode into one of the deck pipes. Angel's main hook is a 27' Bulwagga (my favorite) and she carries a selection of others like a Delta, Fortress, storm, etc. It's easy to haul up "dead boat" as Angel's only 31 feet and medium displacement. But when it's blowing over 20, things get tricky. What do you guys do to circumvent this type of situation? (no, I don't want a windlass for such a small cruiser). Currently, I nudge the throttle just a hair where Angel's barely motoring forward, then quick pull up a bunch of rode with out running it over of course. Sometimes this takes a few trips back and forth from throttle to bow, but it works in its own awkward way. Would love to hear other people's techniques. Anchoring is such a vital thing for cruisers:) And how about having to deal with dragging anchor in a tight cove while having two hooks out? This happened in the Bahamas and the only thing I could do was bouy one, haul the other up and motor away (the bouyed anchor was later retrieved)- what a hassle!

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Anchoring for me means 'making sure we stay put'.. Having had my share with dragging anchors and nearly landing on a rocky shore in a gale at night, I've learned my lesson.

Karma has three anchors on board. One is an 8 kg danforth, an anchor I've learned not to trust, a 10 kg bruce, which is my favourite anchor, and a small grappel, which is a spare.

The danforth has had the tendency, in muddy or sandy bottom, to flip over, especially when the wind shifts.
I have learned to always set both anchors together, the bruce and the danforth, at a 45 degree angle. The danforth , if lucky, may hook up on pebbly ground, the bruce will dig in anywhere.
Setting the anchors this way assures a good night's sleep. I would never just rely on a single anchor.
Both anchors are on their 20 feet chain , which holds the boat down and dampens drag and pull very nicely.

Though I own my boat, Karma, I'm sailing with my husband who's my greatest supporter. We're learning to sail together and are in our fith season only.

Thanks Rebecca for a great Discussion that I need to know more about.
When we took the boat to the Marina to get the engine repaired the engine stopped right on a spot called the Rock Pile...because it is.
I have a Bruce, but also want to get a Spade....well we put the Bruce out, but the current was so strong it was a hard situation and we drifted around into the sides of rocks we could see.The anchor did set. We pushed off with hooks, we had to wait 45 min. for TowUSA...needless to say we were busy...It was my first anchor experience. The sailors with me said my anchor will be too heavy to handle...well we will see..I want to do it all
.When I see how built you are and a small person...I know I will do it too.
Remember I am still learning, and will be watching for comments on this great Discussion
Thanks for posting it.
The best anchor I have ever used is a Rocna. Once it is set, I don't move. I have had two 42' boats rafted up with me and we are set. I have a windlass which I feel is God's gift to women along with a bow thruster:) I also keep 3 anchors, 2 bow anchors and 1 stern. I use the stern anchor is close quarters. I always set the anchor drag on my E80.
Anchoring solo is so different than anchoring with other people onboard. It is a chore at best and can be beastly most of the time. Boats vary greatly on how steady they are in wind and current conditions. Full keel boats are more steady and will hold there place better while anchoring or retrieving than a production boat wing/spade keel. Keeping the bow into the wind is crucial to a good set the first time. On my boat the bow is almost impossible to keep in the wind. This requires great thought on how the approach and set-up is before I go forward to drop the hook.
Before I go into techniques one has to remember that different anchors set better than others in different bottoms. There is no magic anchors out there. The new generation anchors like the Ronca and Mason Supreme have proven themselves to set in most type of bottoms but they still lack holding in hard sand/limestone (like in the Bahamas) and rocky areas. Danforths/Fortress are good in former mention bottoms but don't reset well during wind shifts. One also has to remember that all rode vs chain rode combination or all chain also effects the set and hold power. For instance, all chain would be the recommended set up in areas of rock and coral to keep abrasion down. Setting all chain is great in most situations but has no elasticity when it comes to waves, wind and current. Therefore, it puts great strain on the deck hardware and windlass. It is because of this that we require snubbers of nylon rode or special design units to absorb the shock as the bow tugs, raises and lowers while at anchor. But all chain doesn't work with the Danforth/Fortress anchors. They need minimum chain usually 8-10' and the rest rode. That keeps the shank at a right angle for a good set.
On my boat I have 3 anchors; Ronca, fortress, and Delta quick set. The Ronca is one size up more than what is required ,36lbs, for a 13000lb boat. A little over kill but it makes me sleep better at night. When I anchor I approach my spot that I want to drop and I check out the bottom for obstructions if I can see through the water. I than do a full circle of the radius around that spot on the scope I plan on using ; at least 5:1 or 7:1 in very windy condition. What I am checking is depth and any obstructions if the wind shifts 180 degrees as the boats swings in that circle. I than return to my spot with the nose NOT pointed into the wind since she will veer off once the wind takes its. I usually chock the nose to the left 15 degrees off upwind and turn the wheel 75% to the starboard side. What this does is give me the time to run up front and start dropping the anchor with the hope of the anchor on the bottom as the bow turns into the wind. I than let out 3:1 scope. I run back to the helm , go full reverse for a 2 secs than back to neutral to get prop walk to walk the nose back to into the wind and start the boat back into reverse to set the anchor SLOWLY. Key word SLOWLY. I than repeat the process to let out the rest of the scope that is required. I will than back it down slowly until full reverse to set the anchor. I than do anchor watch for the next 15 Min's to see how it is set.
In hard/limestone bottoms, I found the solution is I set the Fortress anchor on 8' chain attached to my Ronca anchor at the trip hole. This set-up allows the fortress to find a crevasse to set and than hold the Ronca down to find its own place to dig. I have never dragged with this combination. It is better than the two anchor set-up by far and easy to handle when solo.
Wonderful posts... I'd like a little more info on attaching Fortress anchor to Ronca anchor at trip hole... not sure how you'd do photo but that would be cool.
I have a long U shape shackle that goes in the trip hole on the Ronca. That is attached to the 8 foot chain to the Fortress. I drop the Fortress over the side first by hand and lead the chain forward of the Ronca as I let it down. I than drop the Ronca until it just touches bottom. I than run back to get bow back into the wind with motor and an go back just a little to stretch out the Fortress so it does get tangled with the Ronca. I than run back forward to let out chain/rode of the Ronca until I have 3:1 out. Than run back to the helm to get nose back into wind and start backing down the Ronca. I will try to get a picture next month when I go back to the boat.
Thanks for this post, very informative. I just googled to see what I could find out about the ronca anchor and came across this web site.
Is this the anchor you're talking about? The anchor on this web site is a rocan anchor, maybe a spelling mistake? The picture in this web site shows a spade anchor.
Apparently it's designed in New Zeeland.

.the site for Bulwagga

Do any of you ladies have experience on this anchor, ?
Yes, the Bulwagga became Angel's primary anchor after years of trying various hooks while solo-cruising. This Anchor has performed better in a wider range of bottom types than the other anchors I have based on actual experience in different ports, weather, ect. Angel is the type of "high-bowed" vessel who blows off easily, is restless at anchor and is prone to pull out her hook (needs greater scope out there). After three years of full-time use of the bull now, the Bull has never drug on me where the plow style has, as well as the Danforth styles. Gale force storms and near hurricane strength storm downbursts have ruffled Angel's feathers, but that crazy-looking anchor held in there! The bull needs more scope for a good set and on questionable bottoms, I dive on it. It does like a sentinel and I've noticed a positive difference using one. Hope this helps, as this is unbiased real life trials and it's not like I have any financial stake in these anchors- they've just really stand out for my out of the way style of cruising!
Wish I could order more of these, but there seems to be a stop in production at the moment.
Rebecca - This is extremely helpful 1st hand experience... wondering why the stop in production. Sounds like you're lucky to have one.
Melissa - Thanks.. I look forward to pics.
I went to the site I posted above and they are for sale.
i love my CQR anchor--had an emergency with my ericson and had to use anchor to keep me from drifting in dago bay into the much used channel----or onto the much abused shoal under the bridge---i threw it overboard and it catches every time--backed it down using wind on my hull bare every time--sent 100 ft of chain after the anchor and i was stuck there until my alternator decided there was enough sun to make the batteries support the ignition and ta daaa...outta there----easy to pick up by overdriving it and hauling up the chain(5/16)......easy in easy windlass....i love CQR and i want also a bruce......proven to work under the adverse conditions one may encounter without worry......


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