Developing system for anchoring Eleanor

There was a story about anchoring. A sailor with enough credentials to charter a sailboat took his party out to sea for a week. After 2 days, the boat Charter company receive a call from that sailor requesting new anchors to be delivered to them. “What about the 2 anchors that are on the bow pulpit?”. “We used them, but now we are in a new location and have no anchors to use!” … ? What a luxury! If only I could afford to have multiple anchors or have someone deliver them to me when I need it. Wow!

Getting ready to throw anchor over port

Alright, so what do very small sailboat captains do for anchoring? For a micro cruising yacht like Eleanor, I did not want to incur the expense of building a bowsprit or pulpit for mounting the anchors on the bow like bigger sailboats do.. and no electrical windlass to help me bring it up, means that I have to go up on deck to haul it up anyway.

Anchor dropped

Being a single hander on Eleanor, I find that going up on the bow in rough conditions to be dangerous and should be avoided. So, what are the ways to deploy and retrieve an anchor without breaking a back or leaving the comfort zone of the cockpit?

Letting the rode out.

Here I am trying out my idea. I start with 20ft 1.5″ thin wall PVC conduit pipes, cut into 12ft and 8ft sections. The anchor rode is led through the 12ft section, then the 8ft section. The 8ft pipe is laid on the inside of the shrounds and the 12 ft is run on the outside. 1 small hole is drilled into each end of each pipe, so that a 1/8″ rope is used secure the pipes to headstay. Finally, the 8ft pipe is securely fastened to the shrouds, and the 12ft pipe is held in position by the tension in the chain.

Position of float is too far forward.

A small float attached to the floating red rope is tied to the aft end of the 12ft pipe. The floating line should be about 15ft according to my calculations, but I lengthen it to 18ft later in the trials. 

Retrieving anchor. Something is wrong with this picture.

As you can see, I am testing the system in my berth, trying to identify and fix any initial issues before heading out to a real test.  

Deploying is simple, just throw the anchor over and let the weight drag out the rode.

Pulling on the line to get anchor up on the side

Looking at the picture of retrieving, I find there is much to be improved to reduce the effort at the pulling. It is rather back breaking to pull up just the weight of the anchor in this calm condition, so imagine 20knots, current and 5:1 scope. I should be able to use the winch, but it could chafe the dodger. Next try, I am going to extend the 8ft pipe by 1.5ft.

Notice how the pipe bends to the contour of the hull?

Anyway, so I pulled in the rode until my mark that indicate the anchor hanging with 1ft of chain from the bottom of the hanging down 12ft pipe. At this point, I cleat of the chain and pulled up the float that is near to me at the cockput, until the end of the 12ft pipe emerge, then cleat of the line, reach over and pull the anchor up.

Finally, anchor up on deck.

There you have it, anchor retrieved without leaving the cockpit. Now I am going to sit back, review the pictures and think about how I can make this whole process less painfully back breaking.

Really appreciate tips and comments from you fellow small craft sailors. Cheers for the new year!


1 Response to “Developing system for anchoring Eleanor”

  1. 1 Douglas
    December 28, 2009 at 7:36 am

    You might think about the mud that comes up on the chain and the anchor. If that mud dries in the tube and around the chain, it may prevent the chain from moving along inside the pipe.

    Some boats attach “trip” lines on the anchor, then a small float attached to the free end of that line.

    When leaving an anchoring spot, the trip line is lifted first and the anchor brought right up and chocked on deck, then the rest of the anchor line is brought in.

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Sailing 2015: Port Townsend(WA, US) -> Costes Island (BC, Canada)

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