From type of anchor and things to consider when buying an anchor, to parts of an anchor and letting go and pulling up
There are several different types of anchor that might be on the boat together with the chain and warp.
Before choosing an anchor consider:
The amount of chain and warp used must be far more than the depth of water to allow a good length of chain to lie on the seabed. This provides a horizontal pull on the anchor that makes it dig in. If too little scope is let out the boat may drag its anchor at high water. By marking the chain and warp in some way makes it easier to prepare the correct amount.
With chain, use four times the maximum depth and with a combination of chain and warp use six times. This means that it is important to allow plenty of room behind the boat when anchoring and for the swing, remembering that not all boat will turn at the same time. Yachts will lie with the tidal stream and motor boats more often to the wind.
The warp or chain is usually measured in either metres or feet. Let out enough scope for the maximum depth at high tide, using the following a minimum guide:
Heavy chain will provide greater security than warp, but puts a lot of weight into the bows and may be difficult to let go or pull up by hand.
REMEMBER: Anchors and chains are potentially dangerous. Wear gloves and sensible footwear. Keep fingers and hands away from moving chain.
Some boaters use an electric windlass to drop and pull up their anchor however if you don’t have an electric windlass you need to let go and pull the anchor up by hand. Heavy chain needs to be handled with extreme care. The skipper should have the engine running, ready to motor forward or astern if required.
If there is a problem with lifting the anchor then try breaking it out using the engine, having secured the chain to a cleat.
When working with the anchor and chain it is important to be aware of the weight that can be involved, even when a windlass is used.
For advice on using a windlass to drop and pull up your anchor read the RYA’s Yacht Sailing Techniques book by Jeremy Evans.
Vaughan Marsh, RYA Chief Instructor, Sail Cruising comments: “All of the above is really good advice and the RYA’s recognised training centres that offer cruising courses will also be able to give you further advice, or you may wish to sign up for a practical course and put the theory in to practice! Happy anchoring.”
Extracts and information taken from RYA Day Skipper Handbook – Sail, by Sara Hopkinson and RYA Yacht Sailing Techniques, by Jeremy Evans. To pick up a copy of these and other great RYA Publications visit the RYA Shop.
Find out more about RYA Training Courses