Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thoughts on Anchoring

A fender can be seen floating the anchor chain
WARNING: The following section contains boat geek speak: you may wish to
skip this.

Yesterday, we re-anchored. We have been here for enough days to feel secure
that our anchor will hold. But this anchorage is covered in coral
heads/bommies. So our chain was firmly wrapped and recently the pulling on
the chain has been loud and annoying and preventing a good night's sleep.
Not to mention the wear and tear on the chain, damage to the coral, and
pressure on our bow roller. So, we raised the anchor, moved, and dropped the
hook again.

This time, we tied fenders onto our chain to float it a few meters about the
ground, thus preventing it from becoming wrapped around the coral heads. I
know...some of you boaters from home will talk about the loss of scope and
the catenary effect of this. But...when the chain is wrapped, you lose all
scope anyway, and with a vertical chain, the pressure on the chain and bow
is too great (and too loud) to be comfortable. We've only had to float the
chain one or two other times in the Tuamotus. But many of the cruising boats
have been using this technique throughout their travels.
If you're interested, here is what we've done: we tied the first fender
after we had laid out about 60 feet of chain, then another fender at 80
feet. We had a total of 100 feet of chain/rode in the water, in about 23
feet of water. The first float has been carried under by the weight of the
chain. The second float is just peeking out of the water. We feel this is a
good comprimise of maintaining the scope angle and enabling lots of shock
absorbing within the chain, while making it more difficult to catch the
chain on a coral head. This technique is debated among cruisers, so I
imagine it also to be a conversation among those reading. Our friends on SV
TOTEM have a good description of this technique on their blog - if you'd
like more info and pics, check it out here:

Last night was bliss. We had a good breeze all night, and still pulled as
usual, but the loud CLUNK and abrupt shock of the boat, of chain on coral
was absent. Hurray.

Liva and I explore the exposed reef


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Hi - thanks for leaving a comment on the blog! Cheers - John and Naomi