Lets dance.

Post number 4 in the anchoring series…i think.

In this series of posts i am up to the point where i am just about to try and anchor my Hunter Liberty WABI”’ for the first time and that didn’t go well because the gear was in a total mess…so my fault all round as per usual.  I knew straight away though that i would be changing all of that little boat’s anchoring gear because none of it was a ‘keeper’ in my estimation.  What i had was a small CQR anchor on a short length of 6mm chain and about 25 metres of stiff and work hardened 3 strand nylon warp.  Just for fun one time i took that gear out with me on an overnighter in the river and predictably we dragged a decent distance.   I haven’t written much about the CQR type on here because i have hardly any practical experience with them myself despite them being the dominant yacht anchor during my early sailing years.  In my one incident i just don’t think it counts because i rated the anchor and its gear all as under-spec.


Before i bought the Liberty i read as much as i could about the type and came across one article in a file which detailed what happened to one Liberty at anchor on a small Bruce in a windy Scottish sea loch.  Basically it dragged and the possible cause was the boat’s bad behaviour at anchor.  My experience with the boat is that it really wants to dance around its anchor in any wind.  What seems to happen is that wind acts on that forward mast and stack-pack and pushes the bow to leeward.  Being so light she will then sheer until she fetches up and then reverse the cycle sheering-off in the opposite direction.  With my much better anchoring gear she has never threatened to break out but that is possibly what happened on the under spec CQR that one time.

I did at one time have a similar problem with the Frances 26 when she wandered all over an anchorage on an awkward wind and tide and at the bend in the river where the tide direction tended to swirl around a bit.  The answer there was once again that it was my fault in that i just didn’t have enough chain in the rode to dampen the movement down and hadn’t yet learnt to bahamian-moor in that spot.  That whole problem was corrected just by going from 1 x boatlength of chain up to 2 x boatlength of the same weight of chain….i had plenty enough old chain laying around to experiment with.

You might guess, and would be right, that i did a fair amount of experiments with the Frances and her anchoring set-up and much of what i tried came from my time with multihulls which tend towards lightweight gear.  My own multihull was of course a Wharram Tiki 26 and i tried several different lightweight approaches to anchoring, mainly around using much less chain and much more warp.  The Wharram isn’t typical of multihulls in that it had quite long keels although very shallow.  It was generally a well behaved boat at anchor and i think the factors there were : long keels, low windage and generally shallow anchorages.  In deeper water i did have to deploy a long rode of at least 5:1 scope and that could mean a wide swinging circle.  I did mess around with an anchor ‘tamer’ at that time and brought that idea forward onto the Frances but the simplest solution was to double the chain for not much increase in overall weight. To be honest i should never have worried about the weight of my anchoring gear aboard the Frances except for being careful about the stowage of that weight…..hint…not on or under the bow !

In the next post i will deal with some of the things i have tried to deal with excessive sheering at anchor, for now i want to complete my evolution in anchors and gear to bring that up to date with my last boat and Inanda.

WABI”’ anchored and beached last year.


WABI”’ my Hunter Liberty was my solution to the problems of having a boat that would suit the river where i live and the kind of sailing that i actually like to do now.  Furthermore the development of this little boat was all about finding my own solutions and ‘going my own way’ rather than copying anything that had been done before.  The contrast there is with the Frances 26 which was heavily influenced by Lyn and Larry Pardey’s boats.         With the Liberty i had a whole new world of sailing opened up ie being confident to push way up shallow rivers and creeks and of course beach her whenever i wanted to.  Her small size and simple gear also allowed me to experiment with things such as anchors and to not have to worry about cost.  I did initially buy a cheap D type anchor at 8kg and found both chain and warp in the workshop although at the same time i did a lot more reading-up about modern anchors.   I decided to try 2 modern anchors and both what i think of as ‘BPR’ (blade, plate and rollbar) anchors : the Rocna and the Manson.  The 6kg Rocna seemed perfectly adequate for nearly all conditions but as you know i like to sail and anchor at both ends of the year and have frequently had to anchor in windier and strongly tidal situations so i bought the slightly heavier 7kg Manson as well. I think now that the Rocna was the right size for the Liberty and the Manson over-spec, i don’t have any problem with that because my anchoring was secure in some hard conditions and i now use the Manson (Marilyn) aboard Inanda.

For the rest of her anchoring gear i chose very high specification 7mm chain and once again 2 x boatlength and shackled to 40 metres of weighted warp.  That all lives in a bag in aWABI’s anchor well but can easily come aft when i go coastal or offshore.  As many will know i also messed about with several different methods of anchoring from the stern as WABI”’ has a great cockpit but almost no foredeck.  I did perfect a method that i liked but ultimately found that i really didn’t need it in most conditions that i sail and anchor in.   My experience so far with Rocky and Marilyn is that they are both very good and reliable anchors that bite and set very quickly.  The only problem i have had so far is the one in Chichester when the 7kg Manson anchor set so well and got buried such that i couldn’t break it out.  The final part of my experiments with WABI’s anchoring gear was the pilot-boat style round fairlead which was a partial success but not perfect.

Inanda at anchor before my embarrassing problem with Marilyn.


Inanda doesn’t have a fully worked out and permanent anchoring set-up at the moment. For the delivery voyage from Ipswich i used the 7kg Manson shackled to the boat’s own 8mm chain (25 metres) and spliced-in warp.  The Manson anchor seems to be a good size for Inanda so far and generally hasn’t been a problem to handle.  I have had to heave Inanda up to her anchor several times in tide and of course that is harder because she is 3+ tons rather than a ton and a half.  The Manson does then take longer to rotate and break out, i suspect because it sets harder and deeper.   So far all i have done with the gear is to mark the rode in 5 metre increments , make temporary stowage for the hook and temporary stowage below for the chain and warp.

The bow is a bit cluttered, a chain roller each side seems ok although i think the design could be better long term.


Manson 7kg on 25 metres of 8mm chain and about the same of Nylon warp.


Temporary rode stowage at the mast base, the warp is tied around the heel of the mast in a round-turn and half-hitches.


The fore-hatch is right where i need to work so i tend to heave the anchor up from near the mast and aft of the hatch. Future modifications may include moving the hawse pipe aft to just above the chain bucket, adding a clapper plate to help me with the chain and maybe one large dedicated anchor cleat.  What i must to soon is make up some nice chocks for the anchor near the port shrouds which is where Marilyn lives at sea.


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