Monday, July 14, 2014

Why Does My Anchor Come up Backwards?

After fixing this on 3 boats (mine was the first) I thought I would share something so obvious it is commonly overlooked. It's embarrassing to even explain it.

 There are many things that can twist the anchor, not the least of which is a shift in the wind. The easy, or at least obvious solution, is a swivel, but failures are not unusual; my SS swivel had a nice interior crack that I only noticed when I took it apart to replace the anchor. Many sailors have abandoned swivels for this reason, and then wondered if they made a mistake when the anchor came up reversed most of the time. Never fear.

Notice the nice straight chain. No twist.

When connecting the anchor, observe that there are 4 rotation options. Unless you considered this at the time, you had only 1 chance in 4 of getting it right.
  • If you are 180 degrees out of alignment, reattach the shackle, inverted.
  • If you are 90 degrees out of alignment, either add a shackle or trim one link.
The chain cannot rotate in the gypsy, thus, getting the twist right significantly improves the odds of the anchor coming up right way round, more so if the windlass is near the roller. Not 100% certain, but it will greatly improve the odds.


One other thing that helps. for that last half turn; go very slowly astern while pulling it up the last few feet. The speed of drift may be enough. Most modern anchor will naturally rotate to  face the current at just a fraction of a knot. Handy, since the boat will start to slide back as soon as the anchor clears the bottom anyway.


Why would you add an extra shackle? Because with G43 and higher chain, the size that will fit the anchor well and the size that will fit the chain may not be the same. Place the larger shackle with the bow in the slot (the attachment slot is designed to clear the pin bosses) and the smaller shackle with the pin (largest that will fit) through the last link. Nice and flexible, minimal side loading of shackles, which they hate.

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