Monday, May 7, 2018

100 Best--Chapter 17


In honor of my new book, Rigging Modern Anchors, Which became available in print in September 2018, I present an assortment of best anchoring "Best Deals."

About twice as thick as climbing webbing, Chafepro wears 4 times as long. The material and weave is very similar.

96. Tubular Webbing for Chafe Protection. Over the years, I've tested a number of products for docking lines, snubbers, and anchor rodes, both in the lab and in the field. Chafe Pro  makes the best webbing guard (Chafe Sleeve). Though far more expensive than climbing webbing, it is what I would use if building my own mooring pendant. It is what Yale uses on their excellent Maximoor pendants. For all other uses, climbing webbing is a super value.

Climbing webbing also makes a fine thimble substitute for everything but rough galvanized mooring eyes.  It can't pop out and it can't damage the rope if it gets sideways.

97. Dinghy Anchor. Mantus remains in a league of its own by offering the only new generation anchor offered in small sizes. Want a bargain? Look a the 4-pound Lewmar Claw for just $22. There is even a 2.5-pound claw for just $12, perfect for kayak fishing.

Have one of those Danforth-only shallow lockers? Though not cheap, Mantus is coming out with 8-pound and 13-pound versions that come apart in seconds without tools. I've testing this one for 6 months, and there is a lot to like.

98. Grade 43 Chain. I don't understand grade 30 chain. Perhaps someday soon grade 70 will become common place and I will say "don't don't understand grade 43 chain," so if you want to move to grade 70, you have my blessing (do make certain all of the fittings match). After much testing, I thoroughly understand the function and limitations of catenary. As a result, I would rather carry an extra 5 pounds of anchor every day. There is a narrow little window where heavy chain can eliminate the need for a snubber, somewhere between nice winds and a fresh breeze, if the water is 12-20 feet deep, and you don't mind a little more pitching at anchor and underway. Less wind or deeper water and lighter chain is enough. More wind and it makes no difference either way.

Lewmar Claw. I don't like playing favorites in a topic where everyone has a favorite.

99. Best Anchor. No, I won't join this debate. That said, I tested quite a few and I found a lot to like about many of them.
  • Fortress. Absolutely miserable on rocks, in weeds, and in cobbles. Absolutely unbeatable in soft mud, where it is needed the most. I'm not sure I would use it is my best bower unless I lived in a real soupy mud area, but as a kedge and secondary in most areas it has no equal. The light weight is a huge plus when you are rowing it out. Tip: use only 3-5 feet of chain; heavier chain actually inhibits the setting of Fortress anchors. This also makes it easier to break the anchor out without scraping up your topsides. Then add a 15-foot chafe leader made from Dyneema covered with tubular webbing. Very light, very easy to handle.
  • Lewmar Claw. Holding in most bottoms is poor on a weight basis, but it is also quite economical, making it a very good buy, from a point of view. I like the smaller sizes for dinghy and kayak anchors; no sharp corners, economical pricing, and reasonable holding on any bottom. Also very good for hammerlock moorings, since it very predictably creates some drag and always sets at least a little, even at very short scope.
  • Mantus. The best of the new generation for hard bottoms, though perhaps not the best at short scope or in medium soils. Surprisingly, though, it has performed well in soupy mud, as well as anything other than Fortress.
  • Manson Supreme and Rocna. Their reputation is well earned. Also Spade, but man, are they expensive in the US.
  • Northill Utility. If only it didn't have that pesky second fluke sticking right up out of the bottom, ready to foul the rode, it would be one of my favorites. On the other hand, I've found it to set fast in any bottom and hold very dependably, even on boats too big for a 10-pound anchor. I used on on my Stiletto 27 for years, used it in testing on the PDQ 23/34. and used it on the Corsair F-24 until I got my hands on the Mantus 13-pound anchor.
(cover image not yet set.)

100. Book on Anchoring. False modesty would ring false. I'm the first to admit that my writing skills are rudimentary at best. I can get words on paper and organize them well enough that I can understand them, but little more than that. However, I am proud of the extensive testing that went into this book, and that it is the most technically comprehensive book of its type. Virtually everything was tested quantitatively and every bit of best-practice and dockside-wisdom was dissembled to its irreducible parts. While there is some smaller-boat research that didn't meet the publishing cut-off, and there are certainly things about anchoring I don't know, there is a lot in this book and none of it is guesswork. It is the best I can offer, and perhaps the best any non-fiction author can do. Just the facts.

This also brings me to the end of my promised "100 Best Deals." I have every intention of following this up with a second hundred items under the provisional title "200 Best Deals," but I need to ruminate on that for a while and collect fresh thoughts.

Meanwhile, go sailing, and enjoy reading Rigging Modern Anchors after you have anchored down securely in some out of the way cove.


Finally, a bonus tip. When anchoring in a crowded harbor, maximize space by staggering your placement relative to other boats.  Lower the anchor about one rode length plus one boat length off the beam of the next boat. Simple.

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