Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chesapeake City – At anchor

Looking west from Chesapeake City
Today was a day to watch boats attempt to anchor. This afternoon we noticed the powerboat off our starboard side a little closer than before. Sure enough we notice the captain up on deck looking the situation over and he decided to reanchor. Up comes the anchor (covered extensively with mud – the harbor was just dredged this past year, the bottom is soft) and he tries further in. He started to slip again and up comes the anchor a 2nd time. Now he tries off to the left and once again drags. He tries the right side, again he drags. Finally he puts out two anchors and apparently one of them held and he looks secure now.

Looking east
He was followed by a second boat that attempted to anchor for over an hour. He had a dinky anchor not fit the trawler he had. Of course it wouldn’t hold in this soft mud. After four attempts all over the anchorage, he finally wound up taking a dock. I just can’t understand how otherwise rational people become irrational when it comes to anchor selection.

When I had my previous boat, I had an anchor (a 35 lb Delta) that had never let me down but I was determined to get the best possible anchor for my new Beneteau. I did not depend upon my limited personal experience but consulted all the independent anchor holding tests ( PS where the Spade anchor was rated #1 overall in sand and mud even though they tested the aluminum model which only weighed 17 lbs, another test by PMY gave similar results) with the result that the Spade anchor consistently came out on top in holding power, setting ability and lack of dragging after a wind shift when resetting in a different direction. I’ll never understand people who blindly follow their past, limited experience when better anchors are out there as independently tested under real conditions. I can only conclude that many people are not rational but choose based on emotion.

Based on the anchor tests, I have a 45 lb Spade anchor with 60 feet of 3/8 inch BBB chain, heavy enough to provide a good catenary so the pull on the anchor is more nearly horizontal to the harbor bottom, a good direction for maximum holding. Needless to say, I had no problem anchoring here and have never dragged, ever with my present ground tackle.

We are still awaiting good weather and it’s looking more and more like Friday or even Saturday, we’ll see.