Which of These Anchors is a Good Choice For Most Recreational Boats?
Plow-style anchors: Due to their excellent adhesion to a variety of bottom conditions, including rocky ones, these anchors are a solid option for the majority of recreational boats. Claw, grapnel, and wing anchors are only a few of the several additional types of anchors.
When launching a sailboat with stepped masts, the most effective anchors are those shaped like a plow or a grapnel. A giant parachute will also help with force generation when the wind strikes a riding sail from the side. However, if you’re unsure of the proper anchor for the situation, here are three options to consider.
Plow-shaped or grapnel-type anchors
Plow-shaped grapnels are the most common anchors when launching a sailboat with lowered masts. A plow is slender, angled rode that quickly penetrates a bottom, such as kelp, weed, or rock. A claw is a more versatile anchor type that works well in rocky, sandy, or mud bottoms. They are also quick to set but may not be effective in thick vegetation or robust currents. Plows and grapnels are also challenging to stow when not in use. Some come with collapsible designs.
When launching a sailboat with a lifting mast, it is recommended that you use a plow-shaped or grappling-type anchor. Plow-shaped anchors land on their sides and right themselves when pulled. They are strong but are not as efficient as plow anchors. In addition, plow-shaped anchors are typically less durable and do not work well in vegetation.
Another type of anchor is the kedge. This type has pointy grapnel-like flukes and is the most popular choice for sailboats with raised masts. Kedges also hold better in soft, rocky, or coral bottoms. In addition, these anchors are usually smaller and more accessible to store than other types of anchors.
A grapnel-type anchor is a little more cumbersome than a Fluke anchor. It is easier to store but maybe a bit harder to handle. While a Plow anchor is a little bit easier to install, it is harder to use than a Fluke anchor.
If your sailboat is over 16 feet long, you should choose a fluke-type anchor. These are ideal for smaller sailboats but do not hold very well in hard bottoms. The fluke anchor is a light, easy-to-use anchor with excellent holding power. They are usually made from high-strength steel.
A plow-shaped or grapnel-type anchor is also the best choice when launching a sailboat with lowered masts. These are generally lighter than other anchors and have teeth that dig into the bottom. Moreover, they are easy to release and work well on sandy seabeds. However, they can get stuck if the seabed is rocky, and mud can stick to the flukes and prevent the anchor from digging into the bottom.
When launching a sailboat with a high mast, a giant parachute is needed to avoid the sag of a heavy mast. A small parachute may get fouled or turned inside out, and the boat might lose its balance while swinging from the bow to the stern. A giant parachute will anchor the boat during a steady gale and reduce storm time.
A drogue must be a minimum of three to five feet in diameter. The standard 21-inch cone is ineffective. Using the proper drogue size can save a crew member’s life, allowing the sailboat to lie dead in the water. Once launched, the drogue will pull the boat through the water, reducing the peak load while holding the boat steady.
Wind striking a riding sail from the side creates more force.
When launching a sailboat with a lifting mast, the wind must strike the riding or flying jib at a right angle to the boat’s length. The wind that strikes the riding sail off the side creates more force than that which strikes the sail directly on the side. As a result, sailors often argue about the size of the anchor.
Wind striking a riding sail from the side creates more force when launching a sailing boat with a raised mast. The best way to avoid this is to point the bow away from the eye of the wind. Then, use the Beaufort Scale to gauge the force of the wind. This scale, named after Admiral Beaufort, measures the force of the wind and how strong it is.
Keeping a boat anchored or moored while raising the sails
While you’re anchored or moored, you may have the urge to raise the sails and want to avoid the swing. Keeping a sailboat anchored or moored while raising the sails is easier said than done. The mainsail will rise most of the way without too much effort and require a bit of pulling to reach the desired height. You can make the process a little easier by keeping the mainsheet semi-taut. This will prevent the sailboat from flapping, and the mainsheet will act as a steadying sail for the moment.