from the

          Sailnet Tayana List



    My T-37 carries one 44lb Rigid SuperMax with 200 feet of 3/8 inch BBB chain as primary and one 45lb CQR with 60 feet of 5/16 inch Hi-Strength chain on 200 feet of Pelican Double Braid line as secondary. Both are carried on bronze rollers mounted near the end of the bowsprit. A 35lb Danforth with twenty feet of 5/16th-inch Hi-Strength chain on 150 feet of 5/8th-inch three-strand line is carried on the stern. Stowed below is a 70lb breakdown Fisherman Storm anchor on 20 feet of 3/8th-inch BBB chain.  Additional lines stowed below are two 300-foot sections of 5/8 inch three-strand with spliced thimbles at all ends.

    All three anchors, but especially the SuperMax, set very well in the thick mud and clay bottoms found throughout the
Chesapeake Bay (I have yet to deploy the Fisherman). In the sometimes scoured, sandy bottoms of the Bahamas however, I relied on the CQR for peace of mind ... the SuperMax did not seem as eager to bury itself.

    With the anchor rollers mounted near the end of the bowsprit I haven't had a problem with either bobstay or whisker stay interference. The downside to such a mounting is, of course, greater force applied to the end of the bowsprit. Because of this, unless the forecast is for absolute calm, I bridle the anchor chain with approximately forty feet of 3/4 inch three-strand that has been middled with a thimble spliced in, which is chain-hooked to the chain (and moused on), the two legs of which are led through the forward chocks and secured to the forward deck cleats and then the Samson Posts. This slacks the chain to the bowsprit and relieves the load on the windlass. The anchor bridle also includes two 3/4 inch rubber 'snubbers' for shock absorption.

    The windlass, a Simpson-Lawrence manual, is mounted astride the bowsprit just forward of the inner forestay, and has a chain gypsy to starboard for the primary, a rope gypsy to port for the secondary (the chain for the secondary comes aboard the old-fashioned way ... hand-over-hand).  Both chain and rope leads are very fair to the windlass with only the forward roller.

    If anyone has found a way to keep the anchor chain away from the bobstay when wind and current conspire to do otherwise, I will be an avid listener.

    As for the inevitable and constant changes to a boat's inventory, friends that have been cruising the Caribbean for four years in their T-37 swear by a 65lb CQR and it is on my list ... probably replacing the SuperMax for eventual off shore cruising. One reason for replacing it is the difficulty of stowing it securely and I have had to affix stainless striker plates on the bowsprit to prevent damage as it is brought up on the rollers. Also, on two occasions offshore in heavy weather, wave action has dislodged the SuperMax allowing the shank to ride on the whisker stay. The 'peening' effect has required the starboard whisker stay to be twice replaced.

    As far as performance, with the CQR well set in a clay-mud bottom in the St. Mary's River and all 200 feet of chain out in 20 feet of water, we experienced a tornadic front passage with sustained winds of 70+ knots for approximately twenty minutes and all that happened to the anchor was that it just buried itself deeper. The initial heeling response to the winds brought the spreaders within ten feet of the water and everything on deck that wasn't secured cascaded overboard ... including the windlass handle. That's how I know how well the anchor was buried.

Gray Creager               S/V aerandir                                                                               May 2000



    The folks on the "" newgroup are getting together for their second bulk purchase of SPADE anchors (super rated by Prac Sailor) from the French Company who manufacturers them in Tunisia. The group price is about 30% less than 'boat store' prices. If interested, go to the newsgroup and/or make contact with Glen Ashmore ( It might be too late for this pallet shipment, and then again it might not, so ya gotta ask. I just committed to a 44lb. steel Spade, for less than $500 - reg. boat cat. price is $700.

Rich Hampel                                                                                                              April 2002



    I had the chain stacking problem until I switched from 3/8th proof to 5/16th high test. It seems to flake down much better and is smaller. When I have a lot of chain out (150 feet or more), I ensure that the chain in the anchor locker is ready to accept a big pile (the rest is flaked around where the big pile will fall). I only have 180 feet of chain. If you have more than 200 feet of chain, the problem may not be fixable. The anchor locker is just not big enough.


    Concerning the washdown system, I teed-in both fresh and salt water and have used nothing but fresh over the last 20,000 miles. The anchor chain life is greatly extended plus the decks are washed better and actually dry compared to salt water (ever see them magically become wet again from salt water at dusk as the humidity rises?). The bilges are never subjected to salt water and its corrosive effects. Even hosing off a completely muddied chain and anchor every two or three days, I manage 2 weeks between water fill-ups. Of course, doing this really depends on your cruising grounds...

Wayne Strausbaugh      V-42    C/C      RESTLESS                                                      Sep 2002



    Check my windless setup in the photos on the FTP site: , then V-42_CC_Restless/Simpson
Lawrence 1500 winch in V-42.jpg.  The windlass is a Simpson Lawrence 1500. Small, an easy retrofit, and seems to have enough power. You actually end up with more room in the anchor locker.  Like Bill, I had to epoxy-fill the four old mounting holes, then re-drill new mounting holes, but did not have to change the hawse hole, the mounting board, or anything else.

    I use a 45 # Super Max with 5/16th high tensile chain. I like it much better than my old Tayana-supplied CQR knock-off. Your Grand Deer windlass is a Simpson Lawrence 555 knock-off. A SL gypsy will fit it if you decide to change chain size. The SS post is standard on all of them. Rubbing on the SS plate forward of the bow locker is normal. I believe that is the only reason the plate is there. I drop my anchor from the cockpit using the electric windlass without opening up the bow locker. It always seems to amaze other skippers as the chain runs neatly right out of the deck....

Wayne Strausbaugh   V-42     C/C       RESTLESS                                                      Nov 2002




    I've got a T37 with the original GD windlass. From what I've read, they used the same windlass on the V42.  When I bought the boat, the existing 3/8PC chain didn't fit the gypsy properly,  either.  I took the gypsy down to the chandlery and tried all the chain buckets to see what fit best. The answer was 5/16HT.  I replaced my chain and all is well now; the windlass works perfectly.  Somebody else on this site came up with a remarkably low price of around $1.80 per foot for 5/16HT, far less than I paid.  I think the article with their source was printed in the last TOG issue.


    I've got a 60# Bruce anchor.  Kamaloha had the original 45# CQR when I bought it, but I've always had trouble trying to get a CQR to set properly in hard coral sand.  The Bruce is like glue and has been far easier to set, in my opinion.


    I figure someday I'll upgrade to an electric windlass too, but it is down on the list.


Charlie             T-37 Kamaloha                                                                                   Nov 2002



    I've used the 45# SuperMax from southern
Florida northward to the Bay of Fundy. But mostly in mud and a couple times in sand and shell. It tends to grab the bottom right away. You can't afford to be backing down very fast because it sets instantly in hard mud and mud/sand. You could possibly damage the windlass because the boat stops quick! That's one of the reasons I bought it. It sets on very short scope and tends to reset with no problem when the current shifts. It tends to set a little better than my Tayana/Grand Deer CQR in really soft mud but it still requires letting it settle in over 10 to 15 minutes prior to backing down for a set. I have had it foul on heavy grass a couple of times and refuse to set (it came up with a LOT of grass). Bottom line: a very good anchor in mud.


     Additional info added May 2005:  I have since anchored in the Florida Keys in hard sand with grass and dragged my SuperMax numerous times in a thunderstorm.  I dragged ¼ to 1/3 NM in total.  The SuperMax was set to the intermediate or mud/sand setting.  The manual recommends the sand only setting for those conditions.  In reality, even though an anchor is adjustable, rarely will it be changed.  I thought the anchor may have become clogged with grass, but it came up clean.  We tried to set this anchor on at least 5 occasions between thunderstorms and were unable to get a good enough set to keep from dragging every time in 40-knot winds.  Very disappointing…  I looked on the SuperMax website and it appears that the fixed version of their anchor is in the same position as mine.  Anybody using the SuperMax in the Caribbean?


Wayne Strausbaugh   V-42     C/C       RESTLESS                                                      Nov 2002



     One thing I forgot to mention about the 45# SuperMax is that it is not easy to stow on the bow rollers of a V-42. It's bottom is very narrow as compared to the wide, flat bottom of my CQR. The SuperMax tends to wobble from side-to-side when stowed and must be braced or have a SS pin run through it to stabilize it. I drilled a hole in the stock and used a pin (the manufacturer said no problem). The flukes are also close to the cove stripe at the bow (like an inch away) and I have really banged up the fiberglass when releasing/stowing the anchor. It might be OK on a T-37.  Don't know which Tayana you have.

Wayne Strausbaugh      V-42    C/C      RESTLESS                                                      Nov 2002



    I have a T37 and I have wondered about stowing the MAX. I was reading about it on their web site and they say that "Max anchors have recently been improved. They now have a shank that allows more depth when resting on a bow roller and which has caused the fluke to be further away from the stem of the boat." I wonder if you have one of these? They don't say when the new version was "launched" but it sounds like it might fit the Tayana 37 better than the older model.  I am also wondering how it compares to the Delta 44 in it's shanks size since I made my bow roller to fit a delta.  Thanks for the info.

Ray Slaninka                Red Bank, NJ                                                                         Nov 2002



    Got my anchor in 1996 or 97 so it is probably the older, shorter type. At least they recognized the problem.


   Wayne                                                                                                                   Nov 2002



Creative Max (SuperMax) website

I found them using the Google search engine.

Ray Slaninka                Red Bank, NJ                                                                          Nov 2002


    What I have to report is *W*O*W* does the spade set well. I have the 44# steel version.  I had stupidly anchored in a tidal bore inside
Cape May on the Atlantic  Coast .... tired, just wanting to go to sleep etc. & forgot the tide changes and the swift tidal current where I had anchored, etc. when a storm blew up during the night. I was on 35 ft of chain and 75 ft. of  Nylon ...... and that spade reset itself continually during about 30-45 pirouettes per hour in hard-pan sand. I had a riding sail mounted to the backstay with a full tidal flow from the stern & the wind howling onto the bow .... all the time the boat was making wild 360 degree gyrations. Dropping the riding sail didn’t help much. I sat up on deck at "anchor watch" which after two hours I simply fell asleep at the wheel.  At every pirouette the spade simply reset itself.... quite a trial. Total drag for the two hours of constantly breaking out and resetting was only about 100 ft.

    The spade needs only about 5:1 scope to set whereas my CQR needed 7-10 scope just to set.  Do I like my spade anchor? .... a definite YES. It has even set in loose shells (where my CQR has failed miserably). I typically anchor on marl bottom, mud, grass, sand, shells etc. I haven’t had any use in rocky bottoms. So far, its one of the best setting anchors I’ve ever had. It resets quickly, fairly easy to break loose. I've already sold my main CQR and have another 25# CQR lunch hook for sale.  Since the
US$ has fallen significantly versus the European currencies, you can expect now to pay a lot more for a spade.

You'll have to contact Glen direct - I think his website is

Regards,  Rich Hampel                                                                                           January 2003



    Glen has established a small business for distributing the Spade Anchors. He apparently now routinely imports them. His web site is

    Price for a 44-pound (not including shipping?) is $555.

Harvey                                                                                                                  January 2003



Harvey, Rich:

    Thanks guys. I realized after sending the email that Glenn sells them. I emailed him about it and he responded quickly even though it was Sunday.  Here's his response to my question about the 44# Spade vs. the 44# Delta on a 24,000lb boat:


    The S100 is roughly equal to the Delta 44. It will have a higher average holding power than the Delta but Spade rates their anchors very conservatively. With your dry weight of 24000 lb. you are getting close to the upper end of the recommended range for the S100. I would be inclined to recommend the 66 lb. S140 or the 33 lb. A140. Either would put your boat at the low end of the range for either anchor and give you a large safety margin. In this particular case, I think the aluminum A140 would be the best choice. It has the same holding power as the steel model but is a lot easier to handle and will put less mass out on the bow. (It is also a heck of a lot easier to get back on board when the windlass craps out.) The heavier S140 will set slightly faster in harder bottoms but in my experiments comparing S100s and A100s, the difference is hard to notice.

    Keep in mind that the weights are "nominal". The principle behind Spade's holding power is geometry, not weight. The fluke and shank are a matched set. Each anchor is assembled and individually balanced at a specific angle by casting lead into the tip. The weight may vary as much as 2 or 3 pounds.

    I do have both an S140 and an A140 in stock. The S140 sells for $845 and the A140 is $880. Shipping would be $44 for the S140 and $32 for the A140.


    Rich, what do think of Glenn's response regarding sizing the anchor? I wonder how conservative is the rating on Spades?

    Rich, I too just sold my 45# CQR. I am selling my 44# Delta too. Anybody want it? Although I really like the Delta, I decided I would sleep better with a 55# Delta and then maybe a Spade or Super Max as a second anchor. I'm not crazy about the Delta or any plow in soft mud, but for everything else it is a great anchor for the money.

    I suspect you were anchored off the Coast Guard station in
Cape May. That's a great testament to the Spade.

Regards, Ray Slaninka  S/V Lorna Doone                                                              January 2003




    I recall that Walter Bruj had suggested Certex as an inexpensive source of chain. They have an outlet in Santa Fe Springs, near Los Angeles. They quoted a price of $1.69 a foot for ACCO brand 5/16" HT. That is considerably less expensive than West Marine or Boat US for the exact same item.


Harvey                                                                                                               February 2003



    I have 5/16" HT 225'. It is a good compromise between weight and strength. But remember that what holds your boat at anchor is the WEIGHT of the chain, not the strength. So, some people recommend carrying the heaviest chain you can. 3/8" or bigger is better in that regard. If I didn't have a bow fuel tank I might have considered 3/8" chain but if your windlass craps out it would be a bear to weigh! Many people, even with larger boats carry 5/16 HT (grade4). But I remember reading a story about a man who weathered a huge storm in Chile and he felt that the only reason his boat survived at anchor was because he had 1/2" chain down. That's a lot of weight.


    Another consideration is "where are your cruising grounds"? For sailing the Pacific, you'll want more chain than say in the Caribbean. So more chain, more weight, bigger chain, even more weight.  Three years ago when I bought my chain, I paid $975 for a full drum, 550', from Tanton Yachts. 10% over cost plus shipping. I split it with a friend. I kept 300'. 225 for the main anchor and 75' for the secondary anchor. However I might change the secondary length to 20' and the rest 5/8" nylon 3 strand so I can use the capstan on the winch for most of the haul when I use 2 anchors. I assume your windlass has a gypsy on one side and a capstan on the other like mine.  Also, don't forget to get a good snubber. I like the snubber/hook that sells better than the ABI plate. I own both.


Good Luck       Ray Slaninka                                                                                 February 2003



    Regarding the weight of chain issue: Anyone here use an anchor sentinel? That is supposed to increase the effectiveness of the anchor by holding the chain down while not being as heavy as a larger chain. After all, it's not really the WEIGHT of the chain as much as the ANGLE OF INCIDENCE of the chain pulling on the anchor, is it? Or do I misunderstand the issue?


Charlie             s/v Kamaloha                                                                                February 2003



    Safety at Sea Committee of the Sailing Foundation conducted anchor tests on five selected sites around Puget Sound, a lot of good info. I'm looking at Bruce 66 for 200.00 bucks as a storm anchor on a T-37, as it's the Pilot House with a little more windage, I was thinking the 66# would work well but this test doesn't rate the Bruce that highly. The Performance 35 or the Fortress 37 were at the top.  I know all tests are subjective but the numbers are twice as high in holding power... Any inputs ??


Bill McMullen                                                                                                      November 2004


My two cents:

I own a T48 and have considerable experience with anchoring all types of boats with a variety of anchors. I anchor in mud and sand/kelp mostly.

The best 'all purpose' primary anchor IMO -- and the one I use -- is the Bugel anchor.

I did head to head tests with CQR in mud spinning the boat at mid RPM 180 degrees. Bugel held perfectly whereas the CQR did not. The Bugel anchor has fantastic burying characteristics (long sharp flat fluke, sharp shank, concentrated weight at fluke end, etc.).

On mud bottoms with reversing currents I would often always have problems (real or imaginary:-) using Danforth/Fortress, Plows and Bruce type anchors whereas the Bugel gave a solid set with superb holding power.

The primary anchor should be 'all purpose'. I use Fortress anchors as secondary.

The Bugel is very expensive (in polished stainless) and should come with the Wasi swivel joint. But for the insurance and comfort of a good night's sleep I don't think you can beat it.

BTW, I've anchored with Delta plows well over 100 times and don't recommend them. You need lots of patience to allow the anchor to slowly set. Backing down too hard on plows will not set the anchor in soft surface bottoms.

Recommend snubbing up at 2:1 scope (drifting back) and waiting 30 minutes after full scope is deployed before checking with throttle.

Two anchors off the same rode (Fortress 25-30' ahead of Bugel) linked by chain is an awesome combination for high holding in inclement weather.

BTW, Practical Sailor was unable to get a hold of a Bugel for their head to head anchor tests...too bad.

Be jolly,

Arnstein Mustad

Master & US Sailing Passage Making Instructor

Melges 24 USA 352 & Tayana 48, s/v Jolly Tar                                                    November 2004

Encinal Yacht Club / Club Nautique

Founder of "San Francisco Sailing Yahoo Group" (est. 1999), click here

Jolly Tar Racing Team web site (invite required):


    Well, my 44# Bruce held Kamaloha through 120kt winds and the direction flip as the eye of Ivan passed overhead, as many other boats dragged and beached.  The bottom was volcanic sand / silt / thin grass, and the anchor was thoroughly buried and visually inspected. I've never tried to anchor in rock or seaweed, and mud per se is hard to find in the Caribbean, too. I was on a 10:1 scope of 5/16 HT with a nylon-bridled snubber.

    I've never dragged the Bruce. I have dragged the CQR which preceded it several times. I've also been known to use a Danforth in grassy conditions.

HTH,Charlie     s/v Kamaloha,  T37 #542                                                              November 2004


    John – I sometimes had the same problem with my ABI chain grabber. I had to make sure I kept adequate tension on the snubber lines to make sure it didn’t fall off as I started to lower the anchor. I concluded it was caused by not having enough tension on the grabber and/or not having the two snubber lines length equally set to the cleats. I ended up purchasing a Devils Claw chain grabber. That solved any issue with the grabber coming off while either lowering or at anchor. As a mater of fact, the claw will stay on the chain without any pressure at all. I’ll usually keep the claw just below the surface in calm conditions and have two 30 foot lines spliced to it so I can easily let out more line and chain if conditions get worse. One of the other benefits I discovered is that I could offset the snubber lines to keep the chain from strumming against the bobstay. I purchased the Devils Claw through Best Marine at a cost of $65.00. Their website is


Dennis                                                                                                              November 2004


    Jeff, we use a 55# Delta Fast Set after years of multiple sets with the 45 CQR. We like the Fast Set much better. It sets on the first try every time. Also the thin shank presents no problem for the roller guide......


Joe Ghiotti & Terri Leone    S/V Gale Rider    V42-CC     HN 091                           December 2004


    Well, 5/16 HT held Kamaloha through Ivan. Locals in the bay tell me the winds were 125kts just before the eye passed. So I think it is plenty strong... and you can easily fit 300' in half the available locker space (I keep 50' chain plus 300' rode in the port half, 275' chain in the stbd half. Being in the Caribbean I only anchor with all chain unless I HAVE to set the second hook. Much safer with all of the coral about.)


HTH , Charlie                                                                                                     December 2004


   Your V-42 must have a different bow roller setup than ours. We carry a 45# CQR and a 20kg Bruce together just fine.


Harry & Melinda Schell            S/V Sea Schell                                                      December 2004


    Has anyone found a long lasting way to mark anchor chain? Previous owner used nylon ties every twenty feet. 1 for 20, 2 for 40 etc. Over time, the ties would break when going through the windlass.

    Has anyone found a more improved way to mark the rode? It's nice to have a fairly accurate idea of how much rode is in the water.

thanks, John Hovan      s/v Celtic Dream                    March 2005



Subject:  Anchor Chain Marking

    Just a data point, I'm working on installing a anchor rode counter for Sojourn that will count the anchor rode in feet as it spools out and hold the count on a low cost digital display in the pilot house. Everything on the bow is water tight, it's just a small magnet and a reed switch. It turns out it's about a foot around the outside of a Windlass Gypsy, as the magnet doesn't require any wiring it's attached to the drum, each time it goes by the reed switch it's a contact to ground and the meter in the Pilot House counts 1 foot. it doesn't count up and down, you put out the required scope by the feet on the readout, when it's time to pull up, you note the feet hit reset button to zero the display and then it will count the feet as the anchor comes up. I had this one installed on my last boat and it's pretty cool, you know how far down you are, you know when your off the bottom and you know how far the anchor is from the boat when coming up. Oh, by the way, it's less then 40 bucks for everything, it's uses so little current it's not a factor, the hard part is building your own housing for the display... I think they cost a few hundred bucks to buy an anchor counter but their way over engineered with all kinds of bells and more information than you really need. If anybody wants one, I'll see if I can did out the info on where to get the parts.

Ventura Bill      Sojourn            T37PH 372                                                                March 2005


    I saw at the Newport boat show 2 years in a row one of the windlass suppliers tooled up plastic clips that clipped on to chain. They would withstand trips through the wildcat without damage. They came is colors and are specific to the chain size. Since I have not purchased chain yet, I did not bother to keep track of who it was. I am sure if you searched the windlass suppliers you would find them.

Andy                                                                                                                      March 2005


Hi Nick,

    Wonderful idea. It will also help oil the teak decks with an SAE 140 gear oil. I always liked the idea of having black decks in the semi-tropics.

    My main anchor is a 45# CQR. At present it only has about 60 feet of 3/8" chain, with about 120-140' of nylon (?1/2" or 5/8" - I have notes on it somewhere around here, but can't recall at the moment). I plan to change that setup to 300' of 5/16" HT when we cruise up north, with about 200' nylon. When down here in Southern California, I'll probably go with about only 80" of 5/16". We found that many of the anchorages in Alaska and B.C. were easily 10-15 fathoms (60-90') and chain makes life a lot easier, if you have an electric windlass. We have a Lofrans Tigres 1200, and really like it. Much better than our old manual SL 555, and infinitely better than all those years of a
Harvey's Back windlass.

    Our stern anchor is a Fortress FX23 with 15' of HT (3/8") and 140' of Ankarolina dacron strapping on a spool.  Our secondary sits securely in our garage. It's a 35 pound Stainless Danforth. I have not yet decided on the rigging for it as a secondary bow anchor, but it will probably be about 60' chain, and 200' nylon. I have mainly used a CQR when sailing on various borrowed/chartered/swapped boats in the
Pacific Northwest. With only two exceptions in some ten years up there, they have not dragged - but we are nutty about our anchoring methods. I never hesitate to pull up and start again. I also let the anchor fully settle before I start to back up on it, and then do it with very gradually increasing tension. Quick drops and fast reverse invariably results in a poor anchor set.

Harvey Karten                                                                                                            April 2005



    Looking at mounting a Delta 55 Quickset on a new roller over the rail between the Sprit and the whisker stay. It looks like it will clear everything a drop down without a problem as will a second anchor on the port side. I have a Maxwell 1200 for the Delta as a main anchor and if I install a block attachment about a foot behind the Sprit I should be able to attach a block and use the Windless to pull up the second anchor on a rope rode. The specs on the Delta 55 calls for a 3/8 chain but I just put in 300 feet of 5/16 BBB. I know the windless has the power but what is the big deal with 3/8 or 5/16 as chain size.. The Delta 55 is two over size but I would need to go to a 35lb to get to the recommended 5\16 chain ????

Bill                                                                                                                            May 2005



Hi Bill,

    Since a windlass must have a gypsy sized for either BBB or Hi-tensile chain as well as chain size, you just need to match the chain to the windlass.

    The following chain specs apply:

5/16th BBB has a working load of 1950# and weighs 110#/100 feet

5/16th High Tensile has a working load of 3900 and weighs 115#/100 feet

3/8th BBB has a working load of 2650 and weighs 164#/100 feet

5/16th Hi-tensile has a price similar to 3/8th BBB

    While 3/8th chain is heavy and tends to put excess weight in the bow, it also means less swing compared to lighter chain and requires a little less scope due to its high weight.

    I have had 3/8th BBB but switched to 5/16th Hi-tensile when changing windlasses. I needed the extra strength since my boat is heavier and sails to the anchor rather severely.

Wayne             V-42    C/C      RESTLESS                                                                 May 2005 


Hi Wayne,

    Does a stabilizing (anchoring) sail on the V-42 reduce the sailing at anchor?

Harvey                                                                                                                      May 2005



    I tried rigging my storm jib on the backstay years ago and it worked fairly well but the sail was too big. It also had too much draft. I never used it again. A friend of mine with an O'Day 40 recently bought the Boat U.S. riding sail and said that it worked extremely well while on a mooring. So well that other boaters riding out the same storm contacted him on the radio to ask how he kept his boat so steady. It’s not that they didn't see the riding sail. They just couldn't believe that the small, flat sail was responsible for his boat lying "rock steady".

Wayne    V-42    C/C   RESTLESS                                                                                     May 2005


(Update: August 2005 – Moored in Newport Harbour in a blow with his riding sail up, a harbor craft pulled alongside and advised my friend that using a stern anchor in a mooring field was unwise.  My friend pointed astern at the riding sail and said, “Don’t have one out…”)



Subject: Anchor chain

    I'm a big fan of dropping a smaller anchor off the stern with enough scope to let the boat swing some. It does reduce the sailing to the anchor issue but for my money, more importantly, if the wind comes up in the night the old boat will start a-rolling and wake me up to see what's going on.

    I feel that the weight of the chain is a lot more important than it's strength, (but I could easily be wrong :-) ) making sure that the anchor is dragged horizontally instead of at an angle helps it keep set.

    When cruising I had 150 feet of 3/8 chain on our 32 footer on a Bruce 33 plus 300 feet of 1" nylon and we only dragged once.

    Also these days you usually don't have the option of setting a "correct" scope since there are so many boats around.

Bill Jaine                                                                                                                    May 2005



Hi Bill,

    I agree with your ideas on anchoring although I have rarely used a stern anchor. As a single hander, it is sometimes hard to get out. If the anchorage has a swell that must be countered by reorienting the boat, it does work well and is really the only option.  But for high winds, I usually set a second anchor using my dinghy.  I keep 19# aluminum Viking (the forerunner of a Fortress 37) on the port bow roller with 15 feet of chain and lots of 3/4 inch nylon rode.


    I believe that my boat didn't swing as much when I used 3/8th chain. I really miss that stability sometimes when I lower my 5/16th rode. Your 32-footer must have been very steady at anchor.  As far as knowing when the wind pipes up, I use the wind alarm on my sailing instruments every time I anchor.  I have remoted a buzzer to my bed.  I have lived aboard so long that I sleep too well at anchor and need help to monitor the weather.  Even on a calm night, I set the alarm for 8 knots.  The reason: if I expect calm winds all night, then I want to see what is going on when the wind comes up unexpectedly. In the Caribbean, I noted that there always seemed to be a slight wind increase prior to each rain shower. The wind alarm was 90% effective in getting me up to close the hatches.

Wayne             V-42    C/C     RESTLESS                                                               May 2005



    Sailrite ( makes a nice anchoring sail kit. They have a useful description of the construction of the kit (, and a very informative note at the end by Jim Grant, on optimal setting of the anchor sail. He raises a very interesting point of information - the anchoring sail should be set off to the windward side to further reducing 'hunting'.  Sailrite offers two sizes of Anchor riding sails, a 12 square foot and a 25 square foot. The 12 sq. foot is suggested for boats up to 35', and the 20 square foot for up to ca. 50'. They suggest mounting it on a backstay and tying the forward end to a toe rail. The photo in their catalogue shows it mounted about 8' above the deck. ( - see page #21 of the catalogue).  Price for the Sailrite kit for the larger boat is $105. They state that it can be assembled on a regular home sewing machine in a single evening.

Harvey                                                                                                          May 2005



    I use a 25 sq. ft. riding sail, raised on the backstay, positioned higher than the boom and led to a winch at the base of the mast - boat sits like a duck on a frozen millpond. Takes about a minute to raise and set ... I fly my ensign from a 'looped' cleat on the backstay and simply lower the ensign and raise the riding sail.

Rich Hampel                                                                                                               May 2005


    I have a Stack-Pack sail collector for my mainsail. When tight it provides a lot of sail area and serves as a pretty decent riding sail. That together with ALWAYS using a nylon bridle on my anchor chain and we don't sail the anchor very much at all.

HTH, Charlie    s/v Kamaloha                                                                                       May 2005



    For my 10 cents, you don't have ground tackle sized for average weather, you have it sized for the worst hurricane that you will NEVER encounter.

    Our 32 foot boat has a Bruce 33, 150 feet of 3/8 BBB chain and (I think) 300 feet of 1" nylon. Plus 4 other anchors/chain/rode. I have had it all out on one occasion....we didn't move, unlike every other boat around us. BUT the 1" rode was stretched so tight that it was just over 1/2 " thick!

    I also don't think it's about the "strength" of the "system" but the "weight" of it. I wouldn't go for lighter ht chain but for heavier, going to stay on the sand,  chain. It's about catenary and keeping the anchor pulling flat through the ground.

    Try reading Bob Griffith's book, Bluewater, its old (1979) but they sailed their 54 foot boat in some rough water and have lotsa good advice.

Bill & Sue T37  TYA3725707
Wave Dancer Port Hope Ontario Canada                             March 2006



    There’s a good web page that talks about all this and INCLUDES a downloadable spreadsheet to calculate loads, catenary, etc.

    Also, with an all chain rode, the author supports
Harvey’s assumption about the benefit of a kellet with an all chain road. 


Tad McDonald                                                                                                         March 2006



Nice find Tad,

    Have you followed the discussions over the years about using two anchors in series on the main anchoring system. I think the idea is to minimize the surge/grab on the main anchor?


Bill & Sue Jaine      T37     TYA3725707         Wave Dancer   Port Hope        Ontario          March 2006



Hi Rich,

    If the sine is 1, i.e. the initial segment of the chain is almost straight vertical, and you are in 40 feet of water, the weight of that first 40 feet of chain is approximately 44 pounds, using 5/16" HT chain (1.1 pounds/foot). A 10 or 15 pound kellet may not make that much difference, would it? As you are blown back on your chain, more will lift and the angle will decrease, as will the sine.

    How much weight should be in the kellet to produce a significant benefit. (Using weight of boat as 25,000 pounds, depth 50 feet, tide 20 feet, 5/16" HT chain at 1.1 pounds, 45 pound anchor, assume zero current. But can you generate a family of curves for varying wind speeds. Assume an anchor and bottom capable of holding up to direct 500 pound loading along the horizontal.) How much additional force is required to place loading directly on the anchor with different kellet weights? The concept of the benefits of a kellet are very appealing, but how heavy does it have to be in order to make a difference?


Harvey                                                                                                                                  March 2006



    Traveler has 200' of 3/8 galvanized chain which fits easily into the starboard section of our divided anchor locker. Attached to it is a 45lb CQR. WE had to replace the original ground tackle and opted to upgrade from a 35lb to a 45 lb. Although 35lb is supposedly adequate for boats up to 40', when you look at the weight limitations, a loaded T37 is pushing the limits. Our other anchor is a Fortress 37, again, oversized for our boat according to length, but in a bad blow, you need more, not less. It is attached to 100' of 3 strand 1/2" nylon with 40" of 3/8 galvanized chain at the end to assure the anchor remains dug in and lays flat. We mostly use the CQR on chain, an easy habit to get into with a Lighthouse electric winch.

Sandra Blake    T37      Traveler           
Hull #328                                                                  March 2006



    Good morning Harvey- I observed several marking/paint systems, and I also went to spray paint. Red, white, and blue was easy for me to remember.... in that order. So at 25', about 3' or so of links are red.... etc. Because I wanted a bit of warning as the chain was feeding out, I have about another 4' of 'yellow'.... just to let me know that the next paint marking is coming up. It has really helped at night. At the 100' mark, I use green..... and then repeat... green/red, green/white, etc. We anchor quite a bit, and this scheme/paint has lasted 2-3 years for us.


Steve Abel                                                                                                                       March 2006



Hi Harvey,

  I found that spray paint didn't last long, even though it was easy to apply.  I started using brush-on enamel (bought at the hardware store) with a pattern that seems to work at night fairly well.  I painted the chain with a 3 to 4-foot long yellow section every 50 feet, then put one then two 9" white stripes in the middle of it at the 100 and 200 foot marks (with just yellow at the intervening 50-foot marks).  Starting about 10 feet from the end, I painted it all yellow with white stripes. (we have 250' of chain). I found that painting it, letting it dry for a couple hours, then turning it over and painting again worked OK - I let it dry overnight on the dock before cranking it back aboard.  Yes, the newspaper you put under will adhere to it, but that comes off the first time you use it :-)


  I had previously tried red paint, but that was invisible at night.. yellow isn't easy to see at night vs the galvanize color (without a light), but the white stripes jump up at you against the yellow.

  I figure the extra labor involved in painting with a brush was worth it as the effort to flake it all out on the dock was much more work!


Hartley             S/V Atsa                                                                                                 March 2006



    I’ve used every method you’ve covered.  I don’t like the paint (I used some sort of manly, high optic, orange stuff).  It wore off and it’s worthless at night unless you’ve got artificial light available. 

    I like the plastic thingys for rope…not chain.

    I like the cable ties for chain; tactile at night, colored for day.

    Since the water here on the
Chesapeake is pretty thin, I started “marking” at 25’ and every 25’ thereafter but it worked well in the Caribbean, too.

- 25,50,75 are each ONE GREEN.

- 100 is TWO RED (if I’m in that deep, I want to be cautious).

- 125, 150, 175 are each ONE RED.

- 200 is TWO GREEN (indicates that if I’m not careful, I’ll lose a lot of money).

- 225, 250 are each ONE GREEN.

    It makes it easy to instruct the crew:  “Let out 2 green.” Or “Let out two thingys.”

    Also, my bridle coincidently is just the correct length that if I stop chain deployment when the marker hits the gypsy, adding the bridle and lowering the chain to remove the strain places the marker at the surface of the water.  I ain’t that smart.  I just noticed it one day.


Tad McDonald                                                                                                     March 2006



Hi Harvey,

    For marking chain, I use the 1" nylon webbing used for holding up a bimini, etc. You don't have to remove the chain to install it, just ease it out and sew it on the link. I use a Sharpey to mark the footage. Now even the greenest crewmember can go to the bow and report the amount of chain deployed. As long as the chain is never taken off the gypsy, the webbing remains up on the top of the link and never wears. I use two at thirty, one at fifty, and then alternate. I use about a 6" strip of webbing but you can use more with no problem. You can color them with a Sharpey to help determine the footage from the cockpit or even skip a link or two to change the "code".

    As a singlehander, my current webbing has worked perfectly for 15 years and 25,000 miles of cruising and still shows no wear. It is easily seen from the cockpit (I use a remote windlass control). I do have to remark with the Sharpey occasionally and ensure to wash them off when retrieving the anchor in mud.

Wayne Strausbaugh                                                                                                          March 2006



    We use the fluorescent colored wire ties. 1 yellow @ 25', 2@50' 3@75', 1 red @ 100', 1 red & 1 yellow @ 125', etc. The fluorescent colors show pretty well, they're cheap and easy to replace when broken. They usually stay on for a while even when broken. They last 2-3 years in our experience.

Harry & Melinda Schell            Sea Schell        1981 V-42      CC #41                           March 2006



    Many thanks to all who provided suggestions about marking the anchor chain. I ended using my own modification of a system with spray paint.

    I decided that I didn't need markers any closer than 33.3 feet intervals (= to approximately 10 meters or slightly more than 5.5 fathoms).


First 10 feet = 10 feet of yellow

33.3 feet Red-White-Red (ca. 7"-8" of each color for total of about 24")

66.6 feet Red-Blue-Red

100 feet Red-Red-Red

133 feet White-Red-White

166 feet White-Blue-White

200 feet White-White-White

233 feet Blue-Red-Blue

266 feet Blue-White-Blue

300 feet Blue-Blue-Blue

301-315 feet = all yellow.

All marks beginning and ending in Red are up to 100 feet.

All marks beginning and ending in White are between 133 and 200 feet.

All marks beginning and ending in Blue area between 233 and 300 feet.

Interval marks at 33 foot increments are sufficient for me. My rationale was that along the Pacific and in the Northwest, we usually anchor in relatively deep water, and the fewer the number of color bands, the easier to remember. I am a devout member of the Cult of KISS. I was even thinking of only putting on marks every 100 feet, but then thought I might get bored just watching the anchor disappear into the water, so more frequent markings might keep me awake.

    The all yellow at the beginning provides an indicator as to when the anchor will emerge from under water. The yellow at the end provides warning that I am reaching the bitter end.

    My intent was to keep it simple enough that I could remember it when exhausted after a long day sailing in crummy weather, or when resetting a dragging anchor in the middle of the night.

The basic color combo is Red-White-Blue.

A lot simpler than my initial thought of going with ROYGBIV. Besides, I don't think I could read the difference between Blue, Indigo and Violet on a dark rainy night.

    I used Rustoleum fluorescent paints, when available.

    I'll let you all know if these paints hold up under anchoring conditions.


regards, Harvey                                                                                                                March 2006



    There's no originality here, as I shamelessly copied the above-referenced "anchor Angel" or "anchor friend", but I' thought I'd list the various components that I used to construct this home-made kellet. FWIW, it looks like this will work very well, and is definitely a good alternative to a $250 product, or rocks in a bucket.

    I opted to go a bit heavy, as I am motivated to protect my T-48 as best as I can. I'm sure the main weight, and hence the other items, could be downsized somewhat, but I felt it was false economy to skimp here. As it was, I'm in this for only about $65.

- A 35 lb free-weight (from a sporting goods store)

- 5' of 5/16 chain (I used galvanized BBB, from a local home-store)

- 3' of 1.5" ID reinforced water hose (from the same store)

- 3 each 1/4" galvanized shackles

- 50' of 3/8" nylon as the control-line

    The free weight is cast steel, so I liberally coated it with Rustoleum. Yes, it will still rust, and yes, plastic-coated would be better, but this is what I had to work with. Additionally, I couldn't find a plastic-coated weight greater than 25 lbs. YMMV

    OK, run one end of the chain through the center of the weight. Shackle this end back onto the chain, forming a captured-loop (IOW, capture the weight in the loop of chain you just formed). Use as short a length of chain as you can for this.

    Next, slide the hose over the +- 3' of chain remaining. Again, shackle the end of the chain (the other end this time) to itself, roughly where you attached the first end.

    At this point, you have a figure 8...the bottom half is the weight, and the top half is the chain-in-the-hose, which has been looped to form a circle.

    The basic kellet is now done. Time to connect the control-line. For this, I cut a 1.5" x .5" rectangle out of the reinforced hose. This hole is located at the apex of the hose-loop, on the outside bend. The purpose for this is twofold. Primarily, it allows you to work the 3rd shackle onto the chain inside the hose, so you can tie the control line to this new lifting point (I used a bowline for this).

2nd, it allows air, and thus unwanted flotation, to escape the hose once submerged.

    That's about it. Everything stores in a space equal to the footprint of the weight, and can be stored below until needed.

HIH, John                                                                                                                          April 2006



Arrow  Catenary:

    There is an even more in-depth analysis of catenary and case studies of rope, rope and chain, and all-chain here:


    Even this is actually a touch incomplete and doesn't consider several important scenarios but the general conclusion, which is that mostly chain with a nylon snubber is best, is more or less accurate and is commensurate with our experience.


    Kellets do make the chain harder to pull straight, so keeping the angle of pull on the anchor closer to the ideal of horizontal, but they suffer from a logical catch-22. Conditions strong enough to drag a decent anchor are likely to straighten the chain, with the kellet making practically no difference, so the kellet is next to useless in the very conditions that you care about - and only really does its thing in light conditions when a higher pull angle isn't going to be an issue anyway.

    The upshot of this is that kellets are useful if you want to reduce your swing radius in a tight anchorage or similar, but do not I repeat do not increase the ultimate holding power of the anchor. If it drags at 1 ton force without a kellet, then it will probably drag at 1 ton force with a kellet (do the math and figure out how much difference, in terms of degrees, an average kellet might make with that kind of force).

    Kellets can also be a pig to deploy and retrieve. The nuisance may be enough to really discourage their use. A good design is made here in
New Zealand (Anchor Buddy) which has some thought put into addressing this issue, but it's still an extra hassle after maybe a hard sail.

    Suggestion: maybe the weight (and cost) of the kellet is better put into a heavier and hence larger and hence better performing anchor?  But then I'm just a biased party who wants everyone to buy bigger and more expensive anchors.

Craig Smith      Rocna Anchors                                                              April 2006