Ground Tackle

Carrying and using the right ground tackle for your boat can make the difference between a sleepless night or a good night’s sleep, or at the other end of the spectrum the difference between you boat surviving or coming to grief in extreme weather.

Moonshadow carries four anchors for the yacht and one for the dinghy.

My primary, and favorite is a 50kg./110 lb. Bruce, with 100 meters/300 feet of 11 mm hi-test chain.   Note that this was replace with a 50 kg. Rocna anchor in 2008.  This is the only anchor that lives up on the bow in normal conditions. There is a self-launching bow roller system as well as a remote control switch in the cockpit which makes for very easy single-handed anchoring from the helm. This remote can lower the hook to a pre-programmed rode length and then bring it back up to the surface level with the touch of a button. There is a Maxwell 3500 windlass mounted over the forepeak to do all the hard work. I can assure you that there has never been any yelling with this system! Additionally I have a remote up and down switch at the forepeak so I can bring the chain up slowly when I want to wash off the mud as she comes up.

The catenary of the chain usually absorbs normal light wave action, but when the sea gets to more than 2-3 feet, I put on a nylon snubber to absorb the shock. This is also handy to quiet things down when there are rocky or coral patches under the chain.

In ten years, 65,000 miles and hundreds of days and nights on the hook, I’ve NEVER dragged once the hook has been properly set. Mind you I tend to be conservative with scope, putting out 4 to 1 for lunch, 7 to 1 for normal overnight anchoring conditions, and at least 10 to 1 when it’s blowing.

The only problem I’ve ever had getting hooked is when I’ve caught the odd “Bruce boulder.” That would be a piece of rock or coral that is roundish and the size of the inside of the anchor’s claw. She’ll never set with one of these jammed in there. I carry a crowbar for just this occasion.

The two secondary anchors are massive 35 lb Viking aluminum (Danforth style), one chocked in the forepeak and one chocked in the lazarette. I’ve found that these hold reasonably well in a variety of conditions with a just 25 feet of 11mm chain and the rest is 250’ of 1” nylon braid. When racing, we usually drop the primary anchor and lock it to the marina, saving about 1000 lbs. in the bow and use the secondary. There are two more pieces of 1” x 250’ nylon braid, with thimbles in the ends that can be connected for anchoring or the sea anchor, which are stowed low under the master berth.

Lastly, there is a folding fisherman anchor that is stowed in chocks down low and in the center of the boat. I would attach this on to the primary rode further up in the event we had to sit out a cyclone on the hook.

For the dink, there is a small aluminum Viking anchor with about 6 feet of stainless rode. To this I attach about 25 feet of nylon for shallow anchoring, or if we are diving in deeper water I have a 100’ piece of nylon braid. This is a fairly light weight, clean, simple and effective package for the tender.

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