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Old 07-15-2019, 07:31 PM   #1
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Question Had to cut my anchor free - how to prevent this in the future?

On Friday night we took the boat out to watch fireworks. Winds were 5 to 10 knots our of the N/NE. We had a Danforth anchor that was about 22lbs maybe? It was connected with about 10 foot of chain and the rest was rope.

I drove the boat around, pointed it into the wind and dropped the anchor. We were in about 8-10 feet of water and I probably let out about 50 foot of rope. Everything held and we stayed put through all the wind. We got blown around a bit because of the amount of windage on the top side of our boat.

When it came time to pull the anchor up, I put the boat into gear and the boat inched toward the anchor. I'd get the windlass to pull in a little rope and then it would get stuck. I think the rope was too thin, and it would get caught in the windlass, and prevent the motor from spinning.

Additionally the Danforth anchor must have buried itself down to China because I couldn't get it out with the boat, the windlass, or attempting to pull it by hand. It was dark and we couldn't see where the line was going, and the boat was basically doing 360's around the anchor. We went forward, we went backward, sometimes even up to 2000rpms and it wasn't budging.

For fear of getting the ropes tangled in the props, after an hour of fighting it with everything I had and could think of, I decided to pull in as much rope as I could, and then cut the anchor free.

The bottom in Galveston bay is silty, clay mud. It's like a thick mix of pudding and quick sand.

My questions are:

1. Should my windlass be strong enough to pull in an anchor without moving the boat? (wondering if my windlass is too small for my boat)
2. How do you maneuver the boat over the anchor and prevent the rope from getting tangled in the prop?
3. Should I replace the rope with all chain? (we don't do much anchoring)
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:41 PM   #2
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I would have tied a buoy to the line to go back and get it. If it is tidal water, you could rope it off tight at low tide and let the tide rip it free from the muck. Our tide is 2 -3 feet minimum, in the Chesapeake Bay, same mucky bottom in a lot of places.

I definitely buried our Seachoice Danforth style anchor more than once. Tieing it off tight with line totally vertical and with enough wave action it always ripped it free.
If I anchor off the bow, I dont worry much about prop picking up the rope.

Worst time burying was after a thunderstorm and we had big winds and waves and a lot of line out. It took about 15 minutes to unstick it. I used the windless to really crank down on the line, and the rocking boat ripped it from the sea bed.

To maneuver, I am slowly bumping engines forward while someone at the bow is pulling in the line till its vertical.

We have 3/4 anchor line about 200 foot? which after that someone spliced on 5/8 line for another 100 foot and about 6 foot of chain. I almost never go past that splice, just is not needed. Deepest spot I ever anchored was on York river and 60 foot to the bottom.

I have also worried about losing the anchor and all that line. I sometime attach a small 1/4 inch trip line on the anchors front.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:45 PM   #3
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I would have tied a buoy to the line to go back and get it. If it is tidal water, you could rope it off tight at low tide and let the tide rip it free from the muck.

Never even thought about that. Note taken for next time.

This boat is extremely hard to maneuver. The integrated shift/throttles are a bitch. I prefer separate shifts and throttles like my Chris Craft used to have. Additionally, this boat weighs so much that it takes a few seconds to start moving after the props are engaged. Couple all that with being blown around in the wind like a dandelion in a hurricane, and patience wears thin really quickly.

Even though I can drive the boat, I'm going to be hiring a captain for a day to help teach me a few more things that I can do better.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:48 PM   #4
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I almost lost mine this weekend as well. It took about a half hour, but finally got it free. Our bottom sounds to be similar to yours - mud/sand. It normally comes out fine, but I must have snagged something. Here is my .02 - Don't pull back ward, you will just snug it in deeper. Drive forward, over it, as much as you can to allow it to pop out from the forward side. Its a process, and took me about 10 runs at it while carefully monitoring the chain location so I didn't get too far over the anchor. Interested to hear if others approach it differently, but that is mine.

Edit - I had a single line of 5/8 in. attached to the chain rode with a rolling hitch to take the load off the windlass and apply it to the Sampson Post.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toocoys View Post
On Friday night we took the boat out to watch fireworks. Winds were 5 to 10 knots our of the N/NE. We had a Danforth anchor that was about 22lbs maybe? It was connected with about 10 foot of chain and the rest was rope.

I drove the boat around, pointed it into the wind and dropped the anchor. We were in about 8-10 feet of water and I probably let out about 50 foot of rope. Everything held and we stayed put through all the wind. We got blown around a bit because of the amount of windage on the top side of our boat.

When it came time to pull the anchor up, I put the boat into gear and the boat inched toward the anchor. I'd get the windlass to pull in a little rope and then it would get stuck. I think the rope was too thin, and it would get caught in the windlass, and prevent the motor from spinning.

Additionally the Danforth anchor must have buried itself down to China because I couldn't get it out with the boat, the windlass, or attempting to pull it by hand. It was dark and we couldn't see where the line was going, and the boat was basically doing 360's around the anchor. We went forward, we went backward, sometimes even up to 2000rpms and it wasn't budging.

For fear of getting the ropes tangled in the props, after an hour of fighting it with everything I had and could think of, I decided to pull in as much rope as I could, and then cut the anchor free.

The bottom in Galveston bay is silty, clay mud. It's like a thick mix of pudding and quick sand.

My questions are:

1. Should my windlass be strong enough to pull in an anchor without moving the boat? (wondering if my windlass is too small for my boat)
2. How do you maneuver the boat over the anchor and prevent the rope from getting tangled in the prop?
3. Should I replace the rope with all chain? (we don't do much anchoring)

I am not sure what size boat you have, but the shank 22# Danforth is not all that strong. I would have expected when you put your boat into forward the anchor would have pulled loose or bent the shank and then came up.

If you don't anchor very much then I would upgrade the rode size to fit your windless properly. Never run the boat against the anchor line with it pulling directly on the windlass. That is a good way to destroy your windless.

With an anchor you usually fit a trip line on them to allow them to be pulled out at the heel of the anchor.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:54 PM   #6
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toocoys, you're not the first to have an anchor hang up on the bottom and not be able to lift it. That doesn't help you now, but I listed below some thoughts about preventing it in the future.


To answer your questions:
1. No, the windlass should not be used to pull the boat forward. It was made to lift the anchor, not move the boat.
2. Your method of putting the boat in gear, moving it toward the anchor and taking up slack with the windlass. To do this properly, move the boat forward toward the anchor and take up any slack. Do this repeatedly and at some point your pulpit will be directly over the anchor. If you keep powering gently forward and the anchor doesn't break loose you have a seriously stuck anchor. It could be stuck on a pipe, buried cable, car body or anything else down there. If your pulpit is directly over the anchor and it won't come up you probably will see the bow of the boat dip.


At that point you don't have to worry about the anchor line getting caught in the prop. The length of line line basically equals the distance between your pulpit and the bottom, so there isn't enough line out to get caught.


If you find you're going to have to cut your line, tie a fender to the line. That way you can come back in daylight to try to retrieve the anchor and chain.


As to possibly preventing this from happening in the future, before you lower your anchor tie a line with attached fender to the opposite end of the anchor where you anchor line fastens. Make that line a few feet longer than the depth of the water you're anchoring in. Then, if your anchor gets hung up you can grab the fender and hopefully unstick and retrieve the anchor.


Hope this helps,


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Old 07-15-2019, 07:55 PM   #7
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The first thing I do is try to back down in the opposite direction that I set the anchor in. The windlass isnít designed to break out the anchor just retrieve it after it breaks loose. If all else fails I pull up as much rode as I can and tie it off and let it sit for a while and let the boat work on it. It may take some time but as it starts to come loose take in the slack and let it sit some more.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:56 PM   #8
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Regarding floating bouys to mark it: I watched two guys try to get their stern anchor unglued on July 4 weekend. They were flying the Navy Seal Trident and fit. They ended up tying it off with a floating milk jug, and left. They came back the next day and two of them dove it trying to free it, no luck. They bailed and now there was a floating milk jug with an anchor line left behind and a potential nav hazard to other boats. I told the Harbor Patrol and they ended up using their heavy duty davit/winch to pull it out, and it wasn't easy. They can get sucked in deep or caught on stuff and don't want to come home at times.
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Old 07-15-2019, 08:06 PM   #9
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You don`t describe the drop and set process but seem to have set the anchor well.Too well perhaps.

Although, my suspicion is you were unlucky and fouled the anchor on some object on the bottom. Which is why you could not retrieve it
Your retrieve attempts of motoring around the anchor trying to break it out by pulling in a variety of directions from whatever was restraining it are appropriate, intended or not.I`ve broken out a fouled anchor doing that.

You should not use the windlass to drag the boat to the anchor, it is not intended to do that. Motor up until you are vertically above the anchor, then retrieve, though you can pull in slack as you go forward. You go forward, using engines, either/both as required. Though I think you have outdrives, which don`t steer as well as shaft drives. Hard to see how you`d get line in the props doing that.

Your gypsy needs to be compatible for the selected chain and rope. If you had all chain you could not have cut away as you did, you`d have needed to cut a chain link. Usually the chain length is the length of the boat, followed by your choice of rope line. I have all chain and prefer it.
Your lost anchor sounds undersized and there have been advances in anchor design since the Danforth, but many still swear by them(some at them too). But better we stick with anchor retrieve.
Whether your windlass was not up to the job, or unable to accommodate rope and chain is hard to say, as I think the real cause of your problem was a fouled anchor the windlass could not be expected to break out.
You will get a range of opinions on what happened but those are my thoughts. Good anchoring technique requires practice, intuition,and sometimes a touch of good fortune or absence of bad fortune, like finding a snag. Any underwater cable warning signs in the area?
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Old 07-15-2019, 08:07 PM   #10
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I pull the rode as tight as I can get so it's straight down from the bow roller. I have my wife bump into gear then reverse back and forth while I take in slack with the windlass. Eventually the anchor will pop out of the bottom.

You can also shift as many people or weight you have available to the bow and when the bow is down from the weight, take the slack out of the rode, secure it real good and move the people and/or weight to the extreme back of the boat. If the bow rising does not pull the anchor out, bump in and out of forward and reverse again.
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Old 07-15-2019, 08:11 PM   #11
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DON"T go to reverse it only tightens the anchor in deeper.
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Old 07-15-2019, 08:13 PM   #12
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You don`t describe the drop and set process but seem to have set the anchor well.Too well perhaps.

Basically all I did was point the bow into the wind, released the windlass (I have a Power Winch which is a free fall), and then I just let the wind blow us backwards. The anchor dug and set itself.


Since I have to buy a new anchor, I'm thinking of going with a Mantus. But what is the best type of anchor for clay/mud/silt/pudding bottom?
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Old 07-15-2019, 08:15 PM   #13
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Best type for holding or getting loose?
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Old 07-15-2019, 08:23 PM   #14
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At low tide, snub off on a stong cleat. As the tide rises, the displacement of your boat will pull the anchor free. Or something will break. Either way, keep an eye on your position since you'll be drifting free.
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Old 07-15-2019, 08:25 PM   #15
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DON"T go to reverse it only tightens the anchor in deeper.
If the bow pulpit/roller is directly over the anchor and the rode is tight, how does the anchor dig in deeper in reverse?
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Old 07-15-2019, 08:26 PM   #16
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Basically all I did was point the bow into the wind, released the windlass (I have a Power Winch which is a free fall), and then I just let the wind blow us backwards. The anchor dug and set itself.


Since I have to buy a new anchor, I'm thinking of going with a Mantus. But what is the best type of anchor for clay/mud/silt/pudding bottom?
Well, it sounds like the Danforth did just fine...

As others have said power the boat slowly forward while taking in the slack rode with the windlass. Once all the slack is out,tie off the rode to a cleat (or put a snubber line on the chain if that's what you have, a rolling hitch will work); let the boat work on the anchor for awhile, that usually does it, and you can gently bump it into forward gear now and then if you like. When the rode slacks a bit bring it in a little more. If it is windy, the boat will point into the wind.

There are some more advanced methods if the anchor is under a cable or snag of some kind, but you need some more gear for that, such as a trip line pre-attached to the head of the anchor or a length of chain to loop under the rode and anchor shank. I think most of that is in Chapman's or the Hinz anchoring book.
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Old 07-15-2019, 08:44 PM   #17
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As others have said power the boat slowly forward while taking in the slack rode with the windlass.


This is where I think my problem lies. As I was trying to do this, the rope would get stuck between the two parts of the windlass. It would then become lodged and prevent the windlass from spinning any further. I'd run down to the bow, get it unstuck, but by then the wind was blowing me backwards again so all the slack was taken out and for fear of cutting off a finger, I'd have to let go.
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Old 07-15-2019, 09:12 PM   #18
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Since I have to buy a new anchor, I'm thinking of going with a Mantus. But what is the best type of anchor for clay/mud/silt/pudding bottom?
I don't think you were on the forum when one of our former regulars did a really exhaustive set of anchor tests This is his youtube page, which might be useful.
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Old 07-15-2019, 09:29 PM   #19
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I don't think you were on the forum when one of our former regulars did a really exhaustive set of anchor tests This is his youtube page, which might be useful.



What happened to that guy? I remember following his tests and videos on the tube of yous.
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Old 07-15-2019, 11:21 PM   #20
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Even though I can drive the boat, I'm going to be hiring a captain for a day to help teach me a few more things that I can do better.
If youíre interested in a recommendation for a teaching captain in Seabrook, PM me.

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