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Old 01-02-2015, 01:35 PM   #1
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my best storm anchor technique

I consider storm and bad weather anchoring a very different animal than my every day cruising set in protected anchorages. Over the 50+ years of my gunk holing and inland and coastal cruising I have developed some thoughts on the subject. When I anticipate a mild or moderate problem I set a light high holding second anchor from my dinghy nothing unusual. If I had to anchor out in a real blow and I had the time and gear my first choice would be what I call the Port Washington mooring rig. This set up uses three Danforth type anchors with lengths of chain joined to a strong ring which is then joined to chain and a rode. The three anchors are set at 120 degrees 1/3 of a circle with their chains extended from the center. The beauty of this system particularly in sand and mud is that you are using the anchors with the highest holding ability and at the same time avoiding their weakness relative to veering. With one rode to the bow the boat is free to face the wind. Of course nothing is perfect or will apply to all circumstances. I am curious to know what others think about this system and what they use.
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Old 01-02-2015, 02:43 PM   #2
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I hope to never anchor in a big blow....

But out of all the reasonable methods...the tandem anchoring seems to hit my button over most.

Unless on a remote island...if I had the time to use the 3 danforth mooring...I might just find a better hidey hole or just try to miss the path of the storm.

If trapped...that seems to be one of the winning methods as long as you have time to rig it and set it properly.
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Old 01-02-2015, 04:48 PM   #3
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I agree with the tandem method. Use any plow anchor- Delta, CQR, etc as the first anchor and put 20' of chain behind it and connect a Fortress or Danforth. Back down real hard on the plow even to the point of dragging a bit to let the Fortress dig in. The plow will keep the rode angle flat on the Fortress so it will really dig in deep.

The plow will take care of a wind veer and if it drags after the veer the Fortress will have time to dig in and hold. The real problem with a Fortress in a sudden wind shift is that it will pull out and once it starts to skip over the bottom it will never set.

I saw a three anchor Danforth system pull out of a mooring field and drag when most mushroom mooring anchors held. I agree with the principle but in that case it didn't work.

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Old 01-02-2015, 05:49 PM   #4
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In the Philippines on our 53 live-aboard we always set two anchors off the bow when anchoring. We launch them by hand with two deck hands. I can maneuver the boat so we can get the second anchor set to around 20
degree angle to the first. Always in the past we used home made fisherman anchors, just this year I bought a FX-37 for soft mud and a kedge. We use 1 1/8 and 1 1/4 floating poly rode. I have lots of it on board, maybe 1000 feet in different lengths. Hard to get nylon here and the poly is cheap. I think the floating line helps to keep things from getting tangled. Sometimes we anchor in one location for several weeks and many wind changes. In a real blow we set out three anchors all on each own rode, for one thing this poly line rode gets badly UV damaged and I never really don't know how strong it is, so I don't like to put all my eggs in one basket. We usually do not have any chain, only use a short piece when in coral. We have rode out two typhoons and around three good blows. One typhoon I even had two heavy bamboo posts pounded into the bottom to tie to along with setting anchors. I see other boats drag but so far we haven't.
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Old 01-02-2015, 05:49 PM   #5
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Two to Tandem: Maximizing Holding Power by Tandem Anchoring

Quote from the article.

"Danforth types including the Fortress are shocking and are absolutely to be avoided. They are not general purpose anchors, and have no place in a tandem rig."
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Old 01-02-2015, 06:31 PM   #6
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Just a short note. The three anchor mooring in a field often uses short chain between anchors often to allow for more moorings. When I contemplate this system for storm anchor use I am thinking at least 60 ft chain on each anchor. Also as with any thing there is the technique of set up. I use double line and float on each anchor to set up that way I know where my anchors are and I set each one separately before laying out the next anchor. I set the first anchor from the boat the next two from the dinghy having my mate load the anchor by backing for the set. I use the doubled trip line to hall the anchors and chain where I want them or to reset if necessary. Yes it is a bit of a PITA but I am talking risky storm where other shelter not available. Years ago when I would set this system up in the creek off my dock in the Chesapeake it would take between one and 1.5 hours to do and an equal time to undue. I always left at least one float and trip line on the help raise one so it could be brought up . This system probably would only work in 30 foot of water or less otherwise the chains would get too long and too heavy. But for a blow I prefer shallow water where my scope is better and hopefully more protected.
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Old 01-02-2015, 07:08 PM   #7
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The complications of setting and retrieving such a set-up are beyond me, and doubt I would routinely carry three such anchors and their multiple rodes. ... You have my congratulations! ... I'll just keep to protected waters. (One should know their limitations.)
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Old 01-02-2015, 07:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windmill29130 View Post
Two to Tandem: Maximizing Holding Power by Tandem Anchoring

Quote from the article.

"Danforth types including the Fortress are shocking and are absolutely to be avoided. They are not general purpose anchors, and have no place in a tandem rig."
Written by Peter Smith, the Rocna designer from NZ. I think that the advice of USA boating writer and long time cruiser Tom Neale has infinitely more value.

Please see the attachment below with a reprint from his Soundings magazine cover story, "How to Survive a Storm at Anchor."
Attached Files
File Type: pdf How_to_Survive_a_Storm_at_Anchor-Final.pdf (361.7 KB, 145 views)
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyschulman View Post
Just a short note. The three anchor mooring in a field often uses short chain between anchors often to allow for more moorings. When I contemplate this system for storm anchor use I am thinking at least 60 ft chain on each anchor. Also as with any thing there is the technique of set up. I use double line and float on each anchor to set up that way I know where my anchors are and I set each one separately before laying out the next anchor. I set the first anchor from the boat the next two from the dinghy having my mate load the anchor by backing for the set. I use the doubled trip line to hall the anchors and chain where I want them or to reset if necessary. Yes it is a bit of a PITA but I am talking risky storm where other shelter not available. Years ago when I would set this system up in the creek off my dock in the Chesapeake it would take between one and 1.5 hours to do and an equal time to undue. I always left at least one float and trip line on the help raise one so it could be brought up . This system probably would only work in 30 foot of water or less otherwise the chains would get too long and too heavy. But for a blow I prefer shallow water where my scope is better and hopefully more protected.
I would like to see if I can put you in direct contact with Jet Matthews of Matthews Point Marina in Havelock, NC. Several years ago that state had a bulls eye on it for hurricanes, and as the owner he was directly responsible for anchoring the boats under his care for the looming storm conditions.

I believe that he developed a system similar to what you are discussing with a 3 point set up, and he used cable to insure that the anchors would slice through and bury as deeply as possible into the local mud bottoms.

I'll contact him to see if he can be helpful with specifics.

Brian
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:01 PM   #10
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Wow...I am happy that the average TF member can make sense of all of this....

For all newbies to trawlering, long term cruising .....sit back and take it ALL in.....slowly and carefully...

My 1976 edition of Chapman's has the 3 Danforth mooring system in it....just in case anyone thinks it is new or original.
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Old 01-02-2015, 09:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyschulman View Post
I consider storm and bad weather anchoring a very different animal than my every day cruising set in protected anchorages. Over the 50+ years of my gunk holing and inland and coastal cruising I have developed some thoughts on the subject. When I anticipate a mild or moderate problem I set a light high holding second anchor from my dinghy nothing unusual. If I had to anchor out in a real blow and I had the time and gear my first choice would be what I call the Port Washington mooring rig. This set up uses three Danforth type anchors with lengths of chain joined to a strong ring which is then joined to chain and a rode. The three anchors are set at 120 degrees 1/3 of a circle with their chains extended from the center. The beauty of this system particularly in sand and mud is that you are using the anchors with the highest holding ability and at the same time avoiding their weakness relative to veering. With one rode to the bow the boat is free to face the wind. Of course nothing is perfect or will apply to all circumstances. I am curious to know what others think about this system and what they use.
Not so sure. I would be concerned that if you drag, the anchors could become a cluster. Probably not likely, but having, like you, thought about this, my personal opinion is that a sequential snubbing system that absorbs increasing amounts of force coupled with a large anchor on the heaviest chain you can handle is the best option. That or head to sea.
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:10 PM   #12
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With our system of multiple individual anchors deployed at the same time we have the boat side secured to a heavy Sampson post and rodes can be let out or taken in fast and easily to try and keep the strain equal or at least some strain on all rodes. If one anchor drags a little bit the next anchor rode will come up tight. So what I said about dragging earlier is not 100 percent correct, however any dragging is pretty small so that I don't seem to notice if any at all occurs. The heavy rode is to also facilitate hauling the anchors aboard by hand as my deckhands are my anchor winch.
Maybe crude but, ya know, it works.
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:19 PM   #13
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Three anchor system not new. I first came across it when used in Port Washington LI for a mooring system maybe 40-50 years ago. I used it for mooring in a creek on Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake maybe 25 years ago. Re; heading to sea I would agree if the boat is a well found sail boat or very seaworthy FD , but many boats considered trawlers would not give me confidence in such a situation and I would prefer doing my gamboling with a good anchorage and anchors.
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:59 PM   #14
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I think the #1 job about storm anchoring has most to do w choosing an anchorage. The biggest variable in anchoring is and always will be the bottom. Experimenting in a storm is not ideal. So a known anchorage w good holding is primary. Then there's protection from waves and swell swinging room, how many other boats are likely to seek shelter there, current, rocks, depth ect ect.

Then once the anchorage is selected choice of rode, anchor (or anchors) setting and all the other usual priorities about anchoring do apply.

In a storm I always use my favorite anchor that always holds the boat w winds over 40. Under 40 I use any of my 6 or so other anchors but only the XYZ over 40 because I started doing that and it's worked a half a dozen times.

I've never considered using more than one anchor. If I drag I'll just pick up and move back or to a better spot. Never have dragged w any anchor but don't consider it very threatening. One can just re-anchor or put the engine in gear to reduce the tension on the rode.

I consider drifting over hazards while anchored like rocks on an ebb tide much more threatening.
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Old 01-02-2015, 11:18 PM   #15
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There is a well thought out publication by the Florida Inland Navigation District called
"The Hurricane Manual for Marine Interests".


It shows two recommended anchoring techniques one of which is the three anchor system recommended by Eyschulman.
The following is from the manual.



Using three anchors set 120 degrees apart allows the boat to swing and face the wind. This is an especially good technique in crowded harbors because the boat will not swing in as wide as arc as a boat that is riding on two anchors.

It doesn't look like I can get the image to post but you can see the whole publication here: http://aicw.org/pdfs/hurricane-manual.pdf
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Old 01-02-2015, 11:36 PM   #16
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My plan is to find the most protected harbor/marina, anchor or tie up as best I know how, or haul out if possible. Pack my valuables and head to my favorite hotel. I worry far less about my boat than my family and my personal safety.
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Old 01-03-2015, 02:18 AM   #17
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In a bad typhoon you can't even stick your head out of the cabin as the rain hits you so hard. Maybe you could with a full face motorcycle helmet or such, you can't even crawl to the bow of the boat using the hand rails. You better have your ducks in a row before the real winds hit. Never tried it but seems jogging into the wind would take the load off your ground tackle. If at night with no moon heavy overcast and hard rain you can't see 100 feet.
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Old 01-03-2015, 07:31 AM   #18
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The hassle with finding a nice safe harbor is EVERYONE goes to the same spot.

The late comers WILL anchor , even if its in a spiderweb of other folks gear.

My preference is a river with good depth, and sandy/mud shores .

The wind always channels so fore and aft usually works fine.

Bigger is better , no watch fobs in a blow.
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Old 01-03-2015, 08:31 AM   #19
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110 lb Bruce, 440 feet of all chain rode. Decent bottom at 50' with room to swing and drag (for peace of mind). Worked fine in sustained 40-knot winds.
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Old 01-03-2015, 10:21 AM   #20
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MYTravler,
How many tons of boat per pound of anchor is that w the Bruce?
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