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Old 09-09-2016, 08:13 PM   #1
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Stern Anchor

What is your technique for setting and retrieving a bow/stern anchor? I've never had the need to do it and would like to know how if needed.
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Old 09-09-2016, 08:29 PM   #2
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Out of a couple of hundred anchor sets while long term cruising, I have deployed a stern anchor naybe 2-3 times. In one case I remember I let out all of my bow rode, dropped the stern anchor and then retrieved 100' of so of bow anchor rode to tighten up the stern.

In another case I rowed out the stern anchor with my dinghy, dropped it and then pulled in the stern rode until tight. Then to retrieve I let out a bunch of bow rode until I had only 2:1 scope on the stern and then was able to pull her in.

As you can probably note from the above, it is possible to deploy a stern anchor and not be able to retrieve it if you don't have enough bow rode.

So, tread carefully.

The better question: what are the circumstances that require a bow and stern anchor? Not many in my experience.


In both of the cases described above, I was anchored near shore facing out in the midst of other boats, some of which were on moorings and I didn't want to swing in to them.


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Old 09-09-2016, 09:22 PM   #3
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On my last boat we did a Bahamian Moor often when anchored at out favorite place, a narrow river where there was plenty of traffic on weekend days, to stop us laying across the river at slack tide or if a strong wind was blowing across the river bringing the boat into it.

However I had a 35# fortress on the swim platform and 300' of spare anchor rode. So when I anchored in a current flow I could play out 50-60' of extra rode off the bow backing up. The spare anchor was dropped and we took the bow rode up.

When I anchored at slack where the boat would not fall back, I would either power back or drop the anchor on the RIB , take it to where I wanted it to set and dropped it.

Now that I have a twin anchor set up on the bow, both with chain, I would not try and do this. It is possible but the chances of injury or boat damage is too great to try it. Even more so that the boat is ~70,000 fully loaded.

Here is a video of the anchorage I am talking about. You can see how narrow it is.

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Old 09-09-2016, 09:53 PM   #4
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Typically when I use a stern anchor it's to keep the boat to the edge of a channel or limit it's swing because of shallow water. If I expect the tide or wind to change, I want the boat to pivot on the main anchor.

I use a very small Fortress (it's the dingy anchor) on 3/8" rope. I drop it first with ideally a 10 to 1 scope. Then I move up to drop the main while letting the 3/8" rope pay out from it's milk crate. I drop the main and the expected amount of chain. Then go back and gather in the 3/8" rope while I'm drifting back. When the slack is out of the chain, I pull the slack out of the 3/8" rope, cleat it off, and then set the main anchor. Once the main is set, I'll make a final adjustment on the stern anchor.

Too pull, I uncleat the stern and let it pay out as I pull the main in. After the main is in, I just drift back pulling in the stern anchor. All this is done single handed. Much easier with a mate.

The 10 to 1 scope is because the anchor is so small. Much easier handling the small light weight fortress with 6' of 3/16" chain than a regular big anchor. The holding power of that little anchor is amazing with that scope. The 3/8" rope has lots of stretch, so no jerking on the anchor.

Ted
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Old 09-09-2016, 09:58 PM   #5
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The only time I stern tie is to counter the swing from cross current or crosswind. I never stern tie to hold place into the oncoming flow of current.

Usually I use the dinghy method of stern hook deployment and retrieval. In my favorite and most benign cove, it's only 6-11 ft deep and I use the stern-first method. It's about as calm as a clear plastic turtle pond...you know the one with the stepped island topped by a green plastic palm tree?

I approach the weedline upwind and stop at 2 boat lengths from the weeds to drop the stern mini danforth on a 100 ft line with 30 ft of chain. Then I proceed to the weedline and drop the bow hook in the clear next to the weeds. Since I'm anchoring in a bathtub, I just deploy the boat length of bow rode then pull in on the stern line to straddle the boat between the two. I don't recommend this method in anything but the most protected waters.
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Old 09-09-2016, 10:05 PM   #6
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I tried to stern anchor once and should have another time.

The try was at the head of a glaicer cut inlet in Canada w a steep drop off. The shallow water had very slippery light colored grass. Couldn't get an anchor to hook up so just used my 400' rode and anchored deep.

The other time we were anchored in a very narrow place in Alaska called "Windfall Harbor" .. So of Thorne Bay. Nice calm weather and nothing in the forecast so I used my trusty 13lb Dan. Used a short scope as swinging room was limited North and South. Turned out to be a blow hole right in a valley across a little mountian range. Blew 35 all night and veered a bit but not enough to send us on the beach. So a stern anchor would have "probably" been better. Another good performance w the "trusty" 13lb Danforth.
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Old 09-09-2016, 10:30 PM   #7
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David wrote: "As you can probably note from the above, it is possible to deploy a stern anchor and not be able to retrieve it if you don't have enough bow rode. So, tread carefully."

True enough. If necessary, tie a fender to the end of the stern anchor line, and drop it over the side. Take care of business at the pointy end, and then go back to recover your fender and the stern anchor attached to it.

On a visit to Cumberland Island (Georgia), after a trip ashore that ran longer than planned, I returned to the dinghy to find the tide ebbing fast, and the boat (a 42' GB) sufficiently aground at anchor that even from the beach I could detect a slight list from shore. (I had set a single plow in 9' of water, but close to the edge of a mud bank). Once back aboard, I decided not to try powering off, owing to the risk of bending a prop that might be touching the mud. Waiting out the tide would have been risky, though, as we were right on the edge of the shallows, listing in the direction of deeper water, and the tide was still falling.

What to do? Working quickly, I used the dinghy to set a stern anchor off to the side in deep water. Next, I led that anchor line through the stern hawse and up to the winch, which I then used to take in the stern anchor line, and to thus "kedge" the stern sideways off the bottom. When I felt sure the stern had swung far enough to leave the the running gear in good water, I started engines, twisted the stern out into the current, and slipped the stern anchor rode (with a fender attached). Then I motored up on the bow anchor, approaching from deeper water, retrieved it with the help of the winch, and finally went back to pick up the stern hook.

My inexperienced mate learned first hand that day, and in high-speed mode, the ancient technique of kedging. Our ladies basked all the while on the forward cabin trunk, seemingly oblivious to our little drama.
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Old 09-09-2016, 11:34 PM   #8
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Stern anchors are a real drag...I prefer happy ones.
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Old 09-10-2016, 06:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menzies View Post
On my last boat we did a Bahamian Moor often when anchored at out favorite place, a narrow river where there was plenty of traffic on weekend days, to stop us laying across the river at slack tide or if a strong wind was blowing across the river bringing the boat into it.

However I had a 35# fortress on the swim platform and 300' of spare anchor rode. So when I anchored in a current flow I could play out 50-60' of extra rode off the bow backing up. The spare anchor was dropped and we took the bow rode up.

When I anchored at slack where the boat would not fall back, I would either power back or drop the anchor on the RIB , take it to where I wanted it to set and dropped it.

Now that I have a twin anchor set up on the bow, both with chain, I would not try and do this. It is possible but the chances of injury or boat damage is too great to try it. Even more so that the boat is ~70,000 fully loaded.

Here is a video of the anchorage I am talking about. You can see how narrow it is.
So what anchor set up did you use in the video or now with the bigger boat?
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Old 09-10-2016, 08:02 AM   #10
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Our use is to use the bow and stern anchors both lead to the bow to have an O'nite mooring.

The bow is set normally.

The stern usually a 12H or 20H Danforth is simply lowered off the stern , and the line 3/8 or 1/2 in is simply walked forward outside the boat.

A pull will tell weather the anchor has set in and depending on the water depth a few extra fathoms of line is released , and the stern anchor lines is secured to the bow.

In the AM in tidal places the boat will frequently be pointing at 7AM where it was pointing on arrival at 4PM.

The stern line is passed over or under the bow line and simply walked aft.

As the stern is again in the same place it was when anchoring,so a long tug will usually be all that is required to deck the anchor.

KISS
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Old 09-10-2016, 08:04 AM   #11
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What is your technique for setting and retrieving a bow/stern anchor? I've never had the need to do it and would like to know how if needed.
Good illustrations and discussions of this in Hinz's "Complete Book of Anchoring and Mooring". along with Chapman's, Calder's "Boat Owner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual", "The Weather Identifcation Handbook", and the Navigation Rules, essential for the yachtsman's onboard library. I'm about to review and recommend another tome I am reading now, Tooley's wonderful new "How to Read Water".
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Old 09-10-2016, 09:08 AM   #12
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Blissboat,
Interesting story and good thinking.
Stern anchors and especially kedging are a good tool.
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Old 09-10-2016, 09:29 AM   #13
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So what anchor set up did you use in the video or now with the bigger boat?
Just straight anchor and chain and, post that video, a snubber.

The weekend before last we were up there and the wind was strong from the north east which laid me across the river. Boats just had to make their way past me, sometime on my stern other times across the bow. A few times when a larger boat came by I just shrugged at them them and they indicated that they understood.

I do have a hatch to one side on the swim platform. It may be an idea to put a smaller anchor in there with some 5/8 line and play with that on a weekend where the tides = less ferocious current. I still have the spare anchor from my previous boat but that thing is a beast to haul in and out of a locker.
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Old 09-10-2016, 09:32 AM   #14
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Our use is to use the bow and stern anchors both lead to the bow to have an O'nite mooring.

The bow is set normally.

The stern usually a 12H or 20H Danforth is simply lowered off the stern , and the line 3/8 or 1/2 in is simply walked forward outside the boat.

A pull will tell weather the anchor has set in and depending on the water depth a few extra fathoms of line is released , and the stern anchor lines is secured to the bow.

In the AM in tidal places the boat will frequently be pointing at 7AM where it was pointing on arrival at 4PM.

The stern line is passed over or under the bow line and simply walked aft.

As the stern is again in the same place it was when anchoring,so a long tug will usually be all that is required to deck the anchor.

KISS
I would be happy to do that with rode, though I would secure at the swim platform cleat rather than at the bow. I just don't want to be doing that with 3/8 chain.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:16 AM   #15
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The 10 to 1 scope is because the anchor is so small. Much easier handling the small light weight fortress with 6' of 3/16" chain than a regular big anchor. The holding power of that little anchor is amazing with that scope. The 3/8" rope has lots of stretch, so no jerking on the anchor.
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What size Fortress is that and what is your boat's displacement?
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Old 09-11-2016, 06:08 AM   #16
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"I just don't want to be doing that with 3/8 chain."

Stay out of coral waters and you wont need chain. Esp for a stern anchor.
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Old 09-11-2016, 06:57 AM   #17
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"I just don't want to be doing that with 3/8 chain."

Stay out of coral waters and you wont need chain. Esp for a stern anchor.
I know, but I have a two anchor set up on the bow, both with chain, so could use one for a stern by leading the chain back and laying an anchor attached to a stern cleat, But I would not want to do that with chain.

So the only other option is to carry a third anchor and rode just for doing this. Not sold on that.
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Old 09-11-2016, 08:12 PM   #18
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What size Fortress is that and what is your boat's displacement?
I'm guessing it's probably the FX-7 or maybe the FX-11. Displacement is around 40,000 lbs.

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Old 09-12-2016, 05:44 AM   #19
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"So the only other option is to carry a third anchor and rode just for doing this. Not sold on that."

A 20H Danforth in a bag with 100 ft of 3/8 line is hardly a burden.

The bag keeps the steel from the paint while being carried or stowed.

Works great as a temp bow anchor waiting for bridges or locks.

On the loop the lock wait can be 6-8 hours.
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Old 09-12-2016, 08:43 AM   #20
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Menzies wrote: "I have a two anchor set up on the bow, both with chain, so could use one for a stern by leading the chain back and laying an anchor attached to a stern cleat, But I would not want to do that with chain. So the only other option is to carry a third anchor and rode just for doing this. Not sold on that."

In cruising grounds like Florida and the Bahamas, two primary anchors, both with all-chain rodes, seems an abundance of caution. How about changing out one of the forward anchors to a combination of chain (say two or three fathoms) and the rest nylon. You can splice the nylon to the chain for a smooth interface, or use a thimble.

The all-chain rode would continue to be the primary anchor. The secondary would likely experience less use (and thus not a huge amount of wear and tear on the nylon), and offer greater flexibility in how you deploy it, like as a stern hook. You'd also get a bit of weight off the bow.

One more potential upside: if you're ever out cruising down island and experience a windless failure, you'd have an anchor that's recoverable the old-fashioned way (sans flogging the crew).
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