Sailing ABC – A is for Anchor – Anchoring, IV

Sailing ABC  by Marianne Wheeler

A is for Anchor – Anchoring, IV

Ground tackle, the anchor with the anchor rode work together to keep a boat from getting underway without its skipper at the helm. The length and strength of rode required are dictated by the size of the boat and by different anchoring situations. A 35 foot sail boat may carry 250 feet of rode for its 25 lb. anchor.

Mostly, three-strand twisted or double braided nylon rope is used for anchor rode, because of its strength and elasticity. Nylon can gradually stretch up to a third of its length under load, which is particularly helpful when the boat surges in choppy waves in the anchorage. The anchor rode on a 35 foot boat may have holding loads of 1000 lbs. in normal conditions and more than two times as much in stormy weather.

Rope is relatively easy to store and light to handle, but it can chafe and break, or deteriorate from dirt, salt, and sun.

My friend Salty Clay says it’s a good idea to regularly check for wear and tear on the anchor rode. When hanging on the hook for more than enjoying a lunch, avoid continued stress on points where the rope chafes on deck – the nip on the rode – by easing out a little more line from time to time.

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