Using a Kellet

There’s a word you don’t see every day. So, what is it? A kellet is a 15 to 25 pound weight, which you “hang” from the anchor rode. Often, it’s referred to as a sentinel, although technically, that is the rope the controls the weight, not the weight itself.

There are a number of theories about the value of a kellet. It’s been credited with increasing an anchor’s holding power (a better way is to increase scope) and improving shock absorbing power (a nylon snubber is better.)  However, the real value of a kellet is in keeping the rode clear of the keel and/or rudder. All chain rode doesn’t have a problem, but a rode with a combination of chain and nylon might.

In most anchorages around San Francisco Bay wind and currents shift throughout the night. Many times, wind and current compete with each other. If the boat is hanging on a nice tight rode, there isn’t going to be problem. Unfortunately, if the boat is floating “lazy circles” around the anchor, the rode can easily wrap around the keel. Sliding a kellet 10 or 15 feet down the rode keeps it below the level of the keel, avoiding the problem.

Tradewinds boats that do not have all chain are outfitted with a mushroom shaped anchor as a kellet. To use, attach the carabineer onto the rode and let it slide down. Cleat the bitter end of the sentinel on the boat, and enjoy your evening.

There is another great use of a kellet. If you didn’t have the foresight to set it up ahead of time, and find the rode wrapped around the keel the next morning, slide the kellet up and down the rode now. This will generally free it. It will take time and patience, however, it will work.


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