Re: Second anchor suggestions

Robert Skinner (
Thu, 02 Dec 1999 18:35:25 -0500

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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Scott F ( wrote:
> I need suggestions for a second anchor for our P-19.
> We have an 8 lb Danforth now. We are in Charleston,
> SC, so the bottom is usually sandy (lakes may have
> some grasses on the bottom I think). Please let me
> know what you think. Thank you!

Here goes. Hope I do not offend if I cover topics you already know.

Ingredients of a decision:

1. Do you want to be prepared for a rocky bottom? If so, a second
anchor should be chosen for its versatility. The folding fluke
quasi-grapnel comes to mind, and has a second use in recovering a
mooring chain or other items lost on the bottom.

2. Do you regard an anchor as a disposable item? Occasionally,
anchors are all but impossible to retrieve. You might want to choose
a cheap Danforth lookalike. Some are very lightweight, and if rigged
with a big fishing weight instead of a chain are quite inexpensive if
lost or abandoned. The down side is the lower strength, and a
requirement for a longer rode/scope, as they are made from lighter
metal and don't dig in as quickly.

3. If weight and space aboard is a major issue, as in a P15, the
take-apart aluminum Danforth work-alike can be stowed easily. It is
expensive, however, and you may also want to have a small and
inexpensive folding-fluke type for the occasional rocky bottom. But
this brings us up to 3 anchors...

4. The kedge is heavier for the same amount of holding power in a
Danforth, but is better in weeds and/or hard/rocky bottoms. It is
difficult to stow, as it has pointy things in all directions. Not
generally chosen for small boats.

Some people dispense with chain to reduce weight and simplify
storage. I haven't had or heard about problems with this, but I may
have been lucky. If you dispense with chain, you might want to make
sure that there are no sharp corners where you bend on the line (best
to use a clevis/shackle/ring), or better, splice it onto a thimble.

Chapman suggests that you use braided nylon for anchors. Braided to
reduce problems in stowing it in the locker, and nylon because of its
elasticity. Nylon also resists chaffing better that polypro, etc.

Note that using an anchor line bigger than necessary reduces its
stretch, and therefore its shock-absorbing ability.


The best answer is to get a copy of Chapman's "Piloting, Seamanship,
and Small Boat Handling" and study the section on anchor selection and

Robert Skinner,, Rockville, MD 20850
'87 Potter 15 HMS #1618 "Little Dipper"