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Preview: Anchoring a Boat, Part 2 — Reliability & Versatility of a Danforth vs. a Yachtsman Anchor

November 30, 2011

When anchoring a boat, you want an anchor that will not only be reliable in good conditions, but one that will be versatile when bottom conditions vary or scope is limited. Any anchor will work under perfect conditions. But what makes an anchor reliable when conditions take a turn for the worse? Maynard Bray talks us through the differences in versatility of two types of anchors — the danforth anchor and the yachtsman anchor (a.k.a. fisherman’s or herreshoff anchor). In the end, the anchor that is most versatile under a variety of conditions will usually be the most reliable.

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– There are several kinds of anchors and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. We have two anchors for our discussion today. The Danforth and the yachtsman. This isn’t a comparison of anchors but it’s a discussion about what makes an anchor reliable. You’re not always gonna have perfect bottom conditions, or a long scope, so you need an anchor that is reliable in a variety of conditions. The flatter the scope the more the anchor is, any anchor probably is, apt to dig in. But this one because of the angle of the flukes, can take a shorter scope. You see I’m lifting the scope all the time. I’m up to probably three to one now, and it still, it hasn’t released itself yet. But if I were to do a three to one on this Danforth the anchor itself would start to elevate. See the flukes coming outta the water? I’m probably a three to one scope there now on the shank. And it’s a toovlar ,it’s fetched straight up here because of the nature of the anchor and the flukes are just skidding along the bottom with short scope. So there’s no way as you can see that that anchor’s gonna dig in if the scope is too short. So that’s another advantage I think of the fisherman anchor is that sometimes you get a tough situation where you don’t have room, you’ve gotta anchor and you’ve only got room for a three to one or maybe even a shorter scope and your chances are better with this fisherman anchor than they are with the Danforth. That’s it. Any shorter than that and it just skids right along the bottom with no resistance at all. So it has to be flat like that to start to dig in. You often times see a rating of boat size to anchor weight. And because advertising is what it is all the manufacturers like to show you the smallest possible anchor for a given size boat, the smallest possible weight that is. These anchors, in the right bottom, will hold a hell of a lot, I don’t mean to completely dismiss them at all but the bottom as you’ve seen earlier has got to be mud or firm sand in order for them to dig in. This gravel, it just doesn’t work. And the other thing is, that I think generally speaking you end up for a given boat size with a heavier anchor of this type than you would with this. You know, an eight pound anchor might work on this one for a 20 foot boat so the advertisers might say, on this anchor you probably want twice that weight. Half again that weight anyway to have good results. And I that’s because of the area of the fluke. You know, once that dug in it gets to the number of square inches that the flukes have. And as you can see that anchor is probably despite it being a little bit lighter than this one, oh they’re about the same weight. But the area that digs in ultimately digs in as about half on the Herreshoff anchor as it is on the Danforth. So for or a versatile anchor I don’t care for them. If you’re cruising in a place with a bottom that’s consistent they’re wonderful, I’m sure. And they store flat on board the boat like that in two dimensions instead of three. And you can haul them up and once you get them cleaned up they’re lay right flat on deck and you don’t have to stock ’em or unstock ’em like you do a fisherman. But they need scope and they need the right kinda bottom. We’ll call this a Herreshoff ’cause it’s built to Herreshoff’s original drawings. When you drop it down it’s set to land like this and it isn’t gonna hold anything. But as soon as you start to pull on it, it’ll tip like that. And one fluke will end up being down. And as you put a strain on it that fluke keeps digging in, and digging in, and digging in until pretty soon even with this bottom you just can’t pull anymore on it. One of the disadvantages of this anchor is that it has a fluke standing up that can foul the anchor ropes. Say you’re nicely anchored in the afternoon and over the course of wind change or tide change, your boat does a circle around the anchor, like this. And then it comes on with enough wind so that it takes up. And as you can see you don’t have much holding anything. That’s a real easy pull to get that out. And from then on it isn’t gonna do anything, it’s just a weight dragged along the bottom. And when you pull the thing up you’re astonished to find that it comes up backwards and you feel pretty lucky that your boat hasn’t dragged over the course of the foul. So that’s one of the disadvantages, the other one of course is that the anchor is three-dimensional. And that some boats are rigged so that it can handle it like this, well they have various arrangements on the bow of a boat so that part of the anchor usually dangles over the side. Like this, with the flukes on deck or perhaps hauled up like this, under the bowsprit with a hanger here for it just ahead of the stem. If you have a boat that works on, this anchor is terrific. If you don’t, you have to unstock it and make it, collapse it into two dimensions instead of three so it’ll stow like the other anchors do, flat on deck. So those are the two disadvantages and to me the advantages of its holding in short scope and on about any bottom, far, far away these couple a disadvantages.



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