Anchor Musings

With less than two weeks until our scheduled departure, every single day is filled with project work!  I’ve been trying to balance boat projects with tying off the last loose ends of life ashore, with good, steady progress. Still, I’m faced with having to carefully choose between which projects can be left for the time being and which projects are critical to the offshore voyage portion of our adventure.

anchor fail
the rock that nearly wrecked the boat

I’m definitely feeling “in touch” with the TIE Fighter and the ocean, however. This morning I was awoken by a wake from a passing boat, one which must have been pretty massive because it lasted for far more than the typical three or four waves. After about the twentieth wave or so I figured something was amiss, so I jumped out of bed and checked – sure enough, TIE Fighter was lying perpendicular to the incoming ocean swell, causing her to rock sideways. Usually the anchor line holds her bows pretty much directly into the swell, so this was out of the ordinary. I pulled out the GPS, and just as I suspected, the anchor was dragging.

The anchor I’ve been using lately is a Fortress FX-37. The benefits of a danforth-style anchor are many, but the real value of the Fortress model is that it’s made out of cast aluminum alloy instead of steel. The FX-37 weighs a mere 21lbs, but the holding strength is reputed to be that of a steel anchor at least double its weight!

The biggest downside of the folding anchor model is that if the anchor should fail to fold, it ceases to work. This morning I was nearly blown onto the rocky shore as a result of a little one-inch rock getting wedged between the anchor flukes and the shaft! Fortress anchors may have the best holding power in their class, but they don’t handle being re-seated due to shifting tides or winds very well. I’ll be spending some time re-thinking the anchoring situation in the near future, let me assure you.

Update: when I went down to Seattle to help Miya move out of her apartment and onto the boat fulltime, disaster struck – I received a phonecall from the Kits Beach lifeguards saying that the TIE Fighter was about 100m off the rocks and headed in fast! Fortunately a friend from another boat rushed out and deployed a second anchor for me, and a phonecall to my good friend Simon had him scrambling to rescue the boat. He was able to pull the anchor and head in to False Creek, albeit with some hassle as the new fuel polishing system apparently siphons fuel from the engine lines if the valves aren’t closed properly! He made it as far as the Burrard Bridge before the engine conked out, and had to enlist the help of the Coast Guard to tow the TIE Fighter in to safer waters.

It really never stops!

2 thoughts on “Anchor Musings”

  1. I suggest you get a Bruce, lovely anchor, the Danforth are only good in sand and gravel, and seem to foul a lot, but a good light lunch/ER anchor. Just remember. Waves dont kill sailors rocks kill sailors! And don’t take it personally, god does not make big waves just for you, and yes I do mean BIG waves! however, It is the only life woth living….

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