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I carry four small cotton towels at the bottom of my spinnaker bags. They can be used to wipe water or sweat from my head or clean the boat. They can also be used to lay the boom or mast on while preparing the boat for road travel. And they come in handy while retrieving the anchor. And they have a thousand other uses. I have four more towels, clean ones, at home to replace the ones on the boat regularly.

Other then that it is a technique where you bring the anchor rope from the fairlead near the bow, to the cockpit and hoist the anchor from there. The chain is then easily taken over the gunwale on to the floorboards without touching the gunwale. The anchor, a lightweight aluminum Fortress in my case, is taken over the side on to the floorboards the same way. While pulling the chain and anchor in, I move it up and down to wash the mud off as much as possible. It is a typical crew job while the helm is in control of the boat.

On a beach the anchor, the chain and rope are usually fully stowed while we are still up to our knees in the water. Only when the boat is fully prepared to sail we board and sail away, much like we do at the launching slip. In this case it is even easier to lift the chain and anchor over the gunwale on to the floorboards.

If all goes well the anchor and chain never touched the boat, except the floorboards. The rope and chain are then stowed on a drum from the floorboards. (The drum runs over an extended mast pivot pin). I have seen others use a stowage bag. Obviously the rope and chain is then stowed in to the bag from the floorboards. If we are not departing from a beach, the stowage is done after the boat is on a stable course, away from any danger.

BTW, a good fendoff helps too….. 😉