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We’ve had our boat for about 5 years and although I intended to fit bow fairleads, I’ve managed to get by without. The only time I really need one is when anchoring, so instead of fitting a failread on the bow (with all the problems of pads, bolts, nuts and chimney sweeps) I just tie a bit of string around the forestay and the anchor line. I used to use a bit of shock cord, but it wasn’t necessary. (If you keep the loop to about 8 inches diameter, there’s hardly any snatch as the boat swings on the anchor.)