Whoever is recovering the anchor should be able to comfortably lift the weight of the anchor and chain. So on our boat it’s usually a job for me.
* Have the boat ready to sail off – mainsail hoisted, foresail furled
* Shorten up the anchor warp – stow the spare warp.
* Wait for the wind to settle
* Take the anchor warp out of the bow fairlead and over the gunwhale
* Wait for the boat to swing so you can go off on the right tack
* Smartly haul the warp, chain and anchor into the boat and sail off.
Sometimes a bit of foresail is helpful to get off on the right tack.
We stow the anchor on the port side, so it’s important to anchor and recover on port tack. Otherwise the person handling the anchor has the boom bearing down on their back.
Make sure the helm is happy sailing the boat before you worry about stowing the anchor and washing any mud off.
If the wind is light then you will have the luxury of time to wash the mud off the anchor before it comes aboard.
It is inevitable the the gunwhale takes a bit of wear and tear – that’s what it is for. But you should be able to lift the anchor clear of the topsides. If not then the anchor is perhaps too heavy.
Hope that helps.