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  • #3846

    Thank you for all your help with the fairlead question.
    If anyone has any advice on recovering an anchor without damaging the topsides, Id be grateful for your input.


    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….. 😉

    Bob Harland

    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.


    Presumably when you say bring the anchor in over the gunnel you are standing by the mast leaning over the foredeck with the anchor coming aboard between forestay & shroud?


    Bob Harland

    – yes, the anchor would normally come in just forward of the shroud, depending how the boat is lying to the wind/current.
    You need to watch for the boat not swinging onto the wrong tack.


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