Anchoring and mooring

Anchor, mooring and tackle

Ancient Wooden Anchor Ocean Hiker Sailing Course Thailand

Ancient Wooden Anchor

There is a nice saying stating that: “every boat needs an anchor and every boat is an anchor”. This is certainly only applying to boat or yacht owner but nevertheless it is a fact that we need to have sufficient knowledge about anchor tackle to properly secure our vessel.

The anchor itself is dating back into the Bronze Age. At this time they were made mostly of rocks.

Many different shapes emerged and most of them have their background in commercial marine activities and found their way as downgraded or smaller versions into the yachting world. All of them have of course different properties in holding power and are usually designed for certain bottom compositions. Modern ones have good holding power in more different bottom compositions as others are more limited.

A good modern anchor has a lot of holding power compared to their weight. The size of an anchor depends of the size of the vessel.

Fisherman / Admiralty

Admiralty Anchor Ocean Hiker Sailing Course Thailand

Admiralty / Fisherman Anchor

A traditional design, the fisherman is the most known type. It is a non-burying type with one arm penetrating the seabed and the other standing up. It has less holding power to weight ratio than modern ones. It is a good all around anchor for all types of seabed. The Fisherman is easily fouled by the chain and loses its holding power if anchored while the boat can drift over and around the fluke because of tidal streams.

Unfortunately the Fisherman design is quite difficult to stow away aboard. With a weight of over 50 kg they need more than two person to be handled. Some include a folding stock so it may be dissembled if needed.

Fluke / Danfort

Fluke Anchor Ocean Hiker Sailing Course Thailand

Fluke anchor / Danfort

A common brand is the Danforth. This fluke style anchor was invented by American Richard Danforth in the 1940s. This Type offers very good holding power for its weight ratio but it is not a good general purpose type. Its light weight and compact flat design make it easy to retrieve and relatively easy to stow away on deck or below.

The fluke / Danfort has difficulties penetrating bottoms like kelp and weed-covered sea beds as well as rocky, hard sand or clay bottoms. If the vessel is moving while dropping the anchor it may kite due to the large fluke area acting as a sail or wing. Once set, it tends to break out and reset when the direction of force changes such as with the tide.

CQR (Clyde Quick Release) or Plough

Clyde Quick Release anchor ocean hiker sailing course

Clyde Quick Release Anchor / CQR / Plough

Many manufacturers produce a plough-style design anchor, all based on the original CQR (Secure). It  was designed by Geoffrey Ingram Taylor in 1933 and is very popular nowadays with cruising sailors. It is generally good in all bottoms except on small stone or pebbles. It has a hinged shank, allowing the anchor to turn with direction changes rather than breaking out. It is very easy stored on an bow- or roller systems.

Bruce / Claw Anchor

Bruce Anchor Ocean Hiker Sailing Course

Bruce Anchor / Claw Anchor

This type was designed by Peter Bruce from the Isle of Man in the 1970s. It gained its reputation from the production of large commercial anchors for ships and oil rigs. The Bruce is also known as claws anchor and have become a popular option for small vessels. They set quickly in most seabeds and have the reputation of not breaking out with tide or wind changes.

Weedy bottoms and grass are more difficult to penetrate. The Claw-or Bruce have a low holding power to weight ratio and have to be over-sized to compensate but they perform relatively well with low rode scopes and set fairly reliably.

Size and weight ratio for some anchor

Length(ft) Weight(kg) Bruce
(kg)
Danforth(kg) Fortress(kg) Plow(kg) Yachtsman(kg)
20-25 1250 2.2 4-S, 2.5-H 2 5 7.5
26-30 2500 5.5 6.5-S, 6-H 3.5 7.5 12.5
31-35 5000 5.5 / 8 11-S, 6-H 3.5 / 5 10 17.5 / 20
36-40 7500 8 11-S, 10-H 5 12.5 25
41-45 10000 11 20-S, 10-H 7.5 17.5 32.5
46-50 15000 11 / 22 32-S, 17-H 10 22.5 37.5
51-60 25000 22 42-S, 30-H 16 30 50

During the sailing course we will use a CQR anchor.

Here are two videos which will give a inside to the anchoring process


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23 Responses to “Anchoring and mooring”


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  • Comment from admin

    thanks guys, it really gives me more motivation to continue the school section within this site.

  • Comment from forex robot

    Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

  • Comment from Heiko

    oh great, i never knew before so many interesting facts about anchors. Hope this little sailing wiki will grow big.

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    Amiable brief. Gratefulness on your information.

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  • Comment from Johnny

    Interesting facts. It would be great if you can provide more details about it. Thanks a lot!

  • Comment from admin

    Well, I am doing what I can. This section is supposed to become the full online school version. But in the meantime I’ve got to do the courses to. Please be patient. But anyway, thank you very much for your comment. Admin

  • Comment from john haward

    It’s so refreshing to find articles. Very informative reading. I will keep you bookmarked.

  • Comment from Sailing Star

    why is it not so easy to find this stuff so simple explained in books? Hope you get ahead with the other subjects of sailing.

    Cheers Paliotta

  • Comment from LaserSailor

    cool stuff, reading this makes me wanna upgrade to bigger boats…

  • Comment from Wind Forecast

    Thanks so much for the brief introduction into anchoring.

  • Comment from Jeffrey

    Good stuff.. but how about chain? When do I need 10mm chain instead of 8mm?

  • Comment from Henry

    Hey sailors, looks pretty cool what you are doing there. When is the best time for sailing down in Thailand?

  • Comment from Akim

    Interesting chapter about the anchoring. Where can I find recommendations or ratios for anchor chain to yacht displacement? Thanks, Akim

  • Comment from admin

    Hi Thanks for your input, we had previously a similar question and we are going to extend the post “anchoring and mooring” with the information about chain and displacement ratio. Greetings, Admin

  • Comment from Dorine

    WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for Danfort anchor.


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