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anchoring - page 2

5.2 Anchoring equipment


Pleasure boats should be equipped with at least two anchors. 

The Bruce anchor

The Bruce anchor, which was made for oil rigs, has been one of the most popular anchors on yachts. This anchor digs in well in sand, gravel and mud, but is less reliable on rocks and bottoms with lots of seaweed. The Bruce anchor is easy to handle, as it has no movable parts, although it can sometimes be hard to break loose when weighing anchor. It stows well on a bow roller but is a bit bulky in anchor wells.


The CQR anchor

The CQR anchor is also very popular in long-distance cruisers. It is forged in galvanised steel and the hinged shank makes the anchor handle windshifts well. It digs in well in sand, gravel, mud and seaweed-covered bottoms, although it may take some time before it holds well. It is easy to break loose when weighing anchor. However, it may be a bit tricky to handle and stow.


The Delta anchor

The Delta anchor has some of the same properties as the CQR but is diffcult to handle. It stows well only on a bow roller.



Anchor chain is normally made of galvanised steel. It is also available in stainless steel, although the latter is much more expensive. The advantage of a stainless steel chain, in addition to reduced corrosion, is that its smooth surface is easier to keep clean.

The chain is, most of the times, marked with colour codes every five or ten metres along its length, so you always know how much chain you have laid out. Both mechanical and electronic counters exist, although it is wise to mark the chain all the same.


The chain locker is in the bow and where chain and anchor are stowed. A windlass may also be mounted in the locker. 

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Chain hooks are used to lock the anchor or to relieve the windlass.

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A windlass will give you added strength and may save your back! Windlasses used to be big, heavy and expensive. Nowadays they have become so reliable, compact and cheap that they are installed on even smaller yachts. 


Electric windlasses are connected to the boat’s electric circuits and are operated by deck mounted foot switches, panel switches or remote control. Most windlasses can be manually operated in case of loss of electrical supply. Hydraulic windlasses are mostly used on bigger yachts with additional hydraulic gear, e.g. bow thrusters. Otherwise installing a hydraulic windlass may be very expensive.


Windlasses are either of a horizontal or a vertical type. The latter will have a motor mounted below deck (better corrosion protection) and can be very compact. Even though the horizontal type is easy to install, the vertical type has many advantages: a larger part of the chain is in contact with the chain gypsy and the chain may be led onto the gypsy at various angles to the centreline. It is advantageous that the windlass has both a chain gypsy and a rope drum or a combined chain and rope gypsy which is common on modern low profile windlasses. Then your windlass can be used for other purposes onboard.


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The command for the operation of the windlass can be given in the following ways:

  • Wired control located on the bow. Photo 5.2.1

  • Wireless controller (in addition to wired). Photo 5.2.2

  • Up & Down buttons near the helmsmans seat (in addition to the wired and usually in large sailing boats,> 44ft). Photo 5.2.3

  • Buttons mounted on the bow deck. Photo 5.2.4


Electric windlass

Photo 5.2.1

Photo 5.2.2

Photo 5.2.3

Photo 5.2.4

Usually there is an electric breaker/reset switch for the windlass. The breaker prevents too much current from overheating the wires to the windlass. If this "pops" you had either too much tension on the rode or you held the button on too long. You'll need to hit the reset switch, which is not usually in a very convenient location. On some boats it's next to the battery switch.



All sailing boats up to 60-65 feet must have at least four medium size mooring ropes and one longer. Their type depends on the use they will make. So the boat must have:

  • At least four submersible triple or quadruple knitting polyester ropes. Their length depends on the length of the boat. For boats from 36 to 60 feet must be at least 12-15 meters. Photo 5.2.5

  • At least one non-submersible high-strength rope which should not be less than 50 meters. This rope must be resistant to abrasion and retain its shape even after sufficient use, as it is used to tie the boat to rocks or other sharp surfaces. It is usually orange or yellow. Photo 5.2.6


Photo 5.2.5


Photo 5.2.6


Boat fenders are a necessary equipment, as they prevent any damage that can be created on the boat from its contact with others or on a pier. High quality fenders are required to meet even the most difficult conditions and to fully protect the boat. Their size depends on the length of the boat. For sailing boats from 36 to 60 feet there must be at least 6-10 fenders.

The side fenders are placed during the preparation of the boat for its safe mooring in a port or a bay and their upper part should be in the same level as the handrail of the boat. Photo 5.2.7. Upon arrival of the boat at the position chosen by the captain, it can adjust the height of the fenders according to the height of the adjacent boat or the pier.

The round fender should also be placed on the stern during the preparation of the boat and should remain there throughout the stay of the boat in the specific position. Photo 5.2.8

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Photo 5.2.7

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When the boat leaves the port all the fenders must be removed and placed inside the boat, in a cockpit locker or tied together at the stern of the boat but without touching the sea.

Photo 5.2.8

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