Which is better: a “cat” or a brick. How to choose an anchor for your yacht or boat


Many people plan to go out on the water, not really thinking about whether they need an anchor at all, but only a few understand the type. But as experience is gained, it becomes clear that for safety and a quiet rest, you need to choose an anchor depending on the places where you will have to drop it, and even better to have several anchors on board, preferably of different types.

Which anchor should you choose? How is it safe to use it in different cruising conditions and on different types of bottom?
To make sure your boat is safe while you are on board or sailing away on a tender, you don’t have to rely only on the berths. The right anchorage can be the key to calmness. If you set the anchor confidently and correctly, then any sea or river trip will bring a lot of pleasure.

There is nothing worse than incorrectly anchoring, thereby endangering not only your boat, but also other vessels that are anchored nearby. And if the anchor itself is not suitable for the type of seabed under your keel, then there is a high probability that the boat will drag this anchor behind it, instead of standing dead on it. And this does not give rest to many boat owners, depriving them of sleep, restful rest, and on large yachts – and their crew – of nerve cells. But as one of the seasoned sailors Michael Seamus Kildea used to say, the art of anchoring is not rocket science, it’s easy to learn if you know the basics.

Types of anchors

The choice of the type and size of anchors and cable, no matter how trite, but depends on the type and size of your vessel, as well as on the water area in which it is used.

Bruce’s anchor – holds a fairly large weight well, is easy to handle, holds well in silt, sand and stones.

CQR or plow – excellent lifting capacity, ergonomic stacking. It holds well in silt and sand. Very popular and reliable. Holds confidently even with the yacht’s cardinal turns.

Cobra – designed for rocky bottom. This type of anchor has a solid holding force, but is almost always very bulky.

Danforth is a good wedge anchor, difficult to break out of the muddy bottom. But it gives slack if the wind or current change direction, “leading” the boat behind it.

The fisherman is a traditional anchor. Suitable for rocky seabed, but heavy and uncomfortable. Not suitable for sand and muddy bottom.

Cat anchor is a widespread type of auxiliary anchors and anchors for rocky porous bottom. For small boats, a foldable cat anchor is preferred, which does not take up much space.

Matrosov’s anchor – perfectly holds the boat even in a strong storm. But due to its “tenacity”, it can be difficult to get it back on board.

Admiralteysky is one of the most ancient anchors, but now it is becoming a thing of the past and more and more often replenishes museum exhibits.

Nuances and features of choosing an anchor

The weight of an anchor for small boats up to 6-7 meters in length and up to 1800 kg displacement should be calculated from an average of 100 kg of the yacht’s displacement per 1 kg of the weight of the anchor itself.

Regardless of the type of anchor, take the largest option that the mounting ring on your boat can handle and the dimensions of the storage space.

Most anchors hold well in sand and muddy bottoms. When it comes to rock, a good old fisherman’s anchor, sometimes called the “yachtsman’s anchor” or cat anchor, works well. It can also be used on a very algae-overgrown bottom. Due to its simplicity and cheapness, in extreme cases, you can simply cut the halyard, leave the stuck anchor at the bottom.

All modern plow derivatives (CQR/Manson type) and claw anchors (Bruce type) are great for sand and silt. Danforth with its large paws provides a good hold. But its peculiarity is that if the direction of thrust is reversed, this anchor is more prone to pulling out.

There is another, not so common, but sometimes very useful type of anchor – Flook. This anchor has a large surface area and is designed to “fly” out of the boat to penetrate deep into sandy soils. The device automatically takes the correct angle at the bottom, eliminating the need for sailors to pre-estimate the parameters of the coastline.

Advice from experienced yachtsmen: Do not rely on the advice of yachtsmen who are accustomed to “living” in the marina, and consider the bad weather a wave of 2 points and a wind of 10 knots. Their advice on newfangled easy, space-age “super hooks” will go unheard of. In real sailing conditions, they will not help you.

Цепь и канат 

For the anchor to work effectively, the pull of the vessel on the anchor line must be parallel to the seabed, otherwise the anchor will break out of the seabed and drag. The presence of a chain can prevent this “nightmare” of the shipowner. Ideally, instead of the anchor rope, there is a complete anchor chain. But this option is only suitable with an anchor winch. Alternatively, a part of the chain is used, connected to the anchor and lying on the bottom, and the main part of a soft rope is already attached to it to make the anchor set lighter. Another important factor is the bending effect of the cable chain between the boat and the anchor.

How much anchor chain or rope should you use? The length depends on the depth under the keel, as well as weather conditions, the height of the tide waves. When anchored in calm conditions with little or no tide, the absolute minimum is 3: 1 depth for chain and 5: 1 for rope. In light to medium conditions, a ratio of 5: 1 for a chain and 8: 1 for a rope is usually adopted, and when conditions deteriorate, a ratio of 8: 1 for a chain and 10: 1 for a rope. In tidal areas, the heights of the rise and fall of the tide must be considered.

Pro tip: As a rough guideline for choosing the right chain size for your boat, you can use the following parameters: 8mm chain is sufficient for boats up to 11 meters, 10 mm for 13-meter boats, and 12 mm for your yacht longer.



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