Welcome to the Dark Horse Marine blog! In this space, we’ll attempt to demystify the sometimes confusing topic of anchoring. We’ll start from the vantage point of a newcomer to boating and dive in from there. We encourage comments and discussion and will attempt to answer any questions you may have.
So let’s get our feet wet! At its core, an anchor simply is a weight at the end of a line that prevents a boat from drifting due to waves, wind, or current. Or, in most cases, a combination of all three.
If only it was that easy! There’s a fair amount of physics that goes into providing the optimum holding power of an anchor, from its shape, weight, length and make up of the rode (the anchor line), the scope (the ratio of the length of the rode to the water depth), the forces acting on the anchor, and the nature of the seabed.
Don’t worry, we won’t be using any complicated formulas, but will instead make everything easy to understand so your boating is safe, secure, and fun. In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at something that all anchor systems have in common: the seabed.
To select the type of anchor to use in a certain application depends almost entirely on the composition of the seabed. Are you anchoring in sand, mud, clay, silt, rocks or gravel, seashells, or seaweed? Also bear in mind that just a few feet over the composition of the bottom may change dramatically.
This may seem basic, but you would be surprised at how many boaters ignore what is below them and simply toss the anchor overboard and hope for the best. When the anchor later slips and they find themselves adrift, blame turns to the anchor or other equipment. In fact, not taking the time to understand how anchors perform on a particular seabed is often the real culprit.
In future blog posts, we will look in depth at how various anchor shapes, sizes, and weights perform in the different bottoms encountered. The anchor rode will also be looked at, as the combination of rope and chain has a tremendous impact on how well an anchor sets.
Is there the “perfect” anchor for all environments and situations? No, but knowing the key differences between the types of seabeds and the holding power required for each is vital to safe and enjoyable boating.