Anchors & Anchoring


Everything you need to know about anchors and anchoring. Spend any time away from the dock and you will soon need to anchor your power or sailboat. Anchoring consists of either an all chain or mixed chain and rope rode connected to an anchor; forming the anchoring ground tackle. To winch up your anchor rode, you use a windlass. Along with the anchoring equipment, LFS Marine & Outdoor recommends a class in rodes and anchors as well as on anchoring techniques.



The anchor you chose will depend on the type of anchoring you do. Cruising anchors are larger plow or claw anchors capable of holding boats to various bottoms. Kedging, Forfjord and Workboat anchors are used on commercial vessels. For day use, as a backup anchor or specialty anchor the fluke or grapnel anchors are used, depending on the size of boat.

Anchor Chain & Line

Anchor rode connects your anchor on the bottom to your boat on the top of the water. Anchoring rode may be all BBB, High Test or Proof Coil galvanized anchor chain. For some boats, a mix of chain with rope rode will be used for anchoring.

Anchor Windlasses

Anchor windlass Anchors and ground tackle soon become too big for a person to haul in by hand. You will need to Choose a Windlass to help haul your anchor up. Windlasses may be electric, manual or hydraulic powered and can often handle both robe rode and chain for pulling up your anchor. Read more on windlasses.

Choosing Your Anchor

How big of an anchor should I carry on my boat? An important question that often isn't asked is, How many anchors should I carry? Consult the manufacturer of your anchor for an answer to these questions. The size, displacement, type of boat and its intended use are important considerations. Often you have one main anchor, one storm anchor (a size or two up from your boat requirement) and one lunch anchor (a size or two down).

Mantus Anchors

A newer generation of anchor, the Mantus anchor is designed to set in very hard or grassy bottoms. It features a sharp toe like thefor penetrating weed and grass, sets quickly, and has a large fluke area. Its roll-bar gives fast setting and a strong holding power.

Fluke Anchors

The Danforth is lightweight compared to its holding power, the Danforth is superb in sand and mud, and its flat configuration makes it easy to carry aboard. The Danforth doesnt set well in hard bottoms, and sea grass can keep it from reaching the bottom. There are many similar lightweight fluke anchors on the market, including the Fortress, which is aluminum. In a strong current, the broad flukes of the Danforth and similar fluke anchors can make them sail through the water rather than sink to the bottom.

Plow Anchors

Popular cruising anchors in this class are the old cruising standard CQR secure and the Delta. They get their name from the plow shape witch digs in well and this anchor will reset itself if a change in pull trips it. Although it may not bury in hard bottoms, this anchor is more effective in grass than other lightweight anchors. This anchor is hard to stow, except on a bow roller.

Claw Anchors

Claw and Manta anchors are originally based on the Bruce anchor; the anchor designed to keep North Sea Rigs in their place. The Bruce anchor will reset itself if tripped. However, it doesn't do well in hard bottoms, and the shape of the flukes makes it vulnerable to fouling in heavy grass. A fixed shank anchor that is harder to stow.

Other Anchors

Specialty anchors are usually carried for unique situations. The grapnel anchor works well on rock bottoms as its narrow tines are more likely to snag small crevices while other anchors will slide over the bottom. A small grapple is often carried to rescue lost chain, to drag the bottom or to use on a small tender. The yachtsman, or kedge, anchor works well in sand and mud, and is better in hard bottoms and grass than other anchors. A small mushroom anchor makes a great dingy dive anchor. A 34 foot cruising sailboat might carry 4 anchors; 35# Plow (main), 33# Claw (backup), 50# Fisherman or 40# Fluke (storm) and a 8.8# grapnel (lunch hook, dingy, dredging). A 35 foot power boat might carry 3 anchors; 33# stainless steel Claw (main), 40# Fluke (backup, storm) and a small grapple or fluke anchor (lunch hook, dingy, dredging).

Anchoring Scope

Scope - A normal scope for a line rode is 7:1, which means the rode should be 7 times longer than the depth (including the water to deck height). A 5:1 scope is usually sufficient during the day in settled conditions with good holding ground, but you shouldnt leave the boat unattended with such a short scope. In stormy conditions, you may need a scope of 10:1 or more. When using a chain rode in normal conditions, you can reduce scope to 3:1 or 5:1 because the chains weight keeps the pull on the anchor horizontal or nearly so.