What A Drag!

Fayaway came equipped with a minimal 45 pound Delta (aka modern plow/wing-style) anchor. It appears to be in decent condition, but wouldn’t have been my first choice of anchors. Anchor designs have been modified somewhat in the last 25 years since our vessel was built. Enough so that I do covet the more recent plow designs, such as Rocna, Spade and Mantus. I’m guessing the boat originally came equipped with a CQR plow, as that was the most popular model for cruising boats a couple decades ago. Aside from the CQR having one major difference, being a hinge, from what I can see among the fixed plow differences are weighted tips, roll bars and shank angles. I’m not going into the designs beyond this, as our readers may Google “plow anchors” to learn more.

Common anchor types

Included in Fayaway’s initial ground-tackle inventory are two aluminum Fortress anchors: I found one disassembled behemoth model # FX-55, which the manufacturer claims is good for securing a 58 foot boat; it’s now buried in the cockpit lazarette as a spare. And a more appropriately sized FX-23 was originally strapped to the bow pulpit. Fortress is a popular brand of Danforth-style anchor, made entirely out of aluminum that can be easily disassembled. These are considered secondary anchors, lighter and easier to deploy if the primary is lost, or from the stern to keep the boat pointing a certain way.

Fortress Anchor can be disassembled easily.

Each Fortress is mated with a ten-foot piece of 5/16” chain, along with 200 feet of 1/2 inch nylon springy line, all twisted up in a dirty balled-up mess. These rode-lines are located in respective chain lockers fore and aft. I’ve attached the smaller FX-23 Fortress to the stern pushpit, fully-assembled, ready to deploy.

The primary Delta anchor, when not deployed, sits not-quite perfectly on the starboard side (dual) bow roller, has an attached 300 feet (purportedly) of rusty 5/16 chain. It fits a bit loosely in the windlass gypsy. But I’ll get back to the windlass in a moment. So again about the chain. It sits hanging from the gypsy down into the amply-cavernous chain locker, in one big nasty, rusty, crusty, twisted and tangled up pile.

Rusty chain binds in the locker and this Muir gypsy.

Regarding the windlass again… it’s a nice one, but as-known at purchase time, it wasn’t functioning. Back in Mattapoisett, while waiting for our transmission rebuild, I took it apart, cleaned, oiled and replaced a missing thrust washer. Good as new! Well, sort of. It “seems” to work fine now.

So off we sailed northeast to Maine, first to a cute little cove offshoot of Boothbay Harbor, called Linekin Bay. Kelly went nervously to the bow as we approached a good looking spot in 25 feet of water. (Although we’ve both done this many times, it has been about ten months since we used our relatively pristine condition anchoring setup on the old Fayaway. So now she’s a bit anxious and unsure how it all works with a different boat). So up to the foredeck she goes, pushes the big Delta off the roller and presses the foot button to lower and… nothing. She stares back at me with a frustrated look. Ugh.

Now Kelly and I had previously spoken about the iffy chain being a bit stiff and crusty down below in the chain locker, and that I had also yanked it around by hand to loosen and untangle in the chain locker access via the v-berth. And that this could remain an issue. And of course, it was.

Twisted rusty mess hanging from the windlass down below. On the right is the shorter secondary anchor chain with nylon rode, in much better condition, relatively unused.

We managed to calm Kelly’s nerves, deploy some chain and get through that anchoring event just before a rain squall hit, and most especially, in time for sundowners.

Heading northeast from Linekin to Rockland.

The next day we made passage up to Rockland Harbor, offered lovely sailing, continuing northeast up through the Muscle Ridge Channel, around Owl’s Head and dropped 80 feet of chain at the SE part of the harbor into a light northern breeze. 80 feet was really a guess because the chain markers were partially existent. A blow of 25 to 30 knots with gusts over 40 was to arrive the following night out of the east, so by early that evening I let out another guesstimated 30 feet or so (high tide reaching 25 feet depth). Giving a minimum scope at high tide of around 3.5 to 4 at peak tide, which should be sufficient in the heavy mud we’re hooked into.

The anticipated blow indeed came roaring out of the East at about 0200 hours, keeping me awake to watch the fury, and other poor nearby boats attempting to reset their anchor during the worst of it. Fayaway, even though partially sheltered from the full strength coming off the ocean, jockeyed back and forth, as each gust would cause her to lift the dampening chain, with it dropping back at each lull, tugging the bow back forward, back and forth. By daylight much of the storm had past and the wind clocked around. Below is the gps trail illustrating how we’ve gone full circle, dragged, and our questionable ground tackle remains just that. Dragging really wasn’t a big deal, and all is good aboard. I just thought it would be a good blog post! 🙂

Click to enlarge. Dotted lines indicate our movements in 24 hours while anchored in Rockland Harbor. North is roughly to the upper right. The closer patterns (upper left/white) were during the first twelve hours, with wind clocking 270 degrees. The pattern occurred during the strongest winds. But then by mid 8am we ended up clocking around and started dragging after a remnant 35k gust evidently pulled us free. Notice the zig-zag yellow dots, showing our drift. Fortunately it was daytime and we were aboard to notice what happened. We moved to a new location (bottom right / green circle.)

Closeup of above upper left. First 18 hours before daylight and dragging. Interesting to track movements at anchor.

We hope you enjoyed this piece. Of course if you don’t for any reason, then please unsubscribe.

In any case, PLEASE get vaccinated for protection against those nasty air-borne pathogens. I just read that the “delta variant” is being spread by vaccinated people, even though we don’t get sick. Maybe it’s modern Darwinism if we lose a few of the unvaccinated? I truly wish that doesn’t need to happen.

Kelly at the Rockland public dingy dock.

Anyway, let’s go visit Rockland!

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