Anchors: All you need to know

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Boats have been around for thousands of years and, as you would expect, so have anchors. The first ‘anchor’ was probably no more than a rock crudely tied to a rope and chucked over the side to keep the boat more or less in place by the sheer weight of it. We take a look at what defines an anchor in the 21st century, and how to use it properly.

Ultimately, anchors hold a boat in one place by grabbing on to the seabed or by pure mass, or a combination of the two. Nowadays, there are many different types of anchors specifically designed to secure your boat in various conditions and, whether the bottom is sandy, rocky, grassy or muddy, there is a suitable anchor for every instance.

Traditional Anchor designs
There are a few designs developed over the ages that have stood the test of time and are still used today.

Admiralty Pattern
The Admiralty has a central shank, usually with a ring attached to the top end which the rode is tied onto. At the other end of the shank, two arms extend outward holding the flukes that is designed to dig into the bottom. The stock is mounted at the other end and at 90 degrees to the flukes. When the anchor lands on the bottom it’ll fall over and once the rode comes under strain the stock will cause one of the flukes to catch and dig into the seabed.

Grapnel Anchor
The Grapnel is a fairly simple design; four or more tines are attached to a single shank. The premise is that at least one of the tines will hook onto rock or coral when it is dragged along the bottom. It is generally light in weight and easy to carry and handle, however, its shape is usually bulky and difficult to stow. They aren’t very effective in sand, mud or clay and are known to easily wrap and foul itself on its own rode, preventing it from digging in. Also, once the grapnel is hooked onto coral or other structures they might be difficult to retrieve…


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