When it comes to sailing, and especially cruising, having an anchor that will function well in all conditions is incredibly important. It may be obvious, but it’s the only thing holding your boat in place. Every time you drop the hook in an idyllic lagoon, you’re relying on that piece of metal on the ocean floor to keep your boat from becoming a floating (or not) money pit. Not that your boat isn’t already a money pit, but at least you get to go sailing.
Choosing The Right Anchor Setup For You
The hunt for the perfect anchor can seem a bit daunting considering how many brands, styles, and sizes there are. However, it doesn't have to be too complicated. The following information should make your decision easier.
Size and Weight
The first thing you need to consider when choosing an anchor is the size and weight of your sailboat. A 35-footer obviously needs a much bigger anchor than a little Laser, but two 35-footers might not need the same size anchor — a heavy displacement cruiser is going to need a beefier hook than a light racer. Most websites you can buy an anchor from will include the specifications you need to make sure you get the right one.
Rope and Chain
The next thing to think about is the type of rode you want to use. Rode is the line or chain that connects your boat to the anchor. In general, there are three types: all-chain, rope/chain combo, and all-rope. All-chain is the strongest but also the heaviest; it doesn’t absorb shock as well as rope does, so it puts more strain on your windlass and other gear. Rope/chain combos offer a happy medium, while all-rope is the lightest but also the weakest.
To make sure you have the proper amount of rode, the general rule of thumb is that you need at least five times the depth of water in scope. So, if you’re anchoring in 20 feet of water, you need at least 100 feet of rode out. That may seem like a lot, but it’s not uncommon to see boats with 200-300 feet of rode out. More scope means less strain on both your anchor and your boat.
Another thing to consider is the type of bottom you will be anchoring in most often. Certain anchor types and brands are good for soft, muddy bottoms, and others are good for rugged, rocky bottoms. A few anchors, however, are adept at holding in many conditions.
Mantus anchors are the perfect choice for cruising sailboats because they are designed to handle a wide variety of wind and weather conditions. They have high holding power in all types of bottoms, and they can hold against very strong winds. Mantus anchors are also very easy to set and retrieve, making them a great choice for sailboats of all sizes.
If It Ain't Broke, Don’t Fix it
Of course, you could just go with whatever came with your sailboat when you bought it. But if you’re going to be doing any serious cruising, it’s worth taking the time to choose an anchor (and rode) that will be best for your boat and your sailing style. Just make sure to do your research and ask around before making your purchase. There are a lot of options out there and every boat is different.
Sailing School Lake Tahoe
Come learn to sail in Lake Tahoe with Cruisers Academy to understand why our students leave us reviews like this:
“I just finished the course and had such an amazing experience! Brady and Blue broke down the information so well and made us all feel so comfortable during the learning process. I would never have guessed by the end of the class that I would be able to sail their boat solo! I can’t say enough about this class, Brady and Blue are excellent instructors, super fun to be around, and what better venue to learn to sail than beautiful Lake Tahoe! You can’t go wrong with this course…”
- Megan G.