A very critical piece of hardware on a cruising sailboat is what keeps you safe during most of your trips: the anchor. The anchor is what holds your boat in place to keep your boat from drifting into shore or out to sea. If you aren’t confident your anchor is going to hold, it often means you will have a sleepless night worrying about whether your boat would drag into rocks, other boats, reefs, or out to sea (although, these days you can sleep with a GPS with an alarm set to make sure you know when you’re drifting). Anchor holding is even more critical if you’re experiencing high winds from a storm.
During the past several years, I’ve been keeping my eye out for a good anchor. There has actually been some interesting innovations in anchor technology to improve the speed in which anchors set, and in the shape of the anchor to increase the strength of the set as well as the ground types the anchor might work with (mud, sand, grass, rock, etc.).
The anchor I’ve chosen is made in New Zealand and is called the Rocna. It turns out that this is the anchor used by one of Tahina’s sister boats ‘Swingin’ on a Star‘ (SoaS) – another St. Francis 50 catamaran which is currently located in Palau. The skipper of SoaS, Randy, has nothing but good things to say about this anchor. He says it has never failed him, and gives him great confidence in his holding. The Rocna also sets very quickly (the round bar helps to make sure the fluke (pointy part) is facing down. In fact, setting distance is one of Rocna’s most lauded features in comparison reviews.
The Rocna is so popular, that it is now even available in the US through West Marine. We’re in the process of ordering one (they come in many sizes) to have it delivered to the store nearest to Tahina. This will save us some shipping costs. We also will be increasing our chain rode (anchor chain) length, because our boat only came with about 50 meters of chain. You need longer chain for deeper waters, and in many places in the Pacific you rarely find really shallow water. Thankfully, Tahina has an excellent anchor rode well (storage area), with plenty of depth and room for a sizeable amount of rode. We also have a beefy windlass (electric winch for pulling chain) with a remote control that lets us control deploying and retrieving the anchor/rode and even includes a readout telling us how much chain is out.
Hopefully, within a few weeks, you’ll be reading a post and seeing some pictures of our new hook!