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Thread: Stuck Anchor

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    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    Default Stuck Anchor

    So this is only my third trip out in the boat. We were anchored up in a bay rock fishing and got our anchor stuck. I pulled from every direction and it just wouldn't come up. I wasn't going to risk really jerking on it for fear of swamping the boat. We ended up just cutting it loose which is now going to cost me a new anchor, chain, and about 50-100ft of rope. Something that isn't the easiest to swallow just after buying a boat. Anyway, are there any tricks to getting an anchor unstuck? How often does this happen and how can I avoid it? Where's the cheapest place in Anchorage to get a new setup?

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    Member theultrarider's Avatar
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    What type of anchor? If you are using a claw, make sure to hook it up correctly. There is a hole in the front end of it, an one on the back. You actually attach the chain to the one on the back of the anchor not the front. Then use a couple of ziptyes to hold the chain to the front of the anchor. That way it will hold great in any achoring situation, but if you hang the anchor on a rock, when you pull up hard, you will break the zip tye off and or now pullilng it out backwards. I haven't lost one yet when rigged the right way. If you are using a danforth, they are tough to get out of rocks but have known guys that have tricks for those as well. I feel for you. Years ago, I cut an anchor loose 3 trip in a row out of anchor point. I was afraid to toss the next one.

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    Member smtdvm's Avatar
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    Default Anchor Rigging

    To bend the thread just a little, while we're on the subject of rigging a claw anchor. I realize that the proper way to rig a claw type anchor for retrieval is in some manner as mentioned above, but I am wondering how many folks rig that way and sleep on them. I have considered rigging that way but fear the thing coming apart in the night. Groundless or founded?

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    Member theultrarider's Avatar
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    I do on mine. I only break the zip tyes loose about once a summer and can tell that it hung on something when I have broke them off. I actually use 3 zip tyes on mine setup and that seems to be the right setup for my boat and anchor size. With only 2, I could pop them about every other pull. like you, I would worry about it holding at night. With 3, I takes a hard tug to try and pop them. Takes a little trial and error in non-critical conditions to figure out what will work for you.

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    Default zip ties

    Quote Originally Posted by smtdvm View Post
    To bend the thread just a little, while we're on the subject of rigging a claw anchor. I realize that the proper way to rig a claw type anchor for retrieval is in some manner as mentioned above, but I am wondering how many folks rig that way and sleep on them. I have considered rigging that way but fear the thing coming apart in the night. Groundless or founded?
    I have to agree as I tried using zip ties to hang up some display grid and some product up at a show once and learned to not do that as in the middle of the show with people in my booth 4 of them broke and it all came down into a pile. I thought they where stronger then they are. I think they are made to hold wires together and thats about it.

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    We used to rig it with the zip ties but when we really needed it to break it wouldn't. We were pulling in all directions with the boat, eventually going in reverse right above the anchor and it wouldn't pop loose. Almost gave up and cut the line but it broke free. Zip ties didn't break though. Pulled up a huge chunk of clay with the anchor. I'm happy it didn't break because we were in heavy water the night before, but would rather lose an anchor, chain, and line than a boat. So I just tie it to the end of the anchor, not the front. That way I'm sure it holds and I can sleep at night.

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    Member bhollis's Avatar
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    I always carry about three feet of 5/8" chain and some extra line to use to free my anchor if it gets stuck. Here's how it works:

    Loop the chain around the anchor line (forming an "eye" with the chain around the anchor line) and shackle the two ends of the chain together. Tie one end of the extra line to the shackle and allow the chain "eye" to drop down the anchor line to the anchor. Position your boat on the opposite side from which the anchor is set, and tie off the line. Then begin backing in the opposite direction from which the anchor is set. With a little luck, the chain "eye" will slide down the anchor stock and up against the flukes, and pull the anchor out backwards.

    I've never had to use this technique, but the guy who told me about it swears by it.

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    Sponsor potbuilder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhollis View Post
    I always carry about three feet of 5/8" chain and some extra line to use to free my anchor if it gets stuck. Here's how it works:

    Loop the chain around the anchor line (forming an "eye" with the chain around the anchor line) and shackle the two ends of the chain together. Tie one end of the extra line to the shackle and allow the chain "eye" to drop down the anchor line to the anchor. Position your boat on the opposite side from which the anchor is set, and tie off the line. Then begin backing in the opposite direction from which the anchor is set. With a little luck, the chain "eye" will slide down the anchor stock and up against the flukes, and pull the anchor out backwards.

    I've never had to use this technique, but the guy who told me about it swears by it.
    What do you tie the end of your anchor line to??

    I think the zip ties don't break is because most of the time its the chain getting stuck under a rock or ledge from the boat swinging on the line.

    If i was fishing rockpiles or sticky bottom i'd make up a grappel out of some rebar and a piece of pipe, then when it hung down all you have to do is pull hard enough to straighten out the rebar and it comes loose.

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    Member bhollis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by potbuilder View Post
    What do you tie the end of your anchor line to??
    If I understand the question, leave the anchor line tied to the boat as usual, but give the anchor line a fair amount of slack as you're pulling backwards on the other line (the line which is attached to the chain "eye").

    Hope that's clear(?)

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    Member bhollis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smtdvm View Post
    To bend the thread just a little, while we're on the subject of rigging a claw anchor. I realize that the proper way to rig a claw type anchor for retrieval is in some manner as mentioned above, but I am wondering how many folks rig that way and sleep on them. I have considered rigging that way but fear the thing coming apart in the night. Groundless or founded?
    I share your concerns and don't rig my Bruce anchor that way. Instead, I carry the chain/extra line as described above. An alternative approach some people use is to attach a separate line to the hole at the fluke end of the anchor and put a float on it. Then, when your anchor sticks, you just motor over to the float, retrieve the line and cleat it off to your boat, and pull out the anchor backwards.

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    The zip tie way of attaching an anchor is called "scowing." We have our anchor (a bruce) rigged that way, except we use brass wire instead of zip ties. It's been that way for years and many, many nights out in PWS. We've never had a problem.

    Since I've rigged it like that, I haven't fouled so bad that it didn't eventually pop free before breaking the wire. Like potbuilder said, I think you can get your chain hooked under a rock and then it is simply luck on whether or not you can get it free.

    Also, zip ties come in different grades - ones that are only strong enough to hold wire together as wells as ones that can easily hold 100lbs or more.

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    Member bhollis's Avatar
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    Here's a brief discussion of scowing an anchor and also the use of a trip line as an alternative.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=fzJ...moored&f=false

    Note the concern about anchoring overnight with a scowed anchor. See this link also, scroll down to "Anchor, tripping an . . ."

    http://www.friend.ly.net/users/dadadata/kemp/dictA.html

    This isn't to say that I think that folks who choose to anchor overnight with a scowed anchor are doing anything wrong. They're just making a choice. And like many choices in boating, there's a trade off--greater convenience in freeing up a scowed anchor, on the one hand, versus greater risk of dragging, on the other.

  13. #13

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    I don't anchor in rocky areas for this exact reason. I'd rather just drift through the rockfish than risk a stuck anchor. It gets expensive. Especially with a smaller boat, I wouldn't risk it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bhollis View Post
    If I understand the question, leave the anchor line tied to the boat as usual, but give the anchor line a fair amount of slack as you're pulling backwards on the other line (the line which is attached to the chain "eye").

    Hope that's clear(?)
    if i understand correctly all your doing is pulling a giant vee in the hung down anchor line?? so how i that going to free a hung anchor

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    Quote Originally Posted by potbuilder View Post
    if i understand correctly all your doing is pulling a giant vee in the hung down anchor line?? so how i that going to free a hung anchor
    The idea is that the chain "eye" or loop will slide all the way down the anchor line to the anchor stock. Then, as you apply backward force, the chain eye will slide up the anchor stock toward the "crown" of the anchor, and fetch up against the flukes. The end result is essentially the same as with a scowed anchor--you've got a line attached to the crown end of the anchor, which allows you to pull the anchor out backwards.

    Is that clearer?

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    Correction: What I've been calling the anchor "stock" in my posts is actually called the anchor "shank."

    Sorry for any confusion.

  17. #17

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    bhollis,

    I understand what your describing.

    Essentially the ring of chain hooks into the anchor at nearly the same location as a normal trip line would, towards the forward end. Then pulling up on the chain ring is exerting the same force in the same direction as a trip.

    We set about 6-7 500lb anchors a season were I work, and all of them are rigged with trip lines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bhollis View Post
    The idea is that the chain "eye" or loop will slide all the way down the anchor line to the anchor stock. Then, as you apply backward force, the chain eye will slide up the anchor stock toward the "crown" of the anchor, and fetch up against the flukes. The end result is essentially the same as with a scowed anchor--you've got a line attached to the crown end of the anchor, which allows you to pull the anchor out backwards.

    Is that clearer?
    Yup now i know exactly what you mean. The only thing i think i'd do different is to get the stuck anchor line as tight as i could so the chain ring would have a better chance of sliding down over the thimble and chain to the stuck anchor, then slack off on the anchor line and pull like hell on the ring line and hope she pops loose. I am Polish so it takes awhile for things to settle in.

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