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When the Anchor Drags

Here is the scenario: You have set the anchor at minimum of 7:1 scope (Let out 7 times more anchor rode than the depth of the water) and gone to bed. But, during the night you feel the boat rolling. This means the anchor is dragging and the bow is no longer into the wind.

With a quick check of a transit you see that the boat is definitely not sitting in one place (Earlier issues had defined a transit – line up two objects and if they do not stay the same you are moving)


1) Let out more anchor rode. Warning: don’t just throw more line overboard and tie it off. Ease the extra line out. Take a wrap around a cleat and slowly ease the new line out. Yank once in a while to help get the flukes to set.

2) Use an additional anchor, if you have it.

3) Use a sentinel or kellet. This is nothing more than a weight sent more than halfway down the anchor rode. That will put greater sag in the line (It will take more to straighten out the line and put more load on the anchor) and get the line lower so the pull on the anchor is lower. To do so, shackle on a weight to the anchor rode with a retrieving line attached and lower the sentinel to more than halfway.

4) Use a buoy. Similar placement to the sentinel, the theory is the floating buoy will allow more exertion before the line straightens and puts more load on the anchor. Additionally, it will keep the bow up and over the waves. The sentinel will tend to pull the bow down into the wave and put more exertion on the anchor.

This helpful boating pointer is provided by Catamaran Sailors Magazine, tips are useful to boaters of all types. ABA assumes no responsibility or liability for events that occur due to actions you or others on your behalf take based on the information given. You are proceeding at your own risk.