Feb 9, 2023 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Sailing on Anchor

Sailing on Anchor

On our 1972 Gulfstar 36 trawler, we are setting it up to anchor as much as possible while cruising. One “problem” is that we sail back and forth on anchor in a breeze. We had this problem on our Compac 19 and the 23. With a sailboat you can rig an anchor sail to stop or slow it, but on the trawler we don’t have a mast.

Some people have suggested all chain anchor rode, but we don’t plan to do that. We have a 45# Mantus anchor, 36′ of 3/8 chain, and we’re currently installing a Simpson Lawrence Seatiger 555 that I rebuilt.

Going all chain is possible, but I’m not that interested in the idea. Chain adds weight, you can’t cut it in an emergency, and you HAVE to have a functioning windlass to retrieve it.

Others have suggested a keeled boat sails less on anchor. I think they have that backwards. And there’s nothing we can do about that.

I’ve also read that the position of the “house” has an effect on sailing. We can’t really change that.

Here is what we’ve tried:

Tied a bucket off the stern or bow to act as a drogue. This doesn’t work, and the bucket could get tangled in our running gear.

Tie the anchor line off to one side to force the boat to sail to one tack. This might help a little but it doesn’t stop it.

Other ideas to try:

Sentinel Anchor – basically slide a mushroom anchor or something down maybe halfway down the main rode. The idea is you slow the rotation down. Maybe a mushroom anchor would cause too much drag, maybe experiment with a coffee can full of lead?

Add a mast – if I found a salvage mast setup, I would definitely try this. I could mount instruments, anchor light to the mast, like it should be. However, the mast step, guy wires, strength of the deck where it would mount, lowering it for bridges, etc. would become a big hassle. They can really get in the way.

Davis Rocker Stoppers – since Gulfstar 36 trawlers will roll the cream out of your coffee (our boat was originally named Rock n Roll for a reason), I’ve wanted to try these to see if we could gain some comfort while anchored. Maybe they’ll slow down the sailing too. I really think this is our next attempt because of the promise of stopping the rocking.

I could try a drogue, Jordan style for ease of retrieve and storage, or a parachute style which would create a huge amount of drag, but I’m really not sure that’s any better than dragging a bucket. If I can find a drogue on surplus, it would be an easy thing to test.

I’ll keep looking, and I’ll report back here if I discover a solution.

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