Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Monster

Hudson River, near Athens NY
42 15.94 N 073 48.36 W


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In the picture, you see me with the anchor that I bought for Lake Champlain. It is an 80 pound Luke anchor of the so-called fisherman type. It's huge, almost bigger than me. I call it the monster.

The anchor's 7/8 inch shackle is so big that I have no shackles that could fasten it to our 5/16 chain. I had to tie a big bowline knot in the chain to attach it to the monster. The bowline held fine. You can see it in the picture.

Why have such an anchor? Because zebra mussels have clarified Lake Champlain's water to the extent that you can see the bottom almost 20 feet deep. That allowed sunlight to penetrate to the bottom and dense weeds sprung up. The dense weeds are so thick that our ordinary 35# CQR anchor can't penetrate to the bottom. It just sits on the weeds. I bought the monster specifically to let us anchor at some of my favorite places on Champlain where the water is less than 15 feet deep.

Did it work? Yes. It did drag one night (I wrote about that) but not in a weedy spot.

How did we stow the anchor? It sure doesn't stow in the bowsprit like the CQR does. I had to rig a snatch block at the very tip of the bowsprit. Then I could drop a slip knot loop over the end of the monster, pull it tight, run the line through the snatch block and back to the deck. Then I could use that line to haul the monster out of the water with the fluke just kissing the front end of the bow sprit. A second line kept it from rocking side to side. Such an arrangement would never work in blue water, but on the lake it was OK.

What do we do now? The Luke anchor comes apart with three pieces. I have one stored aft in the lazarette and two stored in the bilge aft of the CG. That should help us with a long-standing problem in that Tarwathie is slightly nose heavy.

If we ever do need to hunker down and prepare for an approaching hurricane, the monster should be a welcome accessory. Yes, I know that a "real" seaman would head out to sea to ride the hurricane, not anchor. I confess that we're not courageous enough to do that.

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