C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Anchor Management - part 2

Part one of Anchor Management was posted on May 14, 2012

Third Step  - lets do this  already... Anne typically pilots C'est la Vie to the drop site using the MOB mark on the GPS in step two.  Once on approach I go forward and release the anchor so that it is hanging off the bowsprit inches above the water.  Optimally, C'est la Vie's velocity is nil upon reaching the drop site.  Anne and I have developed hand signals to communicate during this process (fodder for a future post perhaps.)  I release the anchor and watch for the subtle change in the speed of the chain across the roller to identify when the anchor strikes the bottom.  Once the anchor rests on the bottom, I slow the rate of the chain to match the speed at which C'est la Vie is moving away from the drop site.  Continuing to quickly drop rode would only serve to create a pile of chain on the bottom next to the anchor.  If the conditions don’t move C’est la Vie away from the drop site, then I signal to Anne to back away using the motor.

Our primary anchor rode consists of 100 feet of chain followed by 200 feet of ¾” braided rope.  Beginning at 40 feet, the rode is marked off in 10 foot increments.  On the chain section we use two zip ties passed through the links of chain.  On the rope section we use zip ties passed through the braid of the rope.  The zip ties vary in color.  If we lose count on the marks, then we refer to a list of marks written down in the cover of our log book.
Colored Zip Ties used to mark the length on the anchor rode
We typically anchor in water less than 15 feet so use of the rope section of the anchor rode is rare (scope 1:7 = 15 feet deep X 7 = 105 feet of rode.)  When setting the anchor on chain only rode we use a snubber line.  The anchor chain has no flex.  In rough or windy conditions C’est la Vie can pull violently against the anchor rode.  The lack of flex in the  anchor system can literally rip the windlass or cleats off the foredeck. .  The snubber line serves as a shock absorber between the chain rode and the cleats on the foredeck.

C’est la Vie’s snubber line consists of a 30 foot section of megabraid line with a chain hook spliced in the middle.   When the hooks is attached to the chain two 15 foot sections of line extend back towards the bow.  I always leave the snubber tied into one of the two bow cleats when working at the foredeck.  
Anchor deployed.  Snubber tied into port cleat ready to be set.
 To set the snubber,  I stop the chain when the appropriate mark passes the bow roller and is hanging in the air.  The secured end of the snubber line and chain hook, typically starboard side out of habit, is tied off to the bow cleat.  The remaining line and chain hook are then fed through the starboard bow fairlead.  The chain hook is affixed to a link of chain out beyond/below the bobstay.  With the chain hook in place the free end of the snubber line is then lead through the port side fairlead and made fast to the port side bow cleat with no slack in the line.   Next, I return to the windlass and continue to run out chain until a long bight droops past the chain hook, approximately 10 additional feet.  Now back to the port side cleat, I slowly release line until the chain hook is just above the surface of the water and then tie off line to the port side cleat.  Back to the starboard cleat, I now take in any slack remaining between the chain hook and the cleat. 

Snubber line set with chain hook at surface of water.
Writing out directions for setting the snubber line makes the process seem complex and time consuming,  it typically takes less than two minutes to accomplish and is essential when using a chain rode.  When completed the two legs of the snubber line act independently to secure the vessel to the anchor and to absorb shock loads when anchored in rough conditions.  The chain is secured at the windlass and serves as a back up should the snubber line fail.
Deck view of the rigged snubber line.
When anchoring in areas where the length of rode moves beyond our 100 feet of chain, the rope rode acts provides flex in the system and an snubber line is not required.  I tie the line off to both bow anchors and then run it back to the windlass.

Anchor tied off when depth required use of rope section of rode.
It is rare that Anne and I feel the need to use C’est la Vie’s engine to set the anchor.  If we are unsure of the holding or are expecting foul weather then we will use the engine to pull against the anchor prior to setting the snubber line.


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