Newsletter #276

Newsletter #276 - July 22, 2015

Our Backup Anchor

>>> Our Backup Anchor >>>

As long as we're writing about anchors, let's go all the way and talk about what we've learned about having a second, backup anchor.

Being able to stop and hold your boat is a critical, safety aspect of boating. The first, best backup for your primary anchor is going to be your engine, assuming you have engine propulsion. Propulsion gives you control over your location on the water and should always be considered if you have a loss of your primary anchor.

But engines aren't good solutions if you need to be set for the night. Of course, a marina is an acceptable backup although there are places where a marina isn't available and emergencies where you need to drop an anchor right now. In those cases, a backup anchor is needed.

From the various anchors we've used, the Fortress FX-55 has stood out as the perfect backup anchor for us. It has the power of a 55 lb anchor but weights only 32 lbs. It can be disassembled and stored in a small space which is an important feature for us. Many boats have a second anchor deployed on their bow and that is a wonderful setup. Our boat doesn't support that so allowing disassembly is valuable since anchors take a lot of space.

A backup anchor can't be one that is too small to perfectly hold your boat in all conditions. Last week, we wrote how we used the Fortress as our primary anchor whenever we were south of Charleston so we have great confidence in its ability to secure us because we've used it in many anchorages.

So those are the features we feel are important - holding power and easy storage. But those features can't go without a story.

It was March 2005 and we were at the St Augustine Municipal Marina in a slip. It was our first time there and we had been at the marina for a few days exploring St Augustine. We were heading south and left early in the morning for our next destination. We were in our second year of cruising and made a critical mistake upon leaving the dock - we didn't fully understand the current speed and direction. And if you've been to St Augustine, you know how the tide can move between the inlet, bridge, and along the marina.

We pulled out and were immediately slammed with current on our beam, pushing us along the sterns of other docked boats. There was no way to turn out of it. The boat was out of control.

The only thing that could be done was to put the bow against a big cement piling at the marina. Touching that point would provide a pivot point allowing the engines and rudder to push the stern out, against the current. The most forward point on our bow was our Fortress anchor and it was pushing hard against the piling for a good couple of minutes until we regained control.

We were finally able to back out, turn around, and leave. There was no damage, except to our ego and to the Fortress anchor. The shank had been noticeably bent about 20 degrees. We could still deploy it, but it was bent.

About a week later, our boat had been hauled for bottom painting near Ft Lauderdale. A friend who lived in the area came to visit us at the yard. He pointed to the bent anchor and said, "Well, there's a story there." He then told us to drop the anchor into his truck - Fortress was located in the area - and he'd get the anchor fixed. We gave him our credit card, happy to buy a new shank so we'd no longer be reminded of the incident.

He arrived back about an hour later with the shank replaced and the entire anchor polished. They also replaced the bolts with brand new ones. The only thing they didn't provide was a bill. They refused any payment even though we made it very clear that we bent the anchor through misuse. Fortress said that the anchor is guaranteed for life and it shouldn't bend under any circumstance.

Now this was 2 years prior to ActiveCaptain. Today, there are dozens of review warnings about the current for the 1st Choice St Augustine Municipal Marina along with a full navigation/approach section warning all about it. We also never leave a slip or lift our anchor without spitting in the water to visually see how the current is moving - a lesson we learned after that St Augustine morning.

While having the Fortress as a backup anchor for us meets all of our technical requirements, it's Fortress itself who greatly exceeded our expectations and makes us feel great about using their product. You just have to love a company that stands so firmly behind their products.

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When you're thinking about purchasing boating supplies, think of Defender first.

Dylan and Dee Dee have had quite an exciting week. The French sailing ship L'Hermione came to Castine bringing thousands of visitors to attend the many events. The kids liked it all, with maybe the exception of the fireworks. Find out how Dylan and Dee Dee's summer is progressing by checking out their blog:

Karen and Jeffrey Siegel
Castine, Maine
sharing the experience
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We are currently merging the different ActiveCaptain websites into a single website.

Because of this, all later newsletters are being only put onto the ActiveCaptain Help Center found here:
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2015-07-22 #276 - Our Backup Anchor
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