Choosing an anchor is a rather difficult task. It’s like going to the grocery store and making an attempt to find a pasta sauce that meets your cooking needs. What sauce goes well with bow tie pasta, elbow macaroni, fettuccine or whatever? Reviews will say one thing but my cooking needs will say otherwise. Fortunately, there are only three primary anchor types. However, there are many different bottom types and all anchors have strengths and weaknesses, depending on the bottom.
To review, my previous anchor was swallowed by the Delaware Bay, along with probably a thousand other anchors dating back to the first settlers. Unfortunately, I could not afford any new anchors from the marine store. My options were whatever used anchors Mike had on sale in his garage. I was hoping for a scoop anchor, which I believe is a smarter choice, but there were none of those to be found.
Aside from your engine, and maybe your life raft, the anchor is the single most important tool on a boat and should not be taken lightly. What I wanted was an oversized anchor and 100 feet of chain. That way, there is no possible chance of dragging, lines snapping, or hauling it up out of the mud by hand. Mike, who is a cautious man, advised against this and sold me a properly sized plow anchor and 5 feet of chain. Since this was about my only option, I took it. I did order 20 feet of chain, which I never saw, except on my yard bill. I have heard that the plow anchor will do just that, it will plow the bottom. I have also heard that plow anchors are better for Maine bottom types.
Upon arriving in Bar Harbor, I was excited for a shower and a hot meal. I tossed the anchor over and paid out what looked like an appropriate amount of rope and rowed ashore to see my girlfriend. The former anchor, which is resting in the Delaware Bay, was a Danforth and I could just throw it over and the boat would pull it into the mud as it drifted around.
A couple of hours later, before going to the movie theater, we checked on the boat to make sure she was safe at anchor. After a moment, I spotted it about a half mile away from where I left it. Big G was very close to Sheep Porcupine Island. I sprung to action and hopped into Little G and began to row as fast as I could. After about 50 yards, I was quite winded and still had a long way to go. I flagged down a lobster fisherman in a skiff and he was kind enough to give me a ride over to my boat. Lobster fishermen may be a little rough around the edges and have a bad reputation, but I have had nothing but good experiences with them and I have not heard of any fishermen ignoring someone in need of assistance.
Upon arrival to Big G, the lobster fisherman waited until I had my engine going before he went back to his mooring. I began hauling my anchor in and it felt about 100 pounds heavier than usual. My anchor had not held on the bottom but it did manage to snag a set of lobster traps. Between the traps and the anchor, Big G had slowed down enough for me to get to her before she hit the rocks that were about 100 feet away. Fortunately, there was no buoy on this set of traps so it did not look like I was hauling up someone’s traps. I untangled the rope attached to the lobster traps, and tied an empty jug to the end so the owner could possibly recover them. It was only fair that I saved the lobster traps since they saved my boat.
I motored to the other side of Bar Island, where it was more protected, and set my anchor for a second time. I was not in much of a hurry this time, seeing as how we had missed our movie. I paid out a 7:1 ratio (7 feet of rope for every 1 foot of depth) , and put Big G in reverse to pull the anchor into the bottom to make sure I was not going to drag again. I was lucky Big G did not hit the rocks or another boat, I am not going to test my luck again. Time for a new anchor, again.