Bossa Nova: Travels Of A Trailer Yacht

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For a cruising sailboat, "sleeping on the hook" is normal.  If rough weather blows up in the night, you'd better be "hooked in" very well.  Everything from the anchor, to the chain and line, to the cleats where it's fastened to the boat, needs to be sturdy enough to face the winds and waves of a sudden storm.
 
The day-sailor, who plans to keep his vessel tied up to the docks at night, is less worried about this "ground tackle".  But I plan to take Bossa Nova to places where I won't be able to tie her up to a dock.  My obvious winter project was to make sure all my anchoring gear was "cruiser tough."

Stainless-steel cleats - bigger and stronger
 
Bossa Nova came with an anchor, line, and cleats that were properly sized for a lunch break.  The anchor locker in the bow contained a modest sized Danforth anchor, and was designed to fit nothing larger.  The cleats were plastic, with large washers underneath the deck.  Before I dared to spend a night on the water, I would have to upgrade anchor, rode (anchor line and chain), and those cleats.

bow-cleat.jpg
Bow cleat and backing plate

The new cleats are 8-inch stainless steel "Herreshoff" cleats, secured with four 1/4" bolts.  Under the deck, I added 3/4" marine plywood backing plates - at the recommendation of the cleats' manufacturer, who said that plywood has some "give" that would protect the deck better than metal backing.  Large, thick fender washers under the wood complete the deal.
 
I mounted similar cleats on the stern - replacing factory cleats - and I also installed a pair amidships, where the factory had none.  The deck under the midships cleats wasn't as thick as that under the factory cleats - and there wasn't room for a plywood backer, so I used 1/4" ultra-high-density polyethylene board instead - but they were strong enough to break a 3/8" nylon dock rope in an embarrassing boat-ramp incident.  There was no sign of strain on or under the deck ... "Priceless!"

Raya Tempest Anchor - an exotic import from Brazil!
 
My next requirement was a really good anchor - actually, two different types of anchors, because there is no one "best" style for all conditions.  The Danforth style is regarded as very good in mud, but not so good in gravel or rock; so I should also have a "plow" type anchor that holds better in those conditions.  Also, if the weather's rough, I may need two anchors for extra security.
 
It's easy to stow a Danforth, and even easier to stow the take-apart version called "Fortress".  But it's more difficult to stow a plow-type anchor, which typically has a rigid stock at right angles to a large one-piece fluke.  I was looking at anchor rollers when a topic on SailFar.net brought my attention to the Raya Tempest, a two-piece take-apart plow anchor built in Brazil.

raya.jpg
The original Danforth; the Raya, in its place; the Raya, assembled.

The Raya Tempest is very simple to assemble - insert stock into fluke; it's a strong jam fit.  It weighs 16 lbs, and this size is rated by the manufacturer as "capable of holding" a boat 6 feet longer than Bossa Nova, and of more than twice its displacement, in 60-knot winds.  Taken apart, it fits nicely in the shallow anchor locker of Bossa Nova - with 30 feet of 5/16" chain and 150 feet of 1/2" nylon braid anchor rode.
 
Whether or not you believe the manufacturer's claims - and they justify them by having their anchors in use around Cape Horn! - this anchor is definitely more than enough to hold my little boat through a summer thunderstorm on the Chesapeake Bay.  In practice, I've found it digs itself in so deeply that Bossa Nova swings around the upper end of the anchor chain - and it's a wrestling match to get it out of the bottom the next morning.  That's all I ask of an anchor.

The back-up anchor -  out back, and ready to go
 
As I said above, one anchor is not enough for a cruising boat.  There are places where the Raya Tempest might not hold as well as a Danforth-style anchor.  There are times when I might need to set a second anchor to hold me in place against rough weather.  I might also need to get a "hook" out in a hurry, and the Raya Tempest - "some assembly required" and up on the fore-deck - wouldn't be a safe option.
 
The best answer is to have another anchor on the stern, right in my reach from the helm.  My choice was a Fortress FX-11, a lightweight aluminum-alloy anchor that has gotten excellent reviews in the marine press.

fortress-anchor.jpg

The stock of my Fortress anchor slips into a 3-inch PVC pipe that I mounted alongside the transom of Bossa Nova.  Its anchor chain fills the space around the stock, and I connect the nylon-line rode (kept in a bag in the cockpit) to that chain whenever I think I "just might" need the anchor.  This model, the FX-11, is rated to hold a 32-foot boat in 30-knot winds - so it should be ample to hold a 26-foot boat in any conditions I'd be prepared to face.
 
At least I hope so.  But if there were a hurricane in the offing, I do have the option of putting Bossa Nova on her trailer and "heading for the hills" - or, better yet, not hauling her into hurricane country during hurricane season. 
 
 
"Your Mileage Might Vary...."
 
Experienced cruisers could probably throw large mooring-balls through the holes in my arguments and my choices.  I certainly won't stand my little bit of book-learning, my few nights on the hook in the Chesapeake Bay, against the hard-won experience of a world cruiser!
 
A true world-cruiser would be a larger, heavier boat.  It would have room and equipment to handle an all-chain anchor rode - with anchor rollers on the bow, deep chain lockers, and a power windlass to haul up a massive hook.  Bossa Nova isn't boat enough to carry such heavy gear, and it's light enough that I trust I won't need it.
 
I believe I've made the most suitable choices I could, for my boat and my intentions.  I'll stand by them, or float over them, until or unless I learn different.

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