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 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
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
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.
|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
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.
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
"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.