Suselle sailing to the bahamas
anchor gear  
Custom anchor rollers

Custom anchor rollers

I believe anchoring gear is the most important piece of equipment on a cruising boat. You spend most of your time swinging on your anchors, often in strong winds and/or in strong currents which sweep the Bahamas Banks - many times my chains were vibrating because of the swift currents at mid-tide. One couple had anchors so large that lying on their sides they would hold their boat in a gale They were a very relaxed pair!

The stress and tension you undergo about dragging anchors is far more than I anticipated before the trip. I was being very conservative with my amount of chain and four 25 lb. anchors, including a CQR, Bruce and Danforth for my Contessa. I was very glad to have them. I relate elsewhere in these pages some of the horrendous situations one finds oneself in relating to anchoring.

Carry lots of chain (I had two 150' lengths of 3/8") as some places you have to anchor close to coral. Get good chain. One of mine rusted very quickly - all the anchoring caused the zinc coating to wear off... It is very important to have good bow rollers. You nearly always need two anchors in the Bahamas as traveling along the island chain the only shelter is between small islands and there can be several boats swinging on the tide so everyone uses two anchors so they pivot on a single point.

You anchor so frequently it is well worth the expense and effort two have a twin bow roller setup where both anchors can be stored. It should be strongly made with pins available to lock your anchors in place. I had mine custom made before I left. If your boat is 30' or larger you should have a good manual or electric windlass - great for hauling your boat off sandbanks that appear unpredictably in the Bahamas.

There was not room in my deck locker for all the chain and rode I needed for two anchors so I had the boat manufacturer install a fiberglass pipe from the bottom of the deck locker down through the water tank in the V-berth and coming out in the forward bilge. This worked very well as it kept the weight of chain under the mast and low down and it never got stuck pulling it up through the pipe. I always feel better with lots of chain rather than the 10' or so commonly used. I like to have at least 50'.