An­chor is­sues, spin­naker choices, depth­sounders and a so­lar en­ergy “thief”

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Q: Strong breezes and chang­ing tidal cur­rents here on Florida’s east coast make overnight an­chor­ing very chal­leng­ing. At the sug­ges­tion of a friend, I re­cently bought a 35lb plow an­chor for my 1988 Catalina 27 to get bet­ter hold­ing. He was right, this an­chor holds very well, but as you may guess, it is bust­ing my back to break it off the bot­tom and heave onto my roller. I don’t think there is room to put an elec­tric wind­lass on this small boat as the an­chor locker is lo­cated right be­hind the bow pul­pit. Is there any other kind of de­vice avail­able that might help me han­dle this 35lb mon­ster? Stephen E. Baker, New Smyrna Beach, FL


The so­lu­tion to break­ing out a stub­born an­chor is pa­tience. Sim­ply shorten up the rode to ver­ti­cal, cleat it and then wait. The mo­tion of the boat will break out the an­chor with­out any ef­fort from you. Af­ter that, it is just a mat­ter of lean­ing back and us­ing legs and arms—never your back—to pull in the rode and lift the an­chor. A good bow roller is the only essen­tial, along with leather gloves.

That said, if you have back is­sues or other con­cerns that ne­ces­si­tate me­chan­i­cal as­sis­tance, I have seen Catalina 27s fit­ted with a wind­lass aft of the an­chor locker. How­ever, with this con­fig­u­ra­tion, you have to deal with get­ting the lid open or closed, and un­less you can find a me­chan­i­cal wind­lass, you face the is­sues of bat­tery lo­ca­tion, wire runs and charg­ing. In deep wa­ter, a line hooked or hitched to the chain and taken to a hal­yard winch on the mast can also do the heavy lift­ing un­til the dead weight be­comes man­age­able.

For what it’s worth, I have cruised well into my senior years an­chor­ing with a 45lb CQR on an all-chain rode with­out the aid of a wind­lass. Given how com­mon wind­lass prob­lems are on other boats, I still pre­fer the re­li­a­bil­ity of a man­ual lift. We are also un­der­way quicker, and the en­forced work­out no doubt has health ben­e­fits. Like all tasks and all ex­er­cises, it does get eas­ier the more you do it.


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