We need to be sure that Iris lies rock solid when at anchor. That is the only way we can get a good night’s sleep – also when the anchorage is rolly


By Kirstine   |   2022-10-11

Choosing an anchor

IRIS is born with a 25 kg CQR anchor. This is a nice anchor with a size suitable for keeping the boat at anchor under normal circumstances. But what is “normal circumstances”. Neither Kaare nor I know what that is, but we know that if the anchor slips Iris will drift. That is one of the worst thing that can happen, both for us in the boat sleeping, but also for other boats in the anchorage. The problem is of cause biggest when the wind or current is strong, such as when we anchored in the river at Porto, or behind the breakwater in Ericeira. In order to feel safe when at anchor we have decided to invest in a new and larger model: a Rocna Vulcan 33 kg. This has turned out to be a wise decision, although it also brought us some challenges.


There are a lot of good anchors in the market today. So many different ones that it is very easy to get confused. Luckily Steve Godwin have invested a lot of time into that subject. On his YouTube channel “SV Panope” he is discussing the many different anchors he have tested. There are pro’s and con’s in every anchor, but the one which got the highest score covering our needs was the Rocna Vulcan. Consulting Rocna’s size chart to determine the anchor size based upon the boat length and weight, we found that Iris was right in between a 25 kg anchor and a 33 kg anchor. 25 kg was a little too light, but the question was if the larger 33 kg anchor could fit on the bow of Iris. The answer was to make a 1:1 2D plywood template of the anchor (the template was supplied by Rocna on their website). Using the template, we could test if there was room enough in the bow for the large anchor. It turned out to be tight but doable, and we therefore bought the Rocna Vulcan 33 kg.

It turned out to be difficult to get the anchor. It was not in stock in any of the Danish marine stores. We ended up buying it from ShipShape who in turn ordered it from Palby Marine. Normally that is quite unproblematic, but in the spring of ’22 nothing worldwide was “normal”. We ordered the anchor in February, and we finally got it mid-June. It was definitely a good day when it finally came to our home in Pilegårdsparken. However, a large and heavy anchor does not do it all by itself. The anchor locker and the anchorchain must also be in good shape.


The long wait for the anchor was used in making new flooring plates for the anchor locker. Using plywood, epoxy, fiberglass, and a lot of work, we made new flooring plates using the old ones as templates. Furthermore, we checked the anchor chain. The last 6m of the chain was heavily corroded, and was discarded. We added another 30m of chain to the remaining 50m and finally added 6m of stainless steel at the very end of the chain to battle the very corrosive environment in the bottom of the locker. In total we now have 80m of chain, and as a consequence, are now able to anchor in 18-20m of depth. Finally, Kaare made a “snubber”. A snubber is “V” of 2*7m of strong rope. The middle of the snubber is attached to the anchor chain, and the two ends of the snubber is attached to the two bow mooring clamps. When the snubber is mounted a further 8m of chain is let out. That way the anchoring force is transferred from the chain to the snubber, and again to the strong mooring clamps, rather than letting the much weaker windlass take all the strain.


The anchor was mounted at the end of the long chain on a beautiful sunny day in the end of June. It was obvious from the start, that you had to do everything right when raising the anchor in order not to damage the bow or the bowsprit – that is how tight it was. The problem with the bowsprit was solved using of a rubber tube over the bowsprit. That tube was later changed into a rope wrapping using a 6mm rope down the length of the bowsprit. The task of finding a viable solution for the bow was a bit more difficult.


When we raise anchor Kaare usually is in the cockpit and controls the boat. I am at the bow guiding Kaare where to sail in order to lessen the load on the chain as much as possible. It is easy to raise the chain except for the last couple of meters. At first, I tried to slowly raise the anchor to avoid banging it into the stainless steel protection plate at the bow – that did not work. We determined that the problem was that the anchor came out of the water with the tip pointing away from the boat. When going over the bow-roller the anchor was then violently rotated and often hitting the bow. We then bought at “swirvel” which was mounted between the chain and the anchor. The task of the “swirvel” is to rotate the anchor before the anchor gets into the bow-roller – that did not work either, so the “swirvel” was taken off again.


The solution turned out to be in the hands – that is in Kaare’s and my hands. Kaare takes over raising the anchor the last meter. He can do that using the remote anchor switch at the steering pedestal. That leaves me to use the boat hook to orientate the anchor the right way, and to keep the anchor free of the bow while Kaare is retracting it the last meter. It requires a little power to do so, but it has turned out to be the perfect way to get the anchor up the last meter.


Our initial demand to the anchor was that Iris should lie rock solid when at anchor, no matter if the wind was blowing, the waves rolling, or the current running. That we have achieved with the Rocna Vulcan 33 kg. It is of cause not optimal that we are having to work getting the anchor safely out of the water, but that is the price we have to pay to sleep well, and that is a price we are happy to pay.