Weight on the bow

gadangit

Member III
Something to ponder while flattening the curve...
Primary rode: ~245lbs: 120' chain, 150'nylon, 45lb spade. Good for all weather conditions we anticipate to meet.
Stern/secondary rode: ~80lbs: 30' chain, 150' nylon, 15lb danforth. Good for chucking off the stern or to use if the primary disappears.

What are the effects on the boat when making passages across big water with the heavier set up sitting up on the bow? I know what the book says, but will I be able to tell an appreciable difference? Enough to take the effort to swap out anchors or entire rodes for the passage?

I'd like to have something up there ready to deploy all the time, regardless of how far off shore I am. But I want to heed the advice to keep the weight off the ends.
Chris
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
About 8 or 10 years ago Lat. 38 had an article about this very question. I only recall it because it generated some pushback from sailors not wanting to remove their ground tackle from the bow while on a multi-week passage to Hawaii or points South. Their point was that, no matter what, they felt that they needed to have a primary anchor ready to deploy.

The editor did not back down, i.e. emphasizing that once well away from a possible need to anchor again, there were measurable comfort gains and also some daily mileage to be gained from keeping weight out of the ends of a boat. I recall that this was somewhat more of an issue for boats with 35# (plus) anchors and a lot of chain.
IIRC they also said to use up your bow-located water tankage first, and then valve over to the more-central tanks. (Perhaps less of an issue for newer boats with water-makers to substitute for extra tankage. (?)
Best to ask the editor @ Lat. 38 for the reference.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
The 38 doesn't seem to mind a full bow water tank and my basic Bruce anchor in cruising configuration. On the 32-3 I did remove the anchor gear once offshore and stowed it the stern.

Somewhere in this calculation must be the overall cruising weight and where the boat sits on her lines at departure. And whether six crew in the cockpit "balances out" a heavy bow. Weight in the ends no doubt does amplifies pitching, but what is the practical effect?

Oh. By golly, that's the question you asked, isn;t it....

[posted simultaneously]
 

gadangit

Member III
About 8 or 10 years ago Lat. 38 had an article about this very question. I only recall it because it generated some pushback from sailors not wanting to remove their ground tackle from the bow while on a multi-week passage to Hawaii or points South. Their point was that, no matter what, they felt that they needed to have a primary anchor ready to deploy.

The editor did not back down, i.e. emphasizing that once well away from a possible need to anchor again, there were measurable comfort gains and also some daily mileage to be gained from keeping weight out of the ends of a boat. I recall that this was somewhat more of an issue for boats with 35# (plus) anchors and a lot of chain.
IIRC they also said to use up your bow-located water tankage first, and then valve over to the more-central tanks. (Perhaps less of an issue for newer boats with water-makers to substitute for extra tankage. (?)
Best to ask the editor @ Lat. 38 for the reference.
Interesting. I can understand the pushback. If it was no big deal to get your ground tackle all set up again I would just do that. But upon arrival with bad weather, unfamiliar anchorage and what not, the last thing I want to be doing is sitting up on the bow wrestling with my anchor and chain. I know I'll be tired, grumpy and more prone to making a mistake.

I guess the thing we have going for us is no water up front anyway. Even 48 year old boats have watermakers! :) The v-berth gets stuffed, but with less dense stuff.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
I sent this thread to a club member out cruising these last several years, and presently "self isolating" aboard in New Zealand. They have pretty good wifi, and check on events back here in PDX when they can. They previously did a 'shakedown cruise' to Hawaii and back, and both had previous offshore sailing experience on larger boats. Their boat is a restored/updated Jason 35, a Ted Brewer design. I have done a two day delivery down the WA coast on a sistership and it's a good design for the ocean, with decent speed and an easy motion.

Randy's pragmatic answer:

"We have been cruising in the South Pacific for nearly five years on a Jason 35. I have tried both approaches: Anchor off the bow and stowed below; Anchor on the bow all set up to go. There is no doubt that reducing weight in the ends of a boat reduces pitching. There is no doubt that attempting to fit an anchor on the bow when arriving at a new and unknown anchorage after a long passage is stressful, to say the least.

Setting off for a long cruise, e.g. crossing from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to Hiva Oa, Marquesas, the vessel will be fully laden. There are food provisions for ~1½ times the anticipated voyage, equipment for ocean sailing, and equipment and toys for inter-island cruising. In addition to a dinghy this could include two outboards, jerry jugs of gasoline and extra diesel fuel, often lashed on deck, lots of spare parts for equipment, and of course, tools. Heading out the boat will be somewhat above its design displacement. Only a few boats avoid this, e.g. see Webb Chiles 6th circumnavigation on Gannett. The weight of a primary bow anchor and rode is likely to be negligible in accounting for total displacement and distribution of mass. Of course, it is far out on the pointy end, thus magnifying the moment arm. But jerry jugs lashed to the lifelines on deck aren’t exactly in racing trim either. The whole pitching issue is much more relevant for racing than cruising, unless the boat design itself is unsuitable for ocean cruising. Also, think realistically about how many crew will be on board. The vast majority of cruising boat in the mid-30' to 40' range sail with two regular crew and maybe a third crew for long passages.

I do a running informal survey of cruising boats we meet: "What is your passage planning speed?" Most boats plan passages at 5-6 knots, but for the performance designs above 50 feet, e.g. Sunder .. When discussing factors that affect passage speeds, bow anchors are rarely mentioned. Some examples of factors commonly discussed are: Weather conditions, shortening sail at night, attentiveness to sail set and trim, and a light wind threshold for motoring.

I have twice made long passages with the primary bow anchor stowed below. The difference in boat motion was perhaps better, but marginally noticeable. However, the fire drill of lugging 45# of anchor from below deck onto the foredeck (and assembling it, if a Mantus or Spade), then snaking the chain up from the depths of the chain locker, through the windlass chain pipe, around the gypsy correctly, over the bow roller, back over the pulpit onto the foredeck, attaching it to the anchor, mousing the shackle (You did remember the 316 SS seizing wire, needle nose pliers, and wire cutter for mousing, right? And they haven't slid off deck?). Now you are ready to get all of this from the foredeck out over the pulpit and then back up into the bow roller. How are you going to manage getting 45# anchor plus 10-15# of chain over the bow? I almost dislocated a shoulder doing this as we circled in a remote anchorage.
You could just throw it all overboard; you'll be spot-repairing the gelcoat later on anyway. And remember you are doing this while your crew at the helm is driving the boat, anxiously watching your efforts and simultaneously looking out for possible obstacles around the boat. If conditions are benign, the stress is merely about deploying the anchor. If the conditions are not so benign, adding wind, wave chop, current, coral heads or rocks and reefs, etc., then stress factors multiply.

So, I suggest some practice runs. First, disassemble the bow anchor-rode assembly and stow for sea. Do this at the dock. Decide where the anchor will live for the passage and be sure it's lashed down tight. You don't want a 45# missile launched inside if the boat takes a bad fall off a wave. Now, redeploy the anchor onto the bow roller while at the dock: But Do Not Use the Dock. Do it all from deck. If that goes well, then do the same exercise, but this time go out on a cruise.
I see the OP is from Seattle. So secure the anchor below while at the dock then sail over to Port Townsend. Now, while motoring around in doggy circles out in front of Boat Haven, assemble and deploy the anchor. Dodging the ferry adds to reality.

In my opinion, the bow anchor on the bow roller is the safest and most convenient place for it to live permanently for most moderate displacement sailboats. Yes, this gives up a bit of performance advantage, which you may or may not notice, but that is far outweighed by the safety and convenience of not needing to assemble and deploy it in a new and unfamiliar anchorage."
 

gadangit

Member III
Thanks Loren, that was great. And thanks much to Randy for taking the time to respond, I do appreciate it.
We carried the heavy ground tackle on the bow down to Mexico and back through some pretty good seas. I don't recall there being any issues with performance or comfort, but I'm always pondering if there is a way to do something better. I think Randy's last paragraph sums it all up and we can close this thread!
 

footrope

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
It would seem like a good idea to explore some alternative to removing both anchor and rode, or leaving it all in the bow. What about leaving the anchor on the roller, perhaps only 45 lbs. give or take, while getting all that much heavier chain and rope out of the locker and moving it aft and below? The chain/rope has got to be easier to move and rig than the anchor in any chop or swell, thereby reducing the danger and inconvenience by an order of magnitude or more (I didn't really do any math). Single or short-handed, this would seem like a reasonable alternative.

There are so many factors that could affect boat motion at sea, many of them specific to each boat and the number and experience of crewmembers. I recognize that this is a question that should only be answered by trying solutions and practicing the best one. In an emergency a short length of chain and some nylon rode could also be ready to go or even rigged for the passage, in place of the all-chain rode. I have no idea where I would store an anchor in the cabin of my boat.

Thanks for re-opening the thread.
 

gadangit

Member III
Craig, for our offshore races we would unbolt the spade anchor and store the pieces in the bilge.
I hadn't considered just leaving the anchor secured to the bow roller and pulling the rode aft. The furthest aft compartment under our v-berth is about 3' further aft from where rode would be piled in the anchor locker. In thinking about it, I wouldn't need to disconnect it, just pull the whole pile aft.

That would certainly be better than not doing anything. Will it appreciably change the boat behavior in offshore conditions? Not sure.

Not sure where the pivot point for hobby horsing. But lets assume under the mast. The lever arm calc shows 45lbs 17' from the pivot point is 765ft lbs. 200lbs of rode 8' from the pivot point is 1600ft lbs. That anchor is contributing an outsized portion.

As you say, the only way to find out is to go off in the normal condition and at some point if the waves pick up send Lisa below to haul all that chain aft. I'll shout encouragement down from the companionway. She will love that.

Chris
 

toddster

Curator of Broken Parts
Blogs Author
That's some useful information from the field. What I thought (but didn't answer before, from lack of experience) was that this rule might be left over from back when cruising boats were 30 footers. Of course, ground tackle scales, to some extent, but probably not so important on larger boats. I'm thinking of all the fooling around we used to do moving scuba gear around to trim 26-footers, and didn't worry at all about it on the 45er and larger.

(I've had 110 lbs of chain in a bucket in the garage for two years. Just seems ridiculous to put it on board if I'm not going anywhere. But this might be a good year for such experiments.)
 

supersailor

Contributing Partner
The pivot point on my 34 appears to be just ahead of the companion way entrance. Pulling all that weight aft is definitely beneficial. Filling my bow water tank is a retrim disaster. If I need the extra water, I use that tank first. For shorter trips, I have just brought the anchor and 50' of chain aft and dumped them in the locker threading the anchor line down the center of the cabin top to the cockpit Like several others, I do get a little nervous with nothing hooked up. Once many years ago in a small boat I dumped the anchor and rode in a bucket overboard as I was carrying it forward and a large powerboat roared through the anchorage. Never forgot the experience.
 

Kenneth K

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
(I've had 110 lbs of chain in a bucket in the garage for two years. Just seems ridiculous to put it on board if I'm not going anywhere. But this might be a good year for such experiments.)
Or, just send someone's 110 lb kid up to the bow. Have them lean left, lean right, and hop up and down to see what the effect is.

Then have them grab you a cold one on the way back to the cockpit...
 

supersailor

Contributing Partner
We bounce up and down a lot on the Straights here. I kinda looked at the way the boat moves for those that might get a bit queasy and where to place them. The area near the companionway has the least motion of anywhere on the boat. Nothing scientific here, just observation.

It's also why I like the aft head on the 34. less bouncy bouncy when attempting to use it.
 

gadangit

Member III
It's also why I like the aft head on the 34. less bouncy bouncy when attempting to use it.
Yeah, even using Loren's strict rules in the head can be challenging. We've had our share of getting thrown around down there.
I'll have to see if I can find our pivot point. Queasy crew placement is an interesting idea. Here in the near shore gulf, everyone gets sick with almost no exception.
 

toddster

Curator of Broken Parts
Blogs Author
Or, just send someone's 110 lb kid up to the bow. Have them lean left, lean right, and hop up and down to see what the effect is.

Then have them grab you a cold one on the way back to the cockpit...
:D The kid might not enjoy it too much when we start dropping the bow off the back of icy waves to see how it bounces.o_O
Come to think of it... that's exactly the sort of thing my Dad would have ordered me to do. If he had been into recreational activities of any sort.
 

Tin Kicker

Sustaining Member
Moderator
We bounce up and down a lot on the Straights here. I kinda looked at the way the boat moves for those that might get a bit queasy and where to place them. The area near the companionway has the least motion of anywhere on the boat. Nothing scientific here, just observation.

It's also why I like the aft head on the 34. less bouncy bouncy when attempting to use it.
Being the floor just ahead of the companionway base makes a lot of sense. From an engineering perspective my edumacated guess would put the pitch pivot between the CG roughly above the keel and the fore-aft center of floating area, which would be the outline the boat makes in the surface of the water.

From a practical and experience side, that portion of the floor is where I've found to go when I've needed to lay down. It's also pretty close to where people have sea bunks.

I became aware of this when we had to use this boat called the Pirouette in '96 when we were searching for the TWA 747 lost off Long Island. She was a Gulf Coast boat that just happened to be first available to contract but the damned thing had a flat bottom so in the Atlantic it lived up to its' name. Our "guest" berths were in the front of the bow, just aft of the anchor locker. The forward box on deck (NAVY) was the control for the ROV and the floor behind the seats was one of the best places to get some rest.

fwiw - That's me on the tail in the blue shirt and jeans.
 

p.gazibara

Member III
On our 35-2 we take our anchor off the bow when going to weather in any sea beyond 1m. When we have extra weight up there (and that spade shape) the water acts as a brake noticeably lurching the boat. Without it, no lurch. Because of this we always take the anchor off for upwind passages longer than half a day (with substantial sea state). We also have a mantis that comes apart and stows easily. I also built our anchor locker aft of the v-berth so the chain is pretty far back and almost on the keel.

I never tried putting our 200’ of chain up at the pointy end, but I can’t imagine it being a good idea.

-p
 

garryh

Member III
"I also built our anchor locker aft of the v-berth "
how did you do this, in general terms..? great idea if a lot of chain. Direct it forward through pipe..?
 

p.gazibara

Member III
"I also built our anchor locker aft of the v-berth "
how did you do this, in general terms..? great idea if a lot of chain. Direct it forward through pipe..?
I will see if I can find some photos, the phone doesn’t hold very much these days. Basically I built an anchor locker aft of the vberth along the bulkhead. The windlass is just behind the forward hatch and drops the chain down a PVC pipe into the locker. I can access the locker from inside if needed. We carry 200’ of 5/16 high strength chain and it all fits just fine.

Considering we only have a manual windlass raising anchor in a rolly anchorage is much easier now from the mast than it would be standing on the bow.
 
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