Ground Tackle

One of our favorite parts of cruising is being at anchor. We love being at anchor in the Pacific Northwest with the diesel heater running, drinking wine and reading a book. Or anchored off a reef in Mexico diving off the boat and swimming over to our favorite spear-fishing spot.

Anchor Platform

Hello World‘s bowsprit makes an excellent anchoring platform. The platform has rollers for two anchors and provides lots of room for modern-type anchors with roll-bars such as our Rocna. The frame of the anchor platform is made from 314 stainless steel. The original anchor platform frame was damaged when we shipped the boat from Mexico so we had a new frame constructed and installed in 2011. At that same time, we had the anchor locker reconfigured to make anchoring easier and installed a new stem iron (see below).


In order to relax at anchor, we installed some skookum ground tackle. It all starts with our 72 pound Rocna anchor. We get ridiculed on the dock quite a bit for our 72 pound anchor on a 40 foot sailboat. Those same people never seem to ridicule us much when it’s blowing 30 knots. This anchor sets incredibly fast and once it’s set – it stays. We’ve been anchored in two separate gales where other boats in the anchorage dragged onto rocks or the beach and were sunk. Hello World never dragged.

  • primary/storm – Rocna 72 pounds
  • backup – Spade 45 pounds
  • stern – Danforth 25 pounds

Rode & Windlass

It helps that the anchor is attached to 300 feet of 5/16″ HT chain. With this anchor and 5:1 scope, we slept like babies. We’ve anchored in up to 100 feet of water. In order to retrieve that anchor and all that rode, we installed an oversized vertical Maxwell VW1500 windlass. Along with the windlass, we added a chain stopper. We built a backing plate out of high-strength G10 fiberglass that backs both the windlass and the chain stopper. In the process of replacing the windlass, we discovered that the existing wiring was corroded so we replaced the circuit with brand new tinned 2/0 wire and a new breaker.

  • Maxwell VW1500 vertical windlass – rated to 1,870 pounds
  • primary rode – 300 feet 5/16″ HT ACCO chain
  • backup rode – 200 feet of 5/16 HT + 200 feet 5/8″ nylon rode
  • stern anchor rode – 20 feet 5/16″ HT chain + 200′ 1/2″ nylon rode

Anchor Locker

The anchor locker is has a deep chain well forward to keep the anchor chain stored closer to the water line. The upper area of the locker has room for the 45lb Spade backup anchor and backup rode. An electrical box is installed to port. This contains the switches for the windlass and washdown pump as well as the windlass solenoid.

A caveat about the washdown pump: it’s currently inoperable. We haven’t diagnosed why so we removed it from the equipment list.

Stem Iron

While reconfiguring our anchor locker, we pulled out the original stem iron and replaced it with a newer stem iron from Caliber. In later model years, Caliber installed hell-for-stout stem irons with large V-shaped backing plates to withstand anchoring forces. We now attach our snubber to our stem iron for a couple reasons rather than securing the snubber on deck. The biggest reason is that it keeps that load off the bowsprit. S/V Mirador’s story about Hurricane Marty is a cautionary tale for bringing anchor loads over a bowsprit. Having the snubber attachment down at the waterline helps put out more scope with less chain length. And it also helps control the anchor sailing that Calibers love to do. And if the snubber doesn’t run over the bowsprit or through a chock to a cleat, we don’t have to worry about wind or waves chafing the snubber line through. One boat we were anchored next to in Bahia de los Muertos in Mexico had their snubber chafe through during a gale. The shock load pulled their anchor out and they ended up on the beach. We’re pretty protective of our snubber during big wind events.

If you want to go in the way-back machine, you could read some of our thoughts about ground tackle and why we went the direction we did in a blog article here.