Mack has been watching a lot of YouTube videos on anchoring, which means it was only a matter of time before the Captain outfitted Kenutu with an anchor. One of our digital mates, Sailing Uma, swears by a heavy anchor. They bought a 105-pound Mantus anchor, which held them safely in place during Hurricane Matthew. From what we can tell, at least one of them is an engineer of some kind, maybe with some architecture flair, and they are constantly saying "buy a big anchor, a good anchor." They clearly know more than us, and those are the types of sailors we listen to.
Which is why I was 0% surprised when this 45-pound Mantus anchor showed up on our porch.
This Mantus, about $400, has a curved bar over the top of it, which is supposed to help right the anchor if it gets flipped over. It also has a really long arm, one so long that the anchor wasn't sitting right on the bow roller right. If it was nested on the bow roller, it reached so far into the boat that we couldn't close the anchor lazarette and the curved bar was resting on the stainless rail. Ugh.
Luckily, the Captain had a plan. He decided to modify the current bow roller so that it was positioned further out on the stainless bracket. We got a special drill bit for metal, he threw on protective eyewear, and a few minutes later, we had it rigged.
Of course now that we had an anchor we had to try it out. We sailed over to an anchorage by Island White to play with dropping the hook. The captain was at the helm looking for a good depth and getting the boat pointed into the wind, and I was on the bow ready to deploy the hook. This was the last major sailing thing we had to do to feel like real sailors, and yes, we were freaking nervous.
Turns out dropping an anchor is pretty easy. It didn't go at all as planned, but it was kind of impossible to screw it up. He gave the order to drop the hook, I loosened the windlass, the anchor started to fall. The first and only hiccup came when the curved part of the anchor rested on the stainless rail. I put out a little slack, tightened the windlass, lifted the anchor off the rail and got it over the water, and loosened the windlass again. Gravity did the rest.
When we had 60 feet of chain out, I tightened the windlass and Captain threw Kenutu in reverse to "back down" on the anchor. They say this is how you "set" the anchor, or get it to grind into the sea bed so it holds you there. Kenutu's reverse is funny, more like a backlash crab walk turn move, but the boat stopped moving eventually even when we revved the engine to 2000 RPMs. We tied a snubber to the anchor chain to take the tension off the windlass and then tied that snubber line to one cleat and to another cleat. We weren't scared of losing $400 in the ocean at all.
We stayed anchored for about an hour, watching some people do a photo shoot on another sailboat and soaking up some sun. Mack had a beer. Life was amazing. And then we had to haul the anchor.
We have a manual windlass. I gave my right arm a little pep talk, the Captain got on the helm, and I started cranking. I watched the colors go by, and then at about the 30 foot mark, it got really hard to crank the windlass. I gave it a few more cranks and felt a pop, like when you pull your shoe out of the mud. After that the cranking got easier and a minute later, the hook surfaced. I helped it over the stainless rail and into position, tied it down, and told the Captain "the hook is in the pocket." I also learn stuff from watching Below Deck.
We can officially check "anchor" off our to-do list. Now we have "practice anchoring" on there. As well as "set a stern anchor" and "dive on anchor" and "anchor overnight." Oh god.
Two people dumb enough to think anything is possible and smart enough to bumble their way into discoveries.