Thursday, August 9, 2012

On Anchors….And Religion

For a long time I’ve had a theory about similarities between ground tackle choice and religious bent. When my trusted 45lb CQR dragged in a squall in Newport earlier this summer, the resulting shock waves revealed the cracks in the foundation of my ground tackle temple….

I was asked at a presentation I did aboard Charis once, why I had so many anchors and why they seemed so large for the boat. I answered that I liked to sleep soundly. I reasoned that the difficulty of retrieving heavy ground tackle occupies but a tiny percentage of the time one spends secured to the bottom with it. But I know there was more to it than that. Having different types and sizes of anchor is recognition that there is no universal truth in the matter. It’s an admission that perhaps each has its strengths and hence weaknesses. It is a sort of nautical Universalism.

Part of this theory has evolved along the way as a reaction to the frequent cruiser discussion topic known as the anchor. Time has taught me that the more dogmatic someone is in their gear choice, chances are, the less technically versed they are in it. My reaction, having always been sort of an obstinate human, is doubt in direct proportion to dogma. The best of these conversations are with other techno-types who leave behind the superiority complex and delve straight into the actual features and functions of each anchor type. There needs to be an element of admission of failure to validate the claims to success. This is sort of sermonizing that one can learn from. And really, learning is the key, because it really all boils down to this:

Worship not thy anchor. It is nearer human than deity in that each one has its strengths and weakness. Every one will prove fickle if you do not handle it sensibly. Some will serve well in one situation but abandon you in others. Some will inspire your faith and be your rock of Gibraltar. Some will inspire less confidence. Just remember, even rocks move sometimes.

So go forth….and stay put. Especially if you’re the boat upwind of me. Not that I mind you visiting. I just prefer you arrive in your dinghy.


  1. Danforth anchor
    Trip anchor
    (I'm on phone with Captain John in Haiti, telling him about your post here.)
    2 anchors out, 3, maybe 4---that's good, shit yeah.
    Sometimes a wind comes up, say September, 30 35 knots, it will drag the ship, oh yeah, and pretty soon you're on the beach.
    (He told me how another ship dragged 2 anchors in a 25-knot wind in Haiti, until they were bumping ships and they threw old tires on the side.

  2. Love the reference to "Nautical Universalism" - being a UU (Unitarian Universalist) myself! Gave us a good chuckle!