Anchor, Chain Locker, and Anchor Roller, Part 14, Marking the Anchor Rode and Anchoring

Oystercatcher at anchor in the Cooper River on an outgoing tide
Having completed the installation of the chain locker panel, and having completed what seemed like a million other tasks, I finally was able to launch Oystercatcher and put her to good use. Along the way, I of course found the opportunity to anchor her and thus try out her new anchoring system that I had labored so long to complete. My anchoring of Oystercatcher and some of the final tasks that I undertook in the months after her first launching are the subject of this posting.
One of the first things I noticed about Oystercatcher after I had docked her in her slip was that the 33 pound Lewmar claw anchor did not look out of proportion. That was good.
In fact, I thought the anchor, the anchor roller, and the anchor platform all looked quite nice together on this boat.
Here's how the mahogany anchor platform appeared from the starboard side of the boat. Please pay no attention to the bow line running athwart it and athwart the blue furling line. This was but a temporary thing.
The mahogany anchor platform, sitting as it was on the centerline of the deck, did a nice job at distracting attention from the offset anchor roller. You'll recall from my earliest postings that this was one of my concerns.
There was plenty of room in this set-up for the 5/16 inch chain.
One task that I had not completed before the launching of the boat was the painting of the epoxy in the old navigation light holes. You'll remember that I had removed these old lights and filled the holes with thickened epoxy. Now I needed to get some paint on them before the sun started to break down the epoxy.
Ideally, I would have used gelcoat for this job, and I would have tried to get a perfect match with the existing gelcoat. It was, though, difficult to work in these conditions. It was hot, it was hard to reach this area from the dock, and the boat was moving up and down. Besides, I had plenty of other more pressing jobs to complete now that the boat was sitting in the water.
For this little project I used Blue Water Marine Mega Gloss one-part polyurethane paint. I had purchased a quart of this economy grade paint from RAKA Epoxy for miscellaneous touch-up work.
Working from the dock was so much more difficult than working on the boat under the tarp back home. It's easy to see why there are so many bad looking boats in so many marinas, especially in this part of the country - where you can leave your boat in the water year round. Up north, you have no choice but to haul the boat out every autumn.
This made me all the more glad that I had purchased this trailerable Ericson 25. I could haul the boat out free of charge, and I could work on her in my own boatyard - i.e., the yard beside my house - without having to pay a boatyard for haulout and storage fees.
Some of my neighbors at the marina do everything they can to avoid these fees - sometimes to the point of what appears to me to be folly. Is it better to pull the prop shaft while the boat still sits in the water, or is it better to do this work while the boat sits on the hard? "Better work fast to hammer that wooden plug into that hole; that water comes through there faster than you'd ever think." "You don't have to worry about that plug while you're working on that prop shaft. It'll stay put." These are the sorts of things I've heard from two different people in my area of the marina alone.
After I had applied two coats of this polyurethane paint to the old nav light holes, I focused on the marking of the anchor rode. My friend and I had experienced some mild frustration in our initial anchoring, because it was impossible for us to determine how much rode we had paid out. We both talked about our experience with this issue, he from his Coast Guard experience, and I from my experience of sailing aboard tall ships, where it's common to mark the rode in shots, with one shot equaling 90 feet (15 fathoms). Since I only had 230 feet of rode with which to work - 200 feet of rope and 30 feet of chain) - the shot approach was not practical. I opted instead for markings at every 50 feet.
I used seine twine for these markings. I had earlier purchased a one pound spool of #36 twine from Sgt. Knots in North Carolina. Seine twine is a common sight on tall ships, where it's used for all sorts of things, especially for the mousing of shackle pins and the whipping of the ends of lines.
Starting at the point where the chain joined the anchor, I measured out 50 foot segments of the rode. I marked the 50 foot mark with one lashing, the 100 foot mark with two, and the 150 mark with three. Below, we see the 150 foot mark.
The 200 foot mark, of course, received four lashings.
In terms of the anchoring process itself, I should note that the technique that I had envisioned and that I had incorporated into the design worked well. The chock and the port side cleat were of great assistance to me in the paying out of the rode by hand. Likewise, the chock and the cleat worked well in the securing of the rode while setting the hook.
As far as the anchor roller itself was concerned. As you see in the pictures above and below, despite the fact that the roller was canted to the port side, the boat still sat centered relative to the anchor itself. Moreover, it did so with a fair lead on the rode. There was no biding or chafing of the rode on account of the width of the Garhauer anchor roller and its flared side pieces on its forward end.
All in all, this was a satisfying set-up - one that was both practical and aesthetically pleasing - and I was glad that I had expended the time and effort to make it a reality.
This ends this multi-part article on my creation of a new anchoring system for Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25.

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