To see as much of the world as we can,
Using the smallest carbon footprint we can,
Spending the least amount of money we can,
Making as many friends we can.

Team Red Cruising

Anchor Locker, Ground Tackle, and Silt

The bottom of the Chesapeake involves silt. A lot of it. Anchoring in silt is kind of fun. You barely have to think about it. Except, of course, for the silt that stays with your anchor chain.

When we first started sailing down here, we heard an old salt explain anchoring in the Chesapeake.

Ground Tackle
Our Chain and Rope Rode

"Y'all are doin' it wrong: you cain't back down under pow'r: you'll just dig a furrow in the silt. To anchor in the Bay, you drop the hook. Then you take your first beer. Then you may back down under pow'r to test the set."

"Take your first beer" he said.

The other end of this operation is hauling the chain back in. In most cases, the chain links themselves are holding the boat in place. The 25 kg chunk of steel is just insurance.

Our locker has about 100′ of ⅜ HT chain, another 150′ of rope that's the primary rode. On the other side is another 150′ of rope with maybe 20′ of chain that is our first backup.

We have a second backup. Really.

The red ball is a float that use us to help understand exactly where the anchor is.

If we've been anywhere for more than a few hours, the chain will be caked with silt. A tube of mud. We have a nice wash-down system, and CA can hose the chain clean as it comes in.

CA and the anchor locker
Peering into the anchor locker from the V-berth

But, of course, it's not clean. It's mostly in a "reduced mud" state. After being hosed off, it has somewhat less mud than it come up with. But it's not zero mud. The mud accumulates in the anchor locker because the locker has one drain, and we don't keep the chain near that drain.

It's hard to see, but through the little door is a white patch of hull with a brown, wood divider. The port side of the locker has a drain. The starboard side?

No drain.

So mud tends to accumulate. How much mud?

This weekend we took out all the chain to give it a good fresh-water rinse.

Measuring the Mud
That's about 3/4" of mud

You can see About ⅝" of mud in this picture. There's a metal probe on the end of the calipers for measuring depths.

Yes. That's a pretty big pile of mud. It never dries out. And. The chain sits in it. Rusting.

We drilled drain holes so that the muddy water could run down into the hull and — eventually — wind up in the deep bilge. It does mean that once a year we have to take a hose and run water into the anchor locker, under the floors, chasing the mud and silt back to the deep bilge.

We pump as much of it out with a hand pump as we can. Then wait for the sand to dry out, and shop-vac up the left-overs.

Okay. So the fun of anchoring in silt ends when it's time to hose out the hull. But until the annual hull and ground-tackle washing, it's a lot of worry-free fun.