Written by Mia:
We had lots of gusts one evening in Soller, many months ago. It was fun at first, as the boats danced around, well at least the ones that didn’t have stern lines out… and this did definitely add to the chaos. Boats were dragging around every where, and one slipped so close that Jon even asked their crew if she would like to step aboard for a cup of tea. At 2am Jon was still awake and woke Mia with news that we too were dragging, and needed to re-anchor. He claims this had nothing to do with his wanting a new anchor, Mia is not so sure… either way, dragging is terrifying and if a new anchor solves the problem, buy two! Or don’t, we don’t really have room for two and the forepeak is getting full.
We even spent most of the next day trying to anchor, and keep in mind while we are anchoring it requires concentration and Teo has to find something to do on his own. This particular afternoon we spent about 3 hours trying to anchor only to finally give up and retreat to the pontoon of doom. The pontoon of doom being the cheaper of the two marinas in Soller – run by Port IBs – which is bumpy, wobbly and full of other boats with questionable parking skills. But we just chalked this defeat up to keeping our sanity and topping up the batteries and the water tanks.
As we left Soller we stopped at Sa Colobra mostly for the photos I have to admit… And the anchor didn’t hold there either, and Mia was running around like a crazy person taking down the mainsail… on her own… while on the walkie talkie with Jon who was ashore with Teo.
The next day things got rocky and rolley in San Vincenc as well. Again, a different anchor that held better would have definitely given us peace of mind and a few extra hours of sleep. Visions of that rocky beach against Itchy Foot’s belly are unwelcome!
Cala Murta (both attempts) would have been a lot less nerve-wracking with a non-dragging anchor. Arrrrrg that place still fills me with dread and frustration, it even claimed a pair of Mia’s shoes and we all know how popular that would be, don’t we? So, I won’t even bother with any details about that place.
When the sleepless nights ratio was more than 50% in a week, we found ourselves renting a car and driving from Pollenca to Palma to shop for a new anchor. It wasn’t really shoppping, Jon knew which one he had his eye on and he had done his research. It is a Rocna weighing 25 kilos and we spent a late night getting it installed. And we named him Rocky and we love him and we sleep better because we stay put, now we just have to get Rocky to read the weather reports and we can kiss mooring buoys and marinas good bye!
Fast forward two months and this all seems like a distant memory. I just found the draft version of this blog post (unfinished and started shortly after installing the new anchor) and those of you who read the post about living on anchor for a month are probably not surprised about how pleased we are with our new friend. Even though he is heavy and harder to pull up and secure, he is excellent in windy conditions and swell and that is just swell. Sorry.
Hallberg Rassy boats come with a perfectly ‘fine’ anchor – a Lewmar Delta and that is what we had onboard when we took ownership of Itchy Foot. Delta anchors are loved by many and while they are an old design (from the 70s) they are still found on many yachts happily sailing around the world. So why did we want something different? Sand – we anchor in a lot of sand and Rocna’s love sand and mostly everywhere we want to go has a sandy bottom (it’s next to a beach after all). Secondly they set (which is the act of securely digging itself into the bottom) almost instantly, exactly where we put them on the bottom. They is very useful when trying to find the only sandy patch in an area covered in seagrass and weed. With our Delta anchor we often found that it would take many meters to get it to ‘dig in’ and set itself on the bottom. It also didn’t like it if the wind changed direction in the night, taking time to set in the new direction. In short, back in the 90’s the Delta anchor you could buy. In 2016, for the sorts of places we’re going to be anchoring, the Rocna seems like the best anchor for the money. Over the last couple of months the anchor has proven it’s worth and our confidence in it and our ability has grown.