It has been a busy time up on the bow of Learnativity since I returned from the USA last Thursday (April 15th). As you may recall the bow railing was one of the casualties of doing the tsunami tango in American Samoa last September so I’ve been working with the good folks from Absolute Stainless here in Whangarei to fabricate a new railing. They are also working with me on a new mounting bracket for three new solar panels I’m adding on the rear and hopefully I’ll also be able to get them to make up a new dual anchor roller assembly and bow sprit I’m designing.
New Bow Railing
Maurice (from Absolute Stainless) has been here the past few days working on the bow railing and here is what it looks like so far:
These are actually photos from yesterday, today we got the front two tubes added and tacked it all up and Maurice has taken it back to the shop to weld it all up and add in the lower cross bars. I’ll post more photos in a few days when it is all done.
Bigger is Better When it Comes to Anchors, but ……..
Once Maurice left I headed ashore to go pick up the shiny new Rocna anchor I had ordered last month and which arrived while I was back in the US. Quite a story behind this anchor and here is the synopsis:
I decided to buy a Rocna while I’m here in NZ and have ended up with quite a good deal on several fronts I think. I’ve been thinking about upgrading my anchor for some time. The 33Kg/75lb CQR I have up front has served me well but in the last few months of cruising and anchoring before getting here it had been a bit difficult to get to set a few times and I don’t have the greatest confidence in it in a big blow. Given my cruising style and preference for small out of the way places I anchor most of the time and so having a good solid anchor really helps with being able to sleep well at anchor and could possibly, hopefully not, be a big advantage if I’m ever caught in a really big storm while at anchor. I keep hearing and reading rave reviews about the Rocna anchors from other cruisers who have them on their boats and have talked to many of them at length while we’ve been anchored together in various spots over the past few year so I wanted to look into them more while I’m here in NZ where they are made. The Manson Supreme is a very similar anchor and also gets good reviews in the tests but it is very much not liked here, even though it is made here, as it is a copy of the Rocna and not as well made apparently. So I decided to go with the Rocna.
However when I just went to order from the local marine store I ran into an interesting problem as the one I want, the 55Kg/120lb model is out of stock and they are shifting their manufacturing to China now and won’t have any new ones till at least May, more likely June or later. I checked all over NZ and there is apparently no 55Kg models in any of the distributors as most of them just order direct for these larger anchors. So was left with deciding on either the 40Kg/88lb model or the 70Kg/155lb. They had one 70kg left and offered it to me for less than the price of the 55kg model, plus it is apparently the last Rocna anchor manufactured here in NZ. So the question was to go down one size or up one size. The 55Kg was already on the high end (see Ronca chart here if interested) but after thinking it over I decided to go ahead and order the 70Kg because when it comes to anchors bigger really is better and everything I’ve ever read says the same. Physically these Rocna’s are already very large mostly due to the big roll bar on the top so any size takes up a lot of space up front and when I checked the charts on the Rocna site the physical size differences between the 40-55-70 didn’t seem to be too much, the big difference is the weight.
While I was away in the US, the big new Rocna anchor arrived at Stanley Marine, the great little marine store and surplus shop right beside Town Basin Marina where I’m moored.. When I went over to check on it for the first time a few days ago, I got quite a shock. It was HUGE!!! Probably made worse by the fact that it was on a wood pallet and standing up vertical, but my gosh this thing is simply enormous any way you look at it.
And so today I went ashore, took along one of the dock carts from the marina and with the help of the marine store owner, we got it into the cart. It wasn’t too bad wheeling it over to the marina, only a short block away and I’d waited till high tide when the ramp down to the dingy dock isn’t at too steep an angle and was able to wheel it down the ramp without it running away from me. A little help from a friendly fellow sailor at the dock and we soon had the galvanized gargantuan safely nestled into my dingy and away I rowed back to the bow of Learnativity and you can get a bit of a sense of the size of it laying on the floor of the dingy in this photo.
I’d removed the CQR anchor that I’ve been using the past few years and had just the anchor chain hanging down from the bow roller and was able to attach this to the new Rocna while it was in the dingy and then hoist it up into place on Learnativity using the electric windlass. I needed to spend a few hours fixing the bow roller that the chain and anchor roll over at it too was badly bent up from the tsunami, but once the roller was back in operation the windlass easily lifted it out of the dingy and up onto the bow of Learnativity.
Once I had it in place it didn’t look as badly out of proportion as I thought it might and even though I’ll be making up a new bow roller assembly to accommodate this new anchor better, it actually fit the existing roller without a problem and the point of the anchor didn’t hit the bow as I feared it might.
In the photo on the right here you can see it compared to another boat in the foreground and see that it really isn’t too badly out of proportion. With Learnativity being a steel boat and having so much tankage (fuel & water) it is also MUCH heavier boat that most any other of its length so the added weight and size of the anchor will work very well.
There’s no question it is BIG, but I don’t think it looks too out of place and catches the eye too badly. What it will do is catch the bottom VERY quickly and well and I can probably offer to be the local mooring point for the whole fleet of other boats in in harbor I’m anchored in the future!
Rocna anchors are renowned for setting very quickly compared to any other anchor and many owners tell of their shock the first time it sets as it is like they are tied to a solid concrete dock and the boat stops with a sudden bang when they back down on their anchor the first time. I’ll be sure to back down VERY slowly on mine the first time and all those thereafter, but I think I’ll be able to sleep very soundly from now on when I’m at anchor.
Hopefully my time and funds will hold out long enough while I’m here in NZ to get the new anchor roller assembly built and installed and this will help the anchor fit in even better. I’m also designing the new anchor roller to stick out about 60cm/2ft further in front to provide me with a small bow sprit where I can attach my asymetric spinnaker and get it out into the wind a bit more and help out even further in light wind situations. I’m most likely heading up through the Solomons, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia this season (intentions rather than plans for me remember) and these areas typically have weeks with very little wind so I’m likely to get lots of use out of my spinnaker. Yesterday I took the spinnaker to the local sail loft to get them to inspect it and give me their evaluatoin of my repair job and I may get them to restitch it so it is solid and dependable for the upcoming season. As you may recall the spinnaker blew out on the way down to Easter Island and was then part of the whole dingy dunking experience when I went to take it ashore there to fix it. I did manage to repair while I was on Easter Island, a whole adventure in itself that you can read about by looking back to my Easter Island postings here from May 2009. I also sewed in another patch while underway to Samoa last year and it has served me well ever since, but with a lot of use for it coming up I thought it best to get the experts at Calibre sails here in Whangarei to check it over and give me their advice. I’ll let you know how it all turns out when I get it back.
So that’s the update from the good ship Learnativity for today, April 21st, 2010. Great to be back home, back with Ruby and back to writing to all of you! More to follow, stay tuned.
Wayne & Ruby the Wonderdog
Aboard s/v Learnativity
Town Basin Marina
Whangarei, New Zealand