Where to put the anchor?

Swede 55 can be enjoyed as built in the 1970s. Believe it or not and even if some do-it-yourselfers find it difficult: you can simply sail this boat as it is – with one exception: Unfortunately, the yard did not consider an important issue at the time, anchoring. A secure anchor that you can easily deploy and back on board is important beyond comfort. After all, you want to stay out overnight somewhere where it is usually nicer than in the harbour. And sometimes a storm has to be waited out at anchor.

Lateral Swede 55 anchor bracket aboard Eos

The original builder Fisksätra Varv had put a cheap anchor and some rope in the fore peak. That is probably enough for the sheltered archipelago of the Swedish east coast. Not for waters where a reliable, correspondingly heavy and unwieldy anchor is needed. How it gets into the water, how the chain and rope are guided and how all this gets back on deck without damages – this was left to the owner. Many Swede 55 sailors left the bow as it is. Others thought about it and built something themselves. A solution worth seeing can was recently developed for Eos.

After decades on Lake Constance Eos came to the Baltic Sea, where the new owner came up with a clever idea. Being an architect he is a friend of the planned procedure. So he first took measurements, thought about it and made a drawing. He is so kind to share his ideas and details here:

Custom Swede 55 anchor bracket aboard Eos. The CQR sits ready to drop in a U-profile

“The boat inspires me as a classic design of the seventies. Swede 55 is a feast for the eyes and a pure pleasure to sail. For the anchor I wanted a bracket without changing much on board. I also wanted options in selecting an anchor and installing a windlass.”

The bracket sits on the alloy footrail, can be swiveled and is removable within minutes

As the photos and drawings show, the bow tip of Eos remains accessible, which is nice when berthing in ports with the bow towards the land. The design places the weight further back, which is beneficial given the boat’s long overhang. I find it interesting for sailing in demanding waters that a second anchor can be accommodated in another bracket on the other side ready ready to drop. With her length and far forward mast, Swede 55 tends to swing a lot in strong winds. Two anchors keep her fairly steady in the wind. A disadvantage seems to be that the chain or tackle can hit the flank. I hope the alloy footrail is separated well from stainless steel (electrolysis).

Die steuerbord Seite der Swede 55 Eos mit unverbautem Bug

Bow roller aboard Gamle Swede

As Gamle Swede would sail beyond sheltered waters, I adhered the advice of a Cape Horn prooven bluewater sailor who declared: “With safe anchor gear you don’t need to insure the boat.” So for two decades Gamle Swede carried a 30 kgs (66 lbs) CQR anchor, chainforerunner with 5 tons breaking load, followed by a thick, long rope.

To get all that into the sea, you need a smooth-running reel. The details of this custom-made fitting: The anchor rope is bedded in an approximately 70 mm wide roll with an outside diameter of almost 100 mm, into which a parabolic guide is embedded. Most of the time the line stays in the reel. But when there is a lot of wind and the boat swings in wide circles creating a lot of lateral pull to the reel, the rope is tied down with a little extra rope. For the night, I protect the rope from possible chafing at the steel flanges with a 2 feet piece of PVC-hose being permanently slided over the back end of the anchor rope.

The charme of a simple solution is that it simply works. Even thick mooring lines or rough chains stay on the reel. The disadvantage is that the anchor has to be lifted out of the forepeak each time. When the anchor is needed, I take it out of the forepeak and place it in the pulpit in time. It sits on the lower strut, its flanks holding it to the side. The ploughshare fits well in the pulpit. Otherwise, the anchor is located in the forepeak, where it doesn’t bother. I have a tidy deck and free passage forward in the harbor through the open pulpit.

Custom made bow fitting with reel for chain or rope aboard Gamle Swede – Foto Sörrn Heese/Swedesail

With a few exceptions, the oversized anchor kept the boat in place excellently, although the CQR Anchor doesn’t have the best reputation for holding power. It is woth remembering that the abbreviation CQR stands for Coastal Quick Release.

Following the advice of the blue water sailor, there was also a hand-operated anchor winch. That Lofrans brand capstan was a disaster: heavy, sluggish and unusably slow. It come stuck from the factory and was returned after endless repairs. I haven’t needed a capstan in all these years: if the anchor is so stuck in the ground that it can’t be lifted, I drive over it with the chain or rope being fixed. Later I clean the anchor and chain dragging it a few feet below the reel.

I would not try running over a stuck anchor with the elegant Eos construction. For reasons of weight, I would not install a capstan aboard Swede 55 or any boat with a displacement of less than 9 t. The anchor is quickly hoisted and put away by hand. I like to get the boat sailing quickly.

It took me a little to understand the concept of Swede 55. So after a while I replaced the Cape Hoorn-compatible anchor by the same model having half the weight. Sailing in the shallow Baltic sea I even omit the chain. The 16 kg anchor is simply lifted out of the fore peak and deployed with the handy rope without the annoying chain. As I like anchoring, I make it as easy as possible.

Rod Stephens, the practical man of the New York yacht design office Sparkman & Stephens, recommended in his book Rod on Sailing, Lessons from the Sea a small, handy anchor for the lunch or coffee break, as so-called lunch hook. My 16 kgs (35 lbs) anchor is heavier than a lunch hook and serves well over night in common conditions in the Baltic sea.

The fitting consists of 10 mm stainless steel plates welded together and weighs 5 kilos. Three 10mm threaded rods keep it in place. It is so rigid that it withstood some small knocks, which happen over decades when stopping the boat a little late in one port or another.

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