We propose a solution to the classic problem of retrieving fouled anchors which overcomes the disadvantages of other systems (click on images 1 to 4) and is suitable for all modern anchors (click on this link to confirm the compatibility with your anchor).
We firstly present AnchorWitch M (Medium), adapted to the needs of a wide range of boats because it is valid for 8 mm to 12 mm diameter chains. We are also designing a smaller model, exclusively for 8 mm chains, and a larger one, appropriate for 12 mm to 16 mm chains. The system consists of the following elements:
The first step is to select the right material for our boat. For this, the chain's diameter firstly needs to be checked and the existing length between the anchor crown and chain winch (if there is one) measured, selecting the most appropriate length. Wires of between 90 cm and 160 cm, with 10 cm differences, are available, but special lengths can be supplied if necessary. Unless there is a reason for ordering a special length wire, it is best to choose the most appropriate length in this range, with the right decimetres, bearing in mind that the measurement selected must exceed the anchor by at least 30 cm, and must not reach the winch (click on image 8). When calculating the length, it should also be remembered that an appropriate shackle needs to be added, with a breaking load of no less than that of the wire, to join it to the anchor crown (for the AnchorWitch M a 6 mm forged steel shackle is best). If you are not sure of the wire size you need, or you can not check it at this moment, please click on this link.
Having selected the wire, the most appropriate holder hook kit needs to be chosen, depending only on the chain's diameter. The hook is connected to the chain through a simple shackle, whose inner diameter is 10 mm for the 8 mm chain, 12 mm for the 10 mm chain and 14 mm for the 12 mm chain. Naturally this connection must be supplied in its component parts and assembled on the boat. However, its installation is not at all difficult, and must follow the instructions supplied.
When selecting the chain link for attaching the hook, the best option is to shackle firstly the wire to the anchor crown and see at which point the hook would be in the chain. The first vertical link to which the wire can be connected should be selected, without this being taut when the chain is pulled, since there is no need for any additional slackness. After securing the hook to the chain, we can now connect the wire terminal and, if the buoy is now in its place on the bow on the outer end of the wire, hanging next to the anchor, we have completed the operation.
If we have a swivel connector, it cannot be positioned between the anchor and the hook. The anchor and the part of the chain where the hook is attached must be joined so that they do not rotate, but if our chain is joined to the anchor by a swivel connector, the solution is very simple. Simply add a piece of chain, which can be the same diameter as the one you already have or greater, between the anchor and the swivel connector, and attach the holder hook to the piece of chain added. It is normally better to use a larger diameter piece of chain because the swivel connector is usually wider on the anchor part (click on image 9). With this, your anchoring will not only be safe from the risk of getting hooked, but also be far more secure than before and the swivel connector will work just as well. Find more information about the problems with anchor-chain swivel connectors in this link.
If the roller or hawse hole on your boat is wide enough to allow the hook which attaches the wire to the chain to pass even if from the side, and if there is no obstacle on which the wire could become caught when anchoring, the action of raising and dropping the anchor does not interfere with it. You can do this without taking any precaution, and the retrieval system will always be ready if necessary. When you anchor, the buoy ensures that the wire remains in the correct position when the anchor reaches the bottom, and will help you locate your anchor easily. When you set sail and lift the anchor aboard, the buoy will be on the end of the roller. You can leave it there if you like or, if the design of your boat so allows, store it in the anchor locker instead. When dropping the anchor simply check that the wire is alongside the anchor so that it does not get caught (click on image 10).
If you are setting sail and notice that the anchor resists being raised, this is the time to use the rescue rig. If you have not already done it previously, you will need a good quality shackle (forged steel, not cast steel) and a line of sufficient length and resistance to tie the rig. Having done this, and with the chain almost vertical, pass the chain through the guide and allow the rig to drop down the chain. After it has dropped, pull it and you should have coupled the wire. If it does not couple after the second or third attempt, you will need to see if it is the chain rather than the anchor that is obstructed.
Once the wire has been connected, you can free the anchor by pulling on it. Depending on the characteristics of the anchoring and boat, the anchor can be pulled by hand, with the winch or by securing it to a cleat on the boat and moving forward carefully. It may be necessary to let out a few metres of chain to ensure that all the traction is transmitted to the anchor crown and not the shaft. After the anchor has been freed, we can finish retrieving it normally, while simultaneously recovering the line and rescue rig by hand.
And after the anchor has been raised, all that is left to do is release the rescue rig and reconnect the wire to the holder hook, so that everything is ready to be used once again. Naturally, situations may arise that require a little more work, but which are easily overcome with a little bit of seamanship.
If anchoring in an area with a strong current the rescue rig might become detached from the chain during lowering. In this case the manoeuvre will need to be repeated, either tryng to prevent the current from pushing the rig in the direction that makes it more likely to come off or closing the rig if necessary. Click on this link for advice on how to do it.
For deep anchoring it is advisable to add an additional weight near the end of the line that helps lower the rig more quickly, minimising braking caused by a long line. It should be remembered that the aim has been to lighten the rig without reducing its resistance, and it has been optimised for usual anchoring depths.
If there are waves, the operation may be complicated because pulls on the chain could also lead to the rescue rig becoming detached.
In all these special cases a little bit of patience helps, knowing that once it has been attached to the anchor, as much force as necessary can be applied thanks to the system's very high workload.
All the components are maintenance-free, because all the steel used is marine grade. However, it is advisable to look after the moving parts:
- After using the rescue rig, allow it to dry and apply a little oil to the spring’s housing before storage. Always leave the PVC tube inside to prevent any deformation during storage.
Your satisfaction is our commitment. That is why we want you to know exactly what we send you and what guarantees we offer.
What am I going to receive exactly?
A package to protect a single anchor would include a rescue rig, an appropriate length wire, a buoy and a kit to install the holder hook according to the chain's diameter. Naturally you will only need one rescue rig on your boat, but the rest of the items must be repeated for each of the anchor and rode sets you have aboard and adapted to them.
The rescue rig is supplied totally assembled and will only need an appropriate shackle and line (not supplied) to be fully functional. The plastic material guide is the so-called polyamide 6 (PA6) nylon type and its elasticity enables the easy entry and exit of the chain. The hook and its closure are made of A4 grade stainless steel (AISI 316) and are suitably sized. All the stainless steel components are electropolished, which improves both their appearance and corrosion resistance. A PVC tube is included to prevent any deformation during storage.
The wire is A4 grade stainless steel, 7 x 19, making it sufficiently flexible, with the same type of swage eye terminals which are used to support the rigging on sailing boats. The binding for the buoy freely slides along the wire. The wire length is selected when making the order.
The buoy is hollow, high-density polythene (HDPE), resistant to impact and solar radiation.
The holder hook kit includes everything necessary for attaching the hook to the diameter of chain chosen and for securing the anchor buoy to the wire.
For the AnchorWitch M, whose workload is 700 kg (1,500 lb), the steel plate of the rescue rig hook is 3 mm (1/8’) thick and the shackle (not supplied) must be 6 mm (1/4’) forged steel. The wire is 5 mm (1/5’) in diameter and the shackle which connects it to the anchor must be 6 mm. The buoy is 10 cm in diameter and has been tested in conditions that exceed normal anchoring conditions. The holder hook kit can be selected for chains of 8 mm, 10 mm or 12 mm.
Apart from the materials, you will find in the box a complete installation manual.
How much does it cost?
The rescue rig price is 99 euros, the wire (any standard size) is 38 euros, the buoy 18 euros and the holder hook price is also 18 euros for any chain diameter (8, 10 or 12 mm). A complete AnchorWitch M set for one anchor will cost 173 euros. Click here for a table that summarises the product and price of its components.
What happens if after I receive it I decide I am not interested?
You have a week from the date of receiving the package to return it to us, carriage paid. When it is back in our possession we will refund you its amount plus the initial shipment costs. All we ask is that you previously communicate your intention to return the product by e-mail and tell us what you did not like about it. Naturally, the material must not have been used and be in perfect condition.
What is the product’s guarantee?
We guarantee that the product is free of material and assembly defects, in ordinary conditions of use, for five years from the purchase date. If any failure occurs during this period, we will send you a new part free of charge, provided such failure is not due to any poor installation, accident, negligence, incorrect use or unauthorised modifications. You must previously communicate your claim by e-mail and send us the part, carriage paid, together with a description of the circumstances of the failure and the invoice number, to our address:
Snipmac Innova SL
Our responsibility is limited to replacing the defective part, previously checking the defect. We will not accept responsibility beyond the value of the original purchase or responsibility for any hypothetical damage resulting from the use of our products.