Tuesday, May 20, 2014
When we left Bettie for what wound up being four nights to paperwork it up in Guadalajara, we left her on the hook, something we'd only done once before for two nights and not without great trepidation and two anchors. Not so this time.
Our old friends from Kemah at Mantus Anchors hooked us up with a great deal on a 65-pound, galvanized steel behemoth, and we finally glimpsed an end to our anchoring saga. I don't think I ever fully expounded upon our prior anchoring woes, but let me break it down for you.
When we started on this trip way back in April of 2012, we were total newbs, and in terms of anchoring we were even more clueless, having set the hook once before crossing the Gulf of Mexico. We had assumed that the 40-pound CQR left aboard Bettie by the folks who had previously owned her would be just fine. We thought they used it during their years of cruising, and we also pretty much assumed that whatever they did was the gold standard, an assumption that has served us well on all other occasions.
Looking back on it, we think they must have had a different primary anchor because that CQR sucked!! We participated in drag fest 2012 in Key West, and, no, not the fun kind. We dragged in a few other spots, and then came the second anchor. We started putting down a smaller Fortress to help us stick, and that second anchor created a whole new pile of problems. We didn't drag, but we did create a few Gordian knots out of the two chains. They would twist together as Bettie would turn with the tides, and Vlad would have to get in the dinghy and push Bettie in circles until the chains came undone. And when they got knotted up? Oh boy. Vlad would be in the dinghy trying to undo a giant ball of high test chain, which is really not how you want to spend your morning.
Suffice to say, anchoring has not always been as easy as dropping the hook in front of a palm tree covered island. But with the Mantus, our life has gotten a whole lot better. A couple of days before we left for Guadalajara, we motored out into the anchorage and dropped that big, beautiful anchor, let out a hundred feet of chain, set the anchor (which involves reversing the boat thereby digging the anchor into the ground) and let out the rest of our chain. The anchor set on the first try, and we haven't moved a bit since, even though the wind howls through the bay every afternoon.
We did get a size up than what Mantus suggests for our boat, but on the advice of other cruisers who have sailed the Sea of Cortez we went with the bigger option. Evidently, high winds - we're talking 60 knots here - can kick up for short periods, generally in the middle of the night. If you've got an oversized anchor you won't worry as much about you and the boat blowing away, and you can focus on salvaging your the remnants of your sunshade.
One more plug for the Mantus design - it comes apart. Typically, anchors are welded together or are molded from one piece of metal, but the Mantus requires some assembly, which means it's easily stowed and transported. We didn't even have to pay oversized luggage fees when carting back a 65-pound anchor. We just packed the three pieces in separate bags, and away we went. Plus, Jari loves the anchor. When we unpacked it, he was completely enthralled, and he really wanted to be a part of the assembly process.
We can't thank Mantus Anchors enough for their generosity!