Raptor UK canoe sailing

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April 2012

for short stops. If I was beaching somewhere for a rest stop or coffee break I would normally just drag my Raptor onto the shore. This is fine if the shore is grassy or sandy, but not ideal if the beach comprises pebbles or larger stones. Although my Raptor's Kevlar hull reinforcement makes it more resistant to damage from this type of abrasion, I wanted to reduce the amount of scratching to my hulls. So I decided to improve my anchor system. Some OCSG members routinely anchor their boats during short stops and it seems to work well for them. This has the added advantage of making ones boat slightly less easy for members of the public to 'play' with. Although it has never yet happened to me, some OCSG members have returned from a coffee break to find parents and children trying their boats out for size on the shore, occasionally leading to some damage. The need to wade through several metres of chilly, waist-deep water might act as a partial deterrent.

I bought a 1kg stainless steel Bruce anchor several years ago and, after some on-line research, also bought 6 metres of 6mm stainless steel short link anchor chain. I attached these to the boat with 20 metres of anchor rope (6mm 3 Strand Nylon), thinking that this would allow me to anchor safely in relatively deep water, outside the wave-break zone. In the event, I have never yet anchored in such deep water, in fact I can't remember ever anchoring in the water. The only time I used this configuration was on the 2008 OCSG Luing Expedition. One night I camped in a fairly drab, narrow and muddy little cove with another couple of OCSG members. The tide was out when we arrived but I knew it would reach (and float) my boat during the night, so I deployed the anchor. The 26m of anchor rode was so long that I had to criss-cross the cove several times. It worked OK as my Raptor was still there in the morning but this length of rode was clearly excessive for normal use.

So I decided to drastically reduce the length of anchor line (to 6.6m/21'), and to half the length of anchor chain (to 3m/10'). I used to attach my previous (top-loading) anchor bag to the front of my sidecar, so wanted to come up with a new solution that wouldn't impede my passenger. It was difficult to find a suitable bag but (as previously) I eventually opted for a bag that is designed for carrying musical instruments (bongo drums), as it best fit the dimensions that I was looking for. I chose a bag made by Soar Valley Music (SVM). It has the advantages of central suspension straps and front-opening zip. The width of the bag coincided well with the distance between 'D'-rings in the central part of my port side sidecar rail, below which I planned to suspend the bag. This way, only half the depth of the bag protrudes from under the sidecar, reducing the possibility of interference to starboard-side paddling. The central location also allows deployment of the foil control handle without interference. The bag sits lower than the retracted foil, so will probably cause some splashing with wave action.

I already had an anchor deployment setup on my Raptor. This comprised of an 'endless' rope looped around the front iako and passing through a bow-mounted single block. This endless rope had a 'tail' with an eye onto which was attached a further single block. Before setting off on expeditions, I would thread the anchor rope through this block and tie the free end to the front iako. The other end would be attached to the anchor chain in the bag. Normally the anchor rope block would be kept near the front iako, so that the length of anchor rope deployed would be minimised. It would, in theory, have been possible for me to deploy the anchor in deep water by unzipping the anchor bag, lowering the anchor and chain to the sea bed and then paying out the anchor rope fully. By pulling on the top portion of the endless rope I would then have been able to move the anchor block to the bow, so that the rode tension was applied there, keeping the bow pointed into the prevailing wind/current. When recovering the anchor, I would first have pulled the anchor block back to the front iako so that I could pull directly up on the anchor.

As I wrote previously, I never used this system with the Bruce anchor, however I did use it on a couple of occasions with a 'sea anchor'. I bought this conical-shaped device from Solway Dory in 2007 (GBP19). While I carried both anchors in my bag, I had to decide before setting off from shore which one I wanted to thread through the block and attach to the front iako, since the single block only allowed one to be used at a time. My new setup allows both.




Nylon (Polyamide) has many advantages when used for the anchor rope, including its strength, elasticity and resistance to abrasion. However it also stretches with time, so that my bow anchor-deployment endless rope had started to sag somewhat. I tightened it up a little first. I couldn't remember how I had previously joined the two ends and formed the 'tail' but after reading through my copy of 'Knots & Splices' I opted for a Butterfly Knot for the tail and a Double Sheet Bend to join the two ends. I bought and attached a Harken 29mm Carbo double swivel block to the tail eye. This will allow me to thread the nylon rode for both Bruce and sea anchors through the block before setting off from shore, tying both free rope ends to the front iako. The SVM bag is large enough for both Bruce anchor (plus chain) and the sea anchor (plus buoy).

I may not now need the buoy though. I bought it because my original sea anchor setup had a much

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