Raptor UK canoe sailing

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April 2012

longer (20m) rode, while my new sea anchor rode is only 6.6m. I ran some trials on Loch Tummel in 2007/2008 and found that the sea anchor worked very well, but that recovering it by pulling in on such a long rode was hard work. I bought and attached the buoy to the sea anchor and planned to paddle up to it and pull directly upwards on the sea anchor when recovering it, although I never ran additional trials to see if this would make things easier. The current length of the sea anchor buoy line is about 2.8m/9'3". There are guidelines available for the length of sea anchor rode recommended (taking into account the likely wavelength of ocean swell) and this was the reason I used so much rope initially, but I (again) think this was excessive for the conditions in which I am likely to sail. The longer rode might be useful 5% of the time, but the shorter rode will make the setup much easier to use during the other 95%.

I trialled the new setup in my garden and it seems to work OK. Perversely, deploying the double block to the bow is now a little more difficult due to the tighter endless rope loop. It was easier to grab a hold of when it had more slack. I don't plan to deploy the Bruce anchor from the cockpit, only the sea anchor. I'll be able to run out and place the Bruce anchor and chain once I arrive at the shore, keeping the sea anchor (and buoy) in the bag. Both anchors have sufficient rope length to reach the bow block from the front iako and back to the bag. I'll deploy the sea anchor while in open water in the same way as described above. I'll unzip the side of the anchor bag, remove the sea anchor (and buoy), taking care to make sure the Bruce anchor and chain don't fall out, unfold and throw the sea anchor into the water, paying out the rope as the boat drifts downwind. Once fully paid out I'll move the double block to the bow using the endless rope. This will ensure the bow is always pointing directly into the prevailing wind, while almost all of the anchor rode tension will be applied to the front iako rather than to the bow eye strap. Recovering the sea anchor should be much quicker as the rode is now one third of its previous length. I'll need to run some sea trials to see if this is long enough and to see if I still need the buoy.






I decided (finally) to fit a stern anchor. This will make it possible to anchor my Raptor parallel to the shore, and in shallower water (waist deep should be about right). Of course in tidal waters the initial water depth when deploying the anchors will depend upon whether the tide is ebbing or flooding. I bought a second 1kg stainless steel Bruce anchor (GBP33.50). The flukes of the new anchor are a little shorter than my previous one, so I am able to fit it, together with 3 metres of chain and 6.6 metres of rope, into a small bicycle handlebar bag. It is attached in the corner between the port sidecar rail and the rear iako, again making use of existing 'D'-rings located there. This stern anchor will also only be deployed once I arrive at the shore, so I don't need to be able to reach the bag from the cockpit. I will tie the free end of the anchor rope to the rear iako and clip the stern block's carbine hook to the aft starboard saddle before setting off, so that it will be ready to deploy quickly.






I bought a couple of pieces of 3mm thick polycarbonate, cut to size to fit the base of both bags (420mm x 210mm for the bow anchor bag and 250mm x 140mm for the stern anchor bag), to reduce wear and tear on the fabric and to spread the load over the entire surface of the base. I simply needed to round the corners of the two sheets with my Dremel to get them to fit. We'll see how these bags cope. Corrosion of the zips is my main concern, so I'll need to rinse the bags in fresh water after any marine use, and maybe spray them with WD-40. When loaded with anchors, chains etc. the bags weigh 5.5kg/12.1lb (bow) and 3.8kg/8.4lb (stern). Adding a further 20 pounds to an already maxed out boat load (when carrying a passenger) is obviously a concern, so I will have to sail conservatively when loaded so heavily. I replaced the stock steel (SVM) and plastic (OB) 'D'-rings with 6mm and 3mm (respectively) stainless steel Maillon Rapide Delta quick links, for increased strength and corrosion-resistance.

Finally, I decided to check out my North Water throw bag (with 50' of rope), which I have carried

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