The Importance of a Kedge Anchor
What is a Kedge Anchor?
A kedge anchor is a type of anchor that is used as a backup or secondary anchor on a boat. It is typically smaller than the primary anchor and provides additional holding power in emergencies or when the primary anchor is insufficient for the conditions.
Kedge anchors are designed to be easy to handle and can be quickly deployed in case of sudden weather changes or when the boat needs to be secured.
Kedges can even help free a boat that has run aground on low tide! Keep reading to learn more about using a kedge anchor and why it is such an important tool.
Can you use any anchor as a kedge?
While it’s possible to use any anchor as a kedge, it’s essential to remember that the kedge anchor should be smaller and lighter than the primary anchor, making it easier to handle and deploy.
Additionally, specific anchors may be more effective in certain sea bed conditions, such as sand or mud, so choosing an appropriate anchor for the particular boating conditions is essential.
Some standard kedge anchors include the plow, CQR, grapnel, and Danforth anchors, which have advantages and disadvantages depending on the boating conditions. If you want further information on anchors, check out this guide.
Ultimately, the most critical factor in choosing a kedge anchor is ensuring that it is reliable, easy to handle, and able to provide sufficient holding power in emergencies.
When would you need a kedge anchor?
Boaters can use several different strategies when deploying and operating a kedge anchor.
Secondary and backup boat anchors
A kedge anchor can be used as a backup or secondary anchor should the holding power of the main anchor be insufficient or in emergencies. For instance, if the water conditions or weather suddenly shifts or a fouled anchor needs to be cut away, having a reliable backup on board can provide much comfort.
In addition, when the primary anchor cannot keep the boat in place due to a strong tide or wind, deploying a kedge can help provide extra holding power and stability. This is especially important in emergencies, such as when the primary anchor fails or a rapid change in weather. Having a second anchor can prove to be invaluable.
Changing the position or direction of the boat at anchor
Kedge anchors not only provide extra holding power when boating in challenging conditions but can also be a valuable tool for changing the direction or position of the boat.
For example, if wind or current directions change, a kedge anchor can help reposition the yacht to suit the conditions better. To do this, the boater should maneuver the boat to where they want it and drop the kedge anchor. The rode should then be paid out slowly while providing enough holding power to move and reposition the boat.
Kedge anchors are also great for approaching narrow rivers, channels, and other navigational obstacles. By deploying a kedge anchor in the desired location, boaters can better control the speed and position of their boat, reducing any potential risk of collision.
Differing wind and swell conditions
Deploying a kedge anchor when wind and swell are coming from different directions can be helpful to provide increased holding power and stability. To do this, the anchor should be placed in a direction that is perpendicular to the primary anchor and the winds and swell.
For example, if there is a north wind and west swell, setting up the kedge anchor to the east or south of the main anchor can help hold it steady. Boaters must also pay attention to the length and position of the kedge anchor rode and make adjustments to ensure maximum effectiveness. Tension on the rode must be monitored, too, to keep the boat secure and stable in place.
Kedging or Freeing a boat that has run aground
This technique is also called ‘kedging.’ When a boat runs aground, a kedge anchor can help free it by providing extra pulling power. To do this, the kedge anchor must be deployed in the opposite direction of the boat’s movement and perpendicular to the primary anchor.
The crew then pulls on the kedge anchor rode to generate additional force. As it drags along the seabed, it helps pull the boat away from any obstruction and free it.
It is important to note that deploying a kedge anchor requires careful consideration and technique to avoid damaging either the vessel or the seafloor. Boaters must also adjust the tension and position of the rope as necessary to ensure maximum pulling power.
How to Use a Kedge Anchor
Using a kedge anchor is straightforward, but following a few key steps is essential to ensure the anchor holds securely.
First, choosing a suitable location for the kedge anchor is essential, considering the water depth, the bottom conditions, and the expected weather conditions.
When you have found a suitable location, lower the anchor and let out enough chain or line so that it reaches the bottom. The amount to use will depend on the depth of the water and the expected weather conditions, but as a general rule, at least five times the depth of the water should be used.
Once the anchor is on the bottom, slowly back the boat away from the anchor to set the flukes into the bottom surface and provide maximum holding power; once the anchor is securely set, attach a line to the anchor chain or rode and bring it back to the boat to ensure that the anchor stays in place.
There are various ways to deploy a kedge anchor, depending on the specific conditions and needs of the boat. Here are some of the most common methods:
Using a dinghy
Boaters can use a dinghy to deploy a kedge anchor when the boat is too large or unwieldy to maneuver close to the desired position. In challenging conditions like shallow water or areas with navigational hazards, deploying the anchor allows more flexibility and precision.
Using the dinghy, they can row or motor to the desired location before dropping the anchor into the water and allowing it to set. The rode can then be adjusted, if needed, to ensure that their boat is secure and stable at its new position.
Not only does this method provide boaters with access to areas inaccessible by a larger boat, but it also allows for quick adjustments should repositioning be necessary.
Overall, using a dinghy to deploy a kedge anchor provides an efficient and reliable way for boaters to safely navigate shallow or narrow areas that would otherwise be difficult to traverse.
Drop and drag deployment
Boaters may utilize the drop and drag method of deploying a kedge anchor when there is limited space to maneuver their boat or when the boat is in motion and cannot be stopped.
The kedge anchor is dropped into the water and allowed to drag to the desired position or a point where it takes hold if drifting. Once the anchor has been set, they pay out the rode to secure their boat.
This method offers boaters an easy way to deploy an anchor without complex maneuvering or positioning. However, it’s essential to be aware of possible risks or limitations due to conditions that may cause the anchor not to set correctly.
Monitoring and adjusting the boat’s position accordingly is also essential for successful deployment.
Immediate deployment of a kedge anchor is similar to anchoring with the main anchor. It involves maneuvering the boat to the desired position and dropping the anchor directly into the water. This method is beneficial when the boat can be positioned precisely, and there is easy access to the desired location for the anchor.
Once the anchor has reached the bottom, the crew must pay out additional rode slowly to ensure the anchor can set correctly and secure the boat. As needed, monitoring and adjusting the boat and anchor’s position should also provide safety and stability.
Where to store a kedge anchor
When storing a kedge anchor, selecting a convenient spot out of the way from other equipment and supplies on board is essential. The kedge anchor should be securely stored so it won’t shift or move during storms or other harsh environmental conditions.
Many boaters store their kedge anchor in a dedicated stern locker or aft deck compartment, distinct from the primary anchor and other gear. This helps keep the anchor and rode organized and easily accessible when needed. Additionally, some people secure their kedge to the stern stanchions for increased accessibility in an emergency.
Investing in a kedge anchor is beneficial for many reasons. A smaller, lighter anchor can be used as an extra security measure or deployed when the primary anchor isn’t adequate.
When prepared and used correctly, a kedge anchor can offer boaters added safety and peace of mind while on the water. So remember to bring your kedge anchor next time you go boating!
A kedge anchor is a secondary or backup anchor typically smaller and lighter than the primary anchor on a boat. It provides additional holding power in emergencies or when the primary anchor is insufficient for the conditions. Kedge anchors are essential for added safety and peace of mind while boating.
While it’s possible to use any anchor as a kedge, it should be smaller and lighter than the primary anchor, making it easier to handle and deploy. Specific anchors may be more effective in certain sea bed conditions, so choosing an appropriate anchor for the particular boating conditions is essential.
You might need a kedge anchor as a backup or secondary anchor if the primary anchor fails or if there is a rapid change in weather. Kedge anchors can also be used to change the position or direction of the boat, approach narrow rivers or channels, and provide increased holding power and stability when wind and swell conditions are challenging. Additionally, a kedge anchor can free a boat that has run aground.
To use a kedge anchor, first, choose a suitable location considering the water depth, bottom conditions, and expected weather. Lower the anchor to the bottom and let out enough chain or line so that it reaches the bottom. Once the anchor is set, slowly back the boat away to secure the flukes into the bottom surface. Attach a line to the anchor chain or rode and bring it back to the boat to ensure the anchor stays in place.
Some common methods for deploying a kedge anchor include using a dinghy, drop and drag deployment, and direct deployment. Each method has advantages and is suitable for different situations and boat sizes.
Store your kedge anchor in a dedicated stern locker or aft deck compartment, distinct from the primary anchor and other gear. You can also secure the kedge to the stern stanchions for increased accessibility in an emergency. Ensure the anchor is securely stored and won’t shift or move during storms or other harsh conditions.