Monday, August 27, 2012

New chartbook available for your trip south

The new sixth edition of my ICW chartbook is now available and you can purchase it at Amazon, or ask at your local marine store.

The new edition includes all the latest charts, still in our unique "flip-chart" format. Just start at page one and proceed down the entire ICW, flipping from page to page all in order. This is still the handiest way to follow along as you proceed down the Waterway, but if you also use an electronic chart plotter this book is a perfect companion to it. Let the electronics keep track of exactly where you are, while you use the chartbook to look ahead and plan for what is coming up.

Or use the chartbook to look for a marina, fuel dock, or anchorage for the night. New in this edition, we've identified the locations of marinas right on the charts, and then in a listing we provide GPS coordinates and the marina phone numbers. Of course we also locate hundreds of great anchorages on the charts, and provide brief descriptions in the back.

And, as before we include all the major alternate routes, like the Dismal Swamp Canal and Umbrella Cut, as well as charts to get you in and out of all the major inlets.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A folding anchor

I received a new 45-pound Mantus anchor in a surprisingly flat and compact box. A single page of instructions, some nuts and bolts, some lock washers, a container of waterproof grease, and the parts of the anchor were all neatly inside. It was quite obvious how everything fits together, so I really didn't need the instructions, but I skimmed them anyway. Obviously, being able to store a very large storm anchor disassembled would be a nice safety feature on a cruising boat.

About the only non-obvious thing was which way the bolts should pass through the anchor. Should the nuts be on the top or the bottom? I opted for the nuts on the top, though I doubt it would make any difference in use once the anchor hits the bottom. Having the nuts on top means a little bit smoother bottomside, making moving it about the boat a bit less likely to ding things up.

Unfortunately, my box had been busted open and some of the nuts, washers, and the grease were missing. The bolts were standard galvanized one-half inch and my neighborhood hardware store had everything I needed. I substituted marine trailer wheel bearing grease.

Assembly took maybe five minutes once all the parts and tools had been gathered on my foredeck. My first impression was that the anchor seems well made and solid, with a heavy galvanized finish. The hoop is held on by just two bolts, but I suppose it wouldn't normally be treated to great strains. The hoop on these so-called "new generation" anchors make them much easier to move around the boat, in comparison to something like a CQR with its hinged plow, or a Danforth or Fortress with flukes that want to snap back on your fingers if you turn the anchor over. The hoop is a perfect handle for carrying the anchor, and it would also be a good spot to tie on an anchor float, if one was needed (I very rarely use one).

The design of the anchor is reminiscent of the Rocna and the Manson Supreme. Many cruisers sing the praises of this type and I am looking forward to seeing if the reality meets the hype.

The shank is pretty long on these things--a lot longer than on my Bulwagga anchor that immediately preceded the Mantus on my bow roller. For now I have to assume the dimensions are such to improve holding, but it is something to keep in mind if you have a tight foredeck, like I do.

Real world anchoring tests will be coming up.