Understanding Anchor Parts
Anchors are made up of the following parts:
• Shank—the stem of the anchor that is pulled to set (bury) the anchor
• Crown—connects the various parts of the anchor
• Fluke—the part that is buried in the sea bed; sometimes the very tip of a fluke is called the bill
• Stock—turns the anchor into an attitude that enables the flukes to dig into the sea bed
• Tripping ring—used with the optional tripping line—by pulling the tripping line, the anchor will
Types of Anchors: Fluke Style Anchor
The fluke style anchor, so named because of its large flukes, uses a stock at the crown to which two large flat surfaces are attached, and these flat surfaces (the flukes) hinge, changing their angle to the stock. On some designs, the flukes’ angle can be optimized for different bottom types.
Advantages: This hinged design allows the flukes to dig in while the shank aligns with the pull. Its light weight and compact flat design make it easy to handle. Storing a fluke anchor on an anchor roller is common; some modern designs enable dismantling and storage below.
Disadvantages: The fluke anchor has difficulty penetrating kelp and weed-covered bottoms due to its lightness and flat shape which can skate over the bottom. Once set, the anchor tends to break out and reset when the direction of force changes dramatically, such as with the changing tide, and on some occasions it might not reset but instead drag.
Types of Anchors: Sea Anchors
Sea anchors can be used by vessels of any size, from kayaks to commercial fishing vessels, and they were even used by sea-landing naval Zeppelins in World War I. While the purpose of the anchor is to provide drag to slow a vessel, there are a number of ways this anchor can be used.
The first and probably most well-known use of the sea anchor is to aid vessels in heaving to in heavy weather. A boat that is not kept bow- or stern-on to heavy seas can easily be rolled by the action of the waves. By attaching the sea anchor to a bridle running from bow to stern, the boat can be held at any angle relative to the wind. This is useful in sailboats in conditions too windy to use the sails to maintain a heading and in motor vessels that are unable to make sufficient headway to maintain steerage.
Sea anchors also reduce the speed at which a vessel will drift with the wind. Often sold as drift anchors or drift socks, sea anchors are used in fishing vessels to hold them relatively stationary relative to the water to allow a certain area to be fished without having to use the motor.
A sea anchor can provide directional control of a sailboat in the case of a steering failure. By towing a sea anchor from a bridle off the stern, the direction of the boat can be controlled on a running course.
A sea anchor can also be used to control the speed of a sailboat in cases where delicate handling is required in high winds.
A sea anchor can be used behind a towed vessel to maintain tension on the towing line, and prevent the radical side-to-side motion exhibited by some vessels under tow.
Sea anchors may also be used as anchors to allow warping of a vessel in deep water.