A stuck anchor is no fun and can be quite destructive.  I’ve seen a couple of boaters rip the windlass right off its base as they attempted to retrieve a fouled anchor.  Setting a trip line is a good answer where a line with a float are set to the crown (fluke end) so it can be pulled up and out when pulling on the chain doesn’t do the trick.  But trip lines can be a pain especially if the anchorage is deep and can get tangled or be run over by other boaters. 

Underwater roots, cables, rocky shelves and the like all provide anchoring obstacles.  Over the years, there have been a number of solutions that have come to market including a simple breakaway chain link that connects the shaft to the chain and if it breaks, the chain, which is also connected to the crown, then pulls the anchor free.  The problem with most of these solutions is that they may compromise the effectiveness of the anchor and can pull free during a wind shift or other inopportune times. 

Now, Boxer Marine has introduced a new and improved version of their AnchorRescue anchor retrieval system.  I have not tried this myself so I’ll just describe it for anyone who wants to test it and if anyone has experience with this – please contact me. 

Billed as “the smart alternative to a trip line”, AnchorRescue is made up of two parts – a slider and a retriever.  The slider is made of stainless steel and comes with a length of trip chain. It lives at the base of the anchor/chain connection.  The retriever is made from UV resistant UHMW with stainless steel fittings and is supplied with a bridle for attaching your retriever line.  It looks like an opening donut which slides down the rope on a line, locks onto the slider which it then lifts and gets an angle on a piece of trip chain that is connected to the crown of the anchor.  Lifting the anchor by the crown should free it.   Here is a diagram from the Boxer Marine site:

The system comes in two sizes to accommodate 5/16” and 3/8” chain and retails for $180 and $220 depending on size. It is designed for power and sailboats up to 60 feet in length and the load capacity is 760 lbs.  It will work with plow, hinged plow, claw and scoop anchors.  If you already have a swivel on your chain, it will not get in the way of the slider.  The system carries a five year warranty.

Its’ hard to describe but there is an animated video – it would be better if it were real – on Boxer Marine’s Web site - http://www.anchorrescue.com/HIWvid.html

Check it out and if you have any experience with it, I’d love to hear about it.