When we bought the new Manson Boss anchor for Nine of Cups recently, the hardest part of making the switch was figuring out how to stow our big 50kg (110lb) Bruce anchor. I didn’t know whether the new anchor would be a better all around anchor than our old trusty Bruce, and I was certainly not ready to part with it.
We now have an embarrassingly large inventory of anchors. Along with the 80lb Boss and 110lb Bruce, we have a 35lb Hi-Tensile Danforth which is a marvelous stern anchor and has definitely saved our bacon on a couple of occasions, an aluminum FX-37 Fortress anchor, and a 35 lb CQR. The CQR is too small by itself to hold Cups, but we have used it on many occasions along with the Bruce when using two anchors in series. This arrangement worked particularly well in the windy anchorages of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. The CQR and Fortress are stowed below deck under the aft bunk, but there was no way I’d want to try to wrangle the Bruce into the aft cabin, even if I could find room for it. I still want it available for use until I gain more confidence in the Boss, so ideally it should be stowed somewhere on deck and forward.
I made a few measurements and looked at all the possible locations where it could be stowed, and the best spot appeared to be next to the mast pulpit on the port side. I enlisted the help of Marcie, the designated winch wench, to hoist the Bruce up with the spare halyard while I guided it into place and made sure it would fit. This is where the Danforth currently resided, so I’d have to find another spot for it, but if I could build a chock that would support the Bruce in an upright position, it looked like it would fit nicely.
I drew up a sketch of what I thought would work and headed into town in search of materials. All I needed was a six foot length of 2 x 6 (180cm x 50mm x 150mm) seasoned or treated wood and a bunch of galvanized nuts and bolts to make the chock plus some hardware to attach it to the deck. After a train ride, two buses and a fair amount of walking, I found a salvage yard that had some great, well-seasoned hardwood timbers, and bought a length of jarrah wood. Jarrah is a red Australian hardwood that is quite heavy and dense, and it is well suited for marine applications. It was a heavy hunk of timber to carry back, but other than the odd look from bus drivers and fellow passengers, I managed to get it back to Cups without incident.
Cutting the dense, 2” (50mm) jarrah using only a jigsaw took some time, but eventually I got all the pieces cut to size, drilled and bolted together.
The groove at the bottom holds the Bruce upright and the two blocks under the flukes make sure it can’t fall over. I through-bolted the chock to the deck to make sure it would stay put, then lashed the shank of the Bruce to the mast pulpit to keep it in place. Almost all the weight and strain is taken by the chock with very little stress on the pulpit.
I discovered that the Danforth anchor rests nicely on top of the chock as well, in its original location on the inside of the pulpit, so I didn’t have to relocate it after all.
Hopefully, the new Boss will perform faultlessly and our old Bruce will spend its retirement happily ensconced in its new chock, but if not, we can have it attached and ready to deploy in half an hour or so. Then the only problem will be how to stow the Boss…