Using A Kedge Anchor – Again


Thinking we were a little short on kedging details in our recent post we decided to give it another whirl. You see before you a plot of our course as we came south from our overnight anchorage in Lake Sylvia. The turn off for the New River, where a side tie awaited us, is a bit tricky and we were past it before we realized the error. In the process of turning around we drifted out of the channel, and hard aground, in a falling tide.

TowBoats US was quickly on the spot and generously offered a discounted tow for US$1000. We declined in favor of trying to kedge off, the engines being unable to do the job on their own.

The Fortress FX85 kedge is now more accessible as are the other elements of the system and we quickly had the dinghy in the water and the kedge set.

It took three tries, the third being successful where the others failed because of the angle of pull, which rotated the keel out of the trap which held it.

Now a few details.


The 250 foot/75m 1/2″ (12.6mm) Spectra rode is flaked into a spinnaker “turtle” as you can see above. Note the figure eight flake which insures free runout.


The kedge is now stored with its chain section attached where it is ready to deploy.

The system we will use the next time this occurs is the following:

  • Confirm state of tide. If dropping  haste is required. If rising, control of movement in the correct direction is necessary.
  • Check plotter for track. Decide if retracing steps or pushing ahead is better.
  • Launch dinghy, survey with depthsounder, then lower kedge and rode into dink.
  • Run out rode in proper direction, then lower anchor maing sure chain or rode does not foul anchor.
  • Winch the rode tight.
  • Assist with engine(s) as required.

A few other items to note:

  • Winching loads may be high. We were almost at stall on the Lewmar 58, which equates to over 4000 pounds of pull. Stay clear of winch and rode so that if something fails you are not in the path of destruction.
  • If winching over the stern, be sure not to foul prop with the kedge anchor rode.
  • Have a plan for how to control movement as the boat comes free.  WInd and current may quickly have the upper hand.

The observant amongst you may have noted a certain curl in one of the flukes and a bent cross bar. We were happy to find  out that the Fortress anchor is guaranteed. “Bring it by and we will replace it” was the comment.


Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 11, 2011)

4 Responses to “Using A Kedge Anchor – Again”

  1. David Snow Says:

    It is refreshing to see that even professionals like you occasional and unintentionally try sailing in thin water. Glad to hear that it turned out so well for you. On my sailboat I always had my “spare/kedging” anchor rigged and accessible and a 5 gallon bucket with 150′ feet of line carefully stored ready for just such an emergency. Of course, I learned the need for such preparedness by not being prepared the first time ;=}

  2. Bob Owens Says:

    I bent the shank of a F-23 Fortress anchor, called them and a new one arrived less than a week later. A great product and company.

  3. JR Says:

    Why such a low power winch? Would an anchor sized for an 8000 or 12000 winch be too big to handle?

  4. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hi JR:
    Low power? That is a Lewmar #58, a very powerful winch with enough grunt to bend anchor fluke.