What’s THAT thing? A question we’re often asked when anchoring. This year we were even told that we must be the last cruisers in history that actually use such a device. But we’re believers and David’s even gotten in the water in Belize during a blustery cold front when it’s blowing 30 to watch what happens with the anchors, chain and our kellet.
The first thing he noticed is that with the biggest gusts, the force would lift the kellet up several feet – normally, it’s supposed to be deployed on the chain a few feet above the bottom. He also noticed that from the anchor up, the chain stayed flat on the botttom. There was no pull on the anchor whatsoever. In conditions when the water is really rough or the wind is veering or clocking, there’s still little pull on the chain, only the “fan” marks in the sand behind the anchor where the chain moved accommodating the swing of the boat. And despite the fact that we back the boat down hard before we finalize the anchor & put the kellet in place, often the chain is curved all over the place down below.
Here’s what David observed when he was below watching the kellet. This illustration is from the Kiwi Anchor Buddy website, click here. The kellet we use is a Kiwi Anchor Buddy, but other boats have systems made from dive weights or similar homemade versions. The “buddywarp” in the illustration is the little line that’s attached to the kellet to lower it down the chain or raise it when we’re ready to leave.
Our kellet does not “help the anchor dig in” because we back it down until it’s either completely buried or as “dug in” as possible BEFORE we put the kellet in place. In extreme windshift conditions, our Spade anchor resets itself very well on it’s own, but I’m sure the kellet taking alot of the pressure off the anchor helps it not need to reset nearly as often.
Here’s how Chapman’s describes a kellet or sentinel — a fancy name for an extra weight added to your anchor chain:
“A sentinel (kellet) is a weight typically around 25-30lb suspended from the rode to help keep the pull on the anchor as horizontally as possible to prevent dragging in rough weather”
Chapman’s “Piloting, Seamanship and Small Boat Handling”
We don’t just use our kellet in bad weather. We decided that if the concept works for rough weather, it should help in ALL kinds of weather … and bottom conditions. David swears half the time we’re just anchored on the kellet – which weighs 30 lbs.
Another possible advantage might be to help the boat from dancing so much around the anchorage. Although definitely not a scientific claim, we’ve noticed that our boat seems to swing much less than other boats in an anchorage. David thinks it’s because the kellet helps hold us in place with a dampening effect. Who knows. All we know is we like it & we’ll continue to be “the last cruisers in history who use such a device”.
What about you? Do you regularly use a kellet? Or do you reserve using it for when you have a storm brewing? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts!
Cheers! Jan & David