Tech: Reducing shock loads to your anchor

Here's your word of the day: homograph. Homographs are words spelled the same but with different meanings, which are the bane of anyone who has ever learned a foreign language. Sometimes the prounciations are completely different as in windy, i.e. a windy road vs. windy sailing conditions. Sometimes words, while not homographs, have very different meanings in different contexts. For example, snubbing a person is a bad thing to do, but snubbing your anchor line is a good thing to do! To complicate matters, a snubber is a not a device for snubbing, but the actually a device to suppress snubbing. Which is why no anchor line should be without one.

At any given anchorage, after ruling out location-specific factors, such the type of seabed and whether or not you're anchored safely "in the lee", you essentially have only three things under your control to ensure your anchor holds.

First, there is of course the anchor itself.  It needs to be heavy enough to hold, but as I wrote in my previous post, size is not everything when it comes to anchors. You want an anchor that will handle changing forces and reset itself again. I learned this the hard way when my old CQR anchor failed to reset when the wind direction swung 90° from side offshore to side onshore.

Second, there is amount of rode you let out, and in particular how much of it is chain vs. rope. You need some chain sitting on the seabed to ensure that most of the force exerted on the anchor is horizontal. More importantly the scope, i.e., the ratio of the length of rode to the depth of water, needs to be sufficient. A scope of 5:1 is typically sufficient (unless conditions are rough) but you can get by with less in calm conditions.

But you knew all that, right?

The third arrow in your quiver is an anchor snubber, which suppresses shock loads on your rode, and thereby minimizes the chance of your anchor being suddenly uprooted. 

After doing some research I went with "Shockles" anchor snubbers.
Dual "Shockles" anchor snubbers, completely untensioned.
As you can see from the photo, I've installed a snubber on each bridle line. If you own a monohull you can get by with just one snubber - lucky you! Each anchor snubber absorbs up to 2,000 lbs of force, before the force is transferred to the anchor or bridle line. Here are two photos that show an anchor snubber in action.
Snubber taking the load.
Bridle line taking the load.
The snubbers not only absorb the first 2,000 lbs of shock load, but they cut down on that unpleasant back and forth yaw'ing when at anchor. Don't leave home without one - or two!

OVER.