Anchorline Attachment to NE Dory

I'm looking for suggestions on the best way to secure an anchorline to my recently completed NE Dory. It's a lug rig and has a painter hole, spacered inwales and as yet no hardware installed on the breasthook. 

I plan to use a 16.5 lb. Bruce anchor, 8' of chain and a 3/8" inch diameter anchorline.


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RE: Anchorline Attachment to NE Dory

   You need a bow roller for an anchor that big!  I am only about half kidding here.  In anything but the calmest of waters, you will find retrieving an anchor that large  (+8# chain + 5# of bottom muck) without beating the varnish/paint off your hull/inwales while standing on 50' of wet slimey rode to be a quite a challenge.  Do yourself a favor and go with an anchor more appropriately sized for your boat.  A 4# Bruce with 4' of chain and 1/4" rode will be all the anchor that you will ever need.  It will also be much easier to retreive and store.

For perspective, the primary anchor on my 6000#, 25' pilothouse yawl is an 11# Bruce with 8' chain and 3/8" rode.  In the 17 years that I have had this boat, I have weathered many storms (50+ gusts) at anchor with no issues.  In soft bottoms, I have had the anchor set so deeply that I had to use the motor to free it.       

RE: Anchorline Attachment to NE Dory

I got this advice from John C. Harris, in regard to anchors:

Anchors: Boat-campers who know the secret handshake also know the secret to a good night's sleep is taking the recommended anchor size, multiplying by three, and adding a couple fathoms of heavy chain for good measure. No one ever dragged anchor because their anchor was too big.

Good luck,



RE: Anchorline Attachment to NE Dory

   Thanks for the perspectives. I got the guidance for at least a 15# Bruce & 8' of chain for the NE Dory from a 1/20/15 post by John Harris in the "Anchoring small boats" thread of this forum. I would love to use a lighter anchor such as the 4# Fortress but I understand that they have a tendency to skid or skim across the bottom for a while before setting.

Also, I'm looking for any advice on the best way to secure the anchor line to the boat itself.


George C.

RE: Anchorline Attachment to NE Dory

I just cleat it.The cleat is attached to a structural part of the boat with through-bolts.

Unless you're trying to stay anchored in surf, a tiderace or a hurricane, the anchor point on a small boat is actually relatively low stress. It only has to stand up to a steady slow drag. So any structural attachment should do.

If that breasthook is glued, filleted, taped and at least 3/4" thick, it will do nicely. If it's thinner, put a backer plate on the underside that's at least 50% larger than the cleat. A nice 45-degree chamfer or epoxy/woodflour fillet will give you a smooth stress transfer, but for a small boat like the NE Dory you can do without if you'd like.

Use through-bolts, a wide flat washer on the back and lock washers. That will keep the wood from being crushed and the cleat from coming loose.

Be sure the bolts, washers and nuts are all the same metal and that they're compatible with the cleat (if it's metal). When I've got the budget, I like to make mine all bronze.

Have fun,




RE: Anchorline Attachment to NE Dory


With my boat (click here) I went with a cleat, through fastened to the breasthook, and a pair of chocks to lead the rode over the side.  The NE Dory has a much smaller breasthook, but you might have room for a cleat and a triangle bow chock.



RE: Anchorline Attachment to NE Dory

   I saw that thread and honestly, it is pretty far off the mark.  This is a great place for boatbuilding advise but I suggest that you look elsewhere for anchor info.  You may want to see what Chapman's Pilotage has to say.  The Annapolis Book of Seamanship lists a 16.5 claw anchor as suitable for a 30' boat with moderate beam in 30 kts wind. (As a side note, Bruce no longer sells small claw anchors.  They are made by Lewmar but everybody still calls them Bruce).  The Lewmar sizing chart ( suggests that either the 2.2# or 4.4# are right for a NE Dory.  You may also want to ask on one of the cruiser's forums.  Most have anchors for their tenders. 

The idea that you will sleep better in a small boat with a 16.5# claw than with a 4.4# claw is laughable based upon my experience with similar sized boats.  Long before conditions get bad enough for the smaller anchor to drag, you will be wet and wide awake, and looking for a way to get off that boat.

Having pulled my 11# claw with 8' chain onboard several hundred times, I can tell you that you will want a bow roller if you go with the 16.5#. 


RE: Anchorline Attachment to NE Dory

Actually Mark, we've discussed these issues here before.  Many of us are experienced sailors and boatmen.  This thread began with a question about securing the anchor rode to a NE Dory.  The following link is to an older thread on the topic of anchors.

I personally believe that a 16 1/2 pound anchor is overkill on a NE Dory and I believe that the pleasure of using it will soon fade.  I cannot imagine being aboard a NE Dory when there is any possibility of weather requireing an anchor that heavy.  I also cannot imagine where one might mount a bow roller on a NE Dory.




RE: Anchorline Attachment to NE Dory

   A couple of thoughts:

  • Would a lighter weight Danforth style work for the bottoms you will be anchoring to?  If so, you can hang the danforth by the stock bars on the rail behind the breasthook so the shank lays in the bow pointed down, then just pad on the 3 contact points.
  • Indoor outdoor carpet is your friend.  Whatever you end up wiith a sq yard of sturdy waterproof carpet from a big box store can be sewn into a bag (with a clasp on an overlapping flap).   Cut out the carpet in the shape you want then take it to a sailmaker or upholstery shop to sew the edges...if you fully enclose the anchor, and another carpet bag for the chain/rode, you wont mar your pretty Dory finish
  • Of course another option would be to actually make out of plywood  an anchor locker going athwart ship in the bow but that;s a whole separate discussion.


RE: Anchorline Attachment to NE Dory

Here's another post on small boat anchor selection for any who are interested:

RE: Anchorline Attachment to NE Dory

 The 4# Fortress would be the perfect anchor if you are anchoring where there is a soft bottom.  Breaks down for storage if just day sailing, also comes with mud flukes for very soft bottoms.  In most cases, using proper anchoring techniques will allow you to set the anchor with very little problems.  Don't just toss it over with some chain and rope rode and expect it to set.  Most skipping would occur with either a hard bottom, or one that has a lot of grass.  That, along with allowing a scope of 7:1 with rope rode, and you should be set for most anything you will encounter.  The Bruce type anchor is a good choice also, but 16# is a bit of overkill.

RE: Anchorline Attachment to NE Dory

   I've personally been bit by the tendency of the aluminum Fortress anchors to "sail" in current or a moving boat.  Great lunch hooks and hold as well as the Danforth (genuine) once set, but for a single hook, I'd go with the cheaper Danforth.  Steel, all sizes will sink faster in motion than the Fortress.  If you have a bigger anchor already, well try it and see, but I'd go smaller than that 16.5 lb Bruce, unless you already own it.  

Tailor to your area's bottoms.  Danforths are a fine pattern in the Chesapeake and many other areas of soft bottoms and nonpacked sand.  If you have rock and weed, it won't work so well.  Maybe a small Luke/fisherman pattern.  See what people with smaller boats who really use them anchor with.  Weekend fishermen...they are more concerned with the beer cooler.  The dory will act more like an outboard boat than a keelboat, affected by wind and not so much by current.  

Start with a milk crate or such to hold the flaked anchor rode and the anchor on top, and a door mat or carpet underneath to keep scratches and goop off the bottom.  When you know what you like, then go custom locker or a customized bag.  I don't like the anchor bag kits they sell at West Marine.  Getting everything back in and secure when wet and muddy is no fun.  Just my $0.02.

RE: Anchorline Attachment to NE Dory

I'd like to thank all who chimed in on this thread, especially Laszlo and DICKDOWDELL who addressed my basic question on how to attach the anchorline to my NE Dory. I wound up installing a cleat on the breasthook and chocks to either of the cleat.

After reading the comments on anchor size, I rethought the 16.5 lb bruce and decided to go with one weighing 4.4 lb, with 8' of chain and 100' of rode. This anchor size is within the Lexmar chart for this size boat and will be much easier to handle.  Day sails are contemplated with no overnight anchoring.  I'll evaluate over time whether to go heavier based on performance of the smaller anchor.

George C

RE: Anchorline Attachment to NE Dory

  Im using a 4.4 lb Bruce with 4 ft of chain, 3/8 nylon line, in a bucket

thinking about an anchor line trolly from the bow eye to make retrival a little easier 

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