One of the features of the “new design” Catalina 22s (made between 1985 and 1995) and bigger sailboats that I envy most is their anchor lockers. There just isn’t a good place on the older C22s to store a full-size anchor, 24′ of chain, and 200′ of rode without taking up a lot of space. Catalina Yachts must have heard plenty of complaints from first-generation design owners to include an anchor locker in the new design. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have an anchor locker, you have to get creative.
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If you just throw your ground tackle into one of the lockers, you’re inviting something like below to happen, which is how I bought Summer Dance.
Below every crow’s nest is a rat’s nest
After I cleaned that mess up, I used to store my ground tackle in a 3 gallon bucket. Holes in the bottom let the rode drain and dry. It has a center container riveted to the bottom that keeps the rode coiled for easy deployment and the chain separate. When it’s time to drop the anchor, the rode pays out almost by itself like a spinning reel on a fishing pole.
This system works well and it’s fairly compact to store. That is, until it’s time to coil the rode back into the bucket.
What normally happens is, you pull up the anchor and you need to immediately sail or motor away. You don’t have 15 minutes to neatly coil the rode again and meanwhile, it’s either lying all over the foredeck or piled in the cockpit. Neither are good options when you’re trying to get underway unless you’ve got an attentive crew and who’s got that?
Tangle-free ground tackle
My new favorite solution is the inexpensive Bayco KW-130 150′ Cord Storage Reel. It’s designed as an extension cord reel but it works great with rope too. It can easily hold 150′ of 3/8″ three-strand nylon.
When dropping the anchor, just hold the black handle in the center hole and the orange reel spins freely to let the rode play out. When raising the anchor, hold it as before but also crank the black knob on the side of the reel and it winds the rode onto the reel as fast as you can pull it up.
The open design allows easy drainage and quick drying. Its flat profile fits easily into already stuffed lockers. My only complaint is that there isn’t a larger model to hold the 200′ rode of my main anchor. I’m still using the bucket system for that and I use the Kord Manager for my smaller, secondary anchor. But if 150′ of rode is enough where you sail, then the Bayco KW-130 150′ Cord Storage Reel may be all you need to get control of your ground tackle.
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