Cruising

How to Use a Stem Eye-Bolt when Anchoring

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An eye-bolt on the stem of your boat allows you to lead a snubber line on to your anchor chain at a much lower angleWhen anchoring on chain rode it is usual to fasten a length of nylon line between the chain and the boat as a snubber. This absorbs shock loads if the chain suddenly gets yanked up tight. Typically, a snubber is secured to a bow cleat. However, securing it to an eye-bolt (or U-bolt) in the boat’s stem, installed about a foot above the waterline and supported by a substantial backing plate on the inside, offers a significant advantage. Securing the snubber closer to the water’s surface lowers the angle of pull on the anchor, thus reduces the amount of scope needed.

On many boats with a stem eye, one end of the snubber line is shackled to the eye and the other is led to the foredeck, where crew can fasten it to the anchor rode with a rolling hitch or a chain hook. If you have to slip your anchor in an emergency, however, you can’t just slip the snubber along with it, but must first retrieve enough rode to reach and unfasten the snubber. It’s better to secure the snubber’s bitter end to a foredeck cleat, lead it from there down to and through the stem eye, and then back to the foredeck for attachment to the rode. This way you can let everything go at once if you need to.

 

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