Anchors– Although the general form of the anchor has undergone but slight modification since the earliest ages, yet there are, even at this late day, as many opinions as authorities in regard to the best proportions and best shape of the various parts. There seems to be, however, a general concurrence in making the shank shorter and the several parts heavier than was common fifty years ago.

Anchors are of two kinds-Solid, or ordinary, and Portable.

The Solid or ordinary anchors are those which have the shank and arms wrought into one body, or mass, at the crown of the anchor, Fig. 414, Plate 86.

The Portable anchors are those which admit of being separated, and taken to pieces. Of this kind there are many varieties.

Figs. 414 and 415 show the wooden-stocked and iron-stocked anchor as commonly supplied to the service, the former being at present reserved for permanent moorings, iron-stocked anchors being furnished exclusively on board ship.

In Fig. 414:

The shank is all that part extending in a straight line from a to b.

The square is that part of the shank which extends from c to d, to which the stock is attached.

The arm is the part which extends from the throat (or crutch) to the extreme end, from e to f, including the palm, the point and the blade.

The palm or fluke is the part of the arm, of a shield-like form, from g to h, and constitutes theholding surface of the anchor.

The point (pee or bill) is the part of the arm included between the termination of the palm and the extreme end, from f to h.

The blade is the part of the arm at the back of the palm from i to k.

The crown is the external arch upon which the anchor

Plate 86, Fig 414. Anchor parts.

Plate 87, Fig 415-417. Anchor parts and setting.


falls when let go in a vertical position, and may be said to extend from k to k’.The ring (or jews-harp), o, is the appendage by which the cable is attached to the anchor, by means of a shackle on the end of the cable, called the anchor-shackle. The last link of the chain, which is secured into this shackle by a pin, is of peculiar form, and is called the club-link.

The stockp, is the transverse beam which cants the anchor when the arms fall in a horizontal instead of a vertical position.

The throat of the arms is the curved part at e, where the arms are joined to the shank.

All anchors and chains used in the navy are made at the foundry in the navy-yard at Washington.

Iron Stocks. An iron stock is generally a round bar of iron with a collar near the centre. It is put through a hole in the square of the shank, the collar resting against one side, and being kept there by a forelock which passes through the stock on the other side of the square. There is a washer between the forelock and the square.

A Wooden Stock has generally a square section tapering both ways towards the centre; it is encircled with iron hoops, and a square hole is cut in the centre to fit it on the square of the shank. An improved plan is to make it of two pieces, by cutting it lengthwise, and to forge projections from the square to be enclosed between the two parts of the stock and furnish large bearings; the two halves after being put on are hooped together.

Wooden stocks are made of oak, in two pieces left sufficiently apart in the middle to give greater binding power to the hoops, and to admit of their being driven up when the wood shrinks, a precaution which should be adopted after long exposure to a hot sun.

The following is taken from the Book of Allowances of 1881:

1. All anchors and kedges are to have iron stocks. The weight of an iron stock is, as nearly as possible, one-fourth of the anchor to which it belongs.

2. Bower and sheet anchors are to be alike in weight. The weight of an anchor or kedge, as marked on it, being inclusive of the bending-shackle and stock.

3. Stream-anchors, in all cases, when allowed, are to be about one-fourth the weight of the bower,

4. Kedges, when four are allowed, are to be, respectively, about one-seventh, one-eighth, one-tenth, and one-fourteenth the weight of the bower; when three are allowed, one-sixth, one-eighth, and one-tenth; when two are allowed, one-sixth and one-tenth; and when one is allowed, one-eighth.

5. To determine the weight of a bower or sheet anchor for a vessel, multiply her displacement in tons by the number


assigned to her approximate displacement in the following table, in the column headed, “Multipliers,” and the product will express the number of pounds, inclusive of stock. This rule will give the intended weights, but, as anchors are not to the pound, they will be furnished as nearly in accordance with it as practicable, giving preference, especially in vessels from the sixth to ninth classes inclusive, to anchors having greater weights than the rule calls for.6. Each boat of every vessel is allowed one anchor; the weight in pounds to be obtained by multiplying the square of the extreme breadth by 1.2.


Size of VesselMultipliersBowerSheetStreamKedges
Over 3,700 tons displacement1 3/42214
Over 2,400 tons displacement22213
Over 1,900 tons displacement2 1/42213
Over 1,500 tons displacement2 1/22213
Over 900 tons displacement2 3/42113
900 tons and under displacement32112
First-class monitors1 1/4212
Second-class monitors1 1/222

Patent or other anchors shall be of relative holding power, and will be supplied by special order.

Proof of Anchors. Anchors are tested by the hydraulic press, the proof strains being as follows:



Portable Anchors. The two arms of a portable anchor, called flukes, are in most of them attached to the shank by means of a pin through the centre of the flukes, and through jaws forged on the end of the shank. The flukes may either be kept firm by forging lugs on them to embrace a shoulder on the shank, or they may move around the pin. In this case the extent of the motion may be


limited by a second pin through the shoulder, playing in a long hole in the flukes, or simply by the bills coming in contact with the shank. When the flukes are movable they have to be so shaped that when the upper arm is drawn as near the shank as possible, the other fulfils the proper conditions for holding. To force the arms to assume this position, it is necessary to provide each of them with a horn projecting outward just above the palm. This forms a secondary bill, which holds quick, and brings the arm in a position to hold also. The two arms may be forged separately, with a tenon at the end of each, by means of which they are fastened to the shank, on which mortises are cut to receive the tenons. Porter’s anchor, as improved by Trotman, and known now by the latter name, is of this description; see Fig. 416.Martin’s Anchors, Fig. 417. A form of patent anchor supplied to some of the monitors, and specially adapted for vessels which require a clear deck forward for right ahead fire. Stock and flukes are in the same horizontal plane when the anchor is laid flat, both flukes taking the ground when the anchor is let go.

The Mushroom Anchor, is made without a stock, by substituting for the arm a cap, or reversed cup, called parachute, making the anchor represent a mushroom. Fig. 420, Plate 88.

One great advantage possessed by this anchor is, that it does not foul the chain, and for this reason it is used almost exclusively for our lightships.

A MUSHROOM consists of a heavy iron cup (the mushroom anchor without the shank), having on its convex surface a shackle. These are used for the anchoring of buoys.

Qualities of an Anchor. The following is a table of the relative values of the properties considered essential in a good anchor:


Quick holding10
Facility of stowing10
Exemption from fouling5
Facility of sweeping5
Facility of transport in boats, quick tripping5

Anchors are brought off to the ship in lighters. Having them under the bows, overhaul down the cat and fish, hook on, cat and fish the anchor, passing the ring-stopper and


shank-painter, and bend the buoy-rope if used. It is recommended to bend a stout hawser to the ring of the anchor, in case of accident. It is also recommended to hook and pull up on the cat and fish together, for fear of injury to the lighter.The method of getting the waist anchor into its berth has been given.

Jury Anchors. Having lost the heavy anchors, a stream or kedge anchor and a gun may be combined, the one giving weight and the other holding power, so as to answer very well for a temporary anchor; a spare anchor-stock, fish, or any suitable spar being lashed across to serve as a stock, Fig. 418, Plate 88. At the trunnions would be the best place for securing the stock, but it has been placed clear, in the figure, to show the manner of securing the kedge and strap to which the chain shackles. A heavy anchor with a broken shank may be treated in the same way.* This plan was suggested by Admiral Porter.

Guns are a resource, when without anchors. Haul a cable from the hawse-hole along the side, by a warp from aft, keeping it up with slip-ropes from the ports, and lash it to a certain number of guns round their chase; pass the end of the breechings round the cable, and secure them on the top of the gun; heave all overboard together. In weighing them, hoist them with the cat, as they reach the hawse-hole, and take them in through the bow-port.

Mitchell’s Screw Anchor, Fig. 419. These are very powerful screws made use of for mooring purposes, which, having a broad flange nearly four feet in diameter, present a resistance, when entered into the ground, equal to that of ten square feet. This is not only much greater than that of an anchor, but is less liable to be fouled by other ground tackle.

The chain is connected with a revolving collar. The screwing down is effected by a key, which is placed piece by piece as the screw is lowered; the collar admitting of the turning, without fouling the cable. When the screw has been sunk to the desired depth, the key is removed.

The foundation for the lighthouse on Mapling Sands was formed on pilings shod with these screws.

A Sea Anchor. This anchor may frequently be of the greatest possible use, and may be made in the following manner: Take three spare spars (topgallant studding-sail booms will be sufficiently large), with these form a triangle; cut these spars to the required length, after cross-lashing them well at each angle; then make fast your spans, one to each angle, so that they will bear an equal strain when in the water; but should your spars be weak, you should always increase the number of spans accordingly;

* Jury anchors should be lowered to the bottom by slip-ropes.

Plate 88, Fig 418-423. Anchoring details.


fill up the centre of the triangle with strong canvas, having eyelet-holes round its sides, about three inches apart, through which eyelet-holes attach the canvas securely to the spars; at the back of the canvas pass many turns of inch or inch and a half rope, net fashion. A net would be preferable to rope so expended. To the base of the triangle attach a weight, or small anchor, supported in the centre of the base by a span running from each of the lower angles. To the first-mentioned span make fast the stream cable. When everything is quite ready, hoist or put it overboard from the place you think it will answer best. There is every reason to believe that with this anchor under the trough of the sea, and seventy or eighty fathoms of stream cable out, a ship’s drift would not be very great.If a ship should approach the shore with this sea anchor down, it would enable her to bring to with her proper anchors much easier than if the sea anchor had not been down. She might let go her proper anchor and veer from the sea anchor, until she had sufficient cable out, which would give her a much better chance of holding.

Another plan is to have two flat bars of iron, each in length half the breadth of the vessel’s midship beam, riveted together in the middle by an iron saucer-headed bolt, clinched at its point, that they may be swung parallel to each other, for easy stowage. At each end of the bars is a hole for a rope or swifter to pass through, which must be hove tight to extend the bars at right angles. To this swifter is marled a double or fourfold No. 1 canvas cloth, of the same shape, and put on the side of the frame nearest the ship when used. At equal distances in the bars are holes to which is attached the bridle or crow’s-foot for bending the cable or hawser. Also have a ring at one of the angles for a buoy-rope, which should be from ten to twelve fathoms long. The buoy prevents the anchor from sinking to the bottom, and facilitates getting it on board again.

Another sea anchor is that suggested by Captain P. Thompson, Examiner in Navigation for the Board of Trade, England.

The cargo derrick of a merchant ship (or any suitable spar of a vessel of war) and chain, together with the storm stay-sail, offer the ready materials for constructing a sea anchor in a steamer, as is shown in Fig. D.

D, the cargo derrick; S, the sail bent to it; B, the bridle; and C, the cleat to keep that end of the bridle touching it in its place. The other end is kept fixed by the iron band on that end of the spar.

Through the shackle of a large kedge-anchor the bight of the derrick chain is hitched, and the two ends taken up alongside of the after-leech and foot-rope and seized to them


at intervals of two feet, the ends of the chain are then secured to the opposite ends of the spar.

Use of spar, sail and anchor as a sea anchor.

On the other side the drag is snaked from chain to chain with two-inch rope.

A chain is passed from the anchor stock to that part of the bridle where the tow-rope is secured, the whole thing is then complete.

Blockading vessels on an open and exposed coast have used sea anchors with great advantage during bad weather.


Cables for the navy are made at the Washington Navy-Yard. An iron rod of the requisite length and diameter is shaped into a link and a stud put in, another piece of iron of the same dimensions is put through the link just formed, and shaped as before; thus fifteen fathoms are made, when a shackle is formed for connecting it to a second length, and so on for one hundred and twenty fathoms, or the required length, when we have the anchor-shackle and club-link.

The stud is said to add one-fourth to the strength of the link. The end links have no studs, in order to facilitate the operation of shackling, but the wire of these links is made the same diameter as the cable next in size.

It is customary now to connect the cable with the shackle and club link by means of an ordinary shackle and one triplet* of chain. Fig. 441, Plate 95. This is done to avoid handling the heavier shackle at the anchor, leaving the latter attached in bending and unbending.

* A TRIPLET. Usually, three links cut from a chain, for testing.


When a length of chain is finished it is put into a hydraulic testing machine and proved.RULE TO DETERMINE THE SIZE OF CHAIN-CABLE CORRESPONDING TO AN ANCHOR OF A GIVEN WEIGHT (INCLUSIVE OF STOCK).

Cut off the two right-hand figures of the number of pounds of the anchor’s weight, and multiply the square root of the remaining quantity by 4; the result will be the diameter of the chain in sixteenths of inches. Thus:


Weight of anchor in pounds5,000
Cut off two right-hand ciphers, leaves50
Square root of 507.071
7.071 x 4 = 28.284 and 28/16 = 1 12/16, the diameter of chain needed.

The size of a chain messenger, if used, is two-thirds that of the chain cable to which it is to be applied.

Swivels, Marks, &c. All chain cables are made with swivels at 7 1/2, 37 1/2, 82 1/2, and 127 1/2 fathoms, with shackles at every 15 fathoms from the anchor. Were it not for the swivels and studs the chain would get full of kinks.

Shackles are marked with raised numbers, from 1 to 9 inclusive, on the pin end opposite the head.

Old cables will be found marked with turns of wire around the stud of a link next to the shackle.

Shackles are put on so that the rounded part will be forward.



Weight of bower-anchor, in pounds,
including stock.
Length of chains in fathoms.
Over 7,500135135105
Over 5,000120120105
Over 3,00012012090
Over 2,00012012090
Over 1,60010510575
Over 1,200909075
Over 800909060
Under 800606060

Shackle-Pins are made of iron, white-leaded before putting in. If they become rusted through neglect it is almost impossible to unshackle. Hence, at least once in each quarter, the chains should be overhauled, the pins backed out, carefully white-leaded and replaced.


Wooden pins are the best, but they shrink and fall out or decay, unless regularly overhauled.Steel-tinned pins would be found serviceable. The length of the steel pin should be such that the extremities do not come through the shackle by the diameter of the point, and they should be fitted with dovetail chambers, to receive leaden pellets in the ends.

Getting Chains on Board. When lying in the stream the chains are brought off in scows or lighters, where they are ranged regularly in alternate layers fore-and-aft and athwartships, and the bitter end being passed through one of the vacant hawse-holes they are got on board and into the lockers by means of deck-tackles and chain-hooks. When working with the crew, men are stationed to stow the chains and are called tierers. The cable is paid down a few links at a time, while the tierers with chain-hooks and a hook-rope rove through a tail-block at some convenient place above them, in the after part of the locker, range the chain in regular fleets, using the hook-rope to form the after bights.

Prior to the stowage of the chains, however, it becomes necessary to secure the end below, as a preventive from loss, in the event of being unable to check its outward passage in veering; and perhaps the best method for accomplishing this object is the following; Through a ringbolt in the keelson, Fig. 421, Plate 88, the end of the chain is rove up to an iron roller, attached to a beam of the lower deck, immediately above-the last link of the chain being curved, in order to fit over a short perpendicular arm on the surface of the roller, which is kept from turning by a check-lever, c, having a small tackle attached. In the event, then, of having to slip, it only becomes necessary to haul on the jigger, which permits a revolution of the roller, and disengages the link from the arm.

Or the bitter end may secure to a bolt overhead, as in Fig. 422.

Another very good plan is to have the end secured with a slip-stopper, Fig. 428 b, Plate 90, the tongue of which may be lashed down. But however the end may be secured, it should not be at the bottom of the locker, but out clear where it can be got at when required. This will enable a second cable to be shackled to the bitter end of the riding cable without rousing the entire length out of the locker.

Should the ship be alongside the wharf, chain-shutes, leading from the wharf through a port abreast the chain pipes are used. The chute is a strongly-made wooden trough, sufficiently wide and long for the purpose.

To Bend a Bower Cable. Reeve a ring-rope through a sheave in the cat-head, through the hawse hole, and bend it to the chain with a rolling-hitch a short distance from the end, to which it must be stopped. Rouse

Plate 89, Fig 424-425. Anchor on capstan, and chain to cable.


the chain out (using the fore-bowline as a hawse-rope if convenient), and up to the cat-head, where the armorer shackles it where it belongs. If the cat-head is far from the bows, a slip-rope will be required to hang the cable half-way.To Bend a Sheet-Cable, Fig. 423, Plate 88, the anchor being stowed in the waist. Stock the anchor and lash a snatch-block to the upper arm. Reeve off a ring-rope through the snatch block, taking one end in through the sheet hawse-hole, and bend it to the chain, leaving end enough for shackling.

Place two water-whips on the fore-yard, on the same side as the chain. After the chain is roused out a certain distance by the ring-rope, clap one whip on the chain, and when the first whip tends about up and down, clap on the second whip. If necessary, fleet the first whip forward again on the chain as more is paid out. The two whips support the chain while it is being hauled aft.

Slip-ropes having been previously pointed over the side, their outboard ends are picked up and passed inboard after the chain has been shackled, to light up the chain fair for seizing to the side-bolts. If the slip ropes are passed for a full due before the chain has been roused aft and relied upon to sustain the chain, they will make the work much heavier.

When the chain is shackled, clap on a back tackle, in wake of the back-lashing bolt, which is a short distance below the ring of the anchor and in line with the side-bolts, though heavier. Rouse the bight into place, pass the back-lashing* and tauten the chain along the side by clapping on a deck-tackle inboard. Pass the seizings to the side-bolts, lighting up the chain with the slip-ropes, then unreeve the slip-ropes, unhook the yard-whips and finally the back-tackle.

The sheet-chain should always be bent after the second bower has been let go, if not previously done. Having bent it and secured it to the side, as described, it is not unusual to stopper it inboard, unshackle, leaving the end forward, and paying the balance of the chain below into the locker, until required.

The length of chain left bent to the anchor is called a ganger.

A Ganger. is any comparatively short length of chain, such as the one above described, or the length of cat-chain used in catting the anchors of ram-bowed vessels, as mentioned further on.

To Bitt a Chain Cable,** Fig. 424, Plate 89.

* In preparing to let go a waist anchor do not forget to cut the back-lashing. Also called an elbowlashing.

** The expression of bitting a starboard (or port) cable, whether with or against the sun, has always been a favorite subject for discussion in the steerage. But regarding the forward part of the chain as fixed, the slack is hove over the bitt-head, say the port side, against the sun, as will be seen by coiling down a rope in that way. On the starboard side, bitt with the sun.


Immediately over the bitt-head is placed an eye-bolt, to which is hooked a single block, having a hook-rope rove through it. Sufficient slack chain having being roused up, hook on to a bight and pull it up abaft and over the bitthead; form a cuckold’s neck in it, so that the part leading from aft shall rest on top of the cavil and outside the bitthead, the running part being inside and leading down under the cavil and so forward; shove the bight thus formed over the bitt-head, slack down the hook rope and it will fall in its place. Now rouse the chain taut along the deck and pay the slack down into the locker.To Weather-Bitt a Cable is to take an additional turn with it around the cavil or bitt-head.

To Unbitt, as when getting under-way, screw down the “Mix” stopper, or put on any adequate stopper forward of the bitts, take off the deck-stoppers, bend on a hook-rope, rouse up enough slack from aft, and unbitt.

To Range a Chain Cable, Fig. 424. Bend on a hook-rope or a chain whip, according to the size of the chain, rouse up the requisite quantity, and range by placing it in parallel lines called fleets, fore and aft the deck between the bitts and the chain pipes, observing to let the part leading from the bitts, the running part, be outside of all, that from the chain pipe being inside; for were it reversed, the chain running out would find the last fleet forming a curve from the bitts, out towards the ship’s side, and in again to the chain pipes, and as the strain came on it, it would sweep with immense force amidships, injuring anything that might be in its way, at any rate giving a violent surge.

Chains are rarely ranged, at present, for any considerable length. If too much chain is ranged it is likely to pay down over and foul the anchor.

When the anchor is let go suddenly, while headway is still on, to avoid danger, for example, or when anchoring in a strong tide, or fresh breeze, the chain will soon acquire very great velocity, and if permitted to run too much at a time it will be found almost impossible to check; therefore but few fathoms should be veered at a time, checking it with the compressor before getting too much headway.


Not counting stream cables, the largest hawsers found on board our ships are 10 inches in circumference, and from that they decrease in size to 5-inch tow-lines.


For convenience in bending to each other, in towing, &c., the Elliott-eye can be advantageously applied to the ends of large cables, having two or three links or a shackle attached.The Elliott-Eye, Fig. 425, Plate 89, is made as follows: Put a whipping on the bending end of the cable a couple of fathoms from the end, and unlay it; splice two strands together with a long splice, making the eye thereby formed equal in length to the diameter of the thimble and the breadth of the seizing. Then, with the remaining strand, make an eye splice to come fair with the bight of the two strands; get the cable on a stretch and fid out the eyes thus formed; put a piece of rope between the two to fill up the hollow and hitch them over. On removing the fid, thrust in an oval-cut thimble large enough to receive the pin of a chain shackle, having it well tarred. Seize the thimble in with a round seizing of one inch and a half. Tail stuff on to the ends of the eye-splice, and worm it four or five fathoms down the cable, clapping on stops every four feet or so, to the end of the worming.

If the thimble is galvanized it need not be tarred. In no case should the thimble be parcelled, as the parcelling holds water and rots the eye.


Wire cables are being introduced into many English and German vessels, and the British Lloyd’s have sanctioned the use of one flexible steel wire cable for steam vessels.

The principal advantage claimed for the use of wire cable over chain cable is uniformity of strength. Chain cables frequently have defective welds, but a wire cable is composed of many threads, and these completely break joint” with each other, and thus neutralize any defect in the wires.

There is also a great saving in weight. A chain cable with two inches thickness in each link weighs about 235 lbs. per fathom; while steel wire capable of superior strength weighs only about 40 lbs. per fathom, thus saving nearly 200 lbs. per fathom used, or many tons in a full length of cable. It is true that the weight of the chain cable greatly assists the anchor in holding the vessel, but the comparatively light wire cable may be attached to a suitable anchor of increased dimensions, and the greater facility of handling the wire must be of importance, especially as regards the time necessary to weigh anchor.

There is no noise in working the wire cable, and it may be stowed upon a reel on deck, thus avoiding the stowage in chain-lockers, forward, of a weight of chain which tends to strain the vessel at that unsupported part.


Wire cable has been in use on H. B. M. ships Valorous and Eclipse, and also on board some of the Channel steamers for some time.The appliances for working it on board one of these vessels are as follows: The wire is fitted on the port side, and is 150 fathoms long, 5 inches in circumference, and weighs 28 1/2 cwt., with a breaking strain of 65 tons. An ordinary chain cable is fitted on the starboard side, and the lower part of the capstan is reserved for working this cable, while the upper part, and a sister capstan, placed just forward of it, works the wire, which is passed around them in grooves in the form of a figure 8; this avoids surging, as the rope leads on to the lowest ring on the main capstan, and to prevent chafe the grooves are set some distance apart. The wire cable stows on a reel conveniently placed abaft the capstans, on the same deck. Automatic nippers secure the cable by friction while the ship is anchored, one being placed where the port riding-bitt would stand, and the other in the eyes of the ship.

When the anchor is let go, the cable runs straight from the reel to the nippers and through the hawse-holes.

Successful experiments have lately been made by the Bureau of Equipment in substituting mild steel for iron, in the manufacture of chain cables.


Deck Stoppers, Fig. 427, Plate 90, are made of plain-laid rope, are one fathom in length, when fitted, and are in size one-half that of the cable on which they are applied. In one end is spliced a hook and thimble, or thimble alone, which is hooked or shackled to the stopper ring-bolts in the deck; in the other end is formed a stopper knot, with a laniard one-third the size of the stopper, attached with a running eye around the stopper close to the knot. The laniard is passed from inboard outboard, the stopper lying inboard of the chain, leaving a fathom of the end to worm forward on the cable; the end is then secured by passing the tails around the links.

Deck stoppers are sometimes fitted of chain, with a devil’s claw, large enough to receive one of the links of the cable, over which it is placed, and retained by a small iron pin, running through both parts of the claw. In the other extremity a slip-hook and ring are attached, by which it is secured to the stopper-bolts of the deck, Fig. 428. The length is about four feet and a half, and the size depends upon the class of vessel for which it is required.

For wire-rope deck stopper see Fig. 50, Plate 12.

Ring Stoppers are very useful and neat. The bights are passed over the cable abaft the ring-bolt, both

Plate 90, Fig 426-429. Chain stoppers.


ends are rove through the ring, and dogged around the cable forward of the bolts; the ends may be tapered, coach-whipped, and laid up in a square sennit. Fig., 429, Plate 90, shows a ring-stopper of plain-laid rope.The ring-stopper above described for securing cables must not be confounded with the ring-stopper used to secure the ring of the anchor at the cathead.

Bitt Stopper. Fitted similar to the ring stopper, ends coach-whipped, &c., the bight going over the bitt instead of through a ring-bolt in the deck.

Check Stoppers are small strands of old rope which secure the cable to the ring-bolts in the deck, and, parting as the strain comes on them, check the cable in running out.

A Compressor having been carried away, to check a Cable while running out. This must be done by using ring-stoppers, Fig. 429. The two ends of the stopper are passed on different sides of the cable, forward through the ring-bolt, then dogged round the cable working forward, the two ends being knotted together when sufficient turns are passed; the bights are kept overhauled and triced up to the beams, the part abaft the ring-bolt by one stop and those before it by another; by letting go the foremost stop, the parts of the stopper catch the cable, and as they tauten break the after stop. “Check” stoppers alone would not be sufficient.

In the same way, you can veer through the laniard of a deck-stopper.

The Slip-Stopper, Fig. 428 (a and b), Plate 90. This is fitted with a crane-hook and shackle, and is found very convenient when working cables, as in clearing hawse, surging, &c.

Mix’s Stopper consists of an iron casting like a hawse-pipe, set in a strong oak frame-work on the after-part of the manger. A thick and strong slab of iron, scored out on the under part to admit a vertical link of the chain, moves up and down in a groove, in the after-part of the frame-work, by means of a screw placed vertically over it. This stopper is exceedingly convenient, but the ship is never allowed to ride by it. The controller replaces it in modern ships.

Fighting Stoppers. Though not belonging to this portion of the work, we may mention herefighting-stoppers. These are kept at hand, ready for use at any time, particularly when going into action. They consist of a pair of dead-eyes or bull’s-eyes, rope-strapped, with tails, and a laniard rove, Fig. 431, Plate 92.

Each end of the laniard is fitted with a bight, so that a jigger may be hooked into either end, the other end becoming a standing part.

Stoppers with which to hold on, while hauling taut


a brace, sheet, or other rope, are fitted with a hook and thimble at one end, or they are otherwise secured to eye, or ring bolts near the rope for which they are required. In using them a half-hitch is formed around the rope, which after the rope is hauled taut through it, is jambed, and the tail wormed along in the lay of the rope; this will hold it while being belayed. Fig. 74, Plate 13.Iron Compressors are used generally under the chain pipes. They check the chain with certainty, and are easy to handle.

Iron compressors are of various kinds, The oldest and best-known pattern is that of the curved iron arm, one end of which works on a pivot-bolt, so as to permit the curve to sweep the lower orifice of the chain-pipe. The other extremity has an eye formed in it, to which is hooked a small tackle. When veering, if the order is given to haul to the compressor, the tackle is hauled upon by the men stationed there, and the chain is compressed by the iron arm against the side of the chain-pipe.

Plate 91, Fig. 430, shows the elevation of the compressor, in which

a is the chain-pipe.

b, chock let down through the deck (c) to the beams d d.

g, bent lever pivoting on bolt f, which, by the use of a tackle, is made to nip the chain against the pipe and beam. The cable has been found to force down the compressor and the bolt (f), which has caused the introduction of the strap (e).

m, carlings let down between the beams to form a bed for the iron pipe (a).

The plan represents (Fig. 430 b), the underside of the deck and beams; k, head of bolt (f of elevation), on which the compressor revolves.

h, a fan or balancing arm worked in the compressor to assist the strap (e) in keeping the compressor in place.

i, an iron plate on the under side of the beam to form a hard surface for the fan to work upon.

A Controller (Fig. 437) is a cast-iron block, having a swallow in its upper side in the shape of a link of the chain cable. Controllers are bolted to the deck, forward of the bitts, and also in large ships forward of the chain locker pipe. The cable, while lying in the controller, tends of itself to drop into the hollow slot, and while there is held by one of its links, which lies flat in the hollow, but at the bottom of the hollow is a jog or short lever arm, which can be raised by a longer lever, and so lift the cable out of the slot when it runs out, until the lever is let go and the jog dropped.

Plate 91, Fig 430. Stopper and controller.



The mechanical power employed in ships to heave in the cable, and thereby raise the anchor, is a modification of the wheel and axle; it is technically denominated a capstan, one portion of which, called the barrel, around which the rope is wound, answering to the axle of a mechanical machine; the other part, the head with the bars, being analogous to the wheel. To set this machine in motion, a moving power (the crew or steam) is applied to the wheel, and the rope being by this means wrapped around the barrel of the capstan, the weight or cable is raised. The cable itself comes to the capstan in all modern forms of that power. Formerly, however, cables were connected to the capstan by means of a rope or chain, styled a messenger, which did pass around the capstan and was made to unite itself firmly to the cable by means of nippers.

The messenger, which may still be seen in use on old-fashioned capstans, is commonly a rope or chain formed into a long loop, and, when of rope, long enough to allow of three or four turns around the barrel of the capstan, and then for each part to reach to a vertical roller in the manger, where the ends are united to form the loop required. This loop, moving around the roller and capstan, when the latter is set in motion, draws the cable inboard and aft when united to it by the nippers. When a chain messenger is used its links work over studs placed around the barrel of the capstan. A rope messenger goes around the barrel itself and increases the length required by three or four turns around the barrel, which have to be taken to prevent slipping.

A frigate is usually fitted with a double capstan, the upper barrel being on the spar deck, the lower on the main deck, on which the hawse-holes are also placed. Connecting “drop pauls,” or pins, connect the upper with the lower capstan.

The holes in the head of the capstan are termed pigeonholes. They receive the capstan bars which work the capstan. To secure these bars, holes have been bored through the head of the capstan and through the bars and pins placed in them. At present the capstan bars are usually kept in place only by a rope wound around their outer ends, joining them together and called a swiftering line.

The drum-head is the circular top of the capstan, in which are the pigeon-holes.

Pauls are stops which are fitted so as to drop from the sides of the capstan against a paul-rim orracket, to prevent the recoil of the capstan.

The ribs or sides of the capstan are termed whelps.


Fig. 435, Plate 93, represents the American capstan, the chain being taken directly without the use of the messenger.Fig. 436, Plate 93, shows Brown’s patent capstan.

b, elevation of the lower capstan with fittings at the lower part of it formed of iron, the ribs or wild catsg g, in it, acting like teeth or sprockets to clasp the cable, similar to the sprocket-wheel with studs, as shown, Fig. 435 b, Plate 93, of the common capstan.

e, elevation of a friction roller, round which the cable is wound, as shown on the plan, three or four being used as marked.

d, of the plan, shows the controller for stopping the cable. See also Fig. 437.

h, the cable leading to the hawse-hole. The method of bringing the cable to the capstan may be traced on the plan; the links shown in dotted lines being those in contact with the ribs (gg) of the elevation.

The Windlass used in small vessels is a capstan with the barrel worked horizontally, the power being applied by levers, which are shipped or worked in holes similar to those in the capstan-head.

In bringing a hawser to a capstan, take three or four round turns around the barrel, the inboard part being always the upper turn.

To get the Anchors off the bows. Bend the chains first, hook the stock-tackle to a strap around the upper arm of the stock and to a bolt on the opposite side of the forecastle, and haul it taut.

Hook the bill-tackle to a strap around the inner arm of the anchor and to a bolt across the deck, setting it taut also.

The stock and bill-tackles are stout luffs.

Single the shank painter, and secure it at the mark where it is to be when the anchor is ready for letting go. Come up the shank, stock, and ring lashings, or ring rope, pry the anchor off the bill-board with the anchor bar, easing away the stock and bill-tackles as necessary.

The ring-stopper, which holds the ring of the anchor to the cathead, is not touched.

A fore-and-aft tackle on the pee of the anchor keeps it from scending forward while getting it off the bows.

To let go an Anchor. The anchor being off the bows, with chain bitted (bitt pin in) and clear for running, is held in place by the ring stopper and shank painter. Fig. 439, Plate 94.

The former, which is of chain, passes through the ring of the anchor, and the last link is placed over a hinged tumbler on the cathead, maintained in an upright position by means of a hook-lever extending across the cathead, Fig. 439a. The shank painter secures in a similar manner

Plate 92, Fig 431-434. Anchors, anchor bouy, fighting stopper.

Plate 93, Fig 435-437. Caspstans.

Plate 94, Fig 438-439. Derrick setup and catted anchor.


at the bill port. To each of these a trigger may be attached, as in Fig. 432, Plate 92, fitted with a small bar leading to the arms of a swivel, worked by a lever shipped in the mortice c. Hauling on the lever disengages both stoppers at the same instant. Or the levers holding the hinged tumblers, Fig. 439a, are knocked out of position by men stationed for the purpose, at the order, “Let go the starboard (or port) anchor!“In either case remove first the safety-pin, b, Fig. 439.

The order for letting go is always preceded by the caution, “stand clear of the starboard (or port) chain!” and sometimes by the order to “stream the buoy!

See hands stationed at the compressor, which is hove back.

Before letting go anchors, it is frequently necessary to run in the guns directly underneath them on the gun deck.

To bring a chain to the Capstan. Rouse up enough slack from the locker to unbitt, having the chain well secured forward of the bitts.

When unbitted, haul the bight of the chain around the rollers placed so as to give the chain a fair lead from the hawse pipe to the capstan; thence about half way around the same in the score of the ribs, or wildcat, and back around similar rollers to the chain pipe.

To heave up an Anchor. The capstan being rigged, capstan bars shipped and swiftered in, the cable is stoppered before all, then unbitted and “brought to” the capstan.

Man the bars! Heave taut! Take off the stoppers and HEAVE AROUND! As the cable comes above the water, if muddy, it is cleaned with a hose led from the head pump. Sand the deck if necessary, in case the chain is very muddy, to prevent the men from slipping.

By the capstan are stationed the gunner’s gang, with chain hooks, to light the slack chain around the rollers and toward the chain pipe; some hands are also provided with pinch bars to knock the links out from the ribs or wildcat of the capstan if they jam, as is sometimes the case.

The cable as it comes in is paid below, or ranged ready for running.

When a vessel has two anchors down, in heaving in on one cable, it becomes necessary to “veer to” on the other. To do this, if the veering cable is the weather one and in a stiff breeze, veer around the bitts, taking off the forward stoppers and slacking the laniards of the after ones, or taking off all stoppers and tending the controller and compressors.

But if the veering cable be the lee one, it may be previously unbitted, and veered from the locker.

When all the slack cable is hove in and the chain leads


right up and down from the hawse-hole to the anchor, the officer of the forecastle reports, Up and down, sir! When not quite up and down, if circumstances seem to require it, he may report, Short stay, sir!A cable is said to tend in a certain direction: thus the cable “tends broad off the starboard bow;” and when this occurs so as to make a short nip of the chain, and cause a heavy heave, it should be reported, as a change of the wheel, or in the disposition of the sail, or a turn back with the engine (as when on a windward tide the ship has overrun her chain), may bring it to tend right ahead and ease the strain on the capstan.

When the anchor is clear of the ground, report Anchor is aweigh! and when the stock is visible,Anchor in sight! Clear (or foul) anchor!

And when it is up high enough for catting-The anchor is up, sir! Or direct the boatswain to pipe,Belay! The order from the quarter-deck will then be, Hook the cat! Fig. 440, Plate 95.

The cat having been previously overhauled down, the block is hooked to the ring of the anchor by a hand on the stock aided by the cat-back. When hooked, set well taut on the cat-fall, and caution them on the gun-deck to be ready for surging the chain; then report, All hooked with the cat! As soon as this is made known, the order is given, Haul taut! WALK AWAY WITH THE CAT! The chain is surged, and the anchor walked up to the cat-head; at the proper time the boatswain pipes belay, when the order is given to Hook the fish! As soon as the cat is up the ring-stopper is passed. When the fish is reported, Haul taut! WALK AWAY WITH THE FISH! and when the fish is belayed, pass the shank painter.

Surging the Chain. When, as very frequently occurs on heaving in, the chain comes in muddy, it must be ranged on deck instead of paying it below in the lockers; thus fifteen, twenty, or more fathoms of chain may accumulate on the deck. Now when the order is (Oven to surge, the controller is hove up and the anchor swings to the cat. Should the cat part at this time, or other similar accident happen, the anchor goes down, carrying with it the entire range of chain; and if on board a steamer she may, by that time, be going ahead under a full head of steam. Therefore, in place of relying entirely on any form of controller, clap a stopper on the chain, allowing a fathom or so of slack for catting. For this purpose an iron nipper securing the cable to a ring-bolt, or a slip-stopper, is very convenient. This precaution insures you against accident, and very little practice serves to enable one to stopper at the proper link to give slack chain enough to allow the anchor to go to the cat-head.

Cat-Falls. Begin with the standing part and reeve the end down through the forward sheave of the cat-head,

Plate 95, Fig 440-441. Catting an anchor.


through the forward sheave of the cat-block, placed so that the bill of the hook will point inboard, and so continue till rove full, when timber-hitch the end around the cat-head. In large ships it is found convenient to place the block in the bridle-port for reeving the fall, after which round it up and trice back the hook, if not wanted immediately.Cat-Backs are temporary, and for the purpose of facilitating the hooking of the cat. A small rope is rove through a block tailed on to one of the fore-tack bumpkin stays, or an eye-bolt conveniently placed over the bows, and bent to a small eye-bolt or span on the forward cheek of the cat-block, the fall leading inboard. Another one may be bent to the back of the hook. With the assistance of these, the cat is hooked.

A Fish-Back is for the same purpose, and is bent to an eye on the back of the hook.

Anchor Trip-hook. Fig. 429b represents a section of the trip-hook in use on board the Fish Commission steamer Albatross, and is essentially the same as that generally used in the merchant marine. A, represents a link which is made fast to the middle of the shank of the anchor, the weight of which acts in the direction of the arrow. From the figure, it will be seen that the weight presses the hook, B, against the cam, C, which, in turn, is held in place by the lever, D, the lever resting against the bolt, E.

The arrangement is attached to the lower block of the anchor tackle by the pin, F, which allows it to swing freely.

The tripping-line, G, is made fast on the forecastle, with sufficient slack to allow the anchor to be lowered to the desired point for letting go.

To detach the anchor, slack away the tackle until the tripping-line, G, acts on the lever, D, releasing the hook, B, and link, A.

The same style of trip-hook is also used in the place of the cat-hook, where an anchor is catted and fished in the ordinary way, so that the anchor may be let go from the cat without waiting to pass the ring-stopper.

Fish Davit. The present plan in the navy is to have a boom which attaches to the forward part of the foremast by a goose-neck. The boom is rigged as in Fig. 438, Plate 94.

A is the topping-lift, hooked to a band around the lower mast, near the futtock-band.

B, the fish tackle.

C C, guys.

See also Fig. 440, Plate 95.

The hauling part of the fish-fall may either lead through a sheave in the boom, or a block on the boom, thence to a block hooked to the mast-band, and on deck.

By this purchase (the fish) the flukes of the anchor are


raised until up to the bill-board, when the shank-painter is passed. This is made of chain; when passed, the chain encloses the shank; the end, rove through a ring in the side or waterways, is belayed to an iron cleat at the side. The shank-painter being secured, the purchase is unrigged, the fish-davit taken inboard, and the anchor now hangs by the ring-stopper and shank-painter, and is ready for letting go.If the shank-painter is eased off so that the anchor hangs by the ring-stopper, it is then said to becock-billed.

Iron fish-davits similar in form to boat-davits, and stepped near the bill-board, are taking the place of the wooden fish-boom.

Catting and Fishing a Sheet Anchor Stowed Forward. Modern vessels have frequently two cat-heads, one abaft the other on each bow, the after one for the sheet anchor. In tatting the sheet, hook the forward cat; surge, heave the stock clear of the water, and hook on the after cat. If the fish-davit is not a movable one, the fishing will have to be done with a tackle from the fore-yard.

Catting Anchors on Board Armored Vessels. In ships built with ram-bows it is difficult to heave the anchor up high enough to hook the cat. That difficulty is met in the British service by the use of acat and ground chain, of which the following is a description:

A length of small chain is shackled to the ring of the anchor and stopped along the first length of the cable; this is called the ground chain. A corresponding chain reeves through a block at the cat-head, styled the cat chain. Before weighing, the lower end of the cat chain is taken through the hawse-pipe, and when the end of the ground chain is hove in, the cat and ground chains are connected, the cat purchase (which hooks into the upper end of the cat chain) is manned and hauled taut; the bight of the small chain being eased out of the hawse-pipe, “WALK AWAY WITH THE CAT!”

British turret ships are supplied with Martin’s anchors, which lie flat on the deck when stowed, stock and flukes being then in the same horizontal plane.

To afford a right ahead, fire from the turret and avoid unnecessary anchor gear, these anchors haveat their balancing point on the shank a shackle to which the ground chain is attached.

A single iron davit with the cat chain rove and connected (when the anchor is hove up) to the ground chain places the anchor horizontally in its position on the bow.

The davit works on a hinge at its base, and stows flat on deck, a temporary derrick being rigged forward of the foremast to raise the davit when required.


To Secure a Bower for Sea. Having passed the ring-stopper and shank-painter, proceed to ring up the anchor by swinging the fish-boom to plumb the cat-head, hooking the fish between the stock and ring and pulling up on the fish tackle. Take through the slack of the ring-stopper, which is rove through a ring like the shank-painter, and secure it around its cleat for a full due. Hook the stock and bill tackles as in getting the anchor off the bow, haul on the stock tackle to bring the lower end of the stock clear of the side; then go to the bill-tackle and rouse the anchor up on the bill-board, and so to each tackle alternately till the stock is up and down and the inner arm lying on the bill-board, when the slack of the shank-painter is taken through and the lashings passed. It is better to haul alternately on the stock and bill tackles as described, as this prevents the palm of the anchor coming in with a surge, which would occur if the stock were hove up and down at the first pull.Should there be no fish-boom to ring up the anchor, reeve a stout rope (not the cat-fall) through the sheaves of the cat-head and the ring of the anchor, secure one end to the cat-head, and clap a tackle on the other end.

If a long passage is contemplated, the chain is unbent and stowed below when the ship is off soundings, and the hawse-bucklers are closed and secured. Besides the ring-stopper, a good lashing is passed through the ring and over the cat-head, also one around the stock and through a ring in the side.

Foul Anchor. The question of clearing a foul anchor is one which requires good judgment, and one in which the circumstances may vary greatly. As good a general rule as any is to hook the cat (if necessary with a strap) to whichever end of the anchor is first sighted. It will often happen that there is but one foul turn of the chain, under the stock. In that case, if the cat is hooked in the ring, with a turn taken in the opposite direction to that of the chain around the stock, the strain on the cat after surging will throw the chain clear.

The anchor comes up with the cable foul of the stock, and ring uppermost, and in such a manner that it cannot be cleared as above stated. Cat as usual; in surging the chain leave plenty of slack chain outside for working. Now clear the chain with slue-ropes on the anchor stock and slip-ropes on the chain. It may be necessary to unshackle in clearing; if so, hang the cable before unshackling, clear the turns and shackle again.

If the cat cannot be hooked in the ring, then hook it to a stout strap around the shank, just under the stock, cat and proceed as before, passing the ring-stopper.

Anchor comes up crown first. Cat the crown by hooking the cat to a strap around the crown, and pass the ring-stopper


over the crown, unhooking the cat. Now clear, if necessary by unshackling the chain, having plenty of slip-ropes to take its weight. Hook the cat in the ring and the fish in the arm, take the strain on the cat, ease away the ring-stopper, and haul away on cat and fish.It might be advisable, with the anchor coming up crown first, to hook the fish first to a strap on the crown, hauling on it till the ring could be reached to hook the cat, then. easing (and unhooking) the fish, catting the anchor, clearing the turns and fishing it. The whole depends upon the circumstances, as above stated; and the latter operation in particular, presupposes that there is not too much drift to the fish, and that the fish gear is reliable, it being smaller than the cat.

For anchor work, “clear hawse breeches” are made, of painted canvas, wooden soled at the feet, and slung with spans long enough to clear the man’s head.

Marking the cable so as to know exactly how much to surge for catting saves noise and delay, but greater allowance must be made when “foul anchor” is reported.

Buoys and Buoy-Ropes. Buoys attached by their buoy-ropes to the crown, point out at all times the situation of the anchor. The can buoy is in the form of a cone, it floats base uppermost, and the rope is attached to the apex. The nun buoy is largest at the centre, tapering at the ends. The latter is in general use. Fig. 434, Plate 92.

The size of buoy-ropes is one-third of the cable. The length varies, for it is shortened or lengthened according to the depth of the water in which you will drop the anchor.

It is bent to the crown of the anchor, by taking a half-hitch around one arm, and putting the running eye in its end over the other arm; or a clove-hitch is formed over the crown, and the end stopped along the shank, or to its own part. Or,

Attach a large thimble to the crown of the anchor, by a stout strap of the size of the buoy-rope (one-third the cable). Through this thimble is rove the buoy-rope, both parts leading up to the buoy. The advantage of this is, that the buoy-rope may be smaller, and when necessary, a stout rope of the required size, may be, by it, rove through this thimble in the crown of the anchor, thereby affording a greater purchase than that of a single rope, for weighing.

The only objection to this plan is, that the two parts of the small buoy-rope will become hawser-laid, and will not unreeve. But this may be, in a great measure, remedied by having one part plain-laid and the other back-handed rope.


Sometimes a buoy will not watch, from its having filled with water, or from the buoy-rope being too short, particularly in a tide-way. By this is meant, that it does not float on the surface of the water. In the former case it will be necessary to bleed it, that is, to let the water out. In the latter, to lengthen the buoy-rope.Buoys are generally kept, one in each of the fore channels for common use. Spare ones are kept in the hold.

It was a very good rule, that an anchor should never be let go without a buoy attached. But since the screw propeller has been introduced, they have been less used, through fear of fouling the screw, though the end of a chain is always buoyed in slipping.

To Pick up Moorings from which the vessel has previously slipped. Stand in and reduce sail to topsails, or slow down if under steam, lower a boat, coil away a hawser in her and let her pick up the buoy-rope of the chain, attaching the hawser to it. Tack off shore if necessary till the boat has picked up the buoy, then stand in and round to, to windward of the buoy, signal the boat to pull alongside. Take the hawser-end in through the hawse-pipe, and run it in. As the chain comes in, make sure of enough to allow for bitting, clap on stoppers forward of the bitts; bitt, and stopper abaft; then shackle as soon as possible.

To Make Fast to a Mooring Buoy. In some harbors moorings are planted for vessels to ride by, in order that they may occupy in swinging as little space as possible.

On approaching the buoy, a boat may be sent out with the hawser to make fast and return, or she may leave the ship with the end of the hawser, just after clewing up. Warp the ship up by the hawser to the buoy, unshackle the bower-chain from its anchor and shackle to the buoy, veer a few fathoms and put a bull rope on the buoy from the end of the bowsprit to keep it clear of the stem.

The boat which carries the warp should contain a maul, mooring-shackle, spare earing, and a tail-block. The earing is used to secure the shackle to guard against losing it overboard while shackling. The tail-block, secured to the ring of the buoy, is for a hauling line to get the chain in position for shackling.

When picking up moorings, have an anchor ready for letting go, in case of accident.

Lying at Single Anchor, to Veer Cable, Blowing Hard. Veer away, by short drifts at a time, through the compressors and laniards of the deck-stoppers. If it is blowing a gale, with a heavy sea, it would be necessary to veer with a deck-tackle. A ship in this case, would double bitt before veering, if


required, and send down her spars, and let go other anchors as necessary.Why we Veer Cable in Heavy Weather. It is a prevalent but fallacious notion, that, even when used in deep water and with a severe strain, the curvature or deflection of chain is considerable, and that near the anchor it rests upon the ground undisturbed by either the pitching motion of the ship, or the tension which she causes. At a testing strain of six hundred and thirty pounds per eighth-inch of circumference, the utmost deflection was found to be only ten feet upon a length of one hundred fathoms, in ten fathoms water, with the hawse-hole a fathom above the surface; the diameter of the chain being one and one-half inches, and the strain forty and one-half tons.

In a common gale, which would produce this strain, not one link of the one hundred fathoms of chain will quietly rest upon the ground; on the contrary, it will be found by the experiments on a depth of ten fathoms, that 127.98 fathoms of chain are required to form a semi-catenary* when suspended in air, and 137.03 fathoms when in water. If the strain be less, the curvature will be greater, and no danger need be apprehended; but in a severe gale, the force of which may be supposed equal to, or nearly equal to, a breaking strain, a long scope is the only way to prevent a fatal result; and any man in charge of a ship at anchor, with the necessary quantity of chain cable on board, and space astern to allow him to make use of it, but who neglects to do so, must be considered the author of his own misfortune, whether it amount to the loss of his anchor or the loss of his ship.

To Increase the Value of a Long Scope. To increase the deflection of the cable and bring the strain on the anchor, more in a horizontal direction, a heavy kedge may be shackled or lashed to the bight of the riding cable just before veering for bad weather. This is similar to “backing” an anchor.

Letting Go Additional Anchors. In preparing to ride out a gale at anchor, if the holding-ground is even moderately good, a ship will hold on longer and certainly ride easier with all her chain on two anchors, than by letting go all four anchors with comparatively short scopes. Circumstances may compel a ship to depend for safety upon the number of anchors down, as in the case of a crowded harbor with insufficient room to veer; but with more than two anchors down, unless systematically laid out in fine weather, there is little probability of the strain being equally divided. Vessels anchored in this way

* A catenary is the curve formed by a flexible chain of uniform density and. thickness when allowed to bang freely between two points.


have snapped their cables one after another from the effect of the sudden jerks upon a short scope such as a hundred fathoms would be in a gale of great severity.Having plenty of room astern, and with four cables each 120 fathoms long, veer to 60 fathoms on the anchor down, say the starboard bower, let go the port bower. Lengthen each bower chain by the sheet chain on its side, and veer two cables on the starboard and one and a half on the port bower. There remains on board one-half the port sheet-cable available for adding 30 fathoms to each anchor down.

To use three anchors, the distribution of chain would be: starboard bower (the anchor down), with 90 fathoms of starboard sheet, the port bower lengthened by the remaining 30 fathoms of the starboard sheet chain, and a whole cable on the port sheet. Having veered to 60 fathoms on the starboard bower let go the port bower, veer 30 fathoms, and let go the port sheet. Veering to the full scope, the starboard bower would have one and three-quarter cables, port bower, one and a quarter, and port sheet, one cable. The arrangement assumes, 1st, that a scope of less than 100 fathoms is of comparatively little value; 2d, that 60 fathoms would probably be veered in any case before letting go a second anchor; 3d, that the anchors should have as nearly equal a scope as the second condition admits.

For a modern steamer with well-proportioned ground-tackle, good holding ground and plenty of room astern, the plan of using two anchors with the longest possible scope is considered the best.

Backing an Anchor. When the holding ground is bad an anchor may be “backed” by another.

In backing an anchor during a gale after it is down, the backing hawser or chain is taken round the riding cable and secured loosely in order that it may slide down and along it when the backing anchor is let go. A large shackle might be used for this purpose on the riding cable, and the backing chain shackled to it.

To Back an Anchor when Preparing for a Gale. Heave in or veer away on the anchor down, say starboard bower, till you bring the fourth shackle some few fathoms abaft the bitts; stopper, unshackle, and unbitt; pass the end out and shackle it to the ring of the port bower, which has been eased down to the hawse-hole; off stopper, and ride by port bower cable, with its anchor at the bows until the gale comes on, and then veer it down to the ground. Should the gale pass off, you can hang the starboard bower cable outside by the clear-hawse pendant, and replace both in their original position.

If on veering to sixty fathoms on the port bower, you found the gale still increasing, shackle the remaining sixty fathoms of the starboard bower to it; let go starboard sheet


anchor, and veer away on both. Finally, if compelled by the violence of the storm to make the utmost of your resources, divide the remaining sheet chain between the port bower and starboard sheet. There will then be sixty fathoms between the starboard bower and the backing anchor; two hundred and forty fathoms on the port bower, and one hundred and eighty on the starboard sheet.Anchors have been backed by vessels on a lee shore, with some of the guns. Stout hawsers were passed through the hawse holes (or bow ports) on each side, underneath the cables, the ends brought in to the after-most guns used, clinched there at the cascables and lashed near the muzzles; the bight of each hawser passed in the port and on top of the gun next forward, under the cascable, and lashed at the cascable and muzzle, and so on forward, leaving sufficient slack between each gun, so that they can be thrown overboard one at a time, commencing aft. When they are all overboard bend on other hawsers and veer away, without attempting to ride by them as the ship drags. The anchors having dragged to the place where the guns were thrown overboard, may bring up the ship by the flukes of the anchors catching the bights of the hawsers. The lowering hawsers are buoyed.

To Weigh Guns thrown overboard in this manner, having hove in on the cables until the berth of the guns is reached, pass the buoyed end of the hawser through the warping chock in the bridle port, and heave up the first gun with a suitable purchase on the hawser. Land the gun in the launch hauled up under the bows, using the cat-fall if necessary. Drop the launch to the gangway, sling the gun and hoist it in with the yard-tackle and garnet, continuing the operation until the guns are all in. Or get in the guns as described page 233.

Steaming up to Anchors. When riding out a gale at anchor, steamers relieve their ground-tackle by turning the engines. But care must be taken not to overrun the cables, as in that case, when the ship goes astern to a fresh squall, the violent strain on the chains would probably part them or start the anchors.

With Four Anchors Down, to Weigh. If the scant room in a harbor or its crowded condition has compelled us to ride out a gale with four anchors and short scopes, the anchors were probably let go in the following order: First, one bower (say starboard), then after veering 45 fathoms the port bower, veer 15 fathoms and let go the starboard sheet, veer 15 fathoms more and finally let go the port sheet. If there is room enough, two sections from the port sheet added to the starboard bower would give you a final scope of 150 fathoms on the starboard bower, 105 on the port, 90 on the starboard sheet, and 75 on the port sheet.


To weigh, assuming the cables to be clear, bring the port sheet to the capstan, clap a deck tackle on the starboard sheet, and while heaving in get as much slack as possible of the two bower chains. Weigh the port sheet first, then bring the starboard sheet cable to the capstan and weigh the starboard sheet.Having weighed both sheets, which should be done first, transport them to where they stow. Then weigh the port bower, taking in. the slack of the starboard bower chain.

A vessel would perhaps be more than one day in picking up her anchors as described, particularly if the sheet anchors stow in the waist or if she has swung and fouled her hawse. In such cases much time will be required to clear the cables and weigh the anchors. In case you are unable to clear the cables, the anchors must be weighed by the launch, and a hawser bent to that end of the chain, which will then be slipped by the launch, and hove in from the ship. No particular rules can be given for such cases.

When a ship has let go two or more anchors, in a gale, she should weigh her anchors as soon as the gale moderates; much trouble will be saved by it.

A Collier’s Purchase. In heavy heaving, a strap may be put on the cable at the water’s edge, hook the cat in it and assist in that manner. This is known as a collier’s purchase. The fish may be clapped on to the cat-fall and taken to the capstan.

To Assist in Heavy Heaving. Put a large block on the cable, near the hawse-hole, reeve a hawser through it, belay one end to the mainmast or bitts, and clap a deck-tackle on the other end; or take it to the after-capstan.

Some vessels (brigs and small sloops) use the deck-tackle entirely in weighing their anchors.

In using a deck-tackle, particularly in a large ship, much time is saved by having a whip from forward to assist in overhauling it.

To Anchor by the Stern. This may be necessary for a steamer in a narrow harbor, where the vessel is too long to turn, or in a stream where there is no room for swinging to the tide. The British at the battle of the Nile anchored in this way to avoid raking broadsides in rounding to; the French also anchored by the stern at Sebastopol.

As ships are not always provided with appliances for anchoring in this way, it would be well to use the stream anchor and chain, or a hawser, in performing the evolution, if it will stand the strain expected.

Get up the stream-chain, rouse it out through the after-port, haul it forward outside of all till abreast of the hatch where the anchor is stowed, then hoist out the anchor,


shackle the chain, and let go with a strap and squilgee, or ease the anchor down to the bottom with the bight of a hawser.Or, transport the stream-anchor to the cat-head or stern, as may be most convenient, shackle the chain there and let go.

To use a heavier anchor, rouse up the sheet-chain from below, pass it through the after-port, haul the end forward by a ring-rope to the sheet-anchor and shackle. Range the intended scope of chain on deck. In the absence of afterbitts, ring-bolts, &c., have plenty of stoppers and lashings passed; a stout hawser from the forward bitts, with a couple of turns taken round the mainmast, will relieve the compressor of some of the strain when the end of the scope is reached; the cable itself might be taken around the mizzen-mast. Stop the engine, or clew up and furl in good time, and check the cable as much as possible in running out.

In all cases of anchoring by the stern, or with springs from aft, use slip-ropes to avoid injury to the rudder or screw.

To Anchor with a Spring. Rouse up the stream-chain (or a hawser), haul it aft, as in anchoring by the stern, and thence through the after-port forward, secure the spring to the bower, keeping the bower-chain bent; then let go the bower. Now, by setting taut the stream-chain and veering on the cable, the ship’s broadside is sprung around. Ships may be sprung broadside to the wind, in warm climates, for the purpose of better ventilation; or in engagements at anchor, to bring the guns to bear on various points.

Using a spring from the bower anchor or cable, for the purpose of getting a ship’s broadside to bearsteadily on any object, can never be equal to the steadiness acquired by using a second anchor, with a stream-cable or hawser. A spring is at all times little to be relied on, compared with a stern anchor, and after it becomes dark, a spring will much decrease the certainty of gun practice. If a ship has a good scope of cable with one anchor ahead and the other astern, rather tautly moored, and her broadside bearing well on the object, there will be little fear of her sheering about much. But should it be requisite to fire at night by previous bearings, then, to make the practice more certain, it would be well to have two kedges, with two good, strong hawsers laid out on the off side, one on the bow and the other on the quarter; the hawser from aft being attached to the anchor on the bow, and the one from forward to the anchor on the quarter; these two hawsers crossing each other at a good angle, with as much scope as possible, well_ bowsed taut, will insure the direction of the guns.



As the success of the “Saratoga,” in this action, was mainly due to the superior seamanship of her officers, as evinced by the manner of working her kedges and hawsers, a brief description of that part of the action may be instructive, since we are told that the “Confiance” (English), with but one spring on her cable, got just so far round as to hang while exposed to a raking, while the “Saratoga” was “entirely successful, springing her broadside successively on every vessel wearing the British flag.”

The American vessels had each its stream-anchor hung over the stern, the cable bent ready for use; and besides the usual springs, the “Saratoga” had a kedge planted broad off each bow, the hawser of each leading in through the quarter ports, the bights hanging in the water. In the midst of the fight, on firing the only gun (a carronade) remaining mounted in the starboard battery of the “Saratoga,” the navel bolt broke and the gun flew down the main hatch. The attempt was then made to wind the ship. Fig. 433, Plate 92.

To this end the stream-anchor astern was let go, and clapping on the starboard quarter line, the ship was roused over to the kedge on that side; line had been bent to the bight of the stream-cable, and she now lay with her stern to the raking broadside of the “Linnet” (position 2, Fig. 433, Plate 92), being for a brief space in a critical position, but dipping the port quarter line under the bows, it was passed aft to the starboard quarter, the ship’s stern sprung to the westward, and the port battery brought to bear on the enemy.

Having anchored with a spring to the stern, to heave up. If the ship is still riding by the stern cable, heave in the bower, veer away the stern cable, set the spanker, and wind the ship. Hang the stern cable outside (or stopper it); pass a stout hawser out of the sheet hawse-hole; pass the end aft, outside of everything, and bend it to the stern cable at the nearest shackle. Unshackle, and let the cable go; man the hawser, and walk the cable in through the hawse-hole. When taut in, clap a deck-tackle on it, take the bower cable to the capstan and heave round. Walk away with the deck-tackle as the bower chain comes in. When the anchor is up, unshackle or unbend the spring and haul it inboard out of the way.

To Slip a Chain. In preparing to slip, put a buoy-rope on the chain, stout enough to weigh it, lead the buoy-rope out through the hawse-pipe and to the fore-chains,


where it is made fast to a smaller line, equal to the depth of water, and bent on to the buoy. The buoy sustaining only the weight of the small line, can then watch properly.Stopper the cable forward of the bitts, or heave down the forward compressor; have the shackle well abaft the bitts. Unshackle, stream the buoy, and slip by cutting the stopper or heaving up the compressor.

In slipping, give a turn or two of the propeller astern before starting ahead, to ensure clearing the buoy-rope.

Plate 96, Fig 442-443. Capstan mechanism.

Plate 97, Fig 444-445. Capstan mechanism.