Secret Coast Reader Question: Anchor Buoy/Trip Line

Hi. I just bought your book and love it.  I’m a little confused about the anchor buoy/trip line system you describe in Chapter 4. We run a Bruce 33 lb. anchor off a 32-foot wooden Grand Banks.


If the anchor is fouled, it sounds  like you approach the buoy while continuing to pick up the anchor rode. I suppose at this point you are almost directly above the anchor and find out it is fouled.  If you cannot raise it do you then pick up the buoy system and just reverse or do you try and attach it to the windlass in order to trip the line/buoy?  Is 1/8” line strong enough to do either?


Thanks for any advice, 

Mark and Joan M.


Our response:


You’re right—if you can’t release the anchor with the anchor rode, you’re not going to release it with an 1/8” line. The purpose of the trip line is not to pull out the anchor by force. Rather, the goal is to unhook the flukes by picking up the anchor from the crown.


We retract the rode until it is up and down (meaning no slack) and attempt to raise the anchor. If the anchor were fouled, we’d then use a boat hook to bring the buoy system on board and pay out rode to provide some slack to the shank end of the anchor. We’d first try to release the anchor via the trip line by hand. The trip line is too small to fit around our windlass, so if that failed, we’d cleat the trip line to a bow cleat and slowly back down.


Jennifer & James




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