My boat came with a Mantus anchor bridle, which I admit to having never used. For snubbing, I’ve simply used nylon rope secured to the anchor chain using two rolling hitches in series. However, for the scenario of leaving the boat unattended at an anchorage, I have been considering all options on the table.
The photo above shows the bridle as I found it in the deck locker. Can you spot the four issues I immediately noticed? Take a close look and then read about the things I saw.
- Split thimble. Split thimbles, like the one used here, can chafe rope. Only solid thimbles should be used (as an example, see Suncor’s extra heavy duty thimble). What’s the worst that can happen with split thimbles? Glad you asked. See this photo obtained from here. This would not be good for a medium- to long-term mooring situation.
- Misaligned thimble. The thimble is not aligned with the eye it’s spliced into. This will only exacerbate the chafing issue.
- No seizing on shackle. The shackle pin is not seized to the shackle body, and may work itself loose or free over time. This is easily correctable by adding some seizing wire or a cotter ring.
- Spliced eyes in terminal ends. The boat ends of the bridle have spliced eye loops, which make it tempting to loop over the bow cleats, or worse, passed under the cleat and looped around the horns as shown here. The problem with this is, when the system is under significant load (as might be the case when wind exceeds 15 knots or so), you will never be able to get those off the cleats. This is especially problematic if you need to leave in a hurry. You will have no choice but to cut the lines using a knife, which will cost you precious time (assuming you’re able to find your knife in the dark, and it’s sharp enough to work). You should be using cleat hitches on your cleats, which can be removed quickly, even under load.
These may not be the only issues with the anchor bridle. Can you spot any others?