“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Dinghy Anchor (Stolen from Active Captain)


First, if I haven’t said it before on our blog I just want to make it clear how much my Bride and I love Active Captain.  We have been using this website for about 6 years, since we started doing local cruising on our old boat Splash.  I think we have over 300 reviews and local knowledge posts on Active Captain.  For those that don’t know about it, sign up for their newsletter.  It’s not just about Active Captain, it also had great deals on equipment through a partnership they have with Defender (another one of our favorite companies).  They also share tips and tricks they have learned through their time cruising.  We also follow Karen and Jeff’s blog, Taking Paws that has a lot of great posts on what to do when you take dogs cruising with you.  Recently there was a great interview with Jeff on the Sailloot Podcast.

Enough Active Asskissing.  Let me get back to the idea I stole from them.

I have been thinking about adding some wheels to our Highfield Aluminum RIB.  The prime purpose of our dinghy is to take Summer to shore.  This means on a given day, we are beaching the dinghy 3-5 times.  Often we like to go for longer walks.  On an outgoing tide that means carrying the dinghy back to the water; on an incoming tide that means worry about the dinghy floating away.  A couple of years ago, when we were using the limo dinghy, we picked up a small folding grapnel style anchor at the Marine Consignment Shop for $15 with 50 feet of nylon, 3-strand rode.

defender anchor pic

It was convenient, compact when not in use and fixed part of the problem with taking Summer for walks.  We could throw the anchor out if the tide was coming in and if the boat floated it wouldn’t get swept out to sea.  It didn’t do much on outgoing tides.  You could throw the anchor on land and push the boat back out but it would just drift back in and just end up beached further down the shore. We tried a two anchor set using a friends anchor and it just was a pain.

It was also nice to have the anchor for hanging out in the dinghies.  We have a group of friends from the dock and we often go for group dinghy rides with 10-20 inflatables.  One Sunday morning our little anchor and rode held 12 dinghies in place for a bloody party (I had made a couple of pictures of bloody marries, we went up the river near our dock to get out of the wind, anchor and enjoyed the day).  Plus in a pinch you could use the anchor to prevent you from being washed out to see if you were having engine problems.  Nice safety feature.

Last year we had a bonfire on the beach of a Boston Harbor Island to celebrate a birthday for someone in our group.  We all forgot to pay attention to the tide and our dinghies ended up high and dry on mud flats. It was midnight so the choice were to carry all the dinghies out of the mud and down the beach to where we could relaunch or wait for the tied.  We carried the dinghies (probably made the wrong decision in retrospect) and a couple of them had the plastic wheels.  They didn’t really help.  But we thought those larger wheels might help.  I even found a really cool pair from a company called BeachMaster, but they cost about $300.  I was hoping to find a similar pair at the Marine Consignment Shops this year but no luck.

About 2 weeks about the Active Captain newsletter had a great solution.

This approach seems like a great solution for anchor at the beach to go for a walk.  Best of all, it would be a cheap fix.  All I needed was about 5 feet of galvanized chain and shackle to connected to the dinghy.  I could use stuff we already had for the rest.  I got 5 feet of SeaChoice Anchor Lead Chain with Shackles for $8 on Amazon.  I attached the anchor to the chain with the shackle. Here is a little tip.  I use Lanocote on threaded parts that will be exposed to seawater.  It protects against corrosion so you can take it apart again later.



I then spliced some old dockline to the chain and put an oversized loop on the other end.  I had to retire the dock line due to chafe but there was still enough good line for this project.


Ones a factory splice that I had to cut off and the other is mine. I was surprised I could barely tell the difference. Not bad for my first time.



I was going to use the old rode I had for the dinghy as the trip line.  But I got a better idea.  For $10 I got some reflective polypropylene line; it will be easier to see and retrieve at night.  And I could save the old rode for the next part of this project.



Here is the new system all together.  The oversized loop on the anchor line can quickly and easily be slipped through the bow handle and secured by turning it back on the sides of the handle.

This system looks like it will work great. Except if we need an emergency anchor or if we want to have another bloody party.  That’s why I saved the old rode.  I spliced a loop onto the end of that line.



You can slip the white lines loop over the oversized loop in the black line, then pull the white line through the loop to create a square not that is holding the two loops together.  In less than 5 seconds you can extend the dinghy anchor rode by 50 feet.

IMG_3066 IMG_3065

For the splices, I used Animated Knots by Grog.  This site is great and has every knot you can think of.  It is far better than watching a YouTube video because you can either watch the knot or splice as a video or go frame by frame to make sure you have it correct.

For cleaning up the splices I used my Brides fabric cutter.  Works great for that purpose too.

IMG_3063Can’t wait for it to be warm enough to launch the dinghy and try out this new system.

Fair winds


4 thoughts on “Dinghy Anchor (Stolen from Active Captain)

  1. Great idea, Jesse. Thanks for sharing this. Super-easy way to extend the painter.

  2. I’ll check out active captain, thanks for sharing!

  3. I just saw this – glad to see the idea in use. We used it for 16 weeks in the Bahamas last winter…another year of good use out of it. It still performs perfectly allowing you to avoid bringing the dinghy onto the beach where it gets scratched and possibly a little stranded at low tide. When the dogs get tired and want to go back to the boat, they swim out to the dinghy, jump in, and look at us like, “lets go!”

    • Haha, its great having dogs on board.

      The idea was great and we still use it down here in the Caribbean. With the swell down here you either need to anchor out the dinghy or pull it all the way up on the beach.

      Thanks for sharing the idea!

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