Anchor Terminology You Should Know

Anchor Terminology You Should Know

anchor terms

Last updated on February 16th, 2021 at 01:17 pm

In this article we will learn about the anchor terms that a seafarer should definitely be aware of for smooth anchoring operations.

Let us have a look at the important anchor terms one by one:

1. Clearing Anchors- Anchors and cables are cleared away when the securing gear on deck is removed.

2. Anchor a-cockbill-  When the anchor is hanging vertically from the hawse pipe, with the flukes turned into the ships side.

3. Veer Cable, Walk Back- To pay out cable under power i.e. by using the windlass motor.

4. Walking Back The Anchor- To lower the anchor under power.

5. Brought Up, Come To, Got Her Cable- A vessel is said to be brought up when her way has stopped and she is riding to her anchor, with her anchor holding.

6. Anchor Aweigh- The anchor is said to be aweigh when it is broken out of the ground and clear of the sea bed.

7. Anchor Coming Home- When the anchor is drawn towards the ship in the operation of heaving away, by means of the windlass or the cable holder/capstan, the anchor is said to be coming home.

8. Drop the Anchor Underfoot- Letting an anchor go to the bottom, then holding on to the brake. This is sometimes done  to steady the ships head and prevent her from yawing about when lying to a single anchor.

9. Long Stay- The term is used when the cable is leading down to the water close to the horizontal, with the weight on it. A good length of the cable is exposed.

10. Short Stay: The term is used when the anchor is hove in close to the ships side and not over extended. The cable is not up and down in this position.

11. Up & Down: The cable is said to be up & down when the angle the cable makes with the water surface is 90 degrees.

12. Shorten Cable: To heave in, a portion of the cable so as to reduce the scope.

13. Hove In Sight- When an anchor is hove home, it is ‘sighted and clear’ at the point when the anchor crown shackle breaks the surface of the water.

14. Growing: The way the cable is leading from the hawse pipe, e.g. A cable is growing aft when it leads aft.

15. Snub Cable: To stop the cable running out by applying the brake.

16. Surge Cable: To allow the cable or hawser to run out under its own weight.

17. Range Cable: To lay out the cable on deck, a wharf or in a dry dock etc.

18. Nipped cable: The cable is nipped when an obstruction, such as the stem or hawse pipe lip, causes it to change direction sharply.

19. Open Hawse: When both anchors are out and the cables lead broad out on their own bows.

20. Clear Hawse: When both the anchors are out and cables are clear of one another.

21. Foul Anchor- This is the term used to describe the anchor when has caught on an underwater obstruction. The flukes of the anchor often get fouled by an old hawser or cable.

22. Foul Hawse- This term is used to describe the crossing of the anchor cables, when both cables are being used at the same time.

23. Elbow- It occurs when the cables are fouled in (Foul Hawse), when the ship has swung 360 degrees, an elbow is formed between the anchor cables.

24. Cross- It occurs when the cables are fouled (Foul Hawse), when the ship has swung through 180 degrees, a cross is formed between the two cables.

25. Render Cable: To apply the brake lightly so that when weight comes on the cable it will run out slowly.

26. Lee Tide–  A tidal stream which is setting to leeward or downwind. The water surface has a minimum of chop on it, but the combined forces of wind and tide are acting upon the ship.

27. Weather Tide- A tidal stream which is setting to windward or upwind. The water surface is very choppy, but the forces of wind and tide are acting in opposition on the ship.

28. Tide Rode- A vessel is said to be tide rode when she is riding at anchor head to tide.

29. Wind Rode- A vessel is said to be wind rode when she is riding at anchor head to wind.

30. Cat the anchor- The anchor is said to be catted when hung off from what used to be called the clump cat head. It is found in practice when mooring to buoys by means of mooring shackles with the cable.

31. Joggle Shackle: It is described as a long bent shackle, used for hauling cable round the bow.

32. Anchor buoy- A buoy used to indicate the position of the ships anchor when on the bottom.

33. Anchor Dragging- The anchor is said to be dragging when it is not held in the sea bed.

34. Anchor warp- It is the name given to a hawser or rope when it is attached to the anchor and used as a temporary cable.

35. Yaw- A vessel is said to yaw when at anchor when she moves to port & starboard of the anchor position under the influence of wind or tide.

36. Kedging: It means moving a vessel by means of small anchors and anchor warps.

37. Gypsy: The vertical wheel on the windlass through which the cable passes over.

38. Hawse Pipes: They are two pipes on either bow which accommodates the bow anchors.

39. Cable clench: A strong steel forged fitting in the cable locker for securing the bitter end of the cable.

40. Shackle of Cable: The length of a shackle of cable is 27.5 mtrs. It is defined by a length of cable between the joining shackles.

These are some anchor terms which we hope will be useful for all of you.

Want to know all about anchoring? Read this article: All You Need To Know About Anchoring Of Ship, which covers all aspects of anchoring.

Did we miss any other anchor terms? Let us know in the comments section.

  1. Hi I’m trying to find the English term for the French ‘Main de fer’ which means the springed line we attach to the bow of our boat (sailing yacht) and the anchor chain to alleviate the chafing of the anchor chain on the deck. I didn’t find it in your list. I’d appreciate your help. Thanks

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