Jimmy Green Marine

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Mooring Warps and Mooring Lines

  • LIROS 3 Strand Polyester Mooring Warps
  • LIROS Green Wave 3 Strand Mooring Warps
  • LIROS Braided Dockline Mooring Warps
  • LIROS Handy Elastic Mooring Warps
  • Marlow Blue Ocean Dockline
  • LIROS Super Yacht Mooring Polyester Docklines
  • 50 metre / 100 metre Rates - Mooring

Mooring Accessories

  • Mooring Compensators

Mooring Strops and Bridles

  • V shape Mooring Bridles
  • Y shape Mooring Bridles
  • Small Boat and RIB Mooring Strops
  • Mooring Strops
  • Mooring Strops with Chain Centre Section

Mooring Assistance

  • Coastline Bow Thruster Accessories
  • Max Power Bow Thrusters
  • Bonomi Mooring Cleats
  • Majoni Fenders
  • Polyform Norway Fenders
  • Ocean Inflatable Fenders
  • Dock Fenders
  • Fender Ropes and Accessories

Mooring Components

  • Mooring Swivels
  • Mooring Shackles
  • Mooring Cleats and Fairleads
  • Mooring Buoys

Mooring Information

  • Mooring Warps Size Guide
  • Mooring Lines - LIROS Recommended Diameters
  • Mooring Rope Selection Guide
  • Mooring Warp Length and Configuration Guide
  • How to estimate the length of a single line Mooring Strop
  • Mooring Ropes - Break Load Chart
  • Mooring Compensator Advisory
  • Rope Cockling Information
  • Fender Size Guide
  • Majoni Fender Guide
  • Polyform Norway Fender Inflation Guide
  • More Article and Guides >

Anchor Warps Spliced to Chain

  • LIROS 3 Strand Nylon Spliced to Chain
  • LIROS Anchorplait Nylon Spliced to Chain

Anchor Warps

  • LIROS Anchorplait Nylon Anchor Warps
  • LIROS 3 Strand Nylon Anchor Warps
  • Leaded Anchor Warp
  • Drogue Warps and Bridles
  • 50 / 100 metre Rates - Anchoring
  • Aluminium Anchors
  • Galvanised Anchors
  • Stainless Steel Anchors

Calibrated Anchor Chain

  • Cromox G6 Stainless Steel Chain
  • G4 Calibrated Stainless Steel Anchor Chain
  • Lofrans Grade 40
  • MF DAMS Grade 70
  • MF Grade 40
  • Titan Grade 43
  • Lewmar Windlasses
  • Lofrans Windlasses
  • Maxwell Windlasses
  • Quick Windlasses
  • Windlass Accessories and Spares

Chain Snubbers

  • Chain Hooks, Grabs and Grippers
  • Chain Snubbing Bridles
  • Chain Snubbing Strops

Anchoring Accessories

  • Anchor Connectors
  • Anchor Trip Hooks and Rings
  • Anchoring Shackles
  • Bow Rollers and Fittings
  • Chain and Anchor Stoppers
  • Chain Links and Markers

Anchoring Information

  • How To Choose A Main Anchor
  • Anchoring System Assessment
  • Anchor Chain and Rope Size Guide
  • The Jimmy Green Guide to the Best Anchor Ropes
  • What Size Anchor Do I Need?
  • Anchor to Chain Connection Guide
  • How to Choose Your Anchor Chain
  • How to Establish the Correct Anchor Chain Calibration?
  • Calibrated Anchor Chain - General Information
  • Calibrated Anchor Chain Quality Control
  • Calibrated Chain - Break Load and Weight Guide
  • Galvanising - Managing Performance and Endurance expectation
  • Can Galvanised Steel be used with Stainless Steel?
  • Windlass Selection Guide
  • More Articles and Guides

Stainless Steel Wire Rigging and Wire Rope

  • 1x19 Wire Rigging
  • 50 / 100 metre Rates - Wire and Fibre
  • 7x19 Flexible Wire Rigging
  • Compacted Strand Wire Rigging

Dinghy Rigging

  • Stainless Steel Dinghy Rigging
  • Dinghy Rigging Fittings

Fibre Rigging

  • LIROS D-Pro Static Rigging
  • LIROS D-Pro-XTR Fibre Rigging
  • DynIce Dux Fibre Rigging
  • Fibre Rigging Fittings

Wire Terminals

  • Cones, Formers, Wedges, Ferrules, Rigging Spares
  • Hi-Mod Swageless Terminals
  • Sta-Lok Swageless Terminals
  • Swage Terminals

Wire Rigging Fittings

  • Turnbuckle Components

Rigging Accessories

  • Rigging Chafe Protection
  • Headsail Reefing Furlers
  • Plastimo Jib Reefing
  • Selden Furlex Reefing Gear

Furling Systems

  • Anti-torsion Stays
  • Straight Luff Furlers
  • Top Down Furlers

Guard Wires, Rails and Fittings

  • Guard Rail Fittings
  • Guard Rails in Fibre and Webbing
  • Guard Wire Accessories
  • Guard Wires

Standing Rigging Assistance

  • Replacing your Furling Line
  • Fibre Rigging Break Load Comparison Guide
  • More Articles and Guides >
  • Cruising Halyards
  • Performance Halyards
  • Dinghy Halyards

Rigging Shackles

  • Captive and Key Pin Shackles
  • hamma™ Snap Shackles
  • Soft Shackles
  • Standard Snap Shackles
  • Wichard Snap Shackles

Classic Ropes

  • Classic Control Lines
  • Classic Halyards
  • Classic Sheets
  • Cruising Sheets
  • Performance Sheets
  • Dinghy Sheets

Sail Handling

  • Boom Brakes and Preventers
  • Lazy Jack Sail Handling
  • Rodkickers, Boomstruts
  • Sail Handling Accessories

50 / 100 metre Rates - Running Rigging

  • 50 / 100 metres - Cruising Ropes
  • 50 / 100 metres - Dinghy Ropes
  • 50 / 100 metres - Performance Ropes

Control Lines

  • Cruising Control Lines
  • Performance Control Lines
  • Dinghy Control Lines
  • Continuous Control Lines

Running Rigging Accessories

  • Anti-Chafe Rope Protection
  • Lashing, Lacing and Lanyards
  • Mast and Boom Fittings
  • Rope Stowage
  • Sail Ties and Sail Stowage
  • Shock Cord and Fittings
  • LIROS Ropes
  • Marlow Ropes

Running Rigging Resources

  • Running Rigging Rope Fibres and Construction Explained
  • How to Select a Suitable Halyard Rope
  • How to select Sheets and Guys
  • Dyneema Rope - Cruising and Racing Comparison
  • Dinghy Rope Selection Guide
  • Rope Measurement Information
  • Running Rigging - LIROS Recommended Line Diameters
  • Running Rigging Break Load Comparison Chart
  • Colour Coding for Running Rigging
  • Selecting the right type of block, plain, roller or ball bearing
  • Recycling Rope
  • Running Rigging Glossary

Plain Bearing Blocks

  • Barton Blocks
  • Harken Element Blocks
  • Low Friction Rings
  • Selden Yacht Blocks
  • Wichard MXEvo Blocks
  • Wooden Yacht Blocks

Control Systems

  • Ratchet Blocks
  • Stanchion Blocks and Fairleads
  • Snatch Blocks
  • Genoa Car Systems
  • Traveller Systems
  • Block and Tackle Purchase Systems

Ball Bearing Blocks

  • Harken Ball Bearing Blocks
  • Selden Ball Bearing Blocks

Roller Bearing Blocks

  • Harken Black Magic Blocks
  • Selden Roller Bearing Blocks

Deck Fittings

  • Bungs and Hatches
  • Bushes and Fairleads
  • Deck Eyes, Straps and Hooks
  • Pad Eyes, U Bolts and Eye Bolts
  • Pintles and Gudgeons
  • Tiller Extensions and Joints
  • Harken Winches, Handles and Accessories
  • Barton Winches, Snubbers and Winchers
  • Lewmar Winches, Handles and Accessories
  • Winch Servicing and Accessories

Clutches and Organisers

  • Barton Clutches and Organisers
  • Spinlock Clutches and Organisers
  • Lewmar Clutches
  • Harken Ball Bearing Cam Cleats
  • Barton K Cam Cleats

Deck Hardware Support

  • Blocks and Pulleys Selection Guide
  • Barton High Load Eyes
  • Dyneema Low Friction Rings Comparison
  • Seldén Block Selection Guide
  • Barton Track Selection Guide
  • Barton Traveller Systems Selection Guide
  • Harken Winch Selection Guide
  • Karver Winch Comparison Chart
  • Lewmar Winch Selection Guide - PDF
  • Winch Servicing Guide

Sailing Flags

  • Courtesy Flags
  • Red Ensigns
  • Blue Ensigns
  • Signal Code Flags
  • Flag Staffs and Sockets
  • Flag Accessories
  • Flag Making and Repair
  • Webbing only
  • Webbing Soft Shackles
  • Webbing Restraint Straps
  • Webbing Sail Ties
  • Sail Sewing
  • PROtect Tape

Fixings and Fastenings

  • Screws, Bolts, Nuts and Washers
  • Monel Rivets

Hatches and Portlights

  • Lewmar Hatches
  • Lewmar Portlights
  • Fids and Tools
  • Knives and Scissors

General Chandlery

  • Carabiners and Hooks
  • Antifouling

Flag Articles

  • Flag Size Guide
  • Bending and Hoisting Methods for Sailing Flags
  • Courtesy Flags Identification, Labelling and Stowage
  • Courtesy Flag Map
  • Flag Etiquette and Information
  • Glossary of Flag Terms and Parts of a Flag
  • Making and Repairing Flags
  • Signal Code Message Definitions

Other Chandlery Articles

  • Anchorplait Splicing Instructions
  • Antifoul Coverage Information
  • Hawk Wind Indicator Selection Guide
  • Petersen Stainless - Upset Forging Information
  • Speedy Stitcher Sewing Instructions
  • Thimble Dimensions and Compatible Shackles

Jackstays and Jacklines

  • Webbing Jackstays
  • Stainless Steel Wire Jackstay Lifelines
  • Fibre Jackstay Lifelines
  • Jackstay and Lifeline Accessories


  • Crewsaver Lifejackets
  • Seago Lifejackets
  • Spinlock Lifejackets
  • Children's Life Jackets
  • Buoyancy Aids

Floating Rope

  • LIROS Multifilament White Polypropylene
  • LIROS Yellow Floating Safety Rope

Guard Wires, Guardrails and Guardrail Webbing

Lifejacket accessories.

  • Lifejacket Lights
  • Lifejacket Rearming Kits
  • Lifejacket Spray Hoods
  • Safety Lines

Seago Liferafts

  • Grab Bag Contents
  • Grab Bags and Polybottles
  • Liferaft Accessories
  • Danbuoy Accessories
  • Jimmy Green Danbuoys
  • Jonbuoy Danbuoys
  • Seago Danbuoys

Overboard Recovery

  • Lifebuoy Accessories
  • Purchase Systems
  • Slings and Throwlines

Safety Accessories

  • Fire Safety
  • Sea Anchors and Drogues

Safety Resources

  • Guard Wires - Inspection and Replacement Guidance
  • Guard Wire Stud Terminal Dimensions
  • Webbing Jackstays Guidance
  • Webbing Jackstays - Custom Build Instructions
  • Danbuoy Selection Guide
  • Danbuoy Instructions - 3 piece Telescopic - Offshore
  • Liferaft Selection Guide
  • Liferaft Servicing
  • Man Overboard Equipment - World Sailing Compliance
  • Marine Safety Information Links
  • Safety Marine Equipment List for UK Pleasure Vessels

Sailing Clothing

  • Sailing Jackets
  • Sailing Trousers
  • Thermal Layers

Leisure Wear

  • Accessories
  • Rain Jackets
  • Sweatshirts

Sailing Footwear

  • Dinghy Boots and Shoes
  • Sailing Wellies

Leisure Footwear

  • Walking Shoes

Sailing Accessories

  • Sailing Bags and Holdalls
  • Sailing Gloves
  • Sailing Kneepads

Clothing Clearance

Clothing guide.

  • What to wear Sailing
  • Helly Hansen Mens Jacket and Pant Size Guide
  • Helly Hansen Womens Sailing Jacket and Pant Size Guide
  • Lazy Jacks Mens and Womens Size Charts
  • Musto Men's and Women's Size Charts
  • Old Guys Rule Size Guide
  • Sailing Gloves Size Guides
  • Weird Fish Clothing Size Charts

The Jimmy Green Clothing Store

Lower Fore St, Beer, East Devon, EX12 3EG

  • Adria Bandiere
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  • William Hackett

Clearance August Race Boat Cleaning Kit £26.00

Clearance LIROS Racer Dyneema £55.08

Clearance Folding Stock Anchor £123.25

Clearance LIROS Herkules £0.00

Clearance Barton Size 0 Ball Bearing Blocks - 5mm £0.00

Clearance Marlow Blue Ocean® Doublebraid £18.48

Mooring Clearance

Anchoring clearance, standing rigging clearance, running rigging clearance, deck hardware clearance, chandlery clearance, safety clearance, mooring bridles.

Jimmy Green LIROS Anchorplait ®   Bridles prove their worth when you want to split the loading between two fixing points, e.g. Port and Starboard Mooring Cleats, rather than a direct forward pull over the bow roller or a single cleat attachment at the stern. 

Jimmy Green Anchorplait Mooring Bridles can be deployed for:

  • Permanent Mooring Lines
  • Towing and Drogue Warp Alignment
  • Snubbing Lines on the Anchor Chain

The Jimmy Green Rigging Team can offer support and assistance via telephone or email for a bespoke solution.

Permanent Mooring Bridles

The selection process for determining the size of your mooring bridle:.

  • Find the column in the table below that best represents your Boat Length Overall.
  • Compare your displacement with the tonnage listed.
  • If the displacement is greater than displayed in your column in the table, or your yacht is a multihull, consider moving across to the next column to increase the diameter.
  • Take advice on local conditions and check the benchmark size from the table below against other similar-sized boats moored in your area.
  • Look at the mooring configurations on neighbouring yachts with a critical eye and judge whether your setup should be the same.
  • Consider whether you can make any improvements in terms of mooring convenience and anti-chafe measures.
  • Factor in the purpose of the bridle

This is the same chart as in our single-point mooring strop guide because although the load is mainly shared between the two tails on a bridle, there is no guarantee that one tail won't have to take the entire loading at any time.

Due to the wider bridle angle resulting from a broader beam, each tail on a multihull setup will take the entire load for a substantial proportion of the time at anchor or on a mooring.

Separate hardware-connected lines may therefore be required for catamarans and trimarans.

Single lines can be three strand (twisted lay) construction: 3 Strand Strops rather than Anchorplait if preferred.

Benchmark Guide for Single (or Double) Point Mooring Strops
Yacht Length Overall < 5 metres 5 - 6 metres 6 - 8 metres 8 -10 metres 10 - 12 metres 12- 14 metres 14 - 16 metres
Approximate length in feet < 16 feet 16 - 20 feet 20 - 26 feet 26 - 33 feet 33 - 40 feet 40 - 46 feet 46 - 53 feet
Displacement in tonnes 0.6 tonnes 1 tonne 2.5 tonnes 5 tonnes 9 tonnes 13 tonnes 16tonnes
Strop Diameter 14mm 16mm 18mm 20mm 24mm 28mm 32mm

Anchor Chain Snubbing Bridles

Bridles for Para Anchor, Yacht Drogue and Towing Warps follow the same principles as those for a Chain Snubbing Bridle, see below:

The load-bearing capacity of a snubbing bridle should typically be compatible with the anchor rode.

If the bridle is undersized, it will absorb the shock loads well but may ultimately be sacrificial.

If it is oversized, the shocks and surges may not put enough strain on the rope to make it stretch sufficiently and absorb the snatch.

This is the same chart as in our Anchor Rode Size Guide:

Benchmark Guide for determining the size of your Main Anchor Warp
Yacht Length Overall < 6 metres 6 - 8 metres 8 - 10 metres 10 - 12 metres 12 - 14 metres 14- 16 metres 16 - 18 metres 18 - 20 metres
Approximate length in feet < 20 feet 20 - 26 feet 26 - 33 feet 33 - 40 feet 40 - 46 feet 46 - 53 feet 53 - 60 feet 60 - 66 feet
Displacement in tonnes 1 tonne 2.5 tonnes 5 tonnes 9 tonnes 13 tonnes 16 tonnes 20 tonnes 25 tonnes
Chain Size 6mm 7/8mm 8mm 8/10mm 10mm 10mm 10/12mm 12 metres
Warp Diameter 10mm 12mm 14mm 14/16mm 16mm 18mm 20mm 24mm

Jimmy Green Multihull V Bridle Advisory

The wider angle involved with setting up a V bridle on broad beam multihulls may make it prudent to deploy separate hardware-connected lines.

Mantus Marine manufacture a  BRIDLE PLATE  solution.

Single lines can be three strand (twisted lay) construction:  3 STRAND STROPS  rather than  ANCHORPLAIT  if preferred.

Size guidelines vary for application:


LIROS Anchorplait® White Nylon Article 01058JG - 100% Nylon (Polyamide) - Facts, Features and Plus Factors

Anchorplait® is a Jimmy Green Marine UK Registered Trademark.

Anchorplait® is manufactured exclusively by LIROS Ropes for Jimmy Green Marine.

Anchorplait® features Easy Splice Markers designed by the Jimmy Green Rigging Team.

The eight-strand construction (two pairs left hand, two pairs right hand) delivers a balanced performance with no twist under tension.

In fact, Anchorplait falls and flakes like a chain.

Anchorplait is the rope that will not cockle - the interlocking opposing pairs resist rotation.

LIROS Anchorplait is the optimum rope solution for producing V Bridles for two excellent reasons - the consistently reliable quality of the LIROS rope and the suitability of the construction for forming a dependable, trustworthy centre eye splice.

LIROS Anchorplait:

  • LIROS manufacturing excellence and consistency
  • 100% Nylon (Polyamide)
  • UV stabilised
  • Square braid construction
  • Non-kinking
  • Balanced braiding
  • The eight-strand construction (two pairs left hand, two pairs right hand) ensures a balanced performance and no twist under tension
  • Zero possibility of cockling - the interlocking opposing pairs resist rotation
  • Falls and flakes like a chain
  • Dependable, robust strength
  • Reliable durability
  • Excellent weathering and wear resistance
  • Remains flexible for the duration of its working life
  • Supreme Shock Absorbing Elongation, >20% working load stretch
  • Spliceable into a robust, secure V-shape termination – centre eye splice

LIROS Anchorplait and Octoplait Nylon Break Load in daN:

10mm 2400daN - 12mm 3300daN - 14mm 4400daN - 16mm 5600daN - 18mm 7000daN - 20mm 8140 daN - 24mm 11800daN

LIROS specify their minimum break loads in Dekanewtons (DaN)

Kg force is a more recognisable illustration of strength, so you can convert the LIROS DaN values as follows:

1 Dekanewton = approximately 1.02 kg force

Therefore, the strength for any given diameter will be higher in kg than in daN, e.g. 11800daN = approximately 12036kg

Plain white LIROS Octoplait Nylon article 01058 with only LIROS tracer yarns is also available.


Jimmy Green V-Shaped Anchorplait Bridle Splicing

A Jimmy Green V-shaped bridle is based on the Anchorplait centre eye splice (with or without a thimble/chain hook).

  • The bridle consists of a continuous line, made into a soft loop around a fitting or formed around a hard thimble eye with a Brummel locking tuck splice.
  • The strength of the bridle is therefore not reliant on a Y Joining Splice, i.e. splicing two separate ropes together.
  • The maximum deployment angle must always be set up with caution, but the centre eye splice is much less prone to failure at a wider than optimum angle than any joining splice between two separate ropes.
  • It is impossible to successfully put a centre eye splice in a rope of three strand construction.

Jimmy Green Advisory on V Shape and Y Shape Anchorplait Bridles for Multihulls:

The same principles apply to a multihull, but the length of the tails and the angle they create must be carefully considered due to the extra beam.

The maximum angle of deployment must always be set up with caution.

The extra tail length required to keep the angle within prudent parameters may result in too large a swinging arc and a general lack of control.

For wide-span catamarans and trimarans, it will be advisable to use two separate strops shackled together to make the V shape.

A further short strop can also be deployed at the apex of the V to make a Y shape.

Mantus manufacture a  BRIDLE PLATE for connecting a mooring system.

Boat Length (Permanent Strop)

  • 5-6 metres up to 1 tonne (3) 6-8 metres up to 2.5 tonnes (3) 8-10 metres up to 5 tonnes (2) 10-12 metres up to 9 tonnes (4) 12-14 metres up to 13 tonnes (4) 14-16 metres up to 16 tonnes (5) up to 5 metres or 0.6 tonnes (3)

Rope Diameter

  • 6mm (4) 12mm (4) 14mm (4) 16mm (4) 18mm (4) 20mm (4) 24mm (3) 28mm (4) 32mm (5)
  • Black (18) Navy (18) White (27)
  • Nylon (24) Polyester (21)

Purchase Type

  • Custom Build (27) Spliced Set Length (1)
  • Gleistein (3) LIROS Ropes (22) Marlow Ropes (3)

LIROS 12mm Anchorplait/Octoplait V shape Mooring Bridle

Liros 14mm anchorplait/octoplait v shape mooring bridle, liros 16mm anchorplait/octoplait v shape mooring bridle, liros 18mm anchorplait/octoplait v shape mooring bridle, liros 20mm anchorplait/octoplait v shape mooring bridle, liros 24mm octoplait v shape mooring bridle, marlow 28mm multiplait v shape mooring bridle, gleistein 32mm octoplait v shape mooring bridle, liros 12mm anchorplait/octoplait y bridle single part, liros 12mm anchorplait/octoplait y bridle - v part, liros 14mm anchorplait/octoplait y bridle single part, liros 14mm anchorplait/octoplait y bridle - v part.

Musings on anchor bridles

  • February 15, 2014


As I sat in the cockpit with our boat gently tugging at her mooring in Great Harbor, Jost Van Dyke , I took note of the catamaran just astern of us. The crew of the cat had rigged their mooring bridle at a very large angle, something we have done in the past as well.

Note the angle of the bridle legs.

They likely did so because the balls at that location have very long pennants but it made me think of some of the physics related to how rock climbers rig their anchors. A properly-rigged bridle actually splits the forces applied to the boat. This is in addition to helping to stop the boat from sailing around at anchor. Unbeknownst to many though, an anchor bridle with legs too short actually increases the forces applied to the boat, substantially in some cases. Take a look at the graphic below.

I ran my thinking past my friend Drew , a fellow PDQ owner and very experienced climber. With his permission, I have copied his reply to me below.

Particularly at narrower angles, the strain will actually come onto just one leg when the wind suddenly shifts. Thus there is a point of diminishing returns at about a 30 degree angle. I’m sure you’ve seen this. If the bridle is too long it will ride on the bottom, and several bad things can happen: chafe ( it’s fiber ), snag, and the hook comes off. In deep water this is minor, but on the Chesapeake I seldom anchor in more than 7 feet of water. One cure, if you want the long lines for shock absorption ( which matters more in shallow water ) is to run the lines along the side deck and cleat mid-ships. I doubt it matters to you, but when you go very shallow, particularly if there is any risk of surge, it really helps. Of course, if the waves start to break and you’re in the impact zone, you’re hosed. No cat can handle waves breaking on the bow at anchor; too much area. Footprints lost their Gemini that way, as did some Aussie . Another reason not to anchor too near the beach. Longer bridles give more shock absorption, which is good in shallow water with all chain. But see the problem above; the apex drags. The same math also applies to Bahamian moor. The angle should never exceed 120 degrees, because the force goes through the roof if the wind comes from the side. By the same token, if the wind shifts and you are on a shallow angle, the load will all be on one anchor ( the reason 2 anchors are pretty pointless in most storms; better to have a big Rocna, no?! ). In fact, this applies to any sort of anchor or rigging. Climbers, for example, aim for the 40-60 range; greater angle and the strain is more, lesser angle and the load is all on one if there is any swing. This is particularly bad for climbing anchors, because the anchor may shift in the crack. So for many reasons, 40-60 degrees is a sort of sweet spot.

Great info. Thanks Drew ! If you are interested in some excellent reading with very valuable technical info, do check out Drew’s blog !

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I would say mine is in the 45-90 degree angle probably closer to 90…Good info with scientific reasons why…Good stuff

I think most people set it at a decent angle. Some just might not we aware of how it affects them.

Another place this comes into play is jacklines, those safety lines that make us feel better at night and when it’s nasty. Increase the mass to 500 pounds–the impact if you tripped from the cabin top, for example–watch the calculation go to 2850 pounds, and remember that the breaking strength of most jacklines is ~ 4500-5000 pounds when they are new. In practice jacklines are very dependable–the point is they need to be that strong.

Excellent point!

In cases in which you wanted a very short bridle perhaps a bridle with 3 legs could be used in which the center leg were composed of lighter cordage and brought back directly to a cleat in the windlass area. With careful tensioning of this center leg it could act as both a shock absorber and a load diverter such that the loads on the two side legs were acceptable.

It’s early now but that sounds complex. 🙂

Umm, you raise a valid point, and I don’t disagree with your results — but the diagram is a little misleading isn’t it? Even high school physics / mechanics tells you that the 100kg weight in the centre will end up with a horizontal and vertical component in the vectors applied at the bows – the arithmetic sum of which will still be 100kg. How can they possibly be more than 100kg? If you have 100kg “hanging there” ……regardless of the angles, the force applied is still 100kg.

I have not pulled out a scientific calculator to verify the formulae shown on this page but perhaps you may wish to:


Mike – good link, but I don’t think its the same. The link you refer to is about using 2 anchors, both of which drag on the bottom. As they’re dragging towards each other, there is a horizontal load. In your case, as you look at a bridle, the bridle – if I’m not mistaken – is fixed to two immovable objects, your two bows. What about this? If you string a rope between the two bows and step on the rope, at one side, or in the middle, the amount of force you produce is still limited by your body weight. Wouldn’t you think? Anyway, it would make for a very good topic of conversation over a beer, next time we see each other face to face …….and that could be a while.

I look forward to that chat. Just for clarification though, when the author says anchor, he does mean an anchor in a nautical sense. He is specifically talking about climbing anchors which are fixed, like our bow cleats. Happy cruising!

Well noted Mike. In fact this is the same physical principle we all take advantage of when we step with a foot on a cleated mooring line to get the boat closer to the dock instead of pulling the line directly. Cheers, Marco.

Apparently so.

I guess I have to go back and review some physics and especially, some math!

Better get a scientific calculator too.

Excellent information. I had never put much thought behind the physics and loading on a anchor bridle. I have no experience on cats (trying to learn more), but have seen several cats use a bridle with loops spliced into the ends (basically set length) where the loop is just placed over the mooring bollard on each hull when being used as an anchor snub, not seen it used on a mooring. From what you have seen, is that a common practise?

Drew’s comment on the jack lines is so true. Really need to take extra care of them, as you never know when you may depend on them to stop you disappearing. We always rinsed the jack lines in fresh water after a race, never leaving them on deck unnecessary.

To secure to a mooring we use dual dock lines, each one beginning at a cleat, looping through the mooring ball or pennant and then led back to the same cleat that it originated from. In this way we can adjust the length and the angle.

I can’t agree with the “We always rinsed the jack lines in fresh water after a race, never leaving them on deck unnecessary…” viewpoint. While that makes sense to racers, it doesn’t make sense to many cruisers. We use jacklines when… * alone on deck, * at night, * when the water is cold, * when it gets rough, * when under spinnaker (short handed boats can’t turn around quick, and we consider a full crew), * and if there is risk of squalls.

You simply can’t be running around rigging jacklines in marginal conditions, alone, when there is deck cargo to be double checked and sails to furl or lower. The jackline needs to be there.

In other words, every day. The racer’s approach–with full crew and possibly chase boats–sounds to use like only wearing a seat belt when you need it… which is every day. How do you deal with UV? Either replace frequently or make them or something more UV resistant. Even for racers, jacklines that are there every day means you have practiced with them.

Ours are always rigged. For the most part, we had it that way on ZTC too. UV is no-doubt an issue.

Hi Drew, I didn’t mean to imply removing them while sailing, after race when you are back at the marina or mooring. 🙂 I have seen many race boats which leave all the safety head in deck until the next race. Taking care of equipment which potentially will save a life seems logical.

No need to learn celestial navigation when the misapplication of good old trigonometry can cost you the boat or live just as fast. 😀

The change in line loads are a bit counterintuitive but none the less very real. Thankfully the experiment to prove this is rather simple. Take a luggage or maybe fish scale, splice it into one leg of a bridle and attach a weight. Then observe the scale while pulling the bridle from parallel to a flatter angle.

I guess it’s time to exchange the good weather for more science in Mikes next video. 😉

I can’t actually tell if you’re agreeing with the post or not. 🙂

I did take out a fish scale and did as you suggested though. Although far from scientific, the force applied to the line did appear to be greater than the weight that I applied to it when the end points were separated at a great angle.

For the record, I agree. It is just a bit counter inductive. Most will just remember the pulley principle where the effort gets reduced. For some reason virtually all pulleys use parallel lines. And the reason is in above math.

Btw, I also checked my math with an old scale before writing the prior comment. Science! *g* Why did we never do such a relatively simple experiment to reinforce trigonometry lessons in school? It even contains fun with division by zero. We only did abstract stuff without any application… (I then studied electronics. Which contains lots of trigonometry you can’t see.)

There are always compromises. Two factors we all know but that were not mentioned.

1. A short bridle keeps the ball from hitting the hulls when the wind goes light and the cat drifts over the ball. This is the only reason I ever go that short.

2. A long bridle is better at aligning the boat with the wind. That’s why we have bridles in the first place. But how much is enough?

How many of you have ever moored or anchored without a bridle. Simply the line/chain over the bow roller to a strong cleat?

I do it every time. My cat does not sheer from side to side. There is no problem. Plus, it is easy.

Why complicate it?

Not even an option with the Leopard. It sails a lot.

Where does your anchor leave your boat? Starboard or port bow? Center-front of tramp? Center-aft of tramp?

Hey Mike, I’ve been searching for answers on the web for our particular problem, and this blog posting of yours actually came up although its really not the problem we are having, but might explain why the boat behind you had such a short bridle (I think that was your point, right?) But the problem we are having is with moorings….I hate them, and for good reason. Every time we hook up to one, when the wind stops, our boat rides up over the mooring ball, and the rope between the ball and the mooring rubs under whichever hull is the closest and proceeds to just wear away all our bottom paint. Happened again last night at St. John…..as soon as the wind stopped and the harbor was smooth, the ball went right between the hulls and the mooring was basically behind us as the boat couldn’t turn around because it was basically stuck “between our legs”. The only solution I’ve read about is to bring in the line that hangs off the mooring ball itself all the way as far as we can onto the boat. We have a cleat right next to our windlass and a roller up on our cross bar that we pulled the line over and got it right next to the cleat and looped it around several times with a spare line. What it does is keeps the ball from having enough slack to get on the other side of our hull and use the rope as a sander on our paint. The problem is that the park guy came by and said that we aren’t supposed to hook it up that way…we are messing up the mechanics of the way the mooring is supposed to be used. So, what did you guys do? I figure if a 60 foot mono hull can use that mooring, and they would weigh much more than my little 16,000 pounds, then I shouldn’t be messing up the load to the mooring any worse. Maybe the guy in your picture was just trying to keep the bridle as short as possible so that the ball wouldn’t be able to cross under his hull when ever the wind died down. Btw, we would normally hook up our long bridle to the eye loop on the mooring rope….but that would leave about 20 foot or so between our boat and the ball…and that’s where the problem is coming in. (sorry if I submitted this question more than once…was having a glitch when I was submitting it)

In certain places with squirrelly winds, and on balls with very long pennants, what you’re describing can be a problem. There are a couple of places that we liked to stay in the BVI where this would always occur. It typically only happens when the wind dies or is extremely light though. If our local knowledge told us that it was likely to occur, we would rig our bridle lines directly to the ball itself (same two lines we normally use), ignoring the pennant altogether. We secure the boat to the pennant as we normally due and then either from the dinghy, or while swimming, change the lines, one by one, to the eye on top of the ball (or some other spot not likely to chafe our lines). The only downside is that if the boat spins around a lot, your lines could get tangled. This has happened to us on at least one occasion. Your park ranger likely wouldn’t approve of this either.

That’s what a swivel is for, to keep the bridle from getting wrapped up and tangled. I don’t suppose most cruisers carry one or use a double bridle much on a monohull. Where we were in Chicago last summer everyone used a double bridle hooked directly to the mooring ball in this way with a swivel as that was the specified equipment. A few folks left out the swivel and their lines would get twisted up to the point that they sometimes broke, and then the boat would drift away into other boats and eventually the seawall where it would often break up and sink if nobody was there to save it. A couple of boats end up sinking this way every year in the harbor we were at. 2015 was a bad year with 3 boats sinking in the harbor because of bridle failures.

A bridle of about 25 feet also acts as a snubber which can reduce the shock loads of an all-chain rode by 2/3. these are not just for cats, but monohulls too can benefit. If dragging on the bottom is an issue in very shallow anchorages then the bridle can be ran back to the midship cleats. To combat the fear of the chain hook coming off there are many improved hook designs that secure the hook to the chain in such a way that it can’t come off.

Mantus anchors recommends a long bridle, and also sells a fairly decent chain hook that won’t fall off the chain when it goes slack.


I’m lost… what part of this post has anything to do with bridles getting twisted?

For the record, I am, in general, not a fan of swivels. In almost all situations they are unnecessary, and add a potential failure point to the system.

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Multihull of the year

Jonathan and his wife Josephine bought their Lightwave 38 new, and sail out of their homeport of Sydney, Australia. The couple regularly sail to the tropical north, but with places like the Whitsundays becoming increasingly popular, they decided to move their annual cruises south. Tasmania enjoys at least one Storm Warning a month through the summer, and many more in winter. The couple’s ground tackle has been honed to meet the demands of anything the Southern Ocean and Roaring Forties can throw at them. This article is a description of part of their ground tackle developments.

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Published 18/06/2021

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Multihulls, catamarans in particular, have been using bridles for decades. The major reasons to use a bridle were to reduce veering and to take the load off the windlass. Sadly, most multihull bridles miss one of the major advantages of introducing rope between chain and yacht because the common multihull bridle lacks elasticity. Multihull bridles tend to be too short and too large in diameter and if you want any snubbing effect, you need elasticity. Elasticity is simply best achieved with thin, long, commonly, nylon rope.

trimaran anchor bridle


Multihulls at anchor are subject to three primary effects, the windage of the vessel, yawing or veering (movement of side to side of the vessel caused by vessel characteristics or a wind that gusts from different directions) and horsing, up down see-sawing motion caused by waves, swell or chop. The common perception is that the windage of a vessel, in particular a catamaran, is a major concern. Indirectly this is true but directly the tension caused by the windage in a steady wind is well within the holding capacity of a correctly sized rode and anchor, properly set in a good holding seabed. It’s the movement of the multihull (or any other vessel) or bad luck that might cause an anchor to drag - not a steady tension caused by windage. Most modern 35 lb/15kg anchors will hold a steady pull of a couple of tons - a tension unlikely to be developed by a catamaran in any imaginable wind sized for such an anchor! It is snatch loads resulting from movement and lateral loads that are the killer - not ‘in line’ windage.

We often assume the quality of the ground tackle based on the anchor – seen here, a Spade. But the chain and the bridle are just as important! Our 75m (250’) of 6mm chain, in the near 2 pails, replaced the original 50m (160’) of 8mm chain, in the rear 2 orange pails, saving both space and weight - but sacrificing catenary. 


The reason that veering can be the most catastrophic is simply that the multihull can ‘sail’ at anchor and any speed it develops can produce tensions in the rode well beyond windage. During testing at short scope, we have measure snatch loads of ‘only’ 650kg (1,450 lbs) - they are frightening, but the anchor has held. These tensions developed by veering can be increased with additional tensions from chop and swell, caused by the wind or a passing motor boat. The anchor rode has similarities to the bungee cord. A common chain develops a catenary when deployed, that ‘sag’ in the chain, and as the wind develops that sag is removed (in part) and the straightening of the sag is the chain absorbing some kinetic energy. If the wind eases that sag returns as the yacht is pulled forward. Unfortunately, catenary has a finite limit and at the point when the chain ...

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Mooring a trimaran vs a monohull

QUESTION: I am coming from a monohull and considering my first trimaran. Are there any differences I should know about as far as anchoring and mooring are concerned?

ANSWER: Yes, a few things to note and prepare for. But first let me clarify that there are many different ways to moor a boat and certainly some that I'm sure work well that I've not yet tried, seen or even heard about. So please send in your own tips and if pertinent and interesting, I'll feature them in this chapter. Meanwhile, I will tell you what has personally worked well for me.

The first thing you might have to do, is to pick up your mooring! If there's plenty of water around your buoy, then practice coming in on a beam or close reach and then rounding up head-to-wind and see how far your particular boat travels. You will most likely find that a multihull approaches much faster but also decelerates faster than a monohull of the same size. It will depend a lot on whether there is a chop and how much wind, but once into the wind, the boat may not advance more than one boat length. A lighter boat will decelerate (and accelerate) faster than a heavier one whose forward momentum will help the boat carry on into the wind.

For the approach, I generally make sure the main is slackened off to slow the boat but work with the jib sheeted to retain good forward motion and steerage until I am ready to round up. Keeping in mind that I mostly do this solo (even if there is someone else on board), so I'll bring the tiller back to the center before running forward.

You'll probably find that once slowed to nearly a stop, your multihull will quickly pick up some serious side drift and soon be bearing off, sails filling and off sailing again before you had time to even think about it — so you need to either be ready and organized to catch the mooring first time or at least have a plan for sailing past it, bearing off or tacking, to make a fresh approach. If you sail over the mooring buoy, try to keep it closer to the ama than the main hull. There, it will not hang up with any brackets or waterstays.

Picking up the mooring.

This will depend on how the mooring is set up but first, let me say that I almost always 'sail' up to a mooring, rather than motor. (I just find it more controllable, as having learnt to sail in England just after the war, we almost never used motors or even owned one and believe me, the narrow rivers and estuaries were packed with small boats too). If there is a small dinghy moored there already and it is low enough*, I prefer to round up and sail a trimaran right up over the dinghy, so that it passes between the ama and the main hull. I can then go on the tramp to the forward aka and grab the dinghy's mooring line (painter) as it passes under.

trimaran anchor bridle

If for the first time, you're not sure the dinghy will pass under, then take it on the outside of the leeward ama, grab it's mooring line.  Then unsnap the dinghy and loop it around a cleat on the ama (or snap it to the tramp) and then walk the mooring line smartly forward, to cleat it on the main hull of the trimaran. Once you're attached you'll have time to get more organized… first lowering the jib and then the mainsail.

If it's a rubber dinghy, you're not taking much risk by trying to steer the boat so that the trampoline sails right over it, but you'll need to watch the antics of the dinghy carefully as you approach as they have a habit of turning 90 degrees just as you come up to them! If so, aim at brushing the dinghy bow with either the main hull or ama, so that it is turned fore-and-aft again where it should be.

If there is no dinghy, then take the mooring buoy between the main hull and the leeward ama. If the buoy has a loose mooring line already attached to it, you might find it helpful to use a boat hook to grab a line and then cleat it. If you really come in too fast, then you might just take the line up over the forward aka and hold it firmly down on the trampoline close to the main hull for a few seconds, until the boat decelerates and stops and then walk it forward for cleating. If your main hull is really too high above the water to reach the buoy even when kneeling or lying on the deck, then you can also pick it up off an ama but in this case, be ready to slip a line through the ring and walk it quickly to the main bow once the boat has come to a stop.

trimaran anchor bridle

I've had a few other sailors make these clobberhooks after seeing mine, but as I almost always have a dinghy left on the buoy, I mostly used the sailover approach where I could grab the buoy without needing the extra reach.

trimaran anchor bridle

Permanent Mooring

Mooring a multihull, tri or cat with a single mooring line, does not work well. The combination of a light boat with nearly double the side windage, will have the boat sailing around from one extreme tack to the other, all day and night if there is a wind.

trimaran anchor bridle

For a short picnic stop, I prefer (on a 24–27' tri) to use a small Bruce anchor with no moving parts, 3-4ft of chain and a 3 ⁄ 8 " nylon mooring line. It's simple to handle and a Bruce of only 8–10lbs has a surprising capacity. But if you're in a place where you might experience some wind while moored overnight, you might want to rig up a bridle for the anchor line too. What I usually do then is put out my main anchor of 17 lbs (plus 6 ft of chain) and a scope of at least 5 times the water depth (usually in fairly shallow water). I'll then take a bight in the anchor line and make a loop. I then snap in the hooks of my mooring bridle into the loop and pay it out until the bridle takes the anchoring load. I've found that such a loop in a relatively large diameter anchor line has never pulled tight enough to be hard to undo, so this simple system has worked well for me.   If it's windy, having a small flag tied firmly astern, can help the boat to weather vane head to wind.    Just 2 sqft can help.    For mooring overnight, running a stern line to a tree on shore is a secure way to prevent the boat from sailing around.   If that stern line is long enough, you can simply wrap it around a tree and back to the boat.  That way, you only have to let go one end and haul in the line, so enabling you to pull away from the beach without having to go ashore again.  

See also a 2020 article of Anchoring Tips (link below)

Casting Off

While one could say this is a reverse of anchoring, perhaps there are a few things worth mentioning. I'll typically put down all the rudder blade and just a foot of daggerboard, haul up the main first (making sure the mainsheet is loose and free) and then take in the bridle, leaving the boat moored temporarily on a single line to the bow.

Once ready to leave, I'll haul up the jib and decide which tack gives me the most space. A multihull will often drift quickly to leeward for a few feet before gaining forward motion so you'll need to allow for that. If you're leaving a dinghy on the mooring, bring the end of the short central mooring line (that's attached to the buoy) and snap it on to the mooring line of the dinghy, on the outside of what will be the windward ama as you cast off. I'll then hold the mooring line (now uncleated) and watch the natural swings of the boat on the central mooring and as she starts to bear off on the right tack, I'll back the jib. At the same time, I'll hold the single mooring line (now with dinghy painter attached) and pull it aft along the windward ama, (making sure it does not foul with any cleats) and then let go. This gives the boat a good take off and adds enough steerage way to sail off the mooring with good control.

As I said in the preamble to this article, there are many ways of doing this but this one works well for someone who is often sailing single-handed as I do.

Mooring Cleats

While trimaran amas over 20ft (6m) will generally have space for real cleats, deck space is tight for smaller boats, so here is what I suggest and use on my W17.   For sure, install a solid 6" (150) cleat on the Main Hull foredeck, as you never know when you will need a tow and this also serves for your main anchor line.   But sometimes you may need to moor at a dock and need lines attached to other parts around the boat.    For this, I prefer to install a strong S/S eyestrap on each corner of both amas.   These have mounting holes for at least 3/16" (4mm) S/S bolts or sturdy screws that can be installed in epoxy if under-deck access for Nyloc nuts is not readily available.    The eyestraps have the advantage that other ropes cannot accidentally be caught around them and they are also lightweight and take very little space.    For docking itself, you can either use dedicated 3/8" nylon mooring lines of say 12-16ft (4-5m) with one end spiced to a snaphook, or you can simply attach such lines with a bowline to the eye..   These straps are even strong enough to use with a mooring bridle, as you can still have a slack back-up line to the main cleat, as noted above.

For any sort of emergency, the strongest place to attach a rope to a boat like the W17 is to loosely loop it around one of the main beams and tie it off with a bowline.   

For more on ANCHORING , go here.

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The Science of Stern Anchoring

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S ailboats yaw at anchor. In prior reports we discussed seriously yawing can compromise anchor security, and we talked about how a riding sail can calm this motion by altering the balance of forces (see “Yawing and Anchor Holding”  PS  February 2020 and “Rest Easy with a Riding Sail”  PS  August 2019). Both cruisers and researchers have noticed that most boats sit quietly when anchored by the stern; the center of windage is forward of the center of underwater resistance, which is stable.

D onald Jordan, inventor of the Jordan Series Drogue and noted heavy weather researcher, went so far as to suggest that in certain circumstances, a boat might hold more securely in a storm if it were anchored from the stern. Yawing is virtually eliminated, reducing the wind load and minimizing side-to-side forces on the anchor. But search as we might, we could find no data to support this argument.

The most obvious problem with this approach on most boats is the vulnerability of the rudder, cockpit, and companionway to breaking seas.


To test the hypothesis that wind and sea loads could be reduced on a boat that is anchored stern-first, we dug out our handy dynanometer and went to work. We anchored by bow and stern, comparing yawing, wind load, motion, and livability. We tested with two multihulls, which are generally more prone to yawing—our F-24 trimaran and a PDQ 32 cruising catamaran.


We anchored by the stern with a very short bridle and by the bow with a long bridle; this rigging results in similar yawing behavior, allowing us to compare rode tension in isolation from any variation in yawing patterns. The bottom was firm sand and the rode was 3-strand nylon at 7:1 scope. Wind varied from 10-30 knots over two days of observation. Waves in the sheltered anchorage were minimal.

The Science of Stern Anchoring

Like many contemporary small boats, the test boat has an open transom and could not be safely anchored by the stern in open waters. Rode tension was measured with a load cell.


Wind and wave data really need to be broken into two parts; variations that were impacted by the shape of the bow and stern; and variations that were due to the amount of yawing.

Ultimately, when we compared loads at the same angle of yaw there was a 10 percent increase in rode tension when anchored from the stern instead of the bow.

The precise numbers are difficult to pin down, however, since the load rises and falls with time, the boat surges with the gusts, and there is error in both wind and force measurements. To smooth out these variables, we took many readings and averaged the data. In small waves, there was very little difference between loads when anchored from the bow or stern.

It seemed plausible that on some boats, however, yawing would be more pronounced, perhaps over-riding any hydrodynamic issues when anchored from the stern. With a long bridle anchored from the stern, the F-24 trimaran sits very quietly. It yaws about 20-30 degrees, as short-term wind oscillations nudge it one way or the other. We tried to correct for oscillations, but they are often too rapid to distinguish from the yawing caused by the imbalance of forces.

Anchored by the bow without a bridle the boat yawed as much as 140 degrees, and only about 50 degrees when similarly anchored from the stern. When a boat yaws through these extreme angles, the actual load on the anchor is more than two times greater than when the boat sits still (as much 240 percent). This is because as the boat yaws, the greater surface area of the topsides is exposed to the wind.

Anchored by the stern, yawing was reduced to about 20-30 degrees, the same as when anchoring with a long bridle. Thus, anchoring by the stern can significantly reduce rode tension caused by yawing. Keep in mind, however, there are many means to control yawing that can be simpler than stern anchoring—using all-chain rode, raising a riding sail, adding a bridle, a kellet (a weight to induce sag in the road), or hammerlock mooring (a short -scope anchor that drags on the bottom), setting “V” or tandem anchors, or making other adjustments (see “ Tandem Anchoring ,”  PS September 2016 and “ Other Methods to Control Yaw ,”  PS  January 2022).

The Science of Stern Anchoring

Although we tested in sheltered locations with only 6- to 12-inch chop, the difference in the amount of pitching motion between stern and bow anchoring was considerable. When anchored from the bow, the pitching is a milder version of that experienced when sailing to windward; a gentle fore-aft rocking. When anchored from the stern, the motion is much quicker and more irregular. This is the result of waves rising under the broad stern sections, causing the transom to rise quickly. Even small chop was unpleasant.

Anchored from the bow, waves are nearly silent in sheltered waters. Anchored from the stern, there is an audible slap every time a wave hits the transom or underside of the hull. Additionally, since the sound originates from the stern and the companionway is typically open, it is quite audible in the cabin.

The Science of Stern Anchoring


On a windless day in a steamy harbor, a breeze coming in through the companionway sounds inviting. Our actual experience has been different. We anchored our PDQ 32 catamaran from the stern a few times over the years, reasoning that with a hard top and open salon, this would funnel more air through the salon than the forward facing salon roof hatches. We thought the aft cabins would be cooler, since the roof hatches faced aft. We were wrong. When anchored from the bow, the large hardtop produces a low-pressure area in the cockpit, drawing air through the cabin more effectively than when anchored from the stern. We tested using an F-24 trimaran, which has a forward-facing hatch over the V-berth and companionway configuration common to small monohulls. Ventilation was slightly better in the aft half of the cabin, but there was less air movement in the V-berth (see “ Feeling the Breeze ,”  PS  September 2020).

The most serious downside when anchored stern-to is increased weather exposure. When the PDQ 32 was anchored by the bow, we could keep the salon door open through the most violent hail storm, but even mist was a problem when anchored by the stern.

Aboard the F-24, we can leave the companionway open when anchored by the bow, so long as the mini-dodger is in place, a nice boon in hot weather. Anchored by the stern, rain pours through the companionway every time you go on deck. Both boats are drafty when anchored by the stern in cold weather; even doors that have proven rain-tight admit annoying drafts, and if you open the door, the temperature drops 10 degrees in seconds.


The shape of the transom has an effect on safety when anchored from the stern. For example, the F-24 trimaran has an open transom, and although we tested in protected waters, we know that in open waters waves would roll right into the cockpit. Swamping the cockpit requires fairly big seas, because the boat rises with each wave. As soon as crests begin to break, you can bet they’ll fill the cockpit.

The PDQ catamaran, on the other hand, has relatively narrow transoms and a high bridge deck. Because of its center cockpit design, the minimum height before water can reach the cockpit is nearly 5 feet. Although larger waves can make a bit of noise on the swim platform, the boat is very safe in following waves. Nevertheless, every time we tried anchoring by the stern, we switched back to the bow within an hour.


On a smaller boat with a lightweight anchor stored in a well, such as the F-24, setting a stern anchor is simple. Just carry the anchor down the side deck, outside the shrouds, and deploy over the transom, attaching a simple bridle to the stern cleats. Recovery is even easier: release the bridle, allow the boat to swing bow-to, and recover the anchor in the usual manner.

For boats with chain rodes and windlasses, things are more complicated. One solution is to have a dedicated stern anchor and rode, which is kept in the lazarette.

Your stern anchor weight is restricted by what you can handle manually, including recovery, and the rode must be mostly rope. Handling will usually be manual (cockpit winches are often not oriented to take loads from this direction), and breaking out a well-set anchor is tough. If the main anchor is to be used, we found it simplest to anchor in the usual manner, and then use a long snubber line (about 1.5 times the boat length) secured at the stern to turn the boat. This must then be rigged as a bridle, even on monohulls, which further complicates the process. There is always the risk of getting the rode around wrapped around the keel in the process. The whole endeavor is a nuisance in fair weather and just plain complicated when it’s blowing hard.


Does your boat yaw in a real blow? If you’ve never anchored in over 40 knots try this experiment. Instead of anchoring with all-chain, anchor with rope-only (no chain) on a breezy day. This simulates the way your chain will lift off the bottom and become ineffective at controlling yawing in storm. Try moving windage aft, adding a bridle or riding sail, or rigging a hammerlock mooring. Two anchors rigged in a broad (90-120 degrees) V will control yawing.

Don’t bother with a kellet; it won’t help in storm conditions, because, like the chain, it too will lift off the bottom. If all efforts to prevent yawing fail, you may want to investigate anchoring from the stern. There have been reports of sailors anchored by the stern through strong storms, including hurricanes. They reported an awful experience, with a terrible up-and-down motion and rain driving through the companionway, but in all cases the anchor held and boat did not yaw. As with all anecdotal tales, there is no way of knowing what would have happened had they been anchoring by the bow.

Based on our testing, we remain doubtful that a stern-to approach to storm anchoring is practical.


Yawing was greatly reduced by anchoring from the stern. This seems universal. The wind load was not increased measurably by the lack of streamlining, and was considerably reduced by the elimination of yawing. But livability was reduced, especially in wet or cold weather.

We wish we had stern anchoring data from storms, but there is little field experience, and our negative experiences have disinclined us from testing. The numbers tell us it could make sense for a monohull with narrow transom (a double-ender perhaps) that yaws a lot, but most boaters would be wiser to find another solution to yawing, and securing the rudder amidship to prevent damage would be essential.


So now lets talk real world! Consider a 40′-50′ monohull sailboat, on a bow anchor with a 5:1 scope, and a 25′ snubber attached. and the bow hunts continuously! How do you deploy a stern anchor?? Is a stern anchor a reasonable solution? what scope? does it need a snubber too? how do you recover it (the windlass is in the bow? How heavy a rode is needed?

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Catamaran Sailing Techniques Part 3: Anchoring and picking up a mooring – with Nigel Irens

  • Matthew Sheahan
  • February 17, 2016

Catamarans can be a bit frisky at anchor, but multihull expert Nigel Irens has some tips to make anchoring and mooring safer and more comfortable

trimaran anchor bridle

The general game plan in anchoring on a cat under power is much as it is on a monohull – approach the spot where you intend to drop the anchor from dead downwind and signal to the foredeck when you are ready for it to be dropped.

The only snag is the catamaran’s stubborn desire not to remain in a stable condition head-to-wind in anything but the lightest breeze. It’s just as well, then, that the twin engines allow you to hold station and heading reasonably well, provided you’re firm with the controls and act with as much deliberation as you can muster.

It obviously helps if you can avoid hanging around too long in limbo with no way on – which invites that headwind to take control of the boat.

Keeping your position

Once the anchor is on the bottom you can drop back downwind – once again playing the engine controls to help the boat stay head to wind until the point where you have snubbed the anchor in.

If you’re operating in waters that are free from tidal movement or other currents you might expect to lie head to wind like the other boats around you, but there’s another snag that needs to be addressed before you can feel relaxed about this. The problem is related to the above-mentioned reluctance of a catamaran to lie head to wind, although with any luck your boat will already be fitted with a solution to this one.

What happens is that the boat starts to range around the anchor. This process begins as the bow falls off to one side or the other and the boat starts to ‘sail’ forward – say at about 45° to the wind axis. Eventually the bow will be forced to come head to wind because the direction of travel can only be a radius around the anchor.

Eventually the boat slows down and comes to wind, but because the anchor rode is still pulling the bow to one side the boat tacks through the eye of the wind and sets off with renewed vigour on the other tack.

It’s not hard to imagine that this cyclic pattern can repeat itself until the boat is careering about, taking up much too much space in the anchorage and generally winding up the neighbours. Viewed from above the physics of this phenomenon is not unlike that which makes a flag flap.

The bridle takes the load and the anchor chain to the boat is now slack. Note recovery line

The bridle takes the load and the anchor chain to the boat is now slack. Note recovery line

To solve the problem the anchor rode needs to be attached to a bridle rather than directly to the bow roller. This involves attaching one end of a rope to each bow and the middle of the resulting span to the anchor chain or warp. As the bow of the boat falls off the wind axis the tendency is for the rope on the lee bow to take the load as the windward one goes slack.

This asymmetric load will be far more effective in putting the boat back head to wind before it has had time to build up any speed than a single rode to the centreline.

Anchor sequence

You can experiment with the length of the bridle, but something approaching an equilateral triangle (as viewed from above) seems to work pretty well, although the boat you’re sailing probably has the bridle already set up correctly and ready to use.

Clear hand signals are also required when raising the anchor to help the helmsman reduce load on the windlass

Clear hand signals are also required when raising the anchor to help the helmsman reduce load on the windlass

So the sequence of events in anchoring is roughly as follows:

  • Pick the best looking spot to anchor
  • Approach the chosen spot from downwind and give the crew the go-ahead to drop the anchor when you’re in position.
  • Move astern downwind as the crew pay out the anchor rode and snub the anchor in.
  • Set the bridle and slacken the anchor rode until the load is taken up by the bridle.
  • If the boat won’t settle at her anchor for some reason – fickle winds, some unwanted counter current or whatever – you may have to think about laying a second anchor.

This is best done from the tender and although the learning curve might be quite steep, a bit of trial and error could leave you better placed for the day you need to ride out heavy weather from a known direction.

The second anchor should be set so that the angle between the first and second anchor chain is between 90° and 60°.

Picking up a mooring

If you are picking up a mooring rather than anchoring, visibility – or the lack of it – might be a problem, so the old tactic of getting a crewmember to hold the boathook aloft from the forward end of the boat and point it at the buoy is as good a way as any of telling the helmsman what’s happening.

If the buoy you’re aiming to pick up has no rope or chain leader attached to it then it might be almost impossible to get a temporary line through the ring without launching the tender – especially if your freeboard is high. If so there’s a cheeky work-around involving offering the boat up to the mooring stern first.

Using a boat hook to help guide the helmsman to the buoy that you want to pick up. Don’t worry about looking like a whaler about to launch a harpoon!

Using a boat hook to help guide the helmsman to the buoy that you want to pick up. Don’t worry about looking like a whaler about to launch a harpoon!

For a start the helmsman should have both a good view of the buoy and the ability to communicate with the line handler. Once a line has been attached, the helmsman should be able to spin the boat round easily enough so the line handler can to bring a slack mooring line round to the bow as the boat turns – but not so slack as to risk it getting sucked in by the propeller, which could be embarrassing at best and dangerous at worst.

Mooring sequence

A recap on the procedure would read something like this:

  • Find the buoy you have been allotted – or choose a suitable one if you haven’t had any specific instructions.
  • Bring the boat up to it from downwind and get the crew to bring up the leader with the boat hook, get a temporary line through the eye and secure the free end on a cleat or any other strong point that comes to hand.
  • That’s it – you’re safe! It just remains to set the bridle as above and you’re done.

Anchoring or picking up a mooring under sail is more difficult than would be the case in a monohull. This results from that old problem about catamarans being more skittish than monohulls, having more windage above the water and less hull below it.

That is not to say that it couldn’t be attempted when an anchorage is spacious enough and not overcrowded. On the contrary, taking on such challenges in the right conditions helps build confidence and develop the skills necessary to anticipate the way the boat will behave in different circumstances.

Ultimately much of the pleasure that sailing has to offer involves mastering new skills and developing prowess in handing whatever boat you happen to be sailing.

Inevitably doing so involves taking on challenges that will get your adrenalin popping from time to time – as it is meant to do. It was ever thus!

Do’s and don’ts

  • DO spend some time practising holding your catamaran head to wind under power.
  • DO snub the anchor in properly so that you can feel the boat being tugged forward when you put the engine back in neutral.
  • DO make sure your crew are properly briefed about their role in making anchoring and mooring a pleasure.
  • DON’T forget to make sure they know they should delay paying out more chain after the anchor has hit the bottom until the boat is visibly moving astern. This avoids the risk of chain piling up on top of the anchor and perhaps fouling the flukes.
  • DON’T drop an anchor if there really isn’t enough space. A catamaran needs more space than other boats because it is big and often a bit frisky at anchor.
  • DON’T give up too easily – you have an ace card to play in that you draw less than the average monohull so can probably find some clear water that’s no use to them! In tidal waters you can even dry out and have a very peaceful night.

Our eight-part Catamaran Sailing Skills series by Nigel Irens, in association with Pantaenius , is essential reading for anyone considering a catamaran after being more familiar with handling a monohull.

Part 4: Cruising upwind under sail – potentially a cat’s weakest point of sail

Series author: Nigel Irens

One name stands out when you think of multihull design: the British designer Nigel Irens.

His career began when he studied Boatyard Management at what is now Solent University before opening a sailing school in Bristol and later moving to a multihull yard. He and a friend, Mark Pridie, won their class in the 1978 Round Britain race in a salvaged Dick Newick-designed 31-footer. Later, in 1985, he won the Round Britain Race with Tony Bullimore with whom he was jointly awarded Yachtsman of the Year.

His first major design success came in 1984 when his 80ft LOA catamaran Formule Tag set a new 24-hour run, clocking 518 miles. During the 1990s it was his designs that were dominant on the racecourse: Mike Birch’s Fujicolour , Philippe Poupon’s Fleury Michon VIII , Tony Bullimore’s Apricot . Most famous of all was Ellen MacArthur’s 75ft trimaran B&Q, which beat the solo round the world record in 2005.

His designs have included cruising and racing boats, powerboats and monohulls, but it is multis he is best known for.

See the full series here

A special thanks to The Moorings, which supplied a 4800 cat out of their base in Tortola, BVI. www.moorings.com

trimaran anchor bridle

What is a Catamaran Bridle and How to Make it, Step by Step!

trimaran anchor bridle

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While at anchor you want to be relaxing not only yourself but also the boat, this means that the boat can not be swinging around from left to right and jerking around as soon as there’s a small shift in the wind.

On a monohull, this is not a big issue since firstly it has a big keel that slows down the swinging (even though it will still roll, which I think is worse) and it has only one hull making balancing the boat on an anchor a little easier (even though many use bridle on monohulls as well).

A catamaran on the other hand has two hulls and balancing it can be a little tricky. This is where the bridle or snubber comes into place.

Table of Contents

What is a Catamaran Bridle?

A Bridle (aka snubber or anchor snubber) on a catamaran is a device that will make the catamaran able to connect to an anchor at the center of the boat instead of on one of the bows, this makes the catamaran stable on anchor reducing its tendency to swing with the wind and minimizes the jerking motion which may lead to the anchor disconnecting from the bottom.

trimaran anchor bridle

In the picture above you can see the triangle-shaped “rope” called bridle (or at least I hope you can, my sketching isn’t perfect, I know 😉 ) Worth to notice is the equal distance between both hulls and the top of the triangle if this point is centered you will also get a well-balanced anchorage, if the position of the connection is moved either to the left or right it will increase the swinging of the boat.

trimaran anchor bridle

On this side view, I’m trying to show you how the anchor rode and bridle work together, the anchor rode connects to the bridle and the bridle connects to the boat, the rest of the rode is under no load and simply hangs free. This makes for enhanced safety. For this system to fail three things have to happen.

Firstly, even though on side of the bridle breaks you’re still hanging on to the other side, this is not optimal of course but it might be way better than just drifting away. And even if the second bridle connection gets destroyed the boat is still connected to its anchor through the standard anchor rode.

This gives a layer upon layer safety system which is a principle that should be implemented everywhere it can be.

How not to set up your bridle!

If you don’t connect the bridle so that the point of pivot is in the middle it will affect the way the boat swings around with the waves and wind. Offsetting the pivot point, as seen on the sketch above, will give the forces leverage on the left side and therefore pivoting the boat to the right.

This movement will continue until the boat moves so far to the right that forces acting on the right side is greater than that of the left, when that happens the boat will start to move to the left and the process repeats itself. This makes for a very unstable anchorage.

Attaching the bridle to the crossbeam is also a bad idea since it is not as strong as attaching it to proper chainplates made to withstand huge forces on the bows. The crossbeam is mainly used for pushing and pulling forces coming towards the center or away from the center, not vertical forces such as a catamaran climbing a wave at anchor.

trimaran anchor bridle

If your on a boat that doesn’t have a cross beam but instead has a solid deck (such as many old Prout catamarans) then you might also have a really strong anchor roller placed in the center (or amidship), with this setup there is less of a problem with the connection on the boat coming lose, but you’re still missing the shock absorber function that we will discuss below.

How does a Bridle reduce the jerking motion

Since the boat almost never will be perfectly lined up with bridle, chain/rode and anchor there will always be a little bit of slack on one side of the bridle triangle.

This means that when the boat catches some wind and starts to move it will first tighten up one side of bridle, then it has to move towards the center of pivot where both sides of the bridle will be under an equal amount of tension.

This means that the jerking cannot happen in the same way since moving the boat requires a lot of energy, and that takes away the energy from the jerk so when the boat reaches its center the energy has dissipated creating a smooth breaking instead of an instant jank.

This leads to a smooth and slow transfer of tension from the boat to the anchor.

Do it your self Catamaran Bridle/anchor snubber!

You can buy a full kit or you can make one on your own, I recommend buying one since your entire boat is at stake. Losing your anchor at midnight just because you did the knots wrong just sucks, (believe me I have tried it, and I ended up on the beach… I learned a lot from that, and below is the result from what I learned)

trimaran anchor bridle

  • Get the right measurements of your boat, make sure you measure from two solid points on the boat, preferably cleats. Make sure you get a proper rope considering aspects such as boat size, weight, etc. you can also reinforce it with anti-chafing covers made from old hoses.
  • Using the schematics above you can calculate what length you need, make sure you add some extra for the knots. it’s better to go for some extra length, you can always remove that, splicing is more difficult.
  • At the center of the rope tie an alpine butterfly loop, (or something similar) this will be the part that the anchor chain will attach to. Alpine butterfly loops are great since they can easily be removed and you can use the rope for other purposes if you need to, this I would definitely recommend that you add some chafing covers too.
  • At the ends of the rope that attaches to the boat, I recommend using bowline knots since they’re strong and easy to break open when not under load.

There are variations of this, for example instead of the alpine butterfly you could use a prusik knot, which will make it possible to adjust the center point, this might be useful if you see your boat dragging to one side but might require some more advanced knot tying skills and different sized ropes making the assessment of whether or not you have the correct size a little more difficult.

How to Tie an Alpine butterfly knot

Here are some cool videos from Animatedknots.com on how to tie the above-mentioned knots! I recommend practicing these before you actually use them on your boat, you want to make sure you really understand how they work and that you can make them with enough confidence to trust your boat and the comfort of you and your crew.

How to tie a Bowline Knot

Owner of CatamaranFreedom.com. A minimalist that has lived in a caravan in Sweden, 35ft Monohull in the Bahamas, and right now in his self-built Van. He just started the next adventure, to circumnavigate the world on a Catamaran!

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In this episode, Joe teaches us how to approach and successfully and safely secure a catamaran to a mooring ball, as well as how to correctly set up a bridle. Joe demonstrates this as a solo sailor and also the communication involved in this between a helmsperson and crew member.

trimaran anchor bridle


  • Wind & Tide   – approach a mooring much like you would when you’re anchoring a boat, from downwind. Very slow, very controlled, up towards the mooring and then stop just on top or just before we get to the mooring.
  • Other boats   – The gaps you’re going through might be quite small. So it’s about keeping a good lookout. If you’ve got a crew member on the bow anyway, ready with a boat hook to pick up the mooring, then you can utilize them as your second pair of eyes and ears.

trimaran anchor bridle


  • Colour   – Police moorings in general, in Australia anyway, are blue. So, it’s generally best to avoid them.
  • Public/ Private   – look on your chart or your chartplotter for public moorings. These are set in place, serviced regularly, and available for public use.
  • Weight limit   – It may say on it or on the chart the weight limit. You need to make sure that the mooring is graded correctly for your vessel

trimaran anchor bridle


  • Prepare the foredeck area   – get the boat hook ready. Set this to maximum length
  • Aim for mooring   – (Halfway between centre and helm side of the catamaran). Initial approach to the mooring ball will be using the wheel and the engines in conjunction. Guiding the boat and getting it on track from downwind.
  • Lock the wheel about a boat length from the mooring ball   (making sure it’s centred)
  • Approach the mooring using the engines   – at this low speed, the only way to effectively steer the boat is using both engines in and out of gear.
  • A burst of reverse   – Once you lose sight of the mooring ball let the boat drift for another metre or so, so that it’s directly underneath that crossbeam. Then go into reverse just to bring the boat to a stop.
  • Walk to the front, grab the boat hook, and grab the mooring ball.

trimaran anchor bridle


It’s really important to brief the crew member on what you want them to do and to communicate the location of the mooring ball.

  • Point to the mooring ball
  • Countdown – It doesn’t matter whether you use feet, meters, inches. Using fingers signal to the helmsperson how far you are from the mooring ball.
  • Hands as a fist to symbol stop the boat
  • Grab the mooring ball

trimaran anchor bridle



  • Cleat   – utilise the spare anchor roller, run the line over that to the cleat on the cross beam
  • Pull in all other lines 

BRIDLE   – Using two additional mooring lines

  • Take mooring line   (tie a bowline in the end if needed)
  • Secure to the bow cleat
  • Run the line from the bow.
  • Pull through the mooring ball.
  • Run back the same way and cleat.
  • Repeat on other side.
  • Ease all lines out and over the bow
  • Adjust if needed

trimaran anchor bridle


  • Undo line 1
  • Undo line 2
  • Pull in lines –  this is essential so they don’t go into the sail drive.
  • Back to helm   – quickly to take control of the boat


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anchor snubber bridle logo

Probably more information than you ever wanted to know about anchor snubbers and bridles

Anchor Snubber & Bridle Design

Anchor snubber design is straight forward but bridle design is slightly more complex. Many folks don't realize the choice of hooks limits the options on bridle types and vice-versa. The two most common types of bridles are Y-spliced and two independent legs. Y-spliced bridles will accept most hooks but with independent leg bridles it's trickier.

boats with anchor snubbers in storm

A simple line and a hitch for snubbing is still fairly popular, especially with old salts. Braided nylon line and recycled climbing rope are common because they are elastic and easier to tie than 3-strand. The rolling hitch, icicle hitch and the prussik knot (requires a loop of rope or sling) are common hitches and knots used for attaching the line to the chain rode. Some hitches have better holding power than others (icicle), some are more difficult to remove after being wet and loaded (rolling) and others are less impactful on rope strength (prussik). This basic snubber can be had for the cost of a length of line and the time invested in a YouTube video or Animated Knots tutorial on how to tie a hitch.

Designs with Hooks

If the thought of a hitch on a chain standing between staying set or dragging anchor on a windy night isn't your idea of security, you should consider a hook. Given the scope of the topic, we've dedicated a full page to it. Check out our snubber bridle hooks page for details. Next up, how to attach the hook to the lines.

Line Spliced or Tied Directly to Hook

There are four common methods of attaching the hook: a simple knot (bowline is common), splicing the line directly to the hook, splicing a hard eye directly to the hook, or attaching the hook using a shackle. I'll address the latter two in the next section. Whether you tie a knot or splice the rope directly to the hook without a thimble, the resulting rope strength will be reduced by half. Ok, that makes sense for knots but doesn't a splice preserve much of the rope's strength? Yes, but when the line is bent 180° around the small radius of a hook's eye (image lower right), then the rope's strength takes a ~50% hit. Sure, increasing rope size might solve the strength issue but it's less elastic for a given length than smaller diameters and much of the snubbing benefit is lost. If you choose to splice directly to the hook, remember it's another splicing effort and 1-2 feet of line to change the hook out. Either way, if you're going directly to the hook, check the eye carefully for burrs or rough areas that might accelerate chafing. If it was a windy night and I was on the hook with this design, I would probably have my head sticking out the deck hatch most of the night checking for drag. [Image: left - hook tied with knot, right - line spliced directly to hook's eye]

anchor snubber knotted to hook

Hard Eye Designs

In the author's opinion, if you're going with a snubber instead of a bridle, this is the design that provides a peace of mind when the wind kicks up. If sized appropriately, snubbers with hard eyes and bow shackles accept most hooks and are ideal for everyday use and even a hard blow. This design preserves more of the rope's strength than other designs. A splice typically reduces rope strength by ~10% and the bend around the thimble deducts another 10%. That's right, 20% right off the top, but it's better than the 50% - 60% using the methods above. If the hook's eye will accept a thimble directly, you can eliminate the shackle; however, using a shackle makes it easy to change hooks. In addition to maintaining a large radius bend to preserve rope strength, the thimble reduces rope chafe on the eye as it lies between the rope and the hook or the shackle. Boats that are heavy for their length and/or have a high wind profile should probably opt for heavy duty thimbles. [Image: Common snubber design sold by manufacturers]

anchor snubber common basic design

Y-spliced bridles are essentially a single line snubber with a 2nd line spliced into it. Many manufacturers use this design since it affords the consumer a wide array of hook options (since the bridle has a single eye like a snubber, most hooks should work). Similar to the snubber designs discussed above, consider a design using a hard eye and shackle to attach the hook. The greatest downside to the Y-spliced bridle is it lacks two fully independent legs; the point from the Y splice to the hard eye is essentially a single line. This design does not provide full redundancy or a significant increase in strength similar to the independent leg bridle. [Image: Y-spliced bridle during fabrication]

anchor bridle y splice design

  • Ideal for monohulls and boats that are not excessively heavy for their class. Vessels with significant wind profiles or that are heavy for their class should consider independent leg bridles.
  • Fair-weather, weekender or other boaters unlikely to be caught in a severe storm should be fine with this bridle type.
  • Full-time cruisers should opt for two independent legged bridles if possible. The range of conditions and the likelihood of getting caught in a storm are greater - having full redundancy in the lines seems like a safer bet
  • Y bridles should not be used on catamarans unless the bridle has long legs and the full length of the legs is deployed in all but the lightest wind. With the wide beam on catamarans, short deployments create a wide inside angle where the 2nd leg is spliced into the primary one. Taking a cue from the lifting industry, loading a bridle with a high inside angle can cause extraordinary loads on the splice and the lines. For a detailed explanation and images see the Catamaran Anchor Bridles page
  • This design should NOT be used for storm bridles

Bottom line: Y bridles are commonplace, and failures are seemingly rare on monohulls. Heck, I build and sell them at 48° North Marine, but, let's face it, they are a compromise (albeit small) due to the lack of hooks that can accommodate two independent legs.

Independent Legs

Bridles made from two independent lines provide strength and redundancy where bridles fail most often: the rope. The primary issue with this bridle type is only a few hooks are designed to accommodate two independent legs. Most hooks on the market do not readily support independent legs without over-sizing the shackle.

Hooks with multiple eyes (Seadog Chain Gripper Plate) and hooks with large eyes (Victory Hook) are designed to support bridles with two independent legs. These hooks are manufactured by brand name companies and have been on the market for many years, but neither, unfortunately, are load rated. Most other hooks on the market are not well suited for independent legs and require a grossly over-sized shackle to adapt them. I use "grossly" with intent here. Simply upsizing the shackle to the first size that will accommodate two hard eyes is not viable; the thimbles will not sit correctly in the shackle. Shackles need to be upsized by 2 or 3 sizes to provide ample room for the thimbles. Example: A pair of 3/4" thimbles (or hard eyes) will fit into a 5/8" shackle but the thimbles hang from their edges. A 3/4" shackle will allow some thimbles to seat well, but a 7/8" or 1" shackle may be required for others. Assuming a 3/4" SS shackle can be used, that's 2 lbs of shackle with a cost (at the time of this writing) of $59.00 for the cast version and $146 for the forged version. A 7/8" SS shackle is 4.3 lbs, $66.00 for cast and $167.00 for forged. A 1" is 5 lbs and $96.00 for cast (I didn't want to look at the forged cost!). These are beasts; hence my choice of the adverb "grossly".

Bridles with two independent legs are probably the better choice, but considering the limited number of hooks suited for this design, or the mutant shackle requirements to adapt incompatible hooks, it's easy to understand why y-splice bridles are popular. [Image: Bridle w/ 2 independent legs on Victory style hook]

2 leg anchor bridle

Brummel Splice

Brummel spliced bridles are uncommon but are sold by a couple of manufacturers. Brummel splicing requires plaited or single-braid rope and tucks the rope back through itself multiple times creating an eye. Brummel splicing on a bight in the middle of a length of rope yields two legs to form the bridle. If you're unfamiliar with this splice check it out at Brummel Eye Splice | Animated Knots . While this design can use any hook on the market, its strength is equivalent to a single line, similar to the Y Bridle above. It's solid for the weekend boater and, hey, it sure looks nice, too.

Two Snubbers in Tandem

Deploying two snubbers in tandem extends all the benefits of a bridle - superior strength and full redundancy across all components: rope, shackle and hook. This assumes the snubbers are made with hard eyes, and the rope, shackle and hook are appropriately and similarly rated. Deploy one leg as a snubber and when the wind pipes up or the motion becomes uncomfortable, add the other snubber and enjoy the benefits of a bridle. This method works well with eye-grab hooks and hitches when attached to consecutive links. Unfortunately, most other hooks would have to be spaced too far apart, rendering this method mostly ineffective.

Storm Bridles

When you consider the kinetic energy of a boat squares with an increase in boat speed of one knot, you understand the load a snubber or bridle is subjected to in a gale. While not having personally experienced winds greater than 50 knots at anchor or a bridle failure, I've heard from readers on how their bridles failed. Here are some design considerations for a storm bridle:

  • Don't use a snubber - a bridle is the better option; think redundancy.
  • If you are a seasonal, fair-weather, weekend sailor and planning to purchase a bridle, don't buy a storm bridle for everyday use. Right-sizing for the conditions typically experienced is the better approach or you lose the benefits a bridle provides.
  • If you are a part or full-time cruiser, or someone who is likely to get caught in foul weather with some regularity (fair-weather sailor living in the higher lattitudes), consider purchasing an everyday bridle AND a storm bridle.
  • Lines should be sized up in diameter and length - many cruisers state their storm bridles are 25% longer than their boats.
  • Buy rope from a reputable manufacturer and check its Working Load Limit (10% - 20% of tensile strength; we use 12%). If it's made to the Cordage Institute's standards, all the better.
  • Hardware should be sized up AND upgraded. Shackles should be forged and sized for the increased load
  • Load rated hooks that cradle the chain link are recommended
  • Heavy-duty thimbles are an imperative. Heavy-duty captive or closed thimbles are best. If an open thimble is used, seizing must be done just above the thimble's apron (e.g. near prongs at the opening of the thimble)
  • Seizing should also be done on the rope splice immediately below the thimble's apron. Yes, you read that correctly, seizing the rope to the thimble directly above the thimble's apron, and again on the rope splice immediately below the apron.
  • Seizing should be done with 1.5mm or larger whipping thread or sailmaker's thread (at 48°North, we use #7 sailmaker's thread) and should be tied off multiple times through the course of seizing for redundancy. Why all the extra seizing? Under extreme loads, the rope stretches and the thimble can fall out or turn in the eye causing the prongs to cut into the line.

We've been writing about the chain end but what about the boat end? Some manufacturers add soft eyes while others leave the ends untreated. Bridles for catamarans frequently have hard eyes spliced into them for shackling to bow eyes. Sailors are never short on opinions but I haven't heard an argument strong enough to sway me out of the "it's purely personal preference" camp. Interjections:

  • Soft eyes can be convenient and encourage a full deployment, but I rarely deploy all 50' of our bridle. For me, the soft eyes might be used half-a-dozen times in the 50 - 75 nights we're out each year. Further, what happens when you're head-to-wind and you're broached by swell or current? You venture out in your PJ's, pull in one bridle leg until the motion improves, cleat hitch it, take a gander at the stars and go back to bed. For others, perhaps they have a Samson post, or use a shorter bridle that is always fully deployed and have the ability to stow the bridle on deck; soft eyes would be ideal. If you request soft eyes, you should consider having anti-chafe spliced into them. Finally, if you like the inexpensive tubular anti-chafe, you can't replace it without unsplicing the eye - you have to upgrade to the fancy velcro stuff or re-splice the end.
  • A naked bitter end is my personal favorite - melt, treat and whip the end - life is good. Inexpensive tubular anti-chafe is easily added or replaced, and can be adjusted to wrap the cleat hitch, the lines as the pass through chocks or hawses, or to cover the bow roller for snubbers. Naked ends are less expensive all the way around.
  • Hard eyes are commonly used with catamarans and smaller monohulls where they attach directly to bow eyes with shackles. This configuration encourages full deployments (important on catamarans; see our Catamaran Bridle page for details), eliminates chafing and makes deployment easy. It also allows adjustments for motion by retrieving line on one side and cleating it. Whether or not anti-chafe should be added to the line probably depends on how frequently you make motion adjustments.

Regarding soft eyes and untreated ends, there's no wrong decision. If, in the end, you feel like you've made the wrong decision, it's easily remedied with a YouTube video and a fid.

Doug Neil, 48° North Marine Publish Date: 10/30/2020 Last Update: 2/17/2023


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