I read with great interest the article by Dick McClary regarding his experiences with the jammed anchor shackle (Voyager finds shackle and anchor incompatible Issue 135, Jan./Feb. 2004). My wife and I are full-time cruisers for the last four years, and are originally from San Francisco but are currently in the Bahamas.
We have had exactly the same problem on our Island Packet 40, Tai Tam, with a Delta 55 anchor and a swivel anchor connector. We anchor out most of the time and have experienced this situation on many occasions requiring, in many instances, brute force (hammer) to “unjam” the connector to right itself. Well, finally somewhere in the San Blas Islands in Panama, we managed to actually cause the heavy-duty swivel shackle to deform. Apparently, in a previous night’s squall, the bending forces on the swivel caused it to bend. Fortunately we had a spare “regular” anchor swivel onboard and replaced the very expensive, but now useless, $200 stainless swivel anchor connector — and have not had a problem since.
I always believed that mine was an isolated case but now feel that sailors should be cognizant of this problem, as it obviously could create a dangerous weakness in the whole anchoring setup, so thanks to Mr. McClary for bringing this to our attention.
Thomas and Kathryn Knueppel are full-time voyagers and are currently in the Bahamas after setting out four years ago from San Francisco.