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The good advice that we received before setting off cruising has made our lives so much easier. Take for example the idea that we needed an anchor for our dinghy. It was just over a year ago that I commented on this but at the time, like most things I wrote about, it was all just theory. Now that we’re out here though, we use our little dinghy anchor frequently.

Many of the dinghy docks you find when cruising are less than perfect and could easily puncture an inflatable if it were allowed to repeatedly bump up against it. Not a problem if we have our little anchor on board though. After tying to a cleat, we simply cast the anchor out away from the dock and then secure the rode to the dinghy at the appropriate length.

Even if the dock is in good shape, another reason to deploy the little anchor is to make sure that your dinghy doesn’t end up underneath it if the tide drops and the wind is blowing towards the dock (even if the wind isn’t currently blowing that way, remember it can always shift direction). I don’t want to point fingers but this might have happened to some friends of ours. Fortunately it turned out OK for them but it could just as easily have turned into a dinghy-popping experience.

Note: Sorry Happy Times… I didn’t want to call you out but it was such a perfect example and I loved your blog post about it, especially the part about Mikayla laughing at you. 🙂

One thing that I should point out is that the little anchor shown in the May 2010 post that I linked to in the first paragraph is still the one that we use. We have however added about 6 feet of 5/16″ chain in between it and the rope rode. The extra weight makes it many times more effective!

In the photo above it is the dinghy anchor, secured to the stern, which is keeping us out from underneath the dock.

This dinghy has decided to hide under the dock. Photo courtesy of Happy Times.


  1. This trick with the little kedge anchor is also good for keeping raccoons and other undesirable critters out of the boat. (Yes, we’ve been boarded when we forgot to set it, and yes, they can open all sorts of containers….)
    It’s also a nice courtesy to other cruisers, as setting the kedge means your dinghy will sit well clear of the dock when left unattended, freeing up space for others to use without having to climb through your boat.

    • Good thinking about the critters!

      The only downside to approaching a dock where multiple boats have set out kedge anchors is that one needs to be aware of the rodes so as to not hit them with the prop.

  2. Good to know that the dinghy anchor that was given to us last year at a West Marine swap meet will come in handy! The guy kept trying to sell it to me, but I wasn’t interested since we didn’t even have a dinghy yet. By the end of the day the guy just gave it to me. Now we finally have a dinghy for the anchor! Thanks for the info!

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