Terrapin Tales

Musings from the land and waters



Anchors are a source of endless fascination to me. They have such interesting shapes and stories. They also represent the critical difference between success and failure during trying times.

Row Bird has two anchors. First is four-pound Lewmar claw anchor, with three feet of chain and 100 feet of three-strand poly rode. The whole thing lives in a roll-top canvas bag. I usually clip it to one of the knees in the boat so it can be deployed quickly in time of crisis. The claw is pretty good in sand (but what isn’t?) and generally is used as a lunch hook or auxillary anchor off the stern to stop the boat from swinging during tide changes or to avoid wakes. It’s useless for lots of harder surfaces and sometimes slides or rolls before digging in.

The main anchor is probably overkill. It’s an eight pound Danforth-style anchor with 15 feet of chain and 150 feet of three-strand rode. It works in all conditions except rock and has never failed me. The primary drawback is the awkward size and fluke which tries to gouge the boat, hence the goofy bag below. Read all about it here.

I was resistant to it, but ultimately have come to like the anchor buddy for short stays ashore or for beach camping with small tide changes. It looks dorky and takes a little time to figure out, but it really does work well. I wouldn’t trust it for long periods unattended.

I always slide a piece of marked flagging tape between the coils every five or ten feet so I know how much rode I have out.


There are two types of hatches on Row Bird. The Bowmar latched model above and the threaded type below. The Bowmar is big and easy to open/close, but doesn’t seem snug enough to endure a lot of water. The threaded model is entirely waterproof, though too snug and can be so hard to open that I don’t use it.

Sleeping Aboard

I sleep on the floorboards, head facing aft. I’ve made several tents over the years, my current one, which covers the whole boat is my favorite so far.

The flaps on either end can be tied back to allow ventilation, or pulled over the bow and stern to keep the entire interior space dry.

The material is coated, double ripstop nylon with the seams sealed with silicon. The tent works well for shedding rain, but doesn’t breath a lot. It is super light weight and easy to set up. The whole thing rolls up to a 6″ x 7′ pile that slides into a bag and is lashed to a thwart when not in use.

Important Business

When you sleep on the boat you can easily take care of #1, but when you’ve got to do #2, bucket and chuck it doesn’t work. Enter the saw dust, leaves, and bucket layering system. Doesn’t smell too bad, even after a week.


Trailering is easy. The boweye is tied to the front of the trailer and a ratchet block with webbing holds the middle of the boat in place. I use thick wool socks as cushions for the webbing.