Trouble-shooting the Alderney Ring method
Using the Alderney Ring is simple and safe as long as you set it up and use it correctly, and pay attention at all times. Some people try the method and it has not worked for them initially. Here are a few reasons why you may have problems until the Alderney Ring is set up properly.
The buoy sinks when you tow it
Are you using rope and just a few metres of chain? If so, you need a larger buoy.
Are you using a lot of chain? The method only works well for anchoring with rope and a few metres of chain.
You run over the rope
You need to swing wide at the start of the retrieval to run in parallel to the original anchoring line, and keep to that track. Watch for cross-winds which create wave patterns that make it easy to accidentally steer back over the rope. If in doubt, steer much wider than necessary.
The buoy does not slip down to the anchor, which means the anchor drops to the bottom when you stop
There can be several causes for this:
- You are travelling too slowly. You need to travel at sufficient speed to create drag on the buoy, it needs to have a foaming “bow wave” in front of it to help push it down the rope.
- The ring is too small or is uneven. You need a wide, smooth and rigid ring of about 15cms diameter that runs easily down the rope and along the chain. Test this on dry land first.
- The ring jams at the top of the chain. Make sure there is nothing to snag the ring. Standard shackles must be fitted with the curved side facing towards the boat. Preferably use allen key shackles (usually stainless) that have no projecting tang. Use a small soft eye splice on the rope without a thimble, in fact you can splice direct to the chain either with a soft eye spliced through the first link or with a full rope to chain splice (if you know how!)
- You have too much chain or the anchor is too heavy for the speed you are travelling. The anchor rope must stream out nearly horizontally behind you otherwise there will be a kink in the rope that the ring will never travel past. See the diagrams below. Figure A shows too much chain, the anchor is dangling down and the buoy will stick at a point along the rope caused by the angle of the rope. Figure B shows a lighter set-up, where the buoy slips easily along the rope.