Review of Anchor trip link clip

When using an anchor, there is always a chance that it will get stuck or foul on some underwater obstruction. When this happens, and you cannot pull it free, you end up losing  your anchor and chain. So, various tricks and gadgets are used to help retrieve the anchor when it is snagged. I have been using a bridle, and alot of people use a weak link (eg. a cable tie with a nick taken out of it).

The lads on the Anglers Afloat forum found an ingenious device called the Anchor Trip Link on ebay…

The clip comes in 2 different types – I bought the smaller kayak variant. I came complete with a clear set of instructions…

The anchor trip clip

This clip is designed to open when applied tension reaches a certain point. The point at which the clip opens can be set by moving a trigger. The image above shows the clip and the moveable trigger (about halfway along the clip).

One end of the clip is attached to the anchor warp or chain, and the other end is attached to the top eye of the anchor.

I used a 5mm carabiner to attach the clip to the top of the anchor. This makes it much easier to attach the clip, particularly in the case when the anchor has tripped and the link needs to be re-attached to the anchor (this would be quite difficult to do using a shackle ,as suggested in the instructions). You can see the gap in the anchor trip link where the carabiner releases from the anchor when pressure is applied…

Attaching the clip to the anchor

The other end of the anchor trip clip is attached to the anchor chain (once attached, it stays in place, even when the anchor trips). The instructions suggest that you allow 2 anchor chain links worth of slack between the bottom of the anchor and the clip. The theroy behind this, is that when the anchor snags, you are pulling against the clip and not the anchor which helps to release the clip. In practice, this will need to be tested on the water…

Clip attached to the anchor and the chain

This is what the anchor should look like when the anchor trip link is in place and the anchor is ready to be deployed.

Anchor ready to be deployed

Once deployed, the anchor should be able to retrieved without tripping/opening the clip. The anchor trip clip should only open when the anchor is snagged. When the anchor becomes snagged, the idea is that you give a sharp pull on the anchor line – the increased pressure should trip the trigger and allow the top of the anchor to release from the clip. The chain is then only attached to the bottom of the anchor, which should allow you to pull the anchor out of the snag…

Anchor and clip after being tripped

Once the anchor has tripped and is retrieved back to the kayak, the clip can simply be re-attached to the carabiner – this only takes a couple of seconds…

Re-attaching the clip to the anchor after it has tripped

The difficult bit, is setting the trigger so that the clip only trips when the anchor is snagged (you do not want the clip to open accidentally when the kayak is at anchor – this could happen if the tension increases due to tide or waves). So the trigger needs to be adjusted to a point where the clip only opens when you give a hard pull on the anchor line.

In order to decrease the tension needed to release the clip, the trigger is moved closer to the anchor chain. And in order to increase the amount of pressure needed to release the anchor clip, the trigger is moved closer to the anchor. The correct setting will only be found after a bit of trial and error at sea !

This looks like it could be a really useful gadget when anchoring in the kayak. And like most clever inventions, its elegance is in its simplicity.

I will perform some tests at sea – hopefully with different types of anchors – watch this space.

For more information see the website below…

For the ultimate guide to anchoring in a kayak, visit the following page…

Update 26/11/11 :

I used the anchor trip clip whilst on a recent trip to Blue Anchor Bay in the Bristol Channel. This gave me the opportunity to test out the clip in a variety of conditions. The clip did not trip whilst retrieving the anchor, or whilst at anchor, despite the fast Bristol Channel tides and a bit of wave action (though admittedly it was quite calm). At one point on the ebb, the anchor bouy was pulled under by the tide – the anchor clip still did not trip. That was good to know.

As I was about to up-anchor and return to the shore, the anchor became snagged (I suspect that I was anchored a bit too close to the reef !). This is not something you ever look forward to, but it did give me the opportunity to see if the clip was going to work as designed. I pulled on the anchor warp and the anchor was firmly stuck. Then I gave the ancjhor warp a really sharp pull – and I actually felt the clip release ! Fantastic – I pulled in the anchor, and the chain was still attached to the bottom, but the clip had released at the top.

So, it looks like I have found the correct setting for my anchor/kayak…. for me, using a Trident 15 kayak in a fair amount of tide in about 25 feet of water, with a 1.5 kg folding grapnel anchor connected to 3 feet of 6mm chain – I found that the correct setting for the trigger/release was about half way along the ckip (a bit closer to the anchor than to the chain). If anyone else is using the clip, please add a comment and let me know what settings you found worked for you.