By Joseph Bancroft Hall.
Recently, we were asked to inspect an anchor in the Yukon Harbor neighborhood, and it turns out that this is at least the third time it has been found.
This anchor is on display in the waterfront yard of our neighbor JoAnn Smith on Yukon Harbor Road near Colby. It was found in about 1962 by her husband Bud Scott and four companions scuba diving in water about 50 feet deep in Rich Passage near Wautauga[i] Beach in South Kitsap County.
Bud and his diving companions returned with extra air tanks and garbage cans for flotation devices, floated the anchor to the beach and hauled it to Bud and JoAnn’s house on Erlands Point in Bremerton. They subsequently moved to Yukon Harbor and rented out the Erlands Point house. In June 1972 they discovered that the anchor was missing. They found the missing anchor a second time by offering a reward of $500, and it was installed on the waterfront lawn at the Yukon Harbor Road house.[ii]
History of the Admiralty Pattern Anchor
The anchor is of a traditional pattern known as the Admiralty Pattern, or AP, adopted by the British Admiralty in 1852, but similar in shape to anchors dating back to as early as the late 4th century BC. The U. S. Naval Academy 1891 Text-Book of Seamanship[iii] refers to this type of anchor as “a solid, iron-stocked anchor” and states that they are furnished exclusively on board ship, while wooden stocked anchors with their fixed stocks are reserved for permanent moorings.
Some modern sources refer to an anchor with this configuration as a Kedge Anchor, Fisherman’s Anchor or a Herreshoff Anchor, but this would not be historically correct for this anchor. The term Kedge refers to a smaller anchor to be used for kedging that may be a similar design but a fraction of the weight of the Bower and Sheet Anchors carried by a ship. Fisherman’s anchors and Herreshoff anchors are small boat anchors with a configuration similar to the Admiralty Pattern.
Ships transitioned away from using this type of anchor when the Stockless Anchor was developed and incorporated into ships designed with hawsepipes. The stockless anchor was patented in 1821. The process of adoption in the Royal Navy began in 1885 and was generally adopted by 1903. Of course older ships would use the old AP anchor for decades to come, and some still do.
This type of anchor could have been in use here as early as the Civil War or as late as WW2 or even later, so it will take more research to narrow down the date. The location where it was recovered was immediately north of the government reservation that is now Manchester State Park but that was previously a War Department Harbor Defense facility (1889-1919) and a Navy Net Depot during WW2.[iv] This anchor might have been used with anti-submarine nets, but the sources we found describing net operations indicated that these nets used a combination of modern stockless anchors and large concrete sinkers.[v] We understand that the anchor did not have any chain or rope attached to it when it was found, nor are there any visible markings.
We speculate that the anchor might have been used to anchor a mooring buoy and that the buoy and chain became separated from the anchor by corrosion of the shackle attaching the chain to the anchor ring.
The Structure of This Anchor
A modern source for these anchors (you can still buy them) relates the weight to the length of the shank as follows:5.5′ shank – 500 pound, 7′ shank – 1400 pound, 8′ shank – 2000 pound. The dimensions of this anchor are:Shank 80” – Stock 60” – Fluke to Fluke 60”. This would correspond to a weight of about 1200 pounds. The Smith/Scott anchor is rather crude in its shape, which would seem to indicate that it is an early one.
The nomenclature for this type of anchor is described in the following illustration.
The main part of this anchor appears to have been forged from several pieces, probably two castings: the shank, and the crown and arm, and two flukes cut from plate. The shank appears to have been cast with a fork in the end where the crown piece was inserted, then forge-welded together. The flukes were probably cut with holes that fit around pins in the arms that were peened over in forging. The uniform visible layers in the flukes of this anchor indicate that the crystalline structure of the metal was aligned by rolling.
We’d like to learn more about this anchor, and if there’ someone familiar with various types of anchor forging who would like to examine it, please drop us a note.
The process of forge welding on a smaller anchor with a somewhat different detail in the shank-crown connection is on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZQMYaPMpM8.
[i]Spelled Wautauga on nautical charts and Watauga on the name of the county road.
[ii] Big Anchor Hauled Off by Thieves, The Bremerton (Wash.) Sun, Friday, June 9, 1972, p. 10.
[iv]The Patriot Files article: Manchester Navy Fuel Depot, accessed at http://www.patriotfiles.com/index.php?name=Sections&req=viewarticle&artid=7772&page=1 on January 24, 2013
[v] Paulson, Glenn, World War II Net Tenders, accessed at http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/18/1800001.htm on January 24, 2013
Postscript: Yukon Harbor Shipwrecks
One of the Yukon Harbor Historical Society’s ongoing efforts is the search for shipwrecks. We know of a few:
- Native Americans boarded and burned two sailing ships off of Harper pier in 1857. We informed local scuba divers of that fact, and one individual says he believes he found one about halfway between Southworth Point and the Harper pier.
- There is a news article describing a small steamer that burned and sank just off of Colby (not to be confused with South Colby) in the late 1800’s. It seems to us that it could be located, and we’d be happy to help secure diver access to that area.
- An unknown minewseeper went aground on the north end of Blake Island in the 1940’s. We know from firsthand accounts that it was stripped of all useful hardware and equipment, then burned by the US Navy, but the exact location is still unknown. It seems logical that the resulting bronze and copper fastings would be abundant, and that would help us locate the site
There may be other artifacts — including anchors — to be found since Yukon Harbor was a popular anchoring place since the earliest times. — RN