Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Sailboat Anchor Performance Differences

The safe anchoring of your sailboat is critical at any time, but takes on a whole new meaning when you are going ashore in a foreign port or destination. When you have your whole life invested in that floating home anchored in the bay, you most definitely want to know that when you return she is still going to be there.

I experienced this heart stopping event one time on a dark night in the Dutch Caribbean island of St.Maartin and the following is the extract from my ebook 'Sailing Adventures in Paradise':

'Nosing into this expansive harbour, circling a huge gleaming white block of flats called a cruise liner for heavens sake, she touches bottom in the marina – boat boy says there is plenty of depth for her two metre plus some keel – Fool!! Now she has a grazed bottom, but fortunately no one else will see, so ‘mums’ the word.

Still smarting over this whilst the crew are libating ashore, of her own volition she moves to deeper water. This translates into a heart stopping incident for the faithful crew returning after dark, who finally locating her amidst awful visions of an early termination of their voyage, next day scour the island for a heavier duty anchor. Proudly sporting it on her nose, she feels vindicated for last nights’ involuntary exploration of the inner harbour.

Sailing out of Phillipsburg Harbour in a spanking breeze round to Simpsons Lagoon on the western side of St. Maartin, she has a chance to make amends......' extract from 'Sailing Adventures in Paradise'

The anchor purchased was a used CQR of 18 kgs. At that time these anchors were considered to be the best available and although this one had seen service, it performed admirably for the remainder of my voyage all the way home to New Zealand and ultimately on to Australia. It even had a slight kink added to the shank in Nuku'alofe,Tonga when it got lodged into a sunken fishing vessel hulk!! This would of course, reduce the integrity of the strength of the shank,but it was so slight that at the time it was considered minimal and certainly did not cause any problems thereafter.

Anchor design, like everything in the marine world improves and we have earlier run postings on this blog of the various improvements in design and holding abilities of the modern anchor. Competitiion is fierce and none more so than between two New Zealand manufacturers, Rocna and Manson.

The following link is worth reading to give you an idea of the holding power of three types of anchor - CQR, Rocna and Manson:

Photographic comparison of Manson plough & genuine CQR (1 MB)
If the second link doesn't open, right click on it and 'select all' and the pdf will open.

Here is another link worth taking a look at

All manufacturers of course are going to highlight the benefits of their products over the competition and one has to take this into account when make decisions for their vessel, their conditions and themselves.

Having said that anchors and anchoring can and do create endless discussion amongst cruising sailors around the dining table, in the cockpit and in the bars ashore at night.

You can read more about anchors and a couple of hilarious anchoring situations in my ebook 'Sailing Adventures in Paradise', downloadable from my website   

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