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Old 02-10-2015, 10:44 PM   #1
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Anchor testing by manufacturers is rubbish

With all the anchor talk lately I decided since I'm sitting at home healing up frm a hip replacement with Nothing to do, I'd look into this anchor issue.

I went to several anchor manufactirers web sites, IE Mantus, Ronca, and several I don't remember and brought away some concepts that I think people are missing. These tests are in my opinion "rigged" to benefit the brand of anchor they are testing. Here's how.

First, the anchor tests are done for the most part using light anchors. This in my opinion is not relavant, at least to many cruisers because since our boats are by nature fairly large, so our our anchors. Why does this matter??? Well the sand, or mud, or whatever is a certain consistancy and heavier anchors set better. Some anchor designs like the bruce for example are known not to be effective at all below certain weights.

Second, many of the anchor tests are using a 3:1 scope, and all line rodes. This is very unrealistic because 3:1 is the very minimum I've exer heard recommended. Myself I will only use 3:1 as a lunch anchor, or a fishing anchor. When I anchoor and expect to stay there I use 5:1 minimum. The use of all line rodes is also misleading. Having a chain section causes the weight of the chain to be applied as pulling force on the anchor as it goes tight. This helps to increase what I'll call the "aparant scope" or what the anchor sees as the scope during the setting process. This is especially important when you consider that most large crusing "trawlers" use an all chain rode.

When I finally bought a subscription to Practical Sailor and after spending hours on their site found an archive that tested actual heavy anchors (in this case 110 lb units) I was amazed that they all seemed to perform pretty well. Some admittidly a bit better than others in certain sea beds, but they all did pretty darn well!

So, being a guy that was pretty open minded, and was actually willing to buy a new fangled anchor today, I found that the manufacturers websites to be in my opinion intentially misleading to benefit their design. Oh, thats why its called
avertising.

BTW, I received my Mantus chain grab today and was VERY impressed with the quality annd ingenious design. I made my all chain rode anchor snubber out of two rubber snubbers, two ddock lines, and the Mantus chain grab. I sized this to be a length so that when deployed with a slack rode it would be just above the water line.
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Old 02-10-2015, 11:26 PM   #2
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I found that the manufacturers websites to be in my opinion intentially misleading to benefit their design. Oh, thats why its called advertisiing.
You can spin numbers any way you want. Do you think Boeing and Airbus are going to promote the negative aspects of their planes (they all have a few)?

Both companies take their flight test results and passenger survey tallies and whatnot and present these "facts" in the most favorable light possible.

Airbus is marginally better at doing this than Boeing is. My favorite example is Airbus trying to make their narrower fuselage sound like a good thing. They hyped up the fact that in an A330/340 the center section of business class has "only" two seats. So the seating is 2-2-2. Their big whoop was that nobody has a middle seat in business.

Absolutely true.

Of course the reality is that three business class seats can't be put in the middle section because the fuselage is too narrow.

The competing 777 has a wider fuselage and the middle section of business class can accomodate three business seats for a seating of 2-3-2. Bummer. Some folks in business get a middle seat.

But..... the airlines are thrilled to bloody death because up front is where they make all their money. So the more business class seats can be fit acrosss the fuselage, the more money they make.

We did not hype this fact because the airlines all knew it and we weren't going to make a big deal out of how some passengers in business on a 777 get a middle seat.

It's all about spin.

When we went shopping for a different type of anchor to replace our Bruce, we looked at the different designs and the videos and websites that were available at the time. The Rocna video made a very favorable impression on us. Not the comparison test section of the video where they show the Rocna setting and holding great on a wet-sand beach and the other designs didn't. I mean, what else are they going to show, right?

No, what impressed me was the explanation and demonstration (also shown in independent, non-Rocna-produced videos as well) about how the Rocna works. This was very interesting to us because it showed us that while the other conventional designs are what we came to call drop-drag-and-hope designs (they hit the bottom, you start pulling on them, and you hope that as they slide along the fluke(s) catch and dig in), the Rocna is what I call a pro-active design. (As are all the other rollbar anchors.)

It doesn't just slide along in the hopes that somehting good wll happen. The moment you start pulling on it, the design FORCES them to knife down sideways into the bottom and then turn to present the full face of the fluke to resist the direction of pull.

This, we thought, was very cool, very smart thinking on the part of the designer. We bought one and have had 100 percent (so far) success with it to date. )Again, all the rollbar anchors work the same way.)

So some product promotion on the part of an anchor manufacturer can be very useful. But anchor tests themselves are like Airbus' no-middle-seat-in-business campaign. Technically it's true. But it's only telling one part of a more complex story.
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Old 02-10-2015, 11:36 PM   #3
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When cruise ship Star Princess anchored off Cabo at the beginning of this month in 68 meters of water, it put out enough chain (maybe all she had) for only a 2-to-1 scope. That held that day.
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Old 02-10-2015, 11:39 PM   #4
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Kevin,
It varies widely depending on the manufacturer in question.
I don't trust Mantus or Rocna.
But I have great faith in Fortress.
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Old 02-11-2015, 01:39 AM   #5
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Kevin,
It varies widely depending on the manufacturer in question.
I don't trust Mantus or Rocna.
But I have great faith in Fortress.
To be perfectly honest, I was suprised, and a bit dissapointed. I just bought a new windlass, and a new chain rode so i thought, why not a new anchor?

I'm still studying, and I did see one test that appeared to be pretty fair, (I don't remember which one it is right now though), but the rest of the tests and the studies appeared to me to be set up intentionally to emphasize a particulat set of circumstances that favor the person making the video.

I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm mixed between keeping my 66 lb bruce which honestly seems to work OK, or buying a 110 lb bruce, or buying a large new design like the new non rollbar Ronca or something along those lines.
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Old 02-11-2015, 02:09 AM   #6
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.... or buying a large new design like the new non rollbar Ronca or something along those lines.
Be aware that the non-rollbar Rocna was expressly designed for folks whose boats have pulpits that cannot accept a rollbar anchor. It is not considered by Rocna to be a replacement for their original rollbar anchor, which according to them they still feel is the best all-around design.

Their new spade-type anchor may be very good--- I have not met anyone who has one and so have not heard any user comments on them. But it's a product designed to get them a larger market share as there are a lot of boats out there that do not neatly stow a rollbar anchor on their pulpits.
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Old 02-11-2015, 02:22 AM   #7
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Be aware that the non-rollbar Rocna was expressly designed for folks whose boats have pulpits that cannot accept a rollbar anchor. It is not considered by Rocna to be a replacement for their original rollbar anchor, which according to them they still feel is the best all-around design.

Their new spade-type anchor may be very good--- I have not met anyone who has one and so have not heard any user comments on them. But it's a product designed to get them a larger market share as there are a lot of boats out there that do not neatly stow a rollbar anchor on their pulpits.
Yes, that bothers me.

There was what appears to be a pretty unbiased test done here. In Puget sound to boot.

http://www.ussailing.org/wp-content/...or%20study.pdf

And I found a 2008 test that practical sailor did, abet not as scientifically that pretty much shows the same thing.

All the other tests seem to be done by someone selling or promoting their anchors.

It's funny but the test I linked to above shows that the bruce claw type as having the lowest holding power but the best set, and more important reset performance.

The danforth type had the best holding power but the worst set and reset performance.

I'm a simple guy. I want an anchor that will reset every time when the tide and wind changes. Without that security holding power means nothing to me. It also needs enough holding power of course.
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Old 02-11-2015, 06:16 AM   #8
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Yes, that bothers me.

There was what appears to be a pretty unbiased test done here. In Puget sound to boot.

http://www.ussailing.org/wp-content/...or%20study.pdf

And I found a 2008 test that practical sailor did, abet not as scientifically that pretty much shows the same thing.

All the other tests seem to be done by someone selling or promoting their anchors.

It's funny but the test I linked to above shows that the bruce claw type as having the lowest holding power but the best set, and more important reset performance.

The danforth type had the best holding power but the worst set and reset performance.

I'm a simple guy. I want an anchor that will reset every time when the tide and wind changes. Without that security holding power means nothing to me. It also needs enough holding power of course.

I too bought anew anchor last spring. Hopcar made me do it.

I got a Delta. because everything I have read, leads me to conclude there is no significant difference in "modern" anchors, those designed in the last 30 years.

I think that is why this is always such a contentious topic. The data doesn't exist, so it's all about opinions.

For me, it came down to price. i spent $250 for a 55 lb. anchor that will do as well as anchors that cost much more.

Lastly, I have made this observation before, I have yet to find one person on this forum who has replaced their old anchor with a new one that was not heavier than what it replaced. Then they go gushing on about how great it is.

The weight of the anchor is actually probably the single most significant factor.

I love the Delta by the way. The first time we used it, the Dauntless First mate commented on the difference when it set.
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Old 02-11-2015, 06:38 AM   #9
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The Danforth answer to a set reset perceived problem is simple 2 Danforths.

We have use that setup quire easily for 3-4 decades and it does work well.

At times we have come on deck in the AM after a 180 wind reversal.

The 35H is totally unloaded and the 12H or 20H line is bar taught.

With the boat still within 20 ft of where she was anchored.

Rather than requiring a huge circle, from a hundred ft of line in a 200 ft diameter circle.

A lot of anchoring is simply what one gets used to expecting , as well as the size of the anchorage.
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Old 02-11-2015, 03:00 PM   #10
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Lastly, I have made this observation before, I have yet to find one person on this forum who has replaced their old anchor with a new one that was not heavier than what it replaced.
We have met several people in our marina who have done this. 44 for 44, 66 for 66, that sort of thing. The sailboaters who share our finger even went the other way: a 44 pound Rocna like ours for a considerably heavier anchor, either a Bruce or a CQR They then went off to the southwestern Pacific and they tell us that the performance of their lighter Rocna was "amazing" compared to what they had experienced with the heavier anchor it replaced.

And how about the folks who've gone from whatever they had to a Fortress. We did this with our stern anchor, replacing a 30-pound no-name Danforth-type with a Fortress FX-23. Not the same situation as a main anchor, of course, but the Fortress has done a hell of a lot better job than what it replaced.
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Old 02-11-2015, 03:37 PM   #11
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Yes, I admit I do want a light weight Fortress. I see their value in certain situations.
If I was still behind Hopkins Carter, I'd pick one up.

In the meantime, I will use my Bruce as my stern anchor this summer.
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Old 02-11-2015, 03:48 PM   #12
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Lastly, I have made this observation before, I have yet to find one person on this forum who has replaced their old anchor with a new one that was not heavier than what it replaced. Then they go gushing on about how great it is.

Now Richard, you and I already had this discussion. We went 65 pounds lighter and never looked back.

The weight of the anchor or the style matters less than the weight of the chain. It's the chain that anchors the boat and the anchor that anchors the chain. We now carry 1000lbs of chain and 240 pounds of anchor.

Manufacturers still need to differentiate their products in order to sell them and all too often we fall into their traps. Somewhere in one of these threads was a picture of a set anchor facing the opposite direction of the boat it was attached to. The chain was actually holding the boat into the current/wind not the anchor.


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Old 02-11-2015, 03:51 PM   #13
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Manufacturers do some testing testing but it's mostly magazines. Perhaps they come on here to see what threads get the greatest response. Haha but objectivity is down the tubes there too as they are bent on satisfying their advertisers. They usually have adds at the bottom of the text or even within.

But these biased tests are valuable even though their methods are often sloppy. I've seen many tests that say some anchors won't set. Rediculous I say. If you know how to set an anchor and put it on a reasonable bottom it should set. So a test that says "could'nt get it to set" instantly puts me in a mindset of "not much here to believe". Even the Fortress test that I consider about as good as they get worked the anchors over quite a wide area. They located the boat in a fixed spot and pulled the anchors from places radially out some distance. Every anchor had virgin bottom but were tested on bottoms far enough away from eachother that significant bottom variations could exist. In the case of the Fortress test they probably sampled the bottom over a wide area.

Bias, bottoms and other variations aside I'm glad someone is testing anchors. I feel for the boater reading his first anchor test though. One needs experience reading and aynalizeing these tests to become able to read between the lines enough to make some usable conclusions. And of course those conclusions will change over time.

Has anyone seen a test including the two new Spade offerings? The Sea Blade and the one that looks like a Wasi.
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Old 02-11-2015, 04:00 PM   #14
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cafesport wrote;
"Manufacturers still need to differentiate their products in order to sell them and all too often we fall into their traps. Somewhere in one of these threads was a picture of a set anchor facing the opposite direction of the boat it was attached to. The chain was actually holding the boat into the current/wind not the anchor."

I remember that picture and think there was little wind and also the chain was aligned w the anchor shank. The anchor was holding the light load w the anchor set backwards.

Chain is not an anchor but it can resist a small pull on the rode if lots of it is laying on the bottom. Most of the chain's value is in setting the anchor. Keeping the rode low at the anchor and the shank down. Once the anchor is set it simply connects the anchor to the boat or the rest of the rode.
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Old 02-11-2015, 04:21 PM   #15
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Lastly, I have made this observation before, I have yet to find one person on this forum who has replaced their old anchor with a new one that was not heavier than what it replaced. Then they go gushing on about how great it is.

The weight of the anchor is actually probably the single most significant factor.

I love the Delta by the way. The first time we used it, the Dauntless First mate commented on the difference when it set.
You have now. I went from a 44 Delta to a 35 Danforth (HT) as my main anchor of choice.
I still have the 44 Delta rigged and ready but it is my secondary for MOST situations I have encountered.
If I know I am in a very weedy area I'll deploy the Delta as #1.
Otherwise it's Danny Boy!
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Old 02-11-2015, 04:21 PM   #16
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I think the star princess from post 3 plus all the tankers currently anchored outside of port Everglades for the last three days would disagree.


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Old 02-11-2015, 07:33 PM   #17
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Another who has gone lighter. On my previous two sail boats I went to original Tunisian made aluminum Spade anchors which were lighter than those they replaced. I still have both of those anchors after selling the boats they were on gave up two great boats but would not give up the spades. I now sport a SS copy of a spade on the bow and carry the come apart light spades in the bilge.
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Old 02-11-2015, 07:39 PM   #18
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... I want an anchor that will reset every time when the tide and wind changes. Without that security holding power means nothing to me. It also needs enough holding power of course.
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Old 02-11-2015, 09:44 PM   #19
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Oh cool, chain anchors the boat not the anchor. Well that makes things easy let me go pick up 2000lbs of chain and a brick and be done with this rat race.


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Old 02-11-2015, 09:52 PM   #20
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Oh cool, chain anchors the boat not the anchor. Well that makes things easy let me go pick up 2000lbs of chain and a brick and be done with this rat race. Sigh!
Ah, but which brick? Let`s start a new thread!
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