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Old 10-23-2011, 08:53 PM   #1
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Anchor design and performance

One of the things I see as potentially effecting the performance of the Bruce type claw anchor is that; * It presents one of it's aggressive outboard flukes loaded w a high percentage of the anchors weight to the bottom that starts the setting process as soon as the anchor comes to rest on it's side. An outboard fluke digs in and starts the anchor rotating toward right side up. Fifty percent of the way to right side up the claw has one outboard fluke and the center fluke trying to engage the bottom at 45 degrees. The leading edge being presented to the bottom is not far from a straight line as viewed from the surface of the bottom. So what the anchor is presenting to the bottom is not a sharp and pointy thing like the tip of a Danforth but more like a bulldozer blade designed to plow and push mounds of earth on the surface. So it starts to do just that balanced on 2 flukes and much of the time it may not continue to rotate to the upright position where the center fluke can pull the anchor down deeper for full penetration or/and assuming a buried state. Any claw that can't make it through this transitional stage is doomed to plow and not set fully and be way short on holding power. This is nobody's idea or thought but mine and would require an anchor test that would be held in fairly clear water filming the anchoring event. And more than one type of bottom may be required to confirm or dispel the concept. Do any of you think this is possible?
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Old 10-24-2011, 05:57 AM   #2
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RE: Anchor design and performance

I can certainly see that happening...thus explaining the mostly but not always poor holding and skipping and quick recovery results for "tests" and many cruisers real life experiences.

I wonder if the center fluke was bent down a little more whether it would start to right the anchor more quickly and allow the 3rd fluke to bite.
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Old 10-24-2011, 07:12 AM   #3
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RE: Anchor design and performance

One of the things which has always amazed me regarding the affection for the CQR/plow type is the way the hinged shank/fluke join allows it to just bounce along on its side without setting unless one gets the tip engaged early, and in a fairly soft substrate. This is demonstrated well in one of the videos on the link I posted in the other anchor scaling thread. It would therefore seem that at the very least, if you want to use a plow type anchor, and they certainly have their merits, then one with a rigid fluke/shank join is to be preferred. Eg the Ultra/Delta/Sarca Excel, etc. This type does seem to set quite quickly and perform well in most bottoms, even if maybe not the highest holding power available.
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Old 10-24-2011, 07:32 AM   #4
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RE: Anchor design and performance

Peter, I have been very satisfied with the Delta anchor.* Whle you are right about maximum holding power, it is a great all around anchor for area.* We anchor over a variety of bottoms----mud, rock, grass, and sand.* It will set where othere, especially a Danforth, will just drag over the bottom.* Most of our anchorages are fairly shallow.* I usually use a 7 to 1 scope or at least a 5 to 1.* I have little experience with a 3 to 1 except at maybe lunch stops.* I would not feel secure with that short of a scope.* The holding power exceeds the needs for my boat.* So far I have been anchored in 50 mph winds (not sustained) and sustained winds of 30 mph.* No drag yet (emphasis on yet).* I see no reason to go to another style anchor for this area.
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:01 AM   #5
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RE: Anchor design and performance

I'm often amazed how often people infer wind speed is the issue with anchoring...it's waves/surge that usually causes anchors to break free or result in severe chafe/damage (in my experience). I see it all the time with people who break down and drift into the surf zone and try to/anchor till I show up.

I would be comfortable being anchored with almost anything in up to 50 knot winds as long as there is no wave, surge, swell action...when there is...I'm not sure I trust any anchor/anchoring system completely.

Why is that??? Wel,l as an assistance tower I'm constantly pulling boats by myself and against the wind using just arm power...I'm strong but no hercules and I can still move boats by hand relatively easily against VERY strong winds...however...add a few knots of current or waves/surge...and the situation is beyond human handlining rather quickly.
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:25 AM   #6
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RE: Anchor design and performance

I have dragged when the wind kicked up and there was zero wave/surge action. That was after power setting a 44 Delta/all chain at 1200 rpm with the mighty Lehman.

Doo doo happens and one just has to pay attention and *have a contingiency plan.
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:46 AM   #7
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RE: Anchor design and performance

Quote:
jleonard wrote:
I have dragged when the wind kicked up and there was zero wave/surge action. That was after power setting a 44 Delta/all chain at 1200 rpm with the mighty Lehman.

Doo doo happens and one just has to pay attention and *have a contingiency plan.
*Yeah,I am always wary and check frequently with the chart plotter anchor alarm on.* We did get bounced around on the north side of Rodiriguez Key one night.* Wind shifted to NE and blew 25-30 putting 2' steep waves in the anchoragel.* I was a little tight, but the anchor held in place.* During thunder storms, I'm always ready to start the engines to take the strain off.*
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:56 AM   #8
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RE: Anchor design and performance

"During thunder storms, I'm always ready to start the engines to take the strain off.*"

Yes I also fire up and stay at the ready. Nothing like "charging the battery bank" during a thunder boomer. Also a good time to play with the radar settings to find the rain cells.



*
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Old 10-24-2011, 02:45 PM   #9
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Anchor design and performance

*

Scott,

I'm glad someone agreed w me and yes I thought my theory went right along w the stories I've heard about the Bruce. And my own experience in 03. But it may only be a dozer*on hard surfaces. I've got quite a few anchor tests downloaded and some have video of the anchors setting but don't think any are of a claw. On my future personal tests of the claw I'm going to be using the Plastimo*that is shaped a bit better than the Sea Dog, Lewmar*and all the others including those w no name at all. So it prolly*won't be entirely apples and apples but close enough to make some meaningful observations. In a way I feel a bit stupid as there must be maybe 100 guys here on the forum that have lots of 1st hand knowledge w the claw but we're not hear'in from very many. Glad to get some anchor*input*on the Delta as I've always been impressed w them and never had any 1st hand experience w same. Another in that*category*is the Spade. I think a Spade is a bit like a Rocna w a weighted tip instead of a roll bar. I've said in the past that I consider it to be probably the near perfect anchor but like the Delta they do have the weighted fluke tips and the fluke tips*aren't*that sharp*either but*they may/could*benefit*more from the weighted tips than they loose w the non-sharp tips. In one of my downloaded anchor tests a Kedge*anchor actually did quite well and not very surprising*really as at one time there was a higher percentage of boats w Kedges*than there is now w Bruces. I suppose it could even be as close to a perfect anchor as anything we have now if it were big enough. How big?? Well if I had a 55 lb Kedge*I'll bet my dragging in mud would be so slow problems my never arise and these days we do have anchor alarms. Just thinking * *....out loud as they say *...and quite out of the box.*

Don, * Never*dragged*in 30 to 50 knot winds? *If we knew how your anchor was sized we could draw conclusions about performance but being a planing hull I'll guess*it is'nt over sized and your being a good seaman it is'nt undersized either so I'm think'in that's very good performance. No new anchor for you.

Scott, * I've never anchored w the bow going up and down a lot but I'm sure I would'nt be sleeping even w an anchor alarm.

Peter, * The CQR has a small (now) following and fairly often I read about sailors that have extensive cruising experience w the CQR and like them *...and keep them. That's about all I can say. I think the Excel is probably one of if not the best anchor in*existence*but like the Super*Sarca*they are still*unobtainium*up here in the states.

Jay, * *Setting in reverse w both engines at 1200 rpm? Or do you have a single. Big difference. I set my XYZ at 2000 rpm in reverse the other day but I only have 40 hp. I should have tied off to the stern and pulled at 2000 rpm. THEN I'd be in a position be be quite comfortable through the night *...if the wind did'nt change. I set it hard because the wind was forecast to go 180 in the night. So many variables in anchoring.


*



-- Edited by nomadwilly on Monday 24th of October 2011 02:58:26 PM
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Old 10-24-2011, 05:03 PM   #10
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RE: Anchor design and performance

Eric,

Moonstruck's Delta anchor is 35#.* I set it a little more gingerly that you.* With 1000hp on tap, it would be easy to over do it.* I will cleat it off then*back down until the bow does a pronounced dip.* Moonstruck's design like your Willy has the advantage of relatively little wind resistance.* All in all, it's a pretty happy combination.* *
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Old 10-24-2011, 05:31 PM   #11
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RE: Anchor design and performance

Quote:
nomadwilly wrote:
One of the things I see as potentially effecting the performance of the Bruce type claw anchor is that......
*Eric--- I think your analysis is very plausible, and is probalby what happens most of the time.**To*add*to what you said I*believe*the fact that the edges of the*flukes of the Bruce or Bruce knock-offs are dull and thick adds even more resistance to digging in.* This is why--- although I have not analized it as thoroughly as you have--- I feel the Bruce does not scale down to the size of anchors most of us use.

The original Bruce anchors as designed for floating*North Sea oil exploration rigs were huge and weighed many tons.* But the*makeup of the bottoms--- mud, sand, whatever---*are the same bottoms we're trying to set our little anchors in.* When a Bruce weighs many tons it's going to dig into and rip its way deep into the bottom because whatever resistance might be offered by the bottom is going to be completely overwhelmed by these massive anchors.* But drop the same anchor design weighing 33# or 44# down there and the resistance is going to be much greater against that "light" anchor.
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Old 10-24-2011, 05:44 PM   #12
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RE: Anchor design and performance

Quote:
nomadwilly wrote:
*

Scott,

I'm glad someone agreed w me and yes I thought my theory went right along w the stories I've heard about the Bruce. And my own experience in 03. But it may only be a dozer*on hard surfaces. I've got quite a few anchor tests downloaded and some have video of the anchors setting but don't think any are of a claw. On my future personal tests of the claw I'm going to be using the Plastimo*that is shaped a bit better than the Sea Dog, Lewmar*and all the others including those w no name at all. So it prolly*won't be entirely apples and apples but close enough to make some meaningful observations. In a way I feel a bit stupid as there must be maybe 100 guys here on the forum that have lots of 1st hand knowledge w the claw but we're not hear'in from very many. Glad to get some anchor*input*on the Delta as I've always been impressed w them and never had any 1st hand experience w same. Another in that*category*is the Spade. I think a Spade is a bit like a Rocna w a weighted tip instead of a roll bar. I've said in the past that I consider it to be probably the near perfect anchor but like the Delta they do have the weighted fluke tips and the fluke tips*aren't*that sharp*either but*they may/could*benefit*more from the weighted tips than they loose w the non-sharp tips. In one of my downloaded anchor tests a Kedge*anchor actually did quite well and not very surprising*really as at one time there was a higher percentage of boats w Kedges*than there is now w Bruces. I suppose it could even be as close to a perfect anchor as anything we have now if it were big enough. How big?? Well if I had a 55 lb Kedge*I'll bet my dragging in mud would be so slow problems my never arise and these days we do have anchor alarms. Just thinking * *....out loud as they say *...and quite out of the box.*

Don, * Never*dragged*in 30 to 50 knot winds? *If we knew how your anchor was sized we could draw conclusions about performance but being a planing hull I'll guess*it is'nt over sized and your being a good seaman it is'nt undersized either so I'm think'in that's very good performance. No new anchor for you.

Scott, * I've never anchored w the bow going up and down a lot but I'm sure I would'nt be sleeping even w an anchor alarm.

Peter, * The CQR has a small (now) following and fairly often I read about sailors that have extensive cruising experience w the CQR and like them *...and keep them. That's about all I can say. I think the Excel is probably one of if not the best anchor in*existence*but like the Super*Sarca*they are still*unobtainium*up here in the states.

Jay, * *Setting in reverse w both engines at 1200 rpm? Or do you have a single. Big difference. I set my XYZ at 2000 rpm in reverse the other day but I only have 40 hp. I should have tied off to the stern and pulled at 2000 rpm. THEN I'd be in a position be be quite comfortable through the night *...if the wind did'nt change. I set it hard because the wind was forecast to go 180 in the night. So many variables in anchoring.


*




-- Edited by nomadwilly on Monday 24th of October 2011 02:58:26 PM
*Had a 33#* Bruce (original) (I think it was 33#...it's been awhile) on my 37" sport fish.* Seemed to work great for the 5 years I had the boat.* Held fine in pretty severe thuderstorms where others drug anchor and did use it during a tropical storm one day..but I doubt the winds were over 35 sustained gusting to 50.* Held fine as there was no waves/surge where I was...retrieved easily by hand (between gusts) but would have been impossible has there been a sea running.* Bottom was mucky sand (typical marsh grass sound behind a NJ barrier island).* Probably 7:1 scope in 10 feet of water.
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Old 10-24-2011, 06:26 PM   #13
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RE: Anchor design and performance

Our*primary anchor on our 25,000 lb sailboat was a 66lb Bruce on an all chain rode.* for a storm anchor we also carried a Fortress FX57 with about 30' of chain and the rest nylon rode.* The Bruce never failed us, it held in almost all bottoms except very soft mud.* We sat out two named storms with sustained winds of 50+ mph and higher gusts.* The secret to the Bruce is it takes awhile to set.* We were told to lower the anchor, and let out about 5 to 1 scope, go have a glass of wine, and then come back ,power down,*and*let out some more chain to achieve a 7 to one scope.* Everyone I met that has had problems with a Bruce, tries to set it too quickly.* They are slow setting anchors, but once set, hold like glue.* I have heard that the Chinese knock offs are not as good and prone to deform when a serious strain is put on them.
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:17 PM   #14
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RE: Anchor design and performance

Quote:
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Our*primary anchor on our 25,000 lb sailboat was a 66lb Bruce on an all chain rode.* for a storm anchor we also carried a Fortress FX57 with about 30' of chain and the rest nylon rode.* The Bruce never failed us, it held in almost all bottoms except very soft mud.* We sat out two named storms with sustained winds of 50+ mph and higher gusts.* The secret to the Bruce is it takes awhile to set.* We were told to lower the anchor, and let out about 5 to 1 scope, go have a glass of wine, and then come back ,power down,*and*let out some more chain to achieve a 7 to one scope.* Everyone I met that has had problems with a Bruce, tries to set it too quickly.* They are slow setting anchors, but once set, hold like glue.* I have heard that the Chinese knock offs are not as good and prone to deform when a serious strain is put on them.
*Agreed Beanie. *Your 66# on 25,000# displacemtn is larger than many would put on a similar boat, but a sensible match IMHO. *My experience with Bruce types over 30 years of cruising is that they work quite well in most all conditions, with the heavier models working proportionately better. *In Evans Starzinger's tests, once you got over 125#, the Bruce type outperformed Rocna and Manson to a measurable degree. I have sat out 50-60 knots at anchor on a 176# Bruce holding 65 tons without a budge. *The only change I will probably make in the next year or so is to upsize to 250#. *Gravity still works.

I set mine same as you indicate. *We drop it, making sure we lay the chain out not in a heap on top of the anchor, but between the vessel and the hook. *Then, we get ourselves powered down, coil lines, fiddle with the tender, etc. *After 1/2 hour or so, we'll lay out another 30 feet on a snub line with a loop of chain below and call it good. *Never a worry.
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:46 PM   #15
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RE: Anchor design and performance

Quote:
psneeld wrote:
I'm often amazed how often people infer wind speed is the issue with anchoring...it's waves/surge that usually causes anchors to break free or result in severe chafe/damage (in my experience). I see it all the time with people who break down and drift into the surf zone and try to/anchor till I show up.

________________________________________

Scott, you are so right.* The time I was being blown onto a lee shore it was clearly the forces of being lifted violently up and down by wave action as well as the wind forces that was our main enemy.* We were virtually in the surf with breaking waves all round by the time I got the anchor up and we powered out of there.*

Another salutory lesson from that episode was what happened to the yacht not far from us.* He, in his panic to up-anchor and leave, over-retrieved the anchor initially and got his strop hook fouled in the bow roller and could not free it.* Thankfully, he was in a steel hulled yacht, or the keel would have been driven up through the bottom, as by the time we got to where we had reception and called the Marine Rescue people and they got to him, he was literally bouncing on the bottom.* Message there - make sure to retrieve anchor strop before hauling in all the way...!
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:42 PM   #16
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RE: Anchor design and performance

I'm still not sold on this scaling issue. The Bruce's seem to work on small boats as well as any other. Look at Richard Cook. Hundreds of anchorings and good success. And they sell claws so small one could use them for gardening. I think too many people are think'in about oil rigs. I think any boat that might gravitate to this forum could use any anchor anybody else was using here on comparable bottoms with equal success.*

I'm going to change my theory a bit on how claws work re the beginning of the thread. Instead of occasionally setting on 2 flukes I think it's probably only one fluke. I'll bet if they get a second fluke in the third will almost always follow. And I'm also thinking it may have much to do w hard bottoms. All anchors have trouble w hard bottoms and a few days ago I had trouble getting my XYZ to set and then pulled up a huge mass of weed. Like Jay says "do do happens". So if we buy a new anchor whenever old reliable lets us down we may have a great pile of anchors in just a few years. I'm beginning to think these anchors work much closer to the same than we think and anchor tests must be running amok with some of the many many variables.*
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Old 10-25-2011, 09:11 AM   #17
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RE: Anchor design and performance

All this anchor talk is very interesting!

Here are my real world observations from 25 years of anchoring 30'+ boats:

When we lived in California and cruised the Channel Islands we anchored in very tight coves with other boats near by. I made is a habit of dropping over the side with dive gear and checking my anchor and nearby boats anchors if I thought they might drag and effect me. My conclusion was that in sand (sometimes quite hard packed ) my Bruce always seemed to set with all flukes buried and rather well. I found many neighbors anchors not actually set and the boats riding on the pile of chain... I drug many boats anchors along the bottom and set them manually.. they never had a clue.

While we cruised the South Pacific on our sail boat I typically always snorkeled (unless the shark population was especially robust) and checked the Bruce, it always set in the coarse sand very well. It did on occasion pick up coral heads but that was not too much of a issue. It did drag ONCE in two years of anchoring pretty much every day when it snagged a blue tarp on the bottom in the harbor in Suva Fiji.. of course it was blowing 35/40 at the time and we had swell big enough to put the bow under water at times. I couldn't believe the Bruce had failed until we pulled up the big plastic tarp.

Since we moved to trawlers in the Pacific Northwest I don't check the hook very often.. it's too much hassle to put on all the gear just to check the hook. On Volunteer we again had a Bruce and it never failed to hold us once hooked. That is not to say that it always set on the first try. There is so much crap on the bottom, logging cables, sunk logs,cars,boats, you name it. There are also many different bottom conditions from pure sand to gooey mud with clam shells to pure rock bottoms. Anchoring here takes patience. With the Bruce on all chain our drill was to back down while laying out chain to a 5:1 scope, setting the hook very gently and hanging on it for a couple minutes while idling in reverse. We then would tidy up and give it time to settle in. If it was very protected that was it, if not we would give it a harder steady pull for a couple minutes .

Never once in any conditions did I find the Bruce " set on its side* " on one of two of the three flukes". It always buried up to its shank and most of the time all I would ever see was the chain coming out of the sand.* My take is that most any type of properly sized anchor will work IF set properly with correct scope .

On a side note. We sold Volunteer last year and moved to a fast express cruiser with a Danforth. I had on the list tochange to* a plow style with chain rode. I have added 80' of chain to the rode thus far and kept the Danforth with great results... the Danforth really sets well... but I really watch wind shifts.*

We also spend a fair amount of time on a big cat in the BVI, it uses a Delta and I have been completely impressed with its performance over the years... I think it is also a great anchor.

HOLLYWOOD
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Old 10-25-2011, 10:50 AM   #18
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RE: Anchor design and performance

WOW * ....Sounds like objectivity, honesty and openness have arrived. Loved the part about you going around the harbor fixing the anchors. And it's wonderful to hear about lots and lots of claws setting properly. It's so important as so many guys here have one kind of claw or another. I saw pictures of claws dragging along on beaches in anchor tests and prolly got the idea there. And it did fit w the claw stories. But think of this * *.....would'nt it fit w just about any anchor experience w most any anchor most anywhere in the world? Me thinks that could be true. And that amplifies my theory that basically all anchors are good and the variables are bottoms and operators *...mainly. I've read about the gentle approach to setting anchors and quite frankly thought it probably did'nt amount to much. I even saw a big sailboat let go his anchor at 3 or 4 knots and being stopped dead by his anchor * ...in a crowded anchorage ..no less. Squirrel Cove. The first I heard of this slow setting technique was in an anchor test. So one CAN learn from anchor tests. As to logging debris it seems to be less an issue than some think *..myself included. That position subject to change when I loose a $500 anchor. Thank's for the input.
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Old 10-25-2011, 01:39 PM   #19
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Anchor design and performance

Carl and others,

I reread the Supreme, Ray and Rocna anchor test again. Her'es where I must have got my "not all the flukes engaged" theory *.... from Practical Sailor magazine Nov 08 pg 37.
"The Ray also took slightly less dis- tance than the others to set and hold the 1,000-pound load, but the differ- ences were not significant. The Ray did not roll upright, and thus only dug in one side fluke and half the main fluke, but it dug in the deepest and held the 1,000-pound load. The Rocna dug the biggest furrow.
All three of the anchors would have dug in deeper with a greater pulling force, and the holding power
of all would easily have exceeded the pulling power of the windlass used in testing (3,500 pounds). A greater load would have rolled the Ray upright. Our short-scope testing (see photo, page 39) also shows that a more upward rode angle will roll the Ray upright."
*
There were numerous pics on the Ray laying on it's side w one fluke dug in. I was very keen on this test as it presented an anchor that seemed to have a clear short scope advantage. I had purchased the original XYZ by then and found it to be very good at even 2 to 1 scope but it was difficult to set in anything but mud. So I was looking for a short scope anchor that set dependably. The Ray is a very expensive anchor (about $1000) but available at West Marine. I wonder how many they sell. Speaking of selling *...that test was sponsored by Manson. One can see in the pics that the Ray is definitely different than the run-of-the-mill claw anchor. Speaking of claws does anyone have a favorite *......Lewmar, Sea Dog, Plastimo a no name from a specific source or any other claw? Where do the no names come from? What claw do you plan to buy Carl?
*
*






-- Edited by nomadwilly on Tuesday 25th of October 2011 01:47:43 PM
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:47 AM   #20
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RE: Anchor design and performance

Went to town yesterday ..Craig. The small boat and outboard store was open and I bought an 11lb claw anchor for testing. It's a no name but a sticker on it said "made in China". It obviously is a low end product and only cost $38 here in Alaska. To test anchors going smaller should be most revealing and it's said that one should go bigger on claws. I'm surprised that it has sharper flukes than what I remember on Bruces. A bit like the Plastimo looks like in the pics. I made (to me) an amazing observation or discovery. Looking at the claw sitting on the floor, sighting down a imaginary line from the shackle hole at the end of the shank to the center of the middle of the fluke I see that the smaller outboard 2 flukes present almost a maximum area at that angle so as to present those flukes in a way that would maximize resistance or holding power. Sorry for the wordy sentence but I wanted to make myself clear. I had always thought the twist in the 2 outboard flukes was to turn the fluke tip so as to present an edge more parallel to the direction of travel of the setting anchor so the fluke would "knife in" and dig promptly. I had thought that this perceived feature largely explained the fast setting reputation of the claw anchor. I was wrong. The fluke twist seems to be there to optimize the holding power of the anchor *...not the setting power. Makes sense. Why not put their eggs in the basket most empty? But looking at the pics of the most expensive claw in existence (Manson Ray) I see the Ray has almost no twist at all. I'm quite sure all the other claws have considerable twist in the outbd flukes. When an anchor drags a boater wants an explanation. If he hears that Bruces drag he will be prone to think the Bruce is not performing correctly if when and if it drags. He will think the Bruce is dragging when in fact the bottom may be "dragging". I always thought the claws had low holding power because their flukes were small and aligned in the direction of travel through the bottom. Thought it was a no-brain-er. But now it's not so clear. The flukes are oriented for maximum resistance and look like they should hold quite well. I'm thinking of what to do in my anchor tests. I'll do setting tests at various scopes, full throttle in fwd gear tests at at least approximately 5-1 scope and perhaps the same w a much more powerful fish boat. Also at the end I intend to shorten the shank 3" and then 6" or until*some noticeable loss in performance happens. To test the shank for strength on a sideways pull I'd need to buy another anchor. Probably won't. I'd like to see if it snaps off or just bends. Saw several big claws on fish boats that were bent quite badly. But any that snaped off would not likely be on boats for me to see. Any fresh thoughts on any of this?*
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