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Old 06-21-2016, 10:27 AM   #461
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Steve,
Thanks for the apparently well thought out response re my ideas. You're very right on all counts and your efforts to be as objective as possible is clear. And your testing has shown that things that grow on the seafloor are a significant element of trouble in anchoring.

For setting unless the weather is real bad just hauling up the anchor and starting the effort over again is just an inconvenience. Nobody likes an inconvenience but at least once you get your Dan/For set it will hold very well.

You see a lot of Danforth anchors but in my neck of the woods people generally think the Claw is better ... favored. I would rather use a Fortress or Danforth and deal w the fouling and possible bending issues to not be very concerned about dragging. There may be setting issues but once set they hold. These comments are directed at the high quality anchors and the market is flooded w cheap copies that are dangerous and next to worthless.

My Willard came w a 13lb Danforth and I've used it quite a few times and it's performance was perfect every time except once on grass in very shallow water.

But they are what they are and that is certainly not perfect.
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Old 06-21-2016, 12:59 PM   #462
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Originally Posted by Fortress Anchors View Post
I have a great respect for Steve and the amount of time and effort he has put into his anchor testing project. Truly admirable!

This was not the first time that our anchor didn't performed admirably in an anchor test and it will certainly not be the last with all of the variables involved with setting techniques and bottom conditions.

On the very first day and test of the Fortress anchor in the Chesapeake Bay test, and under the very watchful eyes of the boating writers aboard, the anchor just flat-lined right across the bottom and did not set.

One of the boating writers mentioned in his story that he overheard a Fortress rep say, "Well, at least no one can say that the test was rigged." I am glad that the writer did not hear me wonder aloud about whether a nearby bridge was high enough to jump off of!

In soft mud we recommend setting our anchor at a short scope to insure that the shank does not sink below the flukes, but since no other anchor manufacturer makes this recommendation, we did not include it in our testing protocol.


Regarding Steve's very difficult test for the 10 lb FX-16, I sent a link of the video to our US Navy anchor design / soil mechanics expert and consultant, Bob Taylor, for his opinion.

Among his comments, he expressed a concern for the negative upward affect on this light anchor from the two attached lines, particularly when the boat was moving with some speed, and it appeared that one of the lines was under a fluke which would have prevented it from pointing down.

Add to this a short testing scope of 3.5 to 1, which would also create a vertical pull on the 10 lb anchor, plus a moving 34-ft / 15k lb boat and the word "challenging" immediately comes to mind for a description of the test for this light anchor!

But I encourage Steve to keep up the good work and maybe we should all create a site for donations?

Safe anchoring,
Brian
Thanks, Brian

Regarding Mr. Taylor's comments: His labeling of the test as "strange" and subsequent warning (to you) that "When non-scientists get involved you’re in trouble" cast some doubt about his objectivity.

Let's dig a little deeper (no pun intended) into the "camera tether-pull factor" that Taylor (and myself in the video) brought to our attention. In the above video, I conduct Three separate deployments of the anchor, let's call them #1, #2, and #3.

Deployment #1. The camera tether (one line, not two) is attached to the crown of the anchor and is pulling upward with less than 1 pound of force. During the initial set (attempt) the chain is pulled back underneath one of the stocks/fluke and lodges against the side of the shank, perhaps being somewhat captured by the mud palm. The anchor dragged backwards continuously for many, dozens of feet without re-orienting. The anchor was always laying flat on the bottom and I cannot imagine how the "camera tether pull" was negatively affecting this outcome. In the video, I give this failure "a pass" as careful setting technique would alleviate this problem. BTW, I wonder if the initial "flat lining" of the Fortress during the Chesapeake test was a result of this same "backward dragging" phenomena?

Deployment #2. The camera tether is still attached to the crown of the anchor. During the initial set, the anchor is laying flat on the bottom and sets immediately. Let's all agree that the "camera tether pull" did not negatively affect this initial, perfect set. The anchor was then "power set" with 3000 rpm reverse power for 20 seconds resulting in a completely buried anchor. I then drive the boat up and over the anchor at 2 knots on order to simulate a wind or current reversal. As the slack is removed from the chain, the anchor rotates (and that's good) but unfortunately the anchor also develops a significant list. The anchor then disengages from the bottom and is dragged for many dozens of feet and does not re-set. Yes, the one pound "camera tether pull" was contributing to this listing and (I acknowledge that possibility in the video).

However, I believe this upward pull is a tiny fraction of other upward forces (like chain catenary removed/lifting) acting on the anchor. Looking back a couple months, to my Video #60, I bent the shank of my Fortress anchor by executing a 180 degree pull on the anchor in a similar condition (buried). Mr. Taylor commented on that video as well:

"The FX 16 is high efficiency and will penetrate deeply to deal with the load. The steel anchors or larger FX anchors will not penetrate as deeply as the FX 16 nor will they develop as high a percentage of their ultimate capacity so the heavier anchors will turn much more easily since they won’t be embedded much in comparison. To be fair he would need to adjust the rpm so that each anchor developed a similar percentage of its ultimate capacity."

I agree completely with the above statement and conclude that the side force needed to bend this anchor's shank must have been many hundreds of pounds. Yes, the force needed to LIFT this fully buried anchor perhaps is less than that needed to bend it. However, it will still be many, many times greater than the 1 pound of force pulling upward on the anchor. In-spite of this, in the interest of fairness, I acknowledge the possibility of "camera tether pull", and conduct a final deployment with the tether attached to the chain shackle:

Deployment #3. The camera tether is now attached to the chain shackle. I mention that the weight of this chain (3/8" BBB) is greater than what is normally used (or recommended) and is certainly enough to counter act the 1 pound of upward "camera tether pull". The anchor has a perfect initial set within one anchor length. I think we can all agree that the "camera tether pull" did not negatively affect this textbook set. The anchor was then "power set" in the normal 3,000 rpm fashion. I then drive the boat up and over the anchor in order to simulate a 180 degree wind or current reversal. The anchor rotates, remains buried in the sea-bed and stops the boat abruptly. I then drive the boat up and over the anchor again but this time I happen to nail the path over the anchor perfectly resulting in the anchor not rotating, but being flipped up over backward. Yes, the camera was pulling 1 pound upward on the end of the shank but again, this heavy, all-chain rode is many times heavier than the rode recommended by Fortress and is certainly negating the tiny upward tether pull. The anchor then drags continuously for many dozens of feet and does no re-set. The video clearly shows that the flukes are not able to pivot downward. At first, the camera tether is positioned directly adjacent to and touching the fluke and at that point even I thought that the tether might be somehow (it is just a single strand of 1/8" parachute cord) preventing the fluke from pivoting. However, as the boat is allowed to slow, the tether drifts away from the fluke completely while the fluke remains jammed in it's incorrect position. Upon retrieval a blob of seabed (sandy mud) is impacted between the flukes and is most certainly the culprit in the defeat of the pivot action.

Mr. Taylor goes on to say "Any anchor can ball up with soil or kelp and not be able to re-embed" as if to give a pass to this occurrence (after saying it was all fault of the camera tether). While I agree with this statement in a fundamental way, It appears that Taylor did not watch my numerous videos where I subject other anchors to repeated re-set testing in this exact area with three examples (Sarca, Sarca Excel, and the Spade) performing absolutely perfectly 100% of the time. It did not matter how they were deployed. It did not matter whether they rotated, listed, disengaged from the sea-bed, or were flipped over on their back, They all re-set perfectly every time.

Frankly, I do not see how the Fortess anchor company can be "in trouble" given it's fantastic high quality products, wonderful customer support, and dominance in the market it enjoys.

However, if problems do arise, I will accept no blame.

Steve
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Old 06-21-2016, 04:19 PM   #463
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Steve,

Thanks for your detailed reply and additional explanation, as well as for your very kind words about our company and products.

Bob only watched the two videos of Fortress that I sent him, and regarding his description of the tests as being "strange," maybe "unconventional" would have been more appropriate, and I think we all can agree on that!

He was one of the inventors of the patented Port Security Barrier System, which is basically a portable fence that can be anchored around US Navy vessels while in foreign ports.

This system is designed to prevent a USS Cole-type of terrorist attack, and per the specs I was told about, it is capable of stopping an 8,000 lb speedboat that is full of explosives and traveling at 60 mph, and so Bob is not a newbie to unconventional anchor testing.


I think the "trouble" he referred to was about the difficulty that a light anchor like the 10 lb FX-16 was going to have in this type of test. The anchor was well-set and buried to 3,000 rpm, then the 34-ft / 15,000 lbs boat was turned around and moving at 2 knots, and then the anchor needed to immediately dis-engage the bottom, flip over, and re-engage in a matter of seconds, maybe even less.

Obviously, the margin of error was very miniscule for this 10 lb anchor to perform similarly to the steel anchors tested that are 3.5 - 4.5 times the weight, but I fully accept Steve's test results and I have absolutely no concerns about a negative outcome for our company.


On a side note, a Finnish boating magazine Kippari published an anchor test last year and the Fortress did not set on the brick hard beach sand, but it set so deeply in the wet sand that they had to dig the anchor out with a shovel.

They wouldn't recommend the anchor, due in part for fear that it might work so well you could lose it.
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Old 06-21-2016, 04:55 PM   #464
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Which is an issue.
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Old 06-21-2016, 05:15 PM   #465
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Which is an issue.
Nearly all things.... anchors included... have some sort of issues. Trick is to chose item[s] in a category that have least bothersome issues and know or learn how to best deal with an issue.
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Old 06-21-2016, 05:35 PM   #466
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Nearly all things.... anchors included... have some sort of issues. Trick is to chose item[s] in a category that have least bothersome issues and know or learn how to best deal with an issue.
I have...and the danforth/fortress is a great backup/storm anchor.....clearly not my primary choice by a wide margin.

Who do you guys think your dealing with? A bunch of boat show regular, topsider wearing, 100 hr a year, 50 mile radius, lifetime 3 boat owner, book learned, gel coat polishing, brightwork varnishing, fair weather cruising neophytes?
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Old 06-21-2016, 06:04 PM   #467
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I have...and the danforth/fortress is a great backup/storm anchor.....clearly not my primary choice by a wide margin.

Who do you guys think your dealing with? A bunch of boat show regular, topsider wearing, 100 hr a year, 50 mile radius, lifetime 3 boat owner, book learned, gel coat polishing, brightwork varnishing, fair weather cruising neophytes?
Way TOOOO Many! Of course... Yourself not included!!
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Old 06-21-2016, 07:28 PM   #468
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Any influence of the camera on anchor sets is outweighed many times over by the information it provided.
I accept Steve`s view, as the person carrying out the test procedures, that any force applied was minuscule in the overall situation. All anchors were subjected to the same test regime, making the tests fair for all.
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Old 06-21-2016, 07:31 PM   #469
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Any influence of the camera on anchor sets is outweighed many times over by the information it provided.
I accept Steve`s view, as the person carrying out the test procedures, that any force applied was minuscule in the overall situation. All anchors were subjected to the same test regime, making the tests fair for all.
I agree for the most part. However, I think that for a very light anchor, the camera floats will have more of an effect than on a heavier anchor.

I still am amazed at how well Steve's videos have worked out. It has been very helpful to me on many levels, including just understanding what is happening down at the bottom while I am messing around up top.
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Old 06-22-2016, 08:17 AM   #470
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I still am amazed at how well Steve's videos have worked out. It has been very helpful to me on many levels, including just understanding what is happening down at the bottom while I am messing around up top.
Dave, I think right there you put your finger on what Steve has achieved in his tests.

From a personal perspective, I am most grateful he proved what I have experienced and supported with the use of the Super Sarca slotted shank. It is safe to use. Period. I knew it deep down, but there were doubters...
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Old 06-22-2016, 09:51 AM   #471
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I agree for the most part. However, I think that for a very light anchor, the camera floats will have more of an effect than on a heavier anchor.
No doubt. Bob Taylor's follow up comments noted that the 10 lb aluminum alloy FX-16 weighs only 6.3 lbs in water.

On a side note, if a pound for pound (or kg vs kg) comparison was ever done for anchors in common sea bottom conditions, then I will not so humbly state that the Fortress, with its massive surface area advantage, would blow away the competition, particularly in soft mud.

The 32 lb (14 kg) FX-55 was tripping and shutting down the aft winch at 4,000 lbs (1,800 kg) aboard the 81-ft Rachel Carson during the Chesapeake Bay tests. After the testing, the Capt. Michael Hume demanded that we leave this anchor with the vessel.

picture hosting

Almost all of the 44-46 lb (20-21 kg) steel anchors, including the highly-touted new generation anchors, never broke 1,000 lbs (450 kg) during the entire 4 days of testing in this bottom condition.

In a harder soil like sand, the pound for pound (or kg vs. kg) results would not be so dramatic, but they would still be significant, as I don't recall any test where steel anchors have held anywhere near 200 - 350x their weight as the Fortress has in numerous tests.

Just sayin',
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Old 06-22-2016, 10:29 AM   #472
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For the record, I have offered to test any anchor (for free) that Brian/Fortress sends to me. I have extended this offer in-spite of my desire to either end my testing or transform the testing from hobby to employment.

(Note: A competing anchor manufacturer declined to pay me a fee of $1,000 to test an anchor that they very much wanted to be included in my work.)

If Brian and Mr. Taylor are so sure that a larger version of a Fortress anchor will be immune to the affects of scale, it would seem logical that a larger anchor should be (have been) submitted.

Respectfully,

Steve Goodwin.
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Old 06-22-2016, 11:10 AM   #473
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Steve,

Thanks for your generous offer to test a larger Fortress anchor. There is some debate here on which anchor to send you, since if we send one that is too large and it is a comparable weight to the steel anchors, then the strength of your anchoring system might be put to the test as well!

All the best,
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Old 06-22-2016, 11:28 AM   #474
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Brian,

Ha! I've been pretty smug in the past about the strength of my anchor/deck gear. Guess it is time to put it to the test!

Note: Several months ago, I noticed that I was damaging Panope's hull paint (near the waterline) with the chain during the "re-set tests". Since then, I have been using a short length of 5/8" nylon snubber not to reduce loads but to protect paint. This has certainly decreased the shock loading but it is still VERY noticeable when an anchor hooks up at 2 or 3+ knots.

Steve

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Old 06-22-2016, 09:47 PM   #475
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Steve, some time just for fun this summer if you go out cruising and are going to anchor. Consider anchoring with your camera rig in place and simply let it run. I am curious if it would demonstrate what many of us have believed about the soaking affect on an anchor set. The battery will slowly drain on the Go-Pro but it would be of interest to see the vid played back at high speed to see if the anchor really does work its way deeper in the seabed.

If we ever meet up, I'll buy you a beer. :-)
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Old 06-22-2016, 10:28 PM   #476
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You may owe him more than a beer Dave.
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Old 06-22-2016, 11:21 PM   #477
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I'm rather perplexed by the winch set up. It looks like an orthodox horizontal motor body and gypsy to the right, but then the chain appears to go down, then come up through a hole on the other side left of the windlass, then dive down over a small white roller for'd of that to get to the locker. How on earth does that work Steve..? Is that what I'm seeing, or are they two separate chain rodes..?
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Old 06-22-2016, 11:50 PM   #478
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I'm rather perplexed by the winch set up. It looks like an orthodox horizontal motor body and gypsy to the right, but then the chain appears to go down, then come up through a hole on the other side left of the windlass, then dive down over a small white roller for'd of that to get to the locker. How on earth does that work Steve..? Is that what I'm seeing, or are they two separate chain rodes..?
The chain to port goes under, not around or over the drum. The windlass looks Muir(ish) but if so, modified. Interesting set up, but seems irrelevant to the testing.
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Old 06-23-2016, 12:40 AM   #479
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Steve, some time just for fun this summer if you go out cruising and are going to anchor. Consider anchoring with your camera rig in place and simply let it run. I am curious if it would demonstrate what many of us have believed about the soaking affect on an anchor set. The battery will slowly drain on the Go-Pro but it would be of interest to see the vid played back at high speed to see if the anchor really does work its way deeper in the seabed.

If we ever meet up, I'll buy you a beer. :-)
dhays, I was out in the B.C. Gulf Islands and Howe Sound for 10 days earlier in the month. My plan was to get some video of different sea-beds. I gave it a half decent attempt but it was just too difficult to put on my product tester "hat" when in vacation mode.

Rather than get a long-term/time lapse shot, I was looking to do a normal filming of the set and then release the camera from the anchor with a trip line. After several anchor deployments (one of which I forgot to turn the camera on ), I did manage to get the camera released and back on-board but for unknown reasons, the camera was aimed up at the sun for the entire set. At that point a cracked a beer and took a nap in my hammock, dreaming of things other than anchors.

Your request for a shot depicting the anchor after the wind and waves have worked on it is a good idea. However, I believe that it will require 20 knots or more wind to put much strain on the anchor and I just about always find an anchorage that is sheltered. The best way for me to get the shot you want would be for me to do a dedicated test in my normal area on a very windy day.

Don't hold your breath too long waiting for that to happen.

Steve
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Old 06-23-2016, 12:53 AM   #480
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I'm rather perplexed by the winch set up. It looks like an orthodox horizontal motor body and gypsy to the right, but then the chain appears to go down, then come up through a hole on the other side left of the windlass, then dive down over a small white roller for'd of that to get to the locker. How on earth does that work Steve..? Is that what I'm seeing, or are they two separate chain rodes..?
Peter, Yes there are two rodes. Primary to Starboard. The Port rode services the Forfjord Anchor that lives in a vertical hawse pipe, the top of which has the small white roller. Yes, I use the drum to hoist chain and it does work (sorta).

Steve
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