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Old 12-30-2014, 09:33 PM   #181
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Ted wrote:

Rex calm down. I like your product, people speak highly of it on this forum, and I wish it had a significant presents in the USA. That being said, I think it safer to say that the captains who chose you product and anchored properly with sufficient scope survived through wise choices. Clearly the holding power of your anchor without adequate scope would have caused the boats to have been pulled under when the tsunami wave hit their boats.

Ted

Rex wrote:

Hi Ted, I will be the first to throw away instructions and get the job done without them, after assembling the missus usually has to ask me what is this for? answer must be a spare, it is something that I never used to do, glasses- if only I would ware them then there would not be spares, further I could have read your response without jumping to conclusions, I confess I read your post without my glasses and the bits I could not read my mind filed them in. Sorry no offense meant and no offence taken.


Hi Brian from Fortress, thanks for your comment, likewise Fortress are truly lucky to have such a dedicated supervisor and a great bloke such as yourself.

Regards Rex.
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Old 12-30-2014, 09:37 PM   #182
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Well if an anchor test was a good one (and I don't know if I've ever seen one) I can't relate to Marin's notion that "testimonials" would be a good way to get objective information on anchors. A good way to get lots of opinions but I can't imagine any way to get more biased opinions.
You're absolutely correct on this, Eric, no question. That's why I think it's important to get as many user testimonials as possible. Sure, they will be biased, but the bias has to be based on something. People who have good and repetitively reliable experience with something like an anchor will say so. Are they biased? Most likely, as you say. But the bias has a reason behind it.

When people ask me if I would recommend a Bruce, I tell them it's the world's crappiest anchor. Biased? Absolutely. Why? Because we almost lost our boat to one. If our Bruce had held reliably all the times we needed it to, we would have been delighted with it and when somebody asked me for an anchor recommendation I would have said "Bruce" with no hesitation whatsoever.

So bias does not automatically rule out validity.

Part of my job is interviewing the CEOs of airlines that operate 787s. Why? Because everyone knows what we're going to say about the plane. It's great, right?

But what we want to get out there are the opinions and experiences of people who are actually using the plane. Are they biased? Sure. They spent a zillion dollars on the thing and want to feel their decision was justified. But along with that come concrete examples of why the plane is doing what they bought it to do. And that's what we want to convey to our customers. It's not us saying what we claim the plane will do, it's users describing what the plane is doing.

The user testimonials--- written or told to us--- about an anchor's performance will be favorably biased, of course. Unless, like us, a person had a bad experience, in which case they'll still be biased but against the anchor, not for it. And that's valuable information, too.

So you're correct. You can't get away from bias when talking to individuals about their experiences. But that bias is usually based on something, and it's that "something" that I'm interested in hearing about
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Old 12-30-2014, 09:58 PM   #183
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I also think the Fortress mud test was the most objective yet and of course those manufacturers that were in the test and had a product that was not at home in mud should have probably pulled their product from the test. Draggo of XYZ no longer presents his anchors for tests and that option is there for all.

The only thing that would have helped for the layman I think would have been to provide some kind of value to what a typical mud bottom is and what kind of mud was in the test area. Most of the bottoms in the PNW are mud. But I'll wager there are probably 27 or 47 or 97 different types of mud along the coast. If the Fortress mud was indeed a common type of mud (common to anchorages that is) the test would have a whole lot different meaning than if the mud was extra extra slimy. Since most of the bottoms from Seattle to Skagway are mud the Fortress test shows any boat running up and down that coast should have lots of problems. But boats w Rocna anchors do and I haven't heard of the problems. I assume Rocna owners/users would flock to TF to reveal their findings.

So I'm still vague on how slimy, usual or unusual the test area mud was. And it should not be forgotten that the Rocna has done poorly in more than one mud test. So perhaps the mud was not typical in those other tests either. But to me the implications of the test aren't very applicable unless more is known about that mud. Perhaps it's just me. If so say so. I really would like to know and to sound a bit foolish would well be worth the price of exposure.

Marin,
Good point your 182. All input is good if there's enough filters in place.
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Old 12-30-2014, 10:18 PM   #184
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Maybe we can solve the whole controversy. Fortress comes out with aluminum and steel versions of spade type anchors and does a two for one promotion. Buy either one you get the other at half price or better yet free. I would put my money there.
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Old 12-30-2014, 11:05 PM   #185
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It would be useful if when anchors are tested some indication is given of what the seabed is actually like, thin mud lacks sufficient information. I'm not sure how you do this but knowing that the tests in Chesapeake were conducted in a seabed like fresh yogurt might be more useful than thin mud. It would also be useful if regions with similar seabeds were quoted, so do areas in San Francisco Bay, Thames estuary have similar muds of similar consistency. Are there hydrographic surveys available that define seabed consistency?
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Old 12-30-2014, 11:11 PM   #186
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Djbangi View Post
I think Eric has a good point,

How does one characterise the mud in which the Fortress tests were conducted and equally how does on characterise the sand that West Marine tested in in 2006. Its, maybe, easy today it has this part ice size distribution but it would be maybe more
Ah...what was it you were saying there dj..? It does not quite compute.

Anyway, my summing up would be, Fortress great in the soft stuff...maybe not so hot ine other bottoms. Spade types...if they set...also do well in soft bottoms where they can really dig below the surface.

The Bruce and CQR types do badly in nearly all tests, yet their owners love them. The Bruce sets quickly, but also pulls out rather easy, the CQR is a bitch to set, and often just bounces along the bottom, made easy by that damned hinged shank, but nevertheless many still use them, including the guy who just zoomed in in a Mustang 32, and set one in a jiff next to us just minutes ago. He'll be upwind of me if it turns nasty tonight, so I hope he knows what he's doing.

Rollbar types set well and quickly usually, but some of them can be tricky to set in really soft stuff if not used to them.

As we all try to avoid extreme conditions when we anchor, and often it is so calm at night, like the last two nights we've been out, where a brick on a string would have held us, (but more wind would have been appreciated to cool us and fire up the wind genny), so our anchor choices are seldom put to the real test, and therefore never let us down enough to scare, so we remain happy.

If one wants the real lowdown on anchor prrformance in really adverse conditions, then true passagemakers are the go-to folk, I'd say. Static anchor tests cannot, and never will really cover that type of performance adequately, just give a guide only.
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Old 12-30-2014, 11:26 PM   #187
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Peter, sorry I hit the wrong key and off it went like a rabbit (or hare). I re-submitted. in a follow up post.
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Old 12-30-2014, 11:49 PM   #188
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I wonder what the people at fortress would think if one of the other anchor company's paid for a test where they specified a bottom type that would allow their product to set while the fortress would struggle and then try to get as much media coverage as possible. Is that still unbiased independent testing or is it a form of product promotion as in advertising? Would they defend that test as science?
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Old 12-31-2014, 12:15 AM   #189
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Hey guys, let's just accept the fact Fortress chose a fairly typical soft mud bottom, and conducted a fair range of tests. Their anchor performed well, anticipatedly so, and some others not so well. It serves no purpose to suggest the test was rigged or unfair, as in a conspiracy. We all acknowledge it was not an all-encompassing, exhaustive test in all bottoms and conditions. That is just not possible. Let's accept that, and move on. As I suggested above, if you want to find out those anchors that REALLY do well, when the rubble meets the rode, go ask real passagemakers..!
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Old 12-31-2014, 12:18 AM   #190
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I wonder what the people at fortress would think if one of the other anchor company's paid for a test where they specified a bottom type that would allow their product to set while the fortress would struggle and then try to get as much media coverage as possible. Is that still unbiased independent testing or is it a form of product promotion as in advertising? Would they defend that test as science?
There is no indication that Fortress knew when they arranged the tests that some anchors would behave so poorly. I think they were as surprised by the differences as anyone. I guess they 'knew' the opposition would not be as good - but to have known they were so bad (needed exposure anyway). I am under the impression they simply wanted to show theirs was the best and they had no intention to 'show up' anyone' as being a liability. I can think of no reason, other than simple commercial reasons, to point fingers at anyone

But there again maybe I'm naive and trust people until I find they are dishonest.

But I do not think Fortress claim their anchor is perfect and they have in the past acknowledged that in some applications it is not as good as other designs. For another anchor maker to choose such seabeds to show the excellence of their product (in those seabeds) and equally show that other anchors are poor performers would appear a valid test. This would be on the basis the test is done under public scrutiny and it is a sensible test, so equally deployment, same scope - the usual stuff.

I think such tests would be valid and if done correctly would have the same scientific basis as the current Fortress tests. Personally I'd be very pleased if anchor makers did sponsor (or conduct themselves) tests in 'peripheral' seabeds (and under public scrutiny) - rather than the historic focus on 'sand' (where many anchors perform adequately).

So if an(other) anchor maker wants to test in very hard sand, very soft sand, clay, medium density weed, seabeds with lots of rocks and pebbles etc etc - I think it would be of value to us all, in the same way as I think the Chesapeake tests are of value. I also think it would be very difficult and detrimental for Fortress to argue such tests were 'unfair' or 'invalid' - provided they were sensible tests. The real danger is when we have pseudo scientific tests, call them science fiction where there is no public scrutiny, anchors are of unknown size, different deployment techniques etc and these tests are touted as definitive and demonstrating excellence, or otherwise.

I think if the tests showed only the Fortress to be a poor performer (and all other anchors were adequate) this might raise eyebrows, if not hackles (not only with Fortress).

I could do this tomorrow by simply showing a Fortress will not fit on my bow roller, a roll bar anchor will not fit on my bow roller but a Delta, Excel, Bruce, Spade do fit. To me showing this is valid - but a waste of time unless you have the same bow roller as me (and I think there are only 60 such bow rollers total in existence).
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Old 12-31-2014, 08:00 AM   #191
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The Fortress is a knock off of the Danforth.

Since we almost all have a power windlass why bother with the lightweight copy , when the steel ancient versions work so well?

And remember Mr. Ogg ,(Danforth inventer) never said to anchor with a Danforth ,
he recommended at least 2 with more being even better.

The reverse pull out problem will be the same for the aluminum copy , why do they not use the inventors sage advice?
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Old 12-31-2014, 08:04 AM   #192
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Or why did Supermax never gain traction?
That surprises me, too. Ours works like a champ, and it fits nicely on our bow roller. (Although it needs a manual assist to launch.) Not inexpensive. Doesn't require complete dismantling to adjust the pivot angle.

Actually, that latter is one of the main reasons we don't keep the FX-37 mounted all the time. If we try to set around here (usually mud, sometimes firm, often soft), and discover we need to change fluke angles, the whole mess must come up on deck to dismantle and reassemble. Yuck.

In any case, the SuperMax pivot can be adjusted without bringing the anchor onto the foredeck, just back into the roller cradle.


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It would be useful if when anchors are tested some indication is given of what the seabed is actually like, thin mud lacks sufficient information. I'm not sure how you do this but knowing that the tests in Chesapeake were conducted in a seabed like fresh yogurt might be more useful than thin mud.
Fresh yoghurt; good one

Reasonably apt, too. Sometimes the mud around here is firm enough so it takes some water pressure to hose it off. Inside the chain links usually takes longest. I can often get a big blob of firm mud to loosen and slide off the anchor en masse... but getting it out of the links usually needs direct force -- on each link -- for a bit.

But when it's thin or soft mud -- it'll actually run down the foredeck, from bow, around the house, back into the cockpit -- if I bring the anchor or even the chain aboard too soon. Yuck.



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I wonder what the people at fortress would think if one of the other anchor company's paid for a test where they specified a bottom type that would allow their product to set while the fortress would struggle and then try to get as much media coverage as possible. Is that still unbiased independent testing or is it a form of product promotion as in advertising? Would they defend that test as science?

Can't imagine anybody having heartburn over data from a different substrate -- when all the test subjects are tested in the same manner, and assuming the testing technique is reasonable -- no matter who produced it. I may question technique, I may weigh the data's value to me, I may even try to replicate something that seems completely unexpected, just to validate (or not) the results... but that doesn't mean I'd not find it useful for examination.

Marin's comments about user testimony kind of applies here, too. I find test data useful, but not the whole and complete universe of useful factoids. OTOH, user testimony has its flaws, too; imagine the guy on our dock who testifies Anchor X sucks... because he throws it overboard, turns off the engine, and opens a beverage, no additional technique involved. IOW, weeding out the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, is also an issue. As with test data.

I don't think I've heard Brian call their recent tests "science" -- just the best they could devise and execute on their budget.

-Chris
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Old 12-31-2014, 08:12 AM   #193
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The Fortress is a knock off of the Danforth.

Since we almost all have a power windlass why bother with the lightweight copy , when the steel ancient versions work so well?

And remember Mr. Ogg ,(Danforth inventer) never said to anchor with a Danforth ,
he recommended at least 2 with more being even better.

The reverse pull out problem will be the same for the aluminum copy , why do they not use the inventors sage advice?

"Knock off" sounds unnecessarily pejorative. Call it what you will, of course, but I think of "knock offs" being Danforth-style and made of steel (of various quality), same weight size for size, and with no additional features. So I wouldn't describe a DeLorean as a Camaro (or whatever) knock off.



FWIW, our anchors are sized so I can recover manually if the windlass craps out. The Fortress we have is larger than the same weight Danforth. A Danforth (steel) of the same size as out Fortress is becoming too heavy to lift manually.

The other features -- easy/flat stowage, adjustable fluke angles, mud palms -- are gravy.

Not a recommendation, just an observation.

-Chris
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Old 12-31-2014, 08:37 AM   #194
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why do they not use the inventors sage advice?
Fortress do recommend this in their "Safe Anchoring Guide".
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Old 12-31-2014, 10:45 AM   #195
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Just my opinion Brian, but what you did with these tests was as close to a scientific study of anchor performance as I have seen. Scientific studies rarely address universal conditions, but rather focus on one or two things to try to get to a better understanding. In personal experience, I've collaborated on scientific studies on the effect of periodontal disease risk on tooth loss. In these studies we didn't pay attention to the impact of perio on diabetes treatment, or prematurity, or anything else - just how many teeth were lost. Eliminating variables is usually important for study design and validity, and what you did was focus on the performance of anchors in one commonly encountered sea bed. Nothing more, and nothing less.

IMO, complaints that because your study didn't address anchor performance in other conditions is way off base.

What an objective person should be able to conclude from this study is that some anchors suck in soft mud (pun intended), and others perform well with the Fortress performing the best. Seems valid to me.
Thanks Delfin. Your comments on anchoring threads are oftentimes humorous and insightful. Much appreciated!

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It would be useful if when anchors are tested some indication is given of what the seabed is actually like, thin mud lacks sufficient information. I'm not sure how you do this but knowing that the tests in Chesapeake were conducted in a seabed like fresh yogurt might be more useful than thin mud. It would also be useful if regions with similar seabeds were quoted, so do areas in San Francisco Bay, Thames estuary have similar muds of similar consistency. Are there hydrographic surveys available that define seabed consistency?
I will check with Bob Taylor and see if he can answer this. I know that he is well familiar with "soil shear strength" figures, and he has stated previously that soft mud is commonly found in bays, harbors, lakes, rivers and some seas throughout the world.

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I wonder what the people at fortress would think if one of the other anchor company's paid for a test where they specified a bottom type that would allow their product to set while the fortress would struggle and then try to get as much media coverage as possible. Is that still unbiased independent testing or is it a form of product promotion as in advertising? Would they defend that test as science?
A fair question. If another anchor company conducted a similar in-depth test in a bottom where the Fortress would likely struggle, such as in grass, weeds, or rocks, where the two massive flukes are likely to have difficulty penetrating, then we would certainly not cry foul if the results turned out to be disappointing for our product.

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The Fortress is a knock off of the Danforth.

Since we almost all have a power windlass why bother with the lightweight copy , when the steel ancient versions work so well?

And remember Mr. Ogg ,(Danforth inventer) never said to anchor with a Danforth, he recommended at least 2 with more being even better.

The reverse pull out problem will be the same for the aluminum copy , why do they not use the inventors sage advice?
During the Sailing Foundation tests (summary below), pulls were conducted from straight line, 90 and 180 angles. The maximum amount of pull was approximately 4,000 lbs, and the 20+ lb FX-37 exceeded that amount in every direction. No other much heavier steel anchor came close.

Their comments afterwards:

The Fortress set so deep that the rode had to be hauled in to 1:1 and significant power applied to rode by the 83,000-pound tug to break it free. It is doubtful that a sailboat would have windlass power to break it out. Perhaps large primary winches or a rising tide might be adequate. However, it is also doubtful that a sailboat could have set the anchor that deep in less than a full hurricane.

On a side note, our late company founder knew Bob Ogg and he was aboard for the 1990 San Francisco Bay soft mud tests that Fortress sponsored, and we have Mr. Ogg on video complimenting Fortress for the fair and unbiased testing of all anchors.

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Marin's comments about user testimony kind of applies here, too. I find test data useful, but not the whole and complete universe of useful factoids. OTOH, user testimony has its flaws, too; imagine the guy on our dock who testifies Anchor X sucks... because he throws it overboard, turns off the engine, and opens a beverage, no additional technique involved. IOW, weeding out the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, is also an issue. As with test data.

-Chris
Well said Chris. I have heard many complaints about the performance of anchors over the years, and when you drill down to find the cause, operator error is certainly not uncommon. The fisherman who is trying to set our 4 lb anchor in 100-ft of the nearby ocean, while using 125-ft of rode with 3-ft of chain and in a heavy current immediately comes to mind.

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Fortress do recommend this in their "Safe Anchoring Guide".
Absolutely. Our late founder was a lifelong and very adventurous boater, as he once took his boat 1,000 miles up the Amazon River, he crossed the Atlantic several times, and he completed a circumnavigation in his early 70s.

He used to say that once an anchor breaks free from a sea bottom, then it is oftentimes no longer an anchor, it is likely to be a massive ball without any sharp edges in which to re-penetrate the bottom, so for maximum safety, setting two anchors is advisable if a wind or tidal shift is expected.
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Old 12-31-2014, 11:42 AM   #196
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Well after all this I doubt if Rocna will be sponsoring any tests on muddy bottoms. However if they could find a mud bottom that their anchor could deal with it may be to their credit to do so.

Any anchor manufacturer would be stupid to sponsor a test in an environment that his product would likely fail.

And to do well at finding a typical bottom where all anchors would do well would tend to show design advantages relative to mostly holding power. But not much else. I think most early anchor tests were like this and it was felt that was the only way to be fair and not biased to one design or type. The testing expanded to things like veering capability, short scope ability, rocky bottoms and mud. Much was learned by the non-average situation tests that was very valuable so I welcome the variable conditions tests and think too much attention has been devoted to holding power in typical bottoms.
A very valid test would be to subject anchors to many variations as that's what the real world of anchoring actually represents. I would be far more likely to choose an anchor that did well in such a test than one that had the worlds highest holding power. If we choose our wifes that way no marriage would survive. Remember the biggest variable in anchoring is the sea floor or bottom above all else even the user.
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Old 12-31-2014, 02:19 PM   #197
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I 1st bought a fortress for its light weight but larger flukes because my wife would not run the boat during anchoring or retrieval, she wanted to do the hard work we didn't have a windlass. So I bought my 1st fortress to make it easier for her to raise the anchor, that is also the reason I looked for areas to anchor that were 4' to 6' deep to drop the hook. The fortress never drug even during thunderstorms on the inland lake we boated on for 10 years. I've had it hold my boat plus 4 others all 36' to 44' with a steady 15 mph wind gusting to 25 mph. The reason I kept buying a fortress for larger boats was because in my experience they do exactly what a anchor should do, maybe it's been luck, skill or the fortress on the bow, there wasn't any skill involved when I 1st started boating that's for sure. Either luck or the fortress or both, I'll take that combination every time. Now with a windlass I could put any anchor on the bow but until I run into a bottom type that warrants that change the fortress stays. I truthfully can't say why I bought the 1st one from boaters world 15 years ago when they were still around other than wanting something lighter.
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Old 12-31-2014, 04:52 PM   #198
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I've had it hold my boat plus 4 others all 36' to 44' with a steady 15 mph wind gusting to 25 mph.
It is important to realise that the anchor forces go up, roughly, as the square of the windspeed.

4x38 foot boats @ 15mph=792 lbs according to ABYC calculations. This equates to a single 38 foot boat in an average wind speed of 30 mph (26 knots ).

These forces are low. They are not a significant test of an anchor.

The Fortress is very lightweight and this great asset as a secondary anchor, or perhaps, with care, as a primary anchor when no windlass is available, but only when you are willing to deploy two anchors if a change in wind direction is possible.

In a medium-soft substrate a Fortress has extraordinary holding power for the weight when the pull is in a straight line. I have loaned my FX-37 to a 50 foot cat and it has held in 50 knots of wind. This is an exceptional performance from a 21 lb anchor.

The Fortress anchor is an ideal second anchor. It can even be swum out with a small fender as a kedge. I don't understand this push to promote it as a primary anchor. It is ill suited for the task in my opinion. However, it is an ideal secondary anchor.
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Old 12-31-2014, 05:27 PM   #199
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Noelex how often do you think a Fortress would be likely to fail? I think it could be used as a primary 95 to 98% of the time. Wind and current changes should'nt be a problem unless higher wind speeds were expected or encountered. Then two anchors could be used except in crowded anchorages. And you'd know ahead of time if the Fortress was going to be inappropriate so could just deploy the backup anchor.
I think the only real reason Fortress anchors aren't widely used as a primary anchor is the bow pulpit or just plain bow anchor storage. It's just too darned easy to store and deploy the anchors that more suitable for that.
Also I think one could rig up an anchor chock that would hold a Danforth type flat on the bow w the anchor end of the shank at the top of the stem where most bow rollers reside and the rode end of the shank aft of that. The anchor could come up either way rotationally and would extend over the bow basically not at all. The stock bars would stick out on either side a bit but shouldn't present a problem. Would not be self launching for those that for whatever reason won't or don't come out on deck.
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Old 12-31-2014, 05:34 PM   #200
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Many vessels use a Fortress as their primary anchor, the US Coastguard for one and Viking yachts for another. They would not have them as a standard primary if every time the tide changed they would need to re-set. Nearly all racing yachts carry a Fortress anchor, and use them. On the previous 2 Vendee Globes a Fortress was used to anchor in Sandy Bay, Auckland Island (its about 30 degrees south). if these anchors were not dependable (as any other anchor) they would not be used on single handed races.

As has been reported elsewhere a roll bar anchor (of the concave design) when clogged with mud and weed is simply deadweight if it breaks free - it will not reset until (and if) that ball of rubbish washes out. Practical sailor reported on the issue. There have been a number of reports of roll bar anchors dragging (in exactly the manner demonstrated by Practical Sailor) - but proponents of the design would rather ignore the issue (even better they would rather distract attention by pointing a finger at someone else).

The attitude seems to be, if I'm sufficiently repetitive and negative of the competition (often without a firm foundation) it will come up in a google search and then become fact.

Anchors are compromise - get used to it, accept reality

edit

Eric, our posts crossed +1 to you.

I believe there is a manufacturer on your West Coast, SF comes to mind (maybe Brian@Fortress can comment), that makes bow rollers specifically for Fortress to be used as a primary. No-one would set up production of something like a bow roller dedicated to one specific design if there was no market - maybe this manufacturer and their customers need to be introduced to Noelex to learn the error of their ways.

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