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Old 12-23-2014, 01:35 PM   #1
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Another round of anchor controversy

The new issue of passage maker magazine has another round of anchor controversy. Nigel Calder comes out with his choice of all around best anchor types and Chuck Hawley defends the Fortress anchor tests. In an earlier post I had expressed my opinion regarding the Fortress soft mud tests. I feel it is all an advertising stunt on the part of Fortress since they cherry picked the bottom knowing their product would do well. This test was in my opinion biased. No mater how careful and documented a test is it is of little value if the sample is predetermined to favor a known result. That is not good science it smacks more of advertising. Surprisingly it did embarrass some well known standby anchor types Calder does also have some thoughts on that issue. Nigel points out that his extensive anchoring experience and that of many other boaters including myself do not find the Fortress to be the best all around anchor and see it as a soft mud and back up unit easy to set from a dinghy with high holding power for pulling a boat off the ground not what many cruisers around the world carry on their bow. To date I find the practical sailor magazines ongoing series of anchor tests as the least biased and most likely accurate information regarding anchor function. This controversy is still in the early rounds of a 15 round bout.
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Old 12-23-2014, 02:35 PM   #2
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NIgel Calder certainly has been stirring up a lot of controversy recently: over propping, electric drives and now anchoring. I am not sure that he is advancing the cause of boating. But he is selling magazines.

His prior quest- over propping, led to almost a 100 post thread on this site. Anchoring should do even better.

FWIW I think he is right about a Fortress being a poor all around anchor. I watched one come up in a reversing anchorage at Jewell Island in Maine. The chain had wrapped back and forth on the Fortress so that it came up as a blob of metal. It was only the weight of the blob that was holding the boat in place. It took the poor guy an hour to un tangle it.

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Old 12-23-2014, 02:58 PM   #3
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It seems to be a well-established fact that the Danforth-type--- which is what a Fortress is of course--- is an excellent anchor in mud, sand, and gravel. Bottoms that allow the flukes to dig in and dig deep. So far as I know, there has never been any dispute over this for the many decades the Danforth-type has been around. We carry a Fortress on board precisely because of this.

With regards to an "all around" or "all purpose" anchor, that gets harder to define. I believe most anchor designs are ideal for certain bottom types. Some of them work well in a variety of bottom types alhotugh their designs probably still make them really good in one type.

But I think the "good all around" rating is based almost entirely on user experiences rather than tests. There are simply too many variables in anchoring a vessel to permit tests to give a reliable "all around" picture.

And when you get into user experiences, you open up Pandora's box because there are an almost infinite number and variety of user experiences.

When we decided to replace the anchor we put on the boat when we acquired it, we based our eventual purchase decision on two things. Our belief that the way the anchor worked was really logical and smart, and all the user testimonials we could find at the time. Based on these things, and our subsequent experience with this anchor, we ha ve come to feel that its basic design is the best "all around" design on the market.

But..... that's just us. As other anchor discussions on this forum have shown, other boaters-- including extremelyh experienced boaters like Carl (Delfin), Tom (Sunchaser), and Eric (Manyboats)---feel equally strongly that their preferred anchor is the best all-around anchor.

So in my opinon, there is really no way to prove definitively which anchor design is the best "all around" anchor. I personally agree that it's not the Danforth-type because that configuration is well-known to have problems in bottom conditions that some of the other designs deal with fairly handily.

Perhaps the title of "best all around anchor" will remain forever elusive.
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Old 12-23-2014, 03:34 PM   #4
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Old 12-23-2014, 03:46 PM   #5
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Old 12-23-2014, 03:56 PM   #6
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Old 12-23-2014, 03:58 PM   #7
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Old 12-23-2014, 04:31 PM   #8
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Old 12-23-2014, 05:28 PM   #9
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Old 12-23-2014, 06:07 PM   #10
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So is the end result going to be that my Chinese knock off CQR is the "Best All Around Anchor"?
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Old 12-23-2014, 06:27 PM   #11
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So is the end result going to be that my Chinese knock off CQR is the "Best All Around Anchor"?
It very well may be for you. your boat, and where and when you anchor. I had a CQR with all chain it worked fairly well for me. I do think the three newer type anchors I have owned since work better but then the question is ,Is the better necessary. my conclusion most of the time no but sometimes yes.
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Old 12-23-2014, 07:25 PM   #12
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I thought the whole anchor test was amusing but rather pointless. How many buy an anchor to plow furrows in the seabed? I see an anchor similar to a slip piling in that you set it, but it takes some period of time for the bottom to settle and compact around it before it reaches its full holding potential. It seams to me that a better test would be to set up a number of identical boats or barges with identical ground tack (except for the anchor), anchor them in heavy tidal current (2+ knots), and put a gps plotter on each one. Then see what happens over the course of a week of twice daily current changes and anchor resets. While holding strength is important, I worry more about the inevitable tide or wind shift in the middle of the night. Of course it's unlikely you will attract an audience of the nautical press to watch for a week and applaud you.

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Old 12-23-2014, 07:30 PM   #13
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I want to hear more about those two new Spades.
I like both of them.
Boat show is coming up so will at least "see" at that time.
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Old 12-23-2014, 08:08 PM   #14
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So is the end result going to be that my Chinese knock off CQR is the "Best All Around Anchor"?
Sorry, but no…my CQR knock-off served me poorly, but it is probably still the most common anchor used in these parts, although that is slowly changing. To see what I ended up with please do a search, as I don't want to be responsible for another whole round of what and which and why is x better than y etc.

I also agree the suggestion re testing made by OC Diver would be the best and fairest method, but certainly not a spectator sport.
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Old 12-23-2014, 08:12 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
I thought the whole anchor test was amusing but rather pointless. How many buy an anchor to plow furrows in the seabed? I see an anchor similar to a slip piling in that you set it, but it takes some period of time for the bottom to settle and compact around it before it reaches its full holding potential. It seams to me that a better test would be to set up a number of identical boats or barges with identical ground tack (except for the anchor), anchor them in heavy tidal current (2+ knots), and put a gps plotter on each one. Then see what happens over the course of a week of twice daily current changes and anchor resets. While holding strength is important, I worry more about the inevitable tide or wind shift in the middle of the night. Of course it's unlikely you will attract an audience of the nautical press to watch for a week and applaud you.

Ted
That's a great idea.
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Old 12-23-2014, 10:11 PM   #16
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I don't think Fortress markets their anchor as the best all around. Perhaps they would disagree, but I think their product is positioned as a piece of almost mandatory safety equipment for the serious cruiser. Easy to stow, easy to handle, once set enormously high holding power - seems to me that for every Rocna, Ultra, Manson, or whatever sold the vessel owner would be advised to buy one Fortress. Just in case.
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Old 12-24-2014, 12:47 AM   #17
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I don't think Fortress markets their anchor as the best all around. Perhaps they would disagree, but I think their product is positioned as a piece of almost mandatory safety equipment for the serious cruiser. Easy to stow, easy to handle, once set enormously high holding power - seems to me that for every Rocna, Ultra, Manson, or whatever sold the vessel owner would be advised to buy one Fortress. Just in case.
fair advise. I happen to own a left over spare aluminum spade anchor and I have found it to fill pretty much the same purpose as a fortress. I use it as my second anchor either set from the boat or my dinghy and being aluminum it is light and breaks down for easy storage below. If I didn't already own the spade I might have gone with a Fortress I used to use one on my high performance sail boats where I considered weight important.
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Old 12-24-2014, 02:44 AM   #18
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The end result is and always is that there is no best anchor. Anchors need to be matched to boat, to conditions, even to crew. Then you determine the one best for most of the conditions you see. It's like best boat, best engine and all the other "bests". We don't own any "best" but sure have some good all around anchors oversized to overcome any shortcomings.

And as to the fortress test, of course they designed it where they thought the conditions would be best for their anchor.Otherwise they'd be fools.
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Old 12-24-2014, 07:20 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
NIgel Calder certainly has been stirring up a lot of controversy recently: over propping, electric drives and now anchoring. I am not sure that he is advancing the cause of boating. But he is selling magazines.

His prior quest- over propping, led to almost a 100 post thread on this site. Anchoring should do even better.

David
I ran into Peter Swanson (editor of PassageMaker) about 9 months ago, and in the conversation one of the things he said he was doing at PassageMaker was to stir things up more, and have more controversial articles. The first Hybrid article had just come out, and clearly he was on the path to bring Nigel Calder in as a regular. A number of other changes have happened since as well, including bringing Ben Ellison and Panbo under the fold, though that part may have happened earlier - I can't remember exactly when.

So I think selling magazines is definitely part of the goal.
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Old 12-24-2014, 07:33 AM   #20
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>Sorry, but no…my CQR knock-off served me poorly,<

AS do most Knock-offs.

To me the biggest, heaviest, common anchor that will stow in the bow roller is >best<.

Only thing better is buying it used , for about a buck a pound.

Anyone in FL switching to a modern watch fob , call me if you have a CQR or Danforth H series, 35 to 90 lbs. you wish to sell. 60 lb my favorite $1.25 a pound.
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