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Old 08-11-2014, 10:38 AM   #141
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FF,
I agree the Danforth and CQR are excellent anchors but they both have their limitations.
The CQR w it's very small fluke area per anchor weight and it's tendency to drag along the bottom setting on hard bottoms. But on a very rocky or very soft mud they seem to thrive where others have issues.
The Danforth tends to occasionally get "things" jammed or caught between the flukes or between the shank and flukes. Probably almost never happens even here in the PNW but unlike some or most roll bar anchors a Danforth will not become incapacitated dragging along upside down.

Rex,
I noticed a long time ago your "secondary fluke" that I assumed was merely a structural aid for the roll bar like a brace on a pole barn w/o sides. Also I thought it probably pushed the anchor deeper when fully buried but interestingly neither function was it's mission. Thanks for sharing as such stuff is exciting to me.
As to the weight transfer when setting I have an anchor that also does that. I'll show pics later.
I noticed you and numerous other anchor manufacturers offer several anchor designs. And I wonder how much of that is to please customer taste's or cover all bottom types and/or usage differences. Salvage boats, ships and yachts usually don't use the same types of anchors. The US automotive industry gave us tail fins on cars first because it perceived we wanted them and very soon because they knew we wanted them.
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Old 08-11-2014, 11:32 AM   #142
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No Eric,

No fins, stripes or doodads, only design what the market dictates, the Sarca was ahead of its time and not really well marketed so it is still not very well understood, Exceptionally wide holding area is needed for soft mud, sharp turned down toe for reef, secondary fluke to prevent the anchor from dragging upside down in soft mud, Sarca was according to our patent the first true multipurpose anchor design.


Even the slotted trip belongs to us "not Manson" don’t ask me why otherwise this thread will blow up, Sarca has been a fantastic anchor for us and our customers always let us know, unfortunately roll bar anchors won’t fit a lot of boats, further there are many that don’t like roll bar design anchors, I think they feel they are looking through a Mercedes Benz badge.

The Excel then fits the bill, basically it is a Sarca squashed up, cutting edges all round , turned down toe same as the Sarca, as we do not have a roll bar we then have to fill it with ballast, the Excel toe is filled with cast steel, no need to re led when galvanizing is needed.

The EXCEL has a bisaloy shank and a stainless steel toe cutting head, this allows a sharp toe for grass without the rust, there are not too many that do not like the Excels appearance, after five years the feedback has been great, any way I had better stop as I am getting carried away here.

Regards Rex.
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Old 08-11-2014, 12:17 PM   #143
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No Eric,

No fins, stripes or doodads, only design what the market dictates, the Sarca was ahead of its time and not really well marketed so it is still not very well understood, Exceptionally wide holding area is needed for soft mud, sharp turned down toe for reef, secondary fluke to prevent the anchor from dragging upside down in soft mud, Sarca was according to our patent the first true multipurpose anchor design.


Even the slotted trip belongs to us "not Manson" donít ask me why otherwise this thread will blow up, Sarca has been a fantastic anchor for us and our customers always let us know, unfortunately roll bar anchors wonít fit a lot of boats, further there are many that donít like roll bar design anchors, I think they feel they are looking through a Mercedes Benz badge.

The Excel then fits the bill, basically it is a Sarca squashed up, cutting edges all round , turned down toe same as the Sarca, as we do not have a roll bar we then have to fill it with ballast, the Excel toe is filled with cast steel, no need to re led when galvanizing is needed.

The EXCEL has a bisaloy shank and a stainless steel toe cutting head, this allows a sharp toe for grass without the rust, there are not too many that do not like the Excels appearance, after five years the feedback has been great, any way I had better stop as I am getting carried away here.

Regards Rex.
You may have a patent on the slotted shank but the idea is hardly new...these have been around for the last 30 years or so, maby many more...is SARCA that old???
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Old 08-11-2014, 12:33 PM   #144
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I knew I should not have said anything , Pesneeld yes you are right to a point, difference being that trip release is not automatic resetable when the anchor is released like the Sarca,if you were to sail over your concept the anchor would be dislodged and dragged rear ward.

The Sarca trip whilst it looks similar will not drag rearward, its two thirty am here now so too tired to go into it any further, if you want you can PM me and Iwill fill you in.

Maybe I should re word it, the arrangment of the slotted shank in the Sarca? if your not happy let me know.

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Old 08-11-2014, 01:41 PM   #145
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I can remember a slotted Danforth shown in my 1972 Chapmans.
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Old 08-11-2014, 05:24 PM   #146
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It would appear that the only thing the infinite number of anchor discussions and anchor tests prove is that they don't prove anything.

With regards to fluke shape specifically, I base my assesment of an anchor's holding power on one primary characteristic. Which side of a shovel blade offers the most resistance to dirt and therefore picks up the most of it? (Hint--- it's not the convex side).

As I've said many times before, every anchor configuration sets perfectly until the day it doesn't, and every anchor configuration never drags until the day it does.

So far as I can see, Fast Fred seems to have the most realistic grasp of reality with regards to which anchors work best. A super-snazzy, "new generation" anchor will offer all kinds of great performance because of its "scientific" design. And it will do this totally reliably in every kind of bottom and weather condition imaginable until the day it doesn't.

The bazillion-year old designs that Fred talks about also offer all kinds of great performance in all sorts of bottom and weather conditions until the day they don't.

So which is truly--- not theoretically--- better?

About the only philosophy I will subscribe to is that some designs--- doesn't matter how old or new they are--- are optimized for certain bottom characteristics. Which is why the Danforth-types do real well in sand and mud and stuff, and why the claws and rollbars set real well in weed and gravel and hardpan and whatnot. Until the day they don't, of course.

I was a fan of the Bruce until it started letting us down and then I wasn't. But regardless of our experience and opinions, there is no getting around the fact that in this part of the world, the Bruce is by far the most popular type of anchor on recreational power boats. I know boaters who have used them in all sorts of conditions up and down this coast with narry a problem for decades.

So is a Bruce--- or any other anchor you care to name-- a good, bad, or indifferent anchor?

I say it depends solely on the experience its owner has with it.

The Sarca is an outstanding anchor as evidenced by all the users who speak very highly of their experiences with it. We'd buy one if we thought it was the best design instead of the second-best.

But.... how 'bout the fellow who's been using a Bruce, or a Danforth, or a CQR, or a Dreadnaught with total success all up and down the PNW, BC, and SE Alaska coast for ages? Looks like for him, the Sarca (or any of the other snazzy "new-gen" anchors) offers no improvement whatsover.

So is he making a horrible, boat-threatening mistake by not switching to a new-type anchor because the tests, ads, and internet posts all say he should?

The makers of the snazzy new anchors would say he is, as would the internet posters who favor one kind of anchor over another for whatever reasons. He, on the other hand, would probably scoff at the suggestion.

And, frankly, I think he'd be right.

We have a good friend who's had experiences with his Bruce as bad as we had with ours. He's now looking to get a "better" anchor. Lots of choices, of course, and he has his preferences based on whatever design features he thinks a reliable anchor should have.

But what in the end proves to be a better anchor for him may not prove to be a better anchor for someone else, even someone with the same kind of boat cruising in the same waters.

Anchor tests, no matter how impartial, are conducted under a tiny set of conditions compared to the virtually infinite number of anchoring conditions that are encountered in the "real" world. And every anchor manufacturer spins numbers and tests and features to make their anchor sound like the most amazing thing ever created by man.

But in the end, I believe it all boils down to the experience the individual boater has with whatever anchor he or she has chosen to use. Old design, new design, if it works and your boat stays put, nothing else really matters, right?

As to looking through an anchor rollbar underway, we think it's great. Just put the sight on the next waypoint and keep it there. Plotters..? We don't need no stinkin' plotters.
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Old 08-11-2014, 06:51 PM   #147
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Marin,

To summarise:

Maybe if a customer has the opportunity to test, use, a variety of anchors then he will inevitably find one that suits the seabeds over which he travels. Whatever he finds is the best will be the best for him. But what happens when he moves outside his comfort zone - we need anchors (note my use of the plural) that are reliable in a cross section of seabeds. The hype has been that the new gen anchors outstrip the older designs hands down - what they do not seem to have mentioned is that some (come on Fortress spill the beans!) will not set at all in some seabeds.

To me it appears slightly (I'm well know for being charitable) dishonest to hammer home the virtues of a product, repeatedly, and have acolytes repeating the mantra but omitting to mention that in some common seabeds they are a hazard to life. It is disingenuous, I prefer the words dangerous and dishonest, to repeatedly point out the virtues of a product used in the same environment and in the same way and completely omit to mention that, actually, it might not work at all somewhere else. Repetition moves you up Google rankings but it does not make the anchor any better - it just shows you up as a charlatan. (Snake oil and smoke and mirrors come to mind)

Reviewing anchor tests - they are predominately in medium to hard or hard sand - not a cubic foot of mud to be seen (apart from Fortress' tests in the early '90s).

We do need anchors that work in hard sands but we also need anchors that work in soft sand and mud. More importantly we need to know if some are better then others in all of these seabeds and more importantly we need to know that some might be absolutely useless - and it would be convenient to have this pointed out by someone before we want to anchor somewhere our anchor will not work (at 2am when its raining and we are dog tired).

But anchors are a compromise, do not rely on one - the use of the plural. You might lose an anchor, you might find a seabed where your anchor does not work.
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:00 PM   #148
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The typical/popular multiple-anchor combination for forty-plus-foot boats in "my corner" of the marina:



But if in the market for a new anchor, pay/go for it. Get/be happy!
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:34 PM   #149
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Mark,

New genuine CQRs are now one of the more expensive anchors on the market and genuine Bruce are like hen's teeth. Buying a 'new' design anchor overcomes the impossible and is cheaper than the alternative (and might have other benefits?)

But your corner of the marina looks like corners of marinas near me (and my corners overlap to become the whole!) - there is a huge market for the newer design anchor makers to address, but some of them prefer to stick knives in their competitors backs rather than go for the larger market.
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:42 PM   #150
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Marin wrote;
"With regards to fluke shape specifically, I base my assesment of an anchor's holding power on one primary characteristic. Which side of a shovel blade offers the most resistance to dirt and therefore picks up the most of it? (Hint--- it's not the convex side)."

It's been established by the Frenchman that designed the Spade anchor that that is correct. And there's lots of anchors that have been designed since that utilize the convex side of the fluke to face the boat. From numerous countries and by numerous manufacturers all over the world they seem to use either side convex or concave to get the job done. Just like the fact that there are lots of airplanes w dihedral .... Most actually. Hmmmmmm ...... There must be more to it than the ultimate efficiency, the ultimate holding power or the ultimate principals of design.

My best anchor IMO takes the middle of the road and is flat as is the anchor that is/should be the subject of this thread .... Fortress and more specifically the mud test that they are doing. But the best anchor probably dosn't come out top dog in any way but does everything very well. Almost all the anchors that I know of have some "problem". Frequently we tolerate such a problem to get super performance in some other way that pleases us but often leaves us less secure ..... and security is the bottom line in anchoring.
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:36 PM   #151
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Good conversation, but I'm much more curious about something else. Given the complications expressed by Brian regarding the difficulty of retrieving the Danforth and Fortress, the obvious responses from the design and how that design can be tweaked to take advantage of the deep setting ability of a smaller, lightweight anchor while making it retrievable for the average joe. Could it be done without hurting it's performance elsewhere? I wouldn't be surprised if an improved Fortress is already being contemplated.

Think about it. If it were your anchor and the "problem" was that it penetrated too deep, would you want to prevent the problem, or take advantage of the problem. Is it a problem if one can retrieve it?
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:38 PM   #152
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What is interesting about the Fortress is that though it was introduced around 1990 it has enjoyed few modifications (I think the mud palms came in the mid 90s?) but thereafter what you saw then is what you get now. They have also sold more than 500,000 units.

They obviously got something right! In fact they not only got something right - but a lot right. You do not sell 500,000 units of an anchor if it has major problems.

Digressing slightly - I believe the SARCA was introduced in the 90's and again you do not enjoy that sort of longevity unless you have a lot right.

But after only a few years that original batch of newer designs have already been updated - Supreme with the Boss and Rocna also with something without a roll bar (another exciting development to wait for!). And I wonder if they are selling at the rate per year that Fortress appear to achieve? One has to wonder if Fortress (and SARCA) bashing, from some of disciples of other designs, is actually based on any solid basis - or is it just sour grapes (if you shout loudly and often enough it must be right - there is no need to base negativity on fact or even having used one - just keep shouting).
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:55 PM   #153
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What is interesting about the Fortress is that though it was introduced around 1990 it has enjoyed few modifications (I think the mud palms came in the mid 90s?) but thereafter what you saw then is what you get now. They have also sold more than 500,000 units.

They obviously got something right! In fact they not only got something right - but a lot right. You do not sell 500,000 units of an anchor if it has major problems.

Digressing slightly - I believe the SARCA was introduced in the 90's and again you do not enjoy that sort of longevity unless you have a lot right.

But after only a few years that original batch of newer designs have already been updated - Supreme with the Boss and Rocna also with something without a roll bar (another exciting development to wait for!). And I wonder if they are selling at the rate per year that Fortress appear to achieve? One has to wonder if Fortress (and SARCA) bashing, from some of disciples of other designs, is actually based on any solid basis - or is it just sour grapes (if you shout loudly and often enough it must be right - there is no need to base negativity on fact or even having used one - just keep shouting).
Seriously?

Sour grapes?

Just the opposite...none of the new guys have really proven anything other than a slight majority think they work incrementally better.

Selling units has nothing to do with actual performance in the short run..long term different story and NONE of the new gen including the fortress have a "long term" rep yet.
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:09 PM   #154
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25 years, still going strong and to (basically) the original design (for the Fortress) - not forgetting those 0.5 million units and around 20 years, still going strong and to (basically) the original design (for the SARCA) looks pretty good to me. But maybe I'm far too young to know better.

If its not sour grapes - why the constant negativity over a convex anchor, that most have never seen and few used - what's the basis for the criticism. If its not sour grapes what's the basis for the criticism of the Fortress that looks to be one of the best selling anchors today and Fortress seem to be indicating works superbly in soft mud.

Where's the humility - to admit maybe Fortress and Anchor Right (maybe others) have a point.
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:29 PM   #155
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Hi Marin,

Good to see you back, well you know how to contact me when the inevitable happens.

Crikey psneeld, I have been selling the Sarca for twenty two years, surely longevity and around five thousand anchors a year counts for some recognition, should make me a local in anchor design at least.

Further we are accredited with Super high holding Power certification, so at the very least you can be sure it is made to a standard.

Regards Rex.
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:54 PM   #156
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Mr. Firefly,

Where are you when we need you?

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Old 08-11-2014, 11:01 PM   #157
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This something-like-a-relative-of Danforth is still "hanging in there." But what is it?

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Old 08-12-2014, 07:30 AM   #158
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25 years, still going strong and to (basically) the original design (for the Fortress) - not forgetting those 0.5 million units and around 20 years, still going strong and to (basically) the original design (for the SARCA) looks pretty good to me. But maybe I'm far too young to know better.

If its not sour grapes - why the constant negativity over a convex anchor, that most have never seen and few used - what's the basis for the criticism. If its not sour grapes what's the basis for the criticism of the Fortress that looks to be one of the best selling anchors today and Fortress seem to be indicating works superbly in soft mud.

Where's the humility - to admit maybe Fortress and Anchor Right (maybe others) have a point.
Seriously? Humility? again....

What are those numbers against total anchors sold?

Sure anchors have been around but even ones with crappy reputations with half the boating crowd are still around and being produced or slightly modified and called "new". It's called marketing and sales....which is what most businesses place pretty high in the business plan is I remember correctly.

The problem is...there's been no anchor test that has so far convinced a HUGE group of experienced cruisers that any one anchor is BEST for them Sure we all know certain anchors do better in certain situations...but those situations aren't ALWAYS experienced while cruising so many take their best guess.

I know Fortress and SARCA are good anchors...I just think there's many out there that are as or so close to being as good it's a funny to even try and discuss it in these threads.

I also have had students of mine have such dismal failures with their Fortresses in emergencies that they took them off their boats and called me remembering what I had passed along in class. So success can be measured in different ways...

Humility???? Read carefully and you'll understand that I'm NOT anti either of those anchors...just anti-salesmanship....humility is back in your court....
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Old 08-12-2014, 09:44 AM   #159
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Unquestionably, there are bottom conditions such as grass, weeds or rocks where a different type of anchor, which is very heavy and has a narrow single fluke, will perform better than a Fortress.

I have certainly talked with enough boaters over the past 17 years while employed by Fortress to know that anchoring technique is an often overlooked component of anchor performance for all brands. Issues might have been resolved by simply using longer scopes, or power setting the anchor to insure that it had a good initial set, etc.

Additionally, what anchor + chain + rope that will fit in the anchor storage locker is sometimes the determining factor as to what type of anchor the boater will buy and how much ground tackle they will use, never the mind the bottom conditions or the proper scope that will be needed.

What we sought out to accomplish with our recent Chesapeake Bay testing was to take anchoring technique out of the performance equation, as every anchor was tested the exact same way.

What we learned was fully expected by our retired US Navy consultant Bob Taylor, as he stated prior to the testing that "anchors which are designed and optimized for harder soils will oftentimes have a holding ratio (holding power divided by anchor weight) of 10-15 when used in a soft soil," which is almost exactly what we found in the soft mud bottoms where we tested.

As an example, most of the 44-46 lb fixed shank convex/concave single fluke type anchors achieved holds of 450-700 lbs, or 10-15 times their weight, just as Bob had predicted. We had a few rare spikes among these anchors above 1,000 lbs, but most of the time they broke free shortly afterwards.

One of the media we had aboard was a very knowledgeable gentleman who was representing Sail magazine, and he is also writing a book on anchoring. He is an experienced cruiser and a liveaboard, and he was incensed that other anchor manufacturers make their size recommendations based on boat length and displacement, with unknown regard for the wind or bottom conditions, particularly in this common soft mud bottom, where holding power performance will fall off of a cliff for all anchors.

He felt that while Fortress has hard sand / soft mud holding power figures posted for each anchor, we should also post the ABYC horizontal loads table (image below) right nearby so that boaters can determine the anchor they will need by looking at their boat size, and then compare the potential wind conditions as well.

We will seriously take up his suggestion.

Brian
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:32 AM   #160
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Brian everybody has their numbers, facts, assumptions topped of by the bigger is better philosophy. Mr Taylor leaves out the most important variable and that is the sea bottom. And lunch, main and storm anchors are .. well .. whatever. And air drag is probably the second variable next to the bottom and one 35' vessel may have 2 or 3 times as much air drag as other 35' vessels so the note at the bottom of the chart must be honestly considered. I assume one is to assume average amounts for vessel air drag and anchor size.

I usually use the same anchor all the time and it's the anchor that I use for a gale. So in Mr Taylor's scheme of things (old school it appears) I should be using a smaller anchor for usual anchoring. That would need to be 10 or 12lbs for my 30' boat since my storm anchor is 19lbs. And I'd stop for lunch w an 8lb anchor. If you're thinking there's something wrong w this picture you're right. Anchor performance has gotten good enough so we can use the storm anchor all the time. Also deploying, retrieving and storage gear has advanced to the point that it would be easier to deploy the storm anchor (it's the main actually in that it's permanently installed on the bow) than a lunch hook.

Mr Taylor is in the same mindset as FF. Wise and conservative. An anchor for all occasions. I have 4 or 5 anchors usually ready to go and using one is almost as easy as any other but I just like playing w anchors and I hand deploy. Most all here will use one anchor permanently installed on the bow for everything unless they (many do) have a special storm anchor for a serious blow ... almost always a Fortress. The holding power is unquestionable, the the lightness and take-apart feature makes it possible to have a huge anchor in this capacity.

But I like very much Taylor's reference to "holding ratios". If enough statistics on holding power in Average bottom conditions could be accumulated a skipper could choose an anchor w an excellent chance of getting what he needed and wanted. But such testing would require 10 times as much money as the typical anchor test and IMO probably won't happen. Too many different types of bottoms and the average trawler skipper wants an anchor that will NEVER drag. Some actually think they have achieved that. Anchor performance isn't up to that but it's far closer than in the past. But still the biggest variable .. the bottom, will keep anchors from even setting at times. Much less holding a boat in a blow. But on the positive side it appears a lot of skippers here fall into Mr Taylor's chart for a capability to hold fast in a 60 knot blow. And more at 50 knots. That says a lot for the new gear we've got but then there's the skipper skill factor along w that pesky bottom.
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