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Old 08-22-2014, 10:34 PM   #1
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Northill Find

Found this at the marine store in Anacortes WA. Surprisingly large but only 13.5 lbs. First pic is of it folded. Dosn't get really small walking around w it some folding the stocks does help a lot. Look at the pics and see the clever way the stocks lock w a small tab on one corner and a spring "T" bar and notch. Best engineered folding mechanism I've seen on a Northill.

I think it has as much surface area as my 33# Claw if you include the stocks. One fluke should go down about 5" easily and bring the stocks into the resistance act. In a soft bottom the stocks may get fully buried just when more surface area is needed.

Looks like this example could be a navy flying boat anchor judging by it's lightness and quality construction. The Northill was (I believe) designed exclusively as a flying boat anchor aimed at maximizing holding power and minimizing weight.

Canadian's love these Northill anchors especially the commercial fishermen. Most now are home made imitations and some are SS. OFB on this forum is the only user of a Northill that I know of. Anybody knowing more about the Northill anchor please jump in.
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Old 08-22-2014, 11:42 PM   #2
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Two catalog illustrations of the Northill aviation anchor. It was made of stainless steel. Space is of a premium in an airplane, even a large one, and the anchor was made to fold to make it easy to stow. Looks the same as what's in your photos, Eric.
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Old 08-23-2014, 12:32 AM   #3
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WOW,
Thank you very much Marin. Wasn't expecting much feedback but you bellied right up to the bar and knew right where to look.
Now I should probably take it all apart and thoroughly clean it. It's not going to be easy as some of the fasteners are sleeved rivets. Perhaps I can polish a spot and get a look at the metal. And try a magnet. There is some rust but I know some SS will rust.

Perhaps there's some kind of chemical bath that would do the trick w/o disassembly.

Thanks again.
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Old 08-23-2014, 05:02 AM   #4
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Had a 30 lb Northill stainless anchor identical to the one in the pictures for Bay Pelican for a couple of years. Stainless. Got it to use as a rock anchor when my primary anchor was a 65lb Bruce. Perhaps 30lbs was too light, but the Northill dragged on one of the two occasions I used it. Sold it.
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Old 08-23-2014, 06:59 AM   #5
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The Northills were SS to reduce the magnetic effects , as the anchor was stowed.

They are quite strong and only fault - like the Herrishidff or fisherman- is the not buried fluke could catch the anchor line in current or wind reversals.
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:11 AM   #6
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Eric,

I obviously have too much time on my hands. The Clear Lake International Triathlon is being held this morning in our marina, so with hundreds of swimmers in the water, no boating for a while. While having coffee, I got curious about Northill anchors after reading this post and did a little search on EBay. Low and behold, there are several for sale, and, according to an ad, and a couple of actual listings, it seems the Northill was manufactured from several materials.

A vintage Northill ad listing appears to feature a cast iron shank, and steel flukes.

One of the listings is for a cast iron version. It looks like the folding stocks were replaced with a solid rod, welded in place.

There is also a listing for a stamped SS version. Maybe this is the most recent flavor?

Another listing is for a riveted, vintage US Navy SS anchor which definitely looks like the seaplane variety.

Finally, the photos you posted look like your new anchor find could be galvanized steel with rust visible where the galvanizing is worn.

That's more than I ever wanted to know about the Northill anchor.

Back to work . . . . . changing a bilge pump and switch that I can't even see. Oh joy!

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Old 08-23-2014, 10:44 AM   #7
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Marty,
Haha I would have used the Bruce for rocks and the Northill for sand and mud. When we went to Juneau in 03 I bought a Bruce thinking there would be more rocky anchorages but the opposite came to pass. And on my last trip south I used an anchor that I would predict wouldn't set in anything but mud and it set every time in whatever was down there. Anchoring is dealing w the unseen and mostly unknown world.

FF,
Your magnetic comment is interesting as I was in the Navy in the 60s and was an electronic tech in an anti-submarine warfare squadron of P5Ms and P2Vs. Don't remember specifically the anchors on the P5s (Martin flying boat) but I remember the magnetic issue. Didn't know the anchor was SS because of it though.

Larry,
Yes I've seen ads on Craig's list too and see them on occasion in the used boat stuff stores. The best Northil's I thought were the forged steel ones that said "Northill" on the shank .... Kinda like the Danforth anchors. I see in one of the adds you linked he wanted $250 for that old rusty thing. I paid $55 for mine yesterday. Mechanically it's better than anything I've seen and clearly as usable as it was new. Lots of the old steel Northills and the home made ones have braces welded on either side (or both) to help the stocks structurally. Obviously they then lack the folding feature. Don't know if I've ever seen a forged steel Northill that had stocks whereas the folding stock was 100% mechanically sound.

I'm enjoying the input/feedback.
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:22 AM   #8
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At some point, my return to North America, I will research the better anchors in mud, vegetation and rock to complement my Rocna. Currently I have a Rocna and a Bruce.
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Old 08-23-2014, 01:04 PM   #9
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Our primary anchor is a Northill 50-S, about 110 pounds. Secondary is a 30kg Lewmar copy of a Bruce, third is a Northill 40-S and fourth is a 45lb CQR. I used Northills on commercial fishboats for 20 years, never dragged, always set.

The real Northill marine (not flying boat) anchor has a steel channel crossbar that's captive and slides through a hole in the head, with a spring-loaded catch to hold it in position. The cross bar folds back alongside the shank when stored on deck, thus the "folding" name. Danforth built a bunch of them in the 1950's-60's with the fussy hinges and pins, but those are really weak and only good as a lunch hook, not serious anchors. Northill may have built them that way as well but I would not bet the boat on them.....

Most Northills used on fishboats have broken the cross bar catch, or they don't trust it, and they've welded a piece of round bar across the top, so it no longer folds. The catch on my primary was busted when it came to me so I've lashed the crossbar in place with a piece of tarred nylon groundline.

The Northill will foul because of the "off" or upper side of the head sticking up while the other side is dug in. Ours doesn't foul if there's lots of wind on the tide switch and the boat moves around the the anchor. It re-sets instantly. But if the boat drifts over the anchor the chain can get looped around the head. Using a length of heavy chain right next to the anchor helps in this regard as well.
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Old 08-23-2014, 02:38 PM   #10
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Thanks TAD,
I expected more input from Canadians since there's so many Northills up there.

Your input adds a lot to this thread and yes the Danforth w the forged shank does look a lot like the forged shank Northills. Especially the shank itself.

The rode catching the up shank/fluke will sometimes prevent re-setting and so a definite negative but w so many people depending on this design it must by a problem only rarely. But it can wreck one's boat.

I've seen a lot of home made Northills that lack the sharp fluke tip my aviation anchor has but like the Claw sharpness may not be necessary. I used a grinder to sharpen mine though.

I would use mine as a hand deploy at 13.5 lbs, fold it and stow it. My preference anyway. I like the "let's see now .. What little doggie am I going to cast into the unknown"? Not tempted to use the one on the bow because it's there and convenient.
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Old 08-23-2014, 02:45 PM   #11
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Northill is the anchor of choice for SF Bay herring fishermen. The anchors are used for the deployment of nets, although there is a movement toward the Bruce (less fouling).

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