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Old 11-28-2020, 11:42 AM   #1
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Fortress anchor performance in reversing current

I have a Vulcan 55 and a Fortress 85 on the bow. I bought the Fortress for soft mud but have rarely used it. The Vulcan has done fine but occasionally takes forever to set in soft mud.
On the ICW the typical soft mud anchorage also has a fair amount of current. So my question is, for those of you who have experience using a Fortress when swinging to the current, how well does it perform in setting and resetting every 6 hours in soft mud and current?
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Old 11-28-2020, 11:50 AM   #2
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My bet is if it is set well, unless in a storm induced flow rate on a reversing current, it my never break free until you power it out.

My 60lb Manson Supreme never has has a problem with reversing ACIW current swings, why do you think the Vulcan is having an issue?
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Old 11-28-2020, 12:27 PM   #3
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I never had problems with a Fortress and reversing currents. Usually very difficult to break it out after an overnight...

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Old 11-28-2020, 12:35 PM   #4
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Never had a problem with the Vulcan not resetting. But have had some issues getting an initial set with the vulcan in soft mud. Just curious about the Fortress before I rely on it.
Did once have a Rocna not reset after a cold front wind reversal. Turns out, large clod of sod stuck in the hoop when it broke free so couldn’t reset. One of the reasons I moved to the Vulcan.
As to the Vulcan, somewhat more hesitant to set in soft mud than the Rocna, est I can tell, so thinking about using the Fortress as primary in those situations, hence the post.
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Old 11-28-2020, 12:39 PM   #5
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With rope rode I had them sail in current before getting to the bottom. With chain it probably would not happen.
My question is why a lightweight anchor on that boat? What is the benefit of lightweight?
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Old 11-28-2020, 12:41 PM   #6
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The one problem with Fortress and other Danforth style anchors is that in a reversing current the chain can get wrapped around the anchor. After several reverses you have a blob of chain holding you in place, not the anchor.

I saw this at Jewell Island in Maine. When the guy in front of me pulled up his anchor he had at least 20' of chain wrapped back and forth. It took him an hour to sort it all out.

But once set in one direction you can't beat a Fortress for holding power to weight ratio.

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Old 11-28-2020, 12:43 PM   #7
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my thought with the Fortress was all about performance in soft mud, not the fact that it also happens to be light. With the ability to carry two anchors in a ready to deploy state, my thought was to have two different types of anchors with different performance regarding bottom type. For our usual anchoring in the Bahamas, the Vulcan has been great.
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Old 11-28-2020, 01:26 PM   #8
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At the risk of creating thread drift to my own OP, and after mentioning that the Vulcan has done well in the islands, I will add an anecdote.
We were anchoring in the Bight of Acklins. Area was reputed to be a thin layer of sand over hardpack. Finally got anchor to hold. Dove on it but water was pretty murky. Looked like it was about half buried. Since there was nowhere to drag but forever out into the bight I figured it was good enough.
That night it blew 30G40 knots all night. Anchor held fine. Out of curiosity, I dove it again in the morning so I could get the photo, below. What I think happened was on the original set the anchor plowed up enough sand to make it look like it was half buried. With all the weather overnight, the loose sand was scoured away, leaving the not-so-great set. But it held all night, even with some pretty good swinging and wave action. Points for the Vulcan.
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Old 11-28-2020, 01:36 PM   #9
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I've anchored with the Fortress hundreds of times in mud and sand. Never a problem, but usually only one or maybe two tide reversals as we tend not to stay any one place very long.
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Old 11-28-2020, 03:39 PM   #10
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To the OP, I'm curious what your scobe with the Vulcan and before that the Rocna was? Wondering if part of your issue with the Vulcan setting in soft mud is scope related.

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Old 11-28-2020, 04:18 PM   #11
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As to my technique w/ the Vulcan, I usually "test" the hold at 6:1 and if the anchor grabs, then I attach the snubber at 7:1 and back down to confirm the set. To "test" I am just letting the current move us, or am in idle reverse.
I suppose I could try letting the anchor "soak" as some suggest, but I haven't found that to be particularly successful, plus, I dont have the patience.
And I have no complaints with the Vulcan, just looking to gain insight on the Fortress as I dont have much experience with it.
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Old 11-28-2020, 04:30 PM   #12
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Did you try the Fortress with the mud angle on the anchor? I know you can change the angle of the flukes but I have never tried it and was wondering if it does make a difference or not.
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Old 11-28-2020, 05:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Comodave View Post
Did you try the Fortress with the mud angle on the anchor? I know you can change the angle of the flukes but I have never tried it and was wondering if it does make a difference or not.


I just moved it to the “soft mud” setting. The instructions say this is for soft mud only, but nearly doubles the holding. Not sure when I will get to test it.
We are at Cumberland now. Just had a squall/ front pass over. Mid 20’s, gusting to 40 and the Vulcan held just fine. I have never had it release after a set, regardless of conditions.
We have been here for a few days so I suspect most of the chain never even pulled out of the mud.
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Old 11-28-2020, 06:49 PM   #14
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If you ever get a chance to test it, please post the results. I always wondered if it mad a difference.
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Old 11-28-2020, 07:38 PM   #15
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San Francisco Bay has some strong currents. Danforth style anchors are frowned upon due to fouling on a reversing current. Legend goes that the road will wedge between the shank of the flukes and get jammed thus preventing reset.

I watched a 30 foot sailboat drift off in a reversing current off China Camp several years ago. Chatter was he had a Danforth down, but who knows if that's true.

For me, the aluminum fortress that can be disassembled is a great second or third anchor on a small boat. But I would not use it in conditions where a full 180 was expected. But the holding power in sand and mud is excellent so tough to ignore

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Old 11-28-2020, 07:42 PM   #16
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In very soft mud, you can probably get the fortress buried deep enough that fouling it with the rode is unlikely.
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Old 11-28-2020, 11:24 PM   #17
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In an anchor test by Practical Sailor mag they did a veering test and the Fortress didn’t break out. Just rotated around.
The West Marine “deepset ll” fliped over bachwards.
This was in 2002.

I would think any Danforth type would break out backwards and do a flip in a Steve G’s reversal.
I have an old high performance Dan w forged flukes and a very skinny forged shank. Never tried it though. 22#
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Old 11-29-2020, 06:36 AM   #18
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I boat mostly in areas with soft mud, primarily in the Chesapeake with an 88# Manson Supreme. I stopped immediate strong power-setting after several instances of just dragging the anchor through the goo. The first time it happened we were at Cumberland Island. I just quit dragging backwards, let the anchor settle in the mud, then checked the set later. It held just fine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SailorGreg View Post
As to my technique w/ the Vulcan, I usually "test" the hold at 6:1 and if the anchor grabs, then I attach the snubber at 7:1 and back down to confirm the set. To "test" I am just letting the current move us, or am in idle reverse.
I suppose I could try letting the anchor "soak" as some suggest, but I haven't found that to be particularly successful, plus, I dont have the patience.
And I have no complaints with the Vulcan, just looking to gain insight on the Fortress as I dont have much experience with it.
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Old 11-29-2020, 07:20 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad Willy View Post
In an anchor test by Practical Sailor mag they did a veering test and the Fortress didn’t break out. Just rotated around.
The West Marine “deepset ll” fliped over bachwards.
This was in 2002.

I would think any Danforth type would break out backwards and do a flip in a Steve G’s reversal.
I have an old high performance Dan w forged flukes and a very skinny forged shank. Never tried it though. 22#
Wouldn't that flip happen only if the rode was off the bottom? Otherwise it would only experience a twisting moment.

I have seen MANY Danforth style anchors with bent shafts, so I have a feeling than a well stuck Danforth usually won't flip unless very short scoped. (Like in many of. Steve's videos).
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Old 11-29-2020, 07:54 AM   #20
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I have a 40 something Danforth. I'm on Galveston Bay most of the time. That sucker is tough to break out of the mud we have around here. I too have seen many Danforths with bent shanks. So far i have never had this one break out but did have a smaller one break out on my sailboat. it wouldn't reset because it had a big hunk of oyster reef and mud stuck to it. It probably wouldn't have broken out if I had more chain and more scope out but this was early in my anchoring out life LOL.
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