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Old 08-12-2017, 16:13   #1
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Aluminum Spade Anchor

I am looking to upgrade from a minimally sized Bruce anchor on a Cabo Rico 38 with a manual windlass and 3/8" all chain rode. I cannot easily stow an anchor with a roll bar due to the sprit and roller configuration and am thus leaning heavily toward a Spade anchor based on the research I've done. According to Cabo owners' comments I have read elsewhere, the larger the Spade the better the fit on the sprit. This combined with the Spade's offering of an aluminum anchor and their claim that the design will perform equally well regardless of material of manufacture has me considering an aluminum version. Tremendous expense notwithstanding, aluminum would allow me to upsize substantially without adding a lot of weight to the sprit and ostensibly increase holding. I'll keep the Bruce as a backup on the other roller for now and also have an appropriately sized Fortress. My main concern lies with the durability of the aluminum. I haven't been able to find anything on those, particularly if they are more subject to bending compared to the steel counterparts. Anyone here have any experience with them before I engage in an expensive experiment? While I'm at it, I might as well mention that we'll be exploring Lakes Michigan and Superior over the next few years. If anyone reading this is experienced up there, is there any likelihood of not being able to retrieve your expensive ground tackle? Thanks all!
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Old 08-12-2017, 16:51   #2
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Re: Aluminum Spade Anchor

I've used Spade anchors for years on a monohull and now on a multihull. I have owned several models from the A80 to the X180 and many in between. In fact I ordered one of the original A100s in 1999, when you had to have it shipped from Tunesia. I have been amazed at their holding power as repeated anchor tests have shown.
Theoretically, an aluminum spade should have the same holding power as a steel one because their dimensions are identical. However, in problematic substrates such as mud and grass, you will find the lighter weight of the aluminum does not penetrate as well and thus, not hold as well.
I would guess that a S100 weighing in around 40# would be ideal for your boat. If you were to go with an aluminum, then upgrade to a A140, which unfortunately weighs about the same and costs a lot more. The difference in weight between the A100 and S100 is about 20 feet of 3/8" chain or a small terrier romping on the foredeck.
I have found all my Spades ( except for my first one from Tunesia) on Ebay or Craigslist new or like new for less than half the price of retail.
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Old 08-12-2017, 16:59   #3
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Re: Aluminum Spade Anchor

The Spade is my favorite anchor, but I would go with the steel model. I have seen the shank of an aluminum one twisted like a corkscrew from being violently removed from under a rock.
I use a 45# steel anchor on my 31' boat with a manual windlass and it's no problem.
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Old 08-12-2017, 17:20   #4
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Re: Aluminum Spade Anchor

I just bought a Rocna Vulcan from West Marine during their Cyber Week sale. Worth considering.

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Old 10-12-2017, 02:48   #5
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Re: Aluminum Spade Anchor

I'm a big Spade fan. On a boat like yours, I'd move the Bruce off the bow and go with a steel Spade. As Kashmir said, in tough bottoms with lots of weed, kelp or ???? the extra weight of the steel is the way to go. The AL Spares are better as backups or in very weight sensitive environments. I had a number of email conversations with the Spade designer and he talked me out of the upsized AL anchor for my J-37 in favor of a smaller steel one.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:18   #6
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Re: Aluminum Spade Anchor

Thanks to all who have responded. This is pricisely the kind of feedback I am looking for. So far, some comments on aluminum reaffirm the concerns I have about going that direction. If I do go with steel, I'll probably upsize at least once anyway for both reasons of fitment and added security.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:39   #7
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Re: Aluminum Spade Anchor

I use an aluminum Spade for inland lake. It's holding power is fantastic, the other anchors I've tried didn't even come close. The reduced weight is great for my small boat, but I don't have to worry about getting caught on rocks much.
For you, aluminum would work great, until it gets hung up. Their aluminum shank is the only product that doesn't have the lifetime warranty(from memory). If you can manage the weight of the steel version, go for it, you won't be disappointed. I don't think I would oversize, but that's a personal choice.
Good luck.
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Old 10-12-2017, 09:36   #8
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Re: Aluminum Spade Anchor

Have a look at this thread before you decide, we have bent 2 aluminium spades since 2004, both times on retrieval in rough weather. Holding is brilliant when they are straight. we now have a steel spade

main dealers now say
we no longer recommend aluminium anchors as main anchors because of a problem with bending shanks particularly when using all chain rodes.

dual anchor setup

post #6 in particular
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Old 10-12-2017, 09:54   #9
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Re: Aluminum Spade Anchor

I think an aluminum one is likely fine. The Fortress aluminum anchor works great. While some bottoms are hard to penetrate, I'm not convinced steel anchors penetrate well either in those bottoms. It would be an interesting test. It may be a pretty fine line where the steel will penetrate and the aluminum not. ... and how often do you experience that narrow condition?
One caveat is that I've sen steel anchors bent bad, but aluminum bends (non deforming bend) much easier than steel. Not sure what that means in the real world.
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:55   #10
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Re: Aluminum Spade Anchor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I think an aluminum one is likely fine. The Fortress aluminum anchor works great. While some bottoms are hard to penetrate, I'm not convinced steel anchors penetrate well either in those bottoms. It would be an interesting test. It may be a pretty fine line where the steel will penetrate and the aluminum not. ... and how often do you experience that narrow condition?
One caveat is that I've sen steel anchors bent bad, but aluminum bends (non deforming bend) much easier than steel. Not sure what that means in the real world.
The issue with the a bent shaft on the spade is that IT WILL NOT DIG IN unless the pull is directly over the weighted point so if it is bent.

Subjective observation
Because the Steel spade is double the weight, it sinks into the soft mud much quicker and sets straight away even on small scopes
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Old 11-12-2017, 06:53   #11
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Re: Aluminum Spade Anchor

With all Spade Anchors in addition to our Lifetime Craftsmanship Warranty, we offer (FREE) 6 Month Performance Warranty. This warranty gives you 6 months to take the Spade Anchor out, test it and make sure it is the right size/type. If the anchor is not exactly what you need you can return, trade or upgrade it for full purchase price, no questions asked.

Currently ALL Spade Anchors are 25% off of posted prices, you must call or email to redeem offer.
https://www.spadeanchorusa.com/
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Old 11-12-2017, 07:15   #12
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Re: Aluminum Spade Anchor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kashmir cat View Post
... I have been amazed at their holding power as repeated anchor tests have shown.
Theoretically, an aluminum spade should have the same holding power as a steel one because their dimensions are identical. However, in problematic substrates such as mud and grass, you will find the lighter weight of the aluminum does not penetrate as well and thus, not hold as well.
...
I second this comment. I have been using Spade anchors on the last 15 years and it is a great anchor. The situation where one has to be more careful regarding setting is on very hard sand or grass where one has to it slowly. Once set it will have a great holding power.

As Kashmir said on those grounds a Aluminium Spade will have more difficulty to penetrate and to set.

Someone that says that the performance is the same is lying or does not have knowledge about that. On all the tests where the two versions where tested the steel one worked always significantly better.

It is good as a 2nd anchor even if for that I prefer a fortress.

Here you have a test where the two spades (Steel and Aluminum) are tested.

https://orakeimarina.co.nz/assets/up...est-Nov091.pdf
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