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Old 20-06-2003, 19:55   #1
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Spade Anchor

anyone have any experience with the Aluminium Spade anchors.
Looks like it would be a good choice for a cat because of the weight. http://www.spade-anchor.co.uk/tech_detail.htm:cheers:

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Old 30-07-2003, 13:27   #2
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Alum. Spade Anchors

I donít have any experience specific to the SPADE anchors you mention, so the following observations may be worth about what youíre paying for them.

1. Aluminum is lighter and weaker than is steel of the same section (scantling).

2. Holding power is more closely matched to size (sectional area), and shape than to weight.

3. Setting (burying) speed is most closely matched to shape and weight.

4. Aluminum is more expensive that Steel.

Given the above assertions:

A. You will require a larger Aluminum anchor (than similar Steel) to achieve the same strength.
- Because itís lighter, you can carry the load of a larger Aluminum anchor, and achieve greater holding power.
- Because itís more expensive, you may not be able to afford the larger Aluminum anchor.

B. Lighter anchors set more slowly than heavier anchors.
- Iíve never felt the urgency for an immediate set - thoí a faster set could have itís advantages.

Iíve had GREAT experience with my very large Fortress Aluminum (Fluke) anchor, and would have no hesitation in selecting another (appropriately over-sized) Aluminum anchor. I might consider the Aluminum SPADE, in lieu of a DELTA (Steel Plow).

I would not carry a lighter Aluminum anchor of the same size - but would prefer to carry a larger Aluminum anchor of the same weight. Hence, there would (in my opinion) not be any weight savings on the Catamaran.

The SPADE website makes some interesting observations on the relative holding & dragging patterns exhibited by various anchors (they tested). While I cannot (yet) endorse their claims - they provide useful food for thought.

OMO
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Old 01-06-2004, 07:32   #3
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My problem with the Spade has always been the fact that it is two-piece and thus capable of coming apart at a bad time. Spade enthusiasts dismiss my concern.

Recently, a 28-foot sloop , Deep Blue, grounded and broke up after the two pieces came apart. Spade now uses a nyloc nut with a hole in it for a cotter pin, but it must be replaced each time the anchor is taken apart.

I prefer my one-piece Delta.
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Old 01-06-2004, 07:55   #4
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we cruised with a spade anchor on our PDQ36 cat for more than a year. We had the aluminum one too. here's what we thought.
The spade is a GREAT anchor! It held like a rock in ALL conditions and all bottoms. The aluminum was good because we could easily raise it even when it was really buried and we cold set it by hand when we dove on it if necessary. The bad aspect of the aluminum is that it didn't have the heft to break through a crusted over hard bottom or thick turtle grass. In those instances (2-3 times in the scope of a year) we set a heavier anchor.

If we were to do it again, and money were no object, I would get two spades, one aluminum and one steel one. If I had to only pick one, we'd go with the steel next time for the extra heft.

Hope this helps. They are worth the investment. It's amazing to watch them set in clear water, you see why they work so well!
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Old 10-09-2004, 01:44   #5
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Dear Administrator,

It seems that Dieterick Meenken is informing the world-wide nautical community that the SPADE anchor is unsafe.. by pasting the same message across many forums..

This post is obviously designed to damage our company and to put pressure on us to pay a compensation.

Please find herewith our point of view about this question...

Fortunately for us, his approach is probably not in the style likely to readily attract the sympathy of forum's members and we received a large number of very positive comments. I will also enclose a few of them.

With the hope that you will also publish our point of view.

Sincerely Yours,
Alain POIRAUD
************************
The case of the grounding of Deep Blue is not as simple as it first seems. A New Zealand Maritime Safety Authority Accident Investigation Report investigated by Jim Lott, NARB, concluded that "the anchor failed when the bolt securing the two parts of the anchor fell out" and "that this could reasonably be attributed to the failure of the nut that secured it". What the investigator seemingly failed to consider is how this could have possibly occurred when the type of nut used is specifically designed not to come loose, and there were no forces acting on it.

Spade anchors are designed to dismantle into two pieces for easy stowage, a very popular feature. The shank is inserted into a socket on the blade and retained by a stainless steel bolt with a "Nyloc" style nut. During normal operation, there is no load on this bolt as the substantial socket assembly takes all the force. At boat shows, we often demonstrate this by removing the bolt completely and pulling the anchor as per normal operation. Even when "break-out" is simulated the shank remains inserted in the socket clearly showing that the bolt simply holds the two sections together.

"Nyloc" style nuts are used extensively to prevent accidental loosening of nuts, normally associated with high vibration situations. In the case of the Spade, there is no turning force on the bolt/nut combination and little or no vibration, "Nyloc" style nuts are used as a precautionary measure to totally eliminate any chance of the nut coming loose. "Nyloc" style nuts require tools and significant force to tighten or loosen them. If the nut was initially tight, and there were no forces acting on it to loosen it, it could not have come undone. In my opinion, it is extremely unlikely that the investigator's conclusion is correct.

There are two other possibilities that the investigator apparently fails to consider altogether..

1. The nut was never tightened properly in the first place. This is a distinct possibility as the anchor was relatively new, was purchased assembled and was not subsequently disassembled. When the Spade anchor was displayed, it is possible that the bolt was only loosely fitted, as purchasers often wish to dismantle the anchor for transport. ("Nyloc" style nuts are designed to be used only once). It is possible that the owner/skipper failed to ensure that the bolt was tight.

2. The nut, bolt and blade were removed after the grounding. Apparently no attempt was made to recover the anchor until three days after the grounding. During this time somebody could have removed the blade.

It should also be noted that the vessel was not insured.

There are a number of other peculiar facts in the case:-
a) The owner was at the top of the mast fixing the tricolor light at 2:30 am when the vessel grounded. The vessel had been at sea for 7 days having encountered rough conditions. They had anchored at 22:30 and then spent two and a half hours providing radio communications for an emergency and helicopter evacuation nearby. It is logical to assume that the crew would be tired. The investigator apparently failed to consider that this could have been a contributing factor.
b) Why was no anchor watch maintained even though all three crew were on deck?
c) Even if the anchor blade had become separated from the shank, the shank and the weight of the chain alone would have been able to hold the vessel under the weather conditions of the time. (NO wind or wind less than 10 knots)
d) The vessel was apparently anchored too close to the shore and unprotected from the onshore wind.
e) The Model 80 Spade is designed for vessels displacing up to 4.5T. Deep Blue was estimated to displace 6T.
f) The investigator concluded that the rope/chain combination was sufficient as the ratio was 3.25/1. He failed to take freeboard into account, which would reduce the ratio to approximately 2.88:1. Whilst, according to the report, 3:1 is commonly considered adequate in calm conditions for an all chain rode, this was below that and well below recommendations of a ratio of 5/1 or better 7/1 for a mixed chain + rope rode, especially if no anchor watch is to be maintained.
g) In my opinion, any combination of factors could have lead to Deep Blue dragging including the lack of adequate scope, but the failure to maintain an anchor watch was the primary cause of the grounding.

Despite doubts over the case, Spade have agreed to modify future bolts, as recommended by the investigator, to include a pin after the nut and a note advising that "Nyloc" style nuts should only be used once. (There is no need to replace the nut after each deployment, but every time the anchor is dismantled). Existing owners are advised that if they have any concerns about their nuts, that they arrange for the end of the bolt to be drilled and have a pin and new "Nyloc" style nut fitted. It is the owners' responsibility to ensure that the nut & bolt (or alternative) are in good condition, secure and suitable for the purpose. It must be emphasised that thousands of Spade Anchors have been sold since 9 years, and that no similar cases have been reported.

Alain POIRAUD (designer of the Spade and Ocane anchors)
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Old 10-09-2004, 06:32   #6
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Interesting.

Lots of reasons why it couldn't have happened and lots of finger pointing at the crew.

" g) In my opinion, any combination of factors could have lead to Deep Blue dragging including the lack of adequate scope, but the failure to maintain an anchor watch was the primary cause of the grounding."

Seems to me that if an anchor comes apart, that is the primary cause of grounding. And how many of us have ever maintained an anchor watch with winds of "less than 10 knots"?

It's well known that nylok nuts should only be used once - it seems, perhaps, that the anchor manufacturer didn't mention that in the instruction manual.

I don't doubt that there is blame enough to go around, but to say that the anchor failing was not a cause is disingenuous.

I'm sure the Spade anchor is effective (as proven in Practical Sailor and others on this board) and nearly reliable. However, it's the possibility of a two-piece anchor coming apart that would prevent me (and many other cruisers who travel with no more insurance than common sense) from using it. There are enough things to go wrong with an anchoring system (failed shackles, twisting chains, chafe, fouled anchors, weak cleats) that don't need to be compounded by anchor that could come apart.
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Old 01-12-2004, 16:45   #7
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Spade

We have a steel spade. It works as adertised. Since we are a cruising boat we went with the heavier steel over the alum as our primary.

It has set quick and strong from the Chesapeake bay down thru the bahama, Puerto Rico, ABCs.

Would not trade. The alum is not recommended for a storm anchor but wish I had one when Ivan came throu. The holding power is great, Have not dragged yet.
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Old 01-12-2004, 19:21   #8
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Hmm.

Cruised on a friends boat the last couple of days and anchored with a Spade (Alu) last night.

I drove the boat and set the anchor in a very familiar spot.
(Half sand, half mud)

The spade set right away, and I gradually went full power in reverse and held the power at full for a little, just to "check" the Spade out.

I was impressed, it did not budge.

Never considered a Spade since I am so happy with my big Delta,
but, again, I was impressed.

Would not buy one however 'cause it is 2 parts with a bolt and little nut holding the whole thing together.

If they could weld 'em, like the Deltas, I would look again..

(What the hell is the advantage of taking the anchor apart and storing it when it belongs and lives on the bow....?)

Another marketing ploy?
Like shallow draft sailboats as an "option" 'cause it is so convenient versus deep draft....

Can ya have yer cake and eat it too?

Want shallow draft? Get a canoe.
Want anchor to stow away? Go to a marina instead.

Aye, one is old-fashioned and not very flexible anymore.




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Old 05-12-2004, 13:53   #9
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Anchors-Maintenance

As with all things on a boat it requires periodic review and maintenance. some Fortess/danforth anchors which a large number love are bolt togather as well.

We inlcude an inspection of the anchor on our regular maintenance routine and everytime it is dropped. We check the anchor more than anything eles on the boat as there are many points of failure or just setting problems. as it it the life line on the boat.

Again would not trade ours. We also have a big delta as a secondary
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Old 06-12-2004, 00:04   #10
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It's a difficult argument over that anchor incident.
But at the end of it all, the blame lies firmly and squarly with the skipper of the vessel. It doesn't matter how something is made nor what it is made off, it is the skippers responsability to ensure it works, it is applied in a matter it was intended for and it is the Skippers responsability to ensure the safety of the vessel. Not the Anchor.
There was another famouse incident here in NZ many years back. A big Russian cruise ship hit a rock. It is not far from where I live and it is a place most of us around here have to navigate often. The Rock in question was a gap between a lighthouse and a point. On the outside of the light house was a few miles of foul ground and trecherouse waters. The worst piece of ruff water I have ever been in was that area. The tidal flow is unbelievable and the sea comes up from thousnads of feet of depth to squeese itself through the narrow stretch of water called Cook Straight. The gap between the point and light house is safe IF you know it well. The Pilot was giving the helm advise as to where to steer. The ship hit the Rock and a few hours later, sank in a bay called Port Gore. The Capatain had no idea of the area and was relying totally on the experiance of the Pilot. However, the Captain of the Mikail Lermentov was later determined in a court as being at fault. It was his responsibility for the safety of his Vessel. He had doubts about the area. (Believe me, I wouldn't even consider thing of taking a ship through this tiny gap.) But relied on the Pilots knowledge of the area. If he had doubts of whether the ship could fit through the gap, then he should have simply said No.
The same law applies to anything else in regards to a vessel and the responsability of the skipper. With the Yacht/anchor situation, He should have called for an anchor watch. Yes I know, many of us don't, especially when in a nice calm bay on a beautiful evening. But the Yacht/anchor incident wasn't that simple. And I believe the Skipper should have been more diligent in the situation. For example. The Yacht wasn't in a sheltered calm bay. If it was, hey it might have grounded and been able to be refloated. But this was a ruff night and they were on a wild part of our NZ coast and there was big surf along the coast.
And then there is that Lock nut. I know a lot of argument is made about lock nuts and being only able to be used once. Actually, thats not true. A lock nut can actually be used quite safely many times. Yes it loses more and more of it's locking ability each time it is used. And yes, after being used once, it does not have the designed locking factor. But even after several uses, they remain tight enough not to just fall off. And the argument is that the nut must have just fallen off. No, this anchor was either not put together properly, did not have a nut at all or maybe not even a bolt. And the Skipper of the vessel has a responsability to ensure that either crew are experianced enough to check and understand the use of a saftey device or equipment or the Skipper himself must check that opertaion and the use of it.
Then it is also the Skipper that must determin the potential danger his Vessel maybe in and judge whether there needs to be a watch or at least an Alarm or what ever course of action is required in the circumstances.
To take it one step further. It would be like saying the manufacturer of a bronze trough hull fitting was responsable for making the fitting bronze when it gets eatin away by electrolyses. But it is the responsability of the Skipper to ensure that the skin fittings are OK and safe.
Actually, I need to change the "Skipper" part. The law has now been changed. It is now the responsibility of the owner of the vessel , to ensure the vessels operational safety and intergrity. That change is going to be interesting.
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Old 06-12-2004, 17:20   #11
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Bolted anchor

Agreed that the captain is resposible for the boat and its operations.

Not all anchors ride permanently on the bow. We use our steel spade as the primary, but my delta and west marine perfomance 39 are stored. When stored the delta takes up an odd amount of space where the west marine lies flat (though some of the fortresses are bolt togather as well) The delta is our secondary.

THe stress of spade is on the body not the pin. Design and care determine if the unit is safe and strong. Some Fortress anchors have been bolt togather for years.

steel vs alum: Makai is a catamaran and the little extra weight between the alum and steel is not very important as strength and safety.

When cruising there are many other items that can be safely removed from the boat to help overall performance if weight is a concern.
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Old 22-02-2008, 22:24   #12
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We have used the 55lb Aluminum Spade for three years now. It is huge, the size equivalent of the 120lb steel one, and it has never dragged. However, it is notable slower to set than the Bruce I used on my old boat, and sometimes does not set, at all.

In general, we have been very happy with it, but if we did it again, would strongly consider the steel model, or both.
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Old 25-02-2008, 01:26   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim View Post
anyone have any experience with the Aluminium Spade anchors.
Looks like it would be a good choice for a cat because of the weight. http://www.spade-anchor.co.uk/tech_detail.htm

fair winds
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Yeap I have 2 aboard. Both Alloy 60's, one primary and one secondary. I use the Alloys as I race sometimes and can't have nasty weight slowing down an already dodgy crew. The 60's (4kg) are one size down that Alain (Mr Spade) would like but I've held in excess of 45 knts and the only problem I had was getting the bloody thing back. It had buried rather deep (estimating a meter + odd by the polishing on the chain) into the hard packed sandy bottom. I do run what is regarded as absolute minimum sizing (and what I would not recommend for my custies boats) right through my anchoring system. 2 complete anchoring systems each at 70mts long (15 chain, 55 rope each), total weight inc the anchors 44kg.

NOTE here and bit of a biggie note at that: I am the local Spade agent so some could accuse me of bias but then I also sell the Supreme and Rocna that are both modelled off the Spade theory. I'll also add I have used a 10kg Rocna and the same in Supreme, each for a few months, on the same boat without any noticeable differences to be found and I have tried. I'll also add my boat is not the best for putting massive loads on anchors but it is reasonably average so a fair indication for 90% of my customers at the differences or lack of. If I didn't race I would be using steel anchors.

I settled on the Spade because of 3 reasons 1- the price was 'right' (surprise ), 2- weight and 3- they stow a lot better than the options. 4 reasons - they work.

We sell heaps and have had a massive burst since Xmas for some unknown reason. We have yet to have anyone say they don't think it's the best thing since sliced bread.

There has been a few isolated 'It took 3 goes to set my alloy' but then again I can't think of any anchor I've not heard the same about even all the steel ones, new or old.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tenknots View Post
My problem with the Spade has always been the fact that it is two-piece and thus capable of coming apart at a bad time. Spade enthusiasts dismiss my concern.

Recently, a 28-foot sloop , Deep Blue, grounded and broke up after the two pieces came apart. Spade now uses a nyloc nut with a hole in it for a cotter pin, but it must be replaced each time the anchor is taken apart.
'Recently' was years ago and if you read the MSA (Maritime Safety Authority of NZ) you'll find there conclusion was quite a bit different to the information one upset boat owner was firing all over the internet.

We were not the Spade people here back then and 1/2 the problem was it was handled in a very poor fashion by the people who were. Knowing what actually happened and how it was handled I can see why the owner was pissed off, I would have been very much myself, but I can also see many statements he made don't stack up.

Out of interest we took the bolt out completely and replaced it by a bit of rolled up cardboard. As much as we tried, we just couldn't find any difference in performance until the cardboard got that soggy the head just fell off the shank, about 2 hours later.

In summery - We sell lots to multis for the very reason you asked the question. As noted in above posts it is recommended to go one size up from the list if using an alloy. And we can't get enough to supply current demand, the factory just can't keep up.
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