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Old 19-07-2012, 13:10   #31
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

We were anchored in Factory Bay Marco Island waiting for weather to sail to Marathon. The bottom is deep mud. We expected bad weather and set a Danforth Hi Tensile 22H and a Fortress FX23. The first night, we had a system come through with 50 knots and dragged both anchors. We reset both and a hour later another blast tripped our anchors again. The next day, we methodically set both anchors and in another blast of 50 plus knot winds, tripped both anchors. We then pulled both anchors and set our 32 lb. plow. It buried deeply in the mud and we survived a succession of very strong shear winds without a problem. I believe, based upon my personal experience, that the Fortess is a highly overrrated anchor unless it is set in sand/gravel. We always carry three anchors and I use my plow as our primary. Later that year on our return trip, we anchored off Usseppa Island, Florida and sat through three hours of storm winds--the highest being 70 m.p.h. The bottom off the channel is sand and gravel. We had 10 to 1 set with the plow and in the 70 plus mile per hour gusts the plow did drag about 10 feet before it reset and then didn't move. After the earlier experience, I lost confidence in the Fortress. Today, we use it only as a backup anchor and only in sand.
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Old 19-07-2012, 14:06   #32
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

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Originally Posted by rognvald View Post
We were anchored in Factory Bay Marco Island waiting for weather to sail to Marathon. The bottom is deep mud. We expected bad weather and set a Danforth Hi Tensile 22H and a Fortress FX23. The first night, we had a system come through with 50 knots and dragged both anchors. We reset both and a hour later another blast tripped our anchors again. The next day, we methodically set both anchors and in another blast of 50 plus knot winds, tripped both anchors. We then pulled both anchors and set our 32 lb. plow. It buried deeply in the mud and we survived a succession of very strong shear winds without a problem. I believe, based upon my personal experience, that the Fortess is a highly overrrated anchor unless it is set in sand/gravel. We always carry three anchors and I use my plow as our primary. Later that year on our return trip, we anchored off Usseppa Island, Florida and sat through three hours of storm winds--the highest being 70 m.p.h. The bottom off the channel is sand and gravel. We had 10 to 1 set with the plow and in the 70 plus mile per hour gusts the plow did drag about 10 feet before it reset and then didn't move. After the earlier experience, I lost confidence in the Fortress. Today, we use it only as a backup anchor and only in sand.
Interesting story. I notice that you changed two things: You changed both the number and type of anchors (I assume the scope was the same?).

What configuration did you have the two anchors in? Sometimes two isn't better than one. By plough anchor, do you mean CQR?
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Old 19-07-2012, 14:07   #33
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

Rognvald, sorry to hear of your unfavorable experience with our product, which certainly comes as a tremendous surprise since we commonly hear accolades about the performance of the Fortress in any type of clay, mud, or sand bottom.

Once again, considering the sharpness and the massive size of the two flukes, the Fortress should slice its way deep into a mud bottom, and after a heavy blow (like 50 knots plus as you described), you should be pulling up dinosaur bones and fossils with your FX-23 upon retrieval.

Here is what I think might have happened with the Danforth and Fortress: With any pivoting fluke type of anchor, it is possible that when initially setting the anchor with a long chain and scope in a soft mud bottom, the heavy chain might sink the shank down below the flukes....and so the flukes stick UP and not DOWN and into the bottom. (See image below)

In this scenario, we recommend initially setting the anchor at a shorter scope, i.e. 2:1 or 3:1, which will keep the shank vertical and off the bottom, and will allow the flukes to dig in first. Once the anchor sets, then let out enough chain + rope for a 5:1 scope or greater, and finally "Power Set" the anchor by backing down hard on it.

Rognvald, do you have the Mud Palms installed, which were included inside the box with your Fortress? The Mud Palms will lift the back end of the anchor up so that the flukes take a more aggressive angle into the sea bottom, and the Mud Palms are likely to prevent the above scenario from occurring. (See image below showing anchor with Mud Palms installed)

Again, sorry to hear of your trouble, and glad that you found an anchor which works well to your satisfaction in mud.

Best regards,
Brian

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Old 19-07-2012, 14:16   #34
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Personally I would never ever consider setting two anchors on one Rhode. I have heard one anchor never sets right along with a bunch of other issues. Had a 35 delta hold 40000+ plus lbs of boats with a horrendous amount of windage for 3 days straight of 25-35 kts. This was in mud w weeds on top. We always set up then back down to 2000 rpms. With a hand on the Rhode to ensure its not slipping.
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Old 19-07-2012, 15:06   #35
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

On a weedy mud bottom, if the Danforth/Fortress drags more than a foot or two the flukes load up with so much bottom growth that it will never set. Now you are stuck cleaning huge clumps of weed off the anchor. In my experience a Bruce or similar claw anchor works well those conditions.
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Old 19-07-2012, 15:08   #36
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

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Originally Posted by cwyckham View Post
Interesting story. I notice that you changed two things: You changed both the number and type of anchors (I assume the scope was the same?).

What configuration did you have the two anchors in? Sometimes two isn't better than one. By plough anchor, do you mean CQR?

Cwyckham,
The Fortress FX23 and the Danforth 22H were set 45 degrees off the bow in the direction of the projected frontal winds(west). The scope was set at 7 to 1 with 40 feet of 3/8" chain and the balance in 1/2' nylon rode. The depth of the water was 12 feet. I believe the problem was that the anchors were not heavy enough to penetrate the mud to a sufficient level for adequate holding power, therefore, they literally skated across the bottom when we got hit with the blasts as if I had nothing in the water at all. It was a very uncomfortable feeling since the anchorage was crowded with boats running from the weather and is not very large since it abuts private homes with seawalls. When I changed anchors and set the CQR(actually a Sascot 32Lb.-- CQR copy)on a single rode, it immmediately began to penetrate the mud with a few initial sets under power and after an hour or so of swinging, held for the next several days of frontal assaults with winds gusting from 30 to 50 m.p.h. during the unsettled weather.Since then, I have primarily used the CQR with one rode unless using one rode would endanger another vessel anchored closely to my boat. I also have used the CQR in tidal anchorages on one rode with greater confidence than two hooks since I have a wing keel which easily fouls with two hooks on the turn of the tide. And, if you have shallow draft vessel, like mine(4 feet), you can generally anchor on the periphery of the main current with lesser effect than those deeper draft boats that are commited to deeper water and a greater effect of the tidal current. Hope that helps.
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Old 19-07-2012, 15:10   #37
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

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Thanks again for the comments. Of course I failed to mention, perhaps the most important part of my situation - there is a lot of weed here (in mud). So my feeling is that the Rocna is heavy enough to penetrate the weed but the Fortress is just sliding on top of them. I haven't yet had a chance to try the 32 degree setting but will do so when I can.
I use a Fortress as a kedge in the Delta where it's quite weedy. While the Fortress performs poorly in weed, one way to beat the system is to let it sit for 20 minutes before setting it. That way it has a chance to work its way through the weeds slowly. Still, any vegetation that gets caught between the two flukes is going to work against the set.

I use a Rocna as a primary, and it does better in vegetation that any other anchor I've ever used.
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Old 19-07-2012, 17:08   #38
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

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.... It was a very uncomfortable feeling since the anchorage was crowded with boats running from the weather and is not very large since it abuts private homes with seawalls. ...
I bet that's an understatement. I would not have been happy at all! Thanks for the details.
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Old 20-07-2012, 01:52   #39
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

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Originally Posted by rognvald View Post
We were anchored in Factory Bay Marco Island waiting for weather to sail to Marathon. The bottom is deep mud. We expected bad weather and set a Danforth Hi Tensile 22H and a Fortress FX23. The first night, we had a system come through with 50 knots and dragged both anchors. We reset both and a hour later another blast tripped our anchors again. The next day, we methodically set both anchors and in another blast of 50 plus knot winds, tripped both anchors. We then pulled both anchors and set our 32 lb. plow. It buried deeply in the mud and we survived a succession of very strong shear winds without a problem. I believe, based upon my personal experience, that the Fortess is a highly overrrated anchor unless it is set in sand/gravel. We always carry three anchors and I use my plow as our primary. Later that year on our return trip, we anchored off Usseppa Island, Florida and sat through three hours of storm winds--the highest being 70 m.p.h. The bottom off the channel is sand and gravel. We had 10 to 1 set with the plow and in the 70 plus mile per hour gusts the plow did drag about 10 feet before it reset and then didn't move. After the earlier experience, I lost confidence in the Fortress. Today, we use it only as a backup anchor and only in sand.
It's always good to hear about real life anchoring experiences.

It is however an unusual data point. Normally the Fortress will hold much better in this kind of bottom than an equivalent CQR.
Heavy weed can cause a problem, but it does for the CQR, and your description does not sound like thick enough weed to cause a problem.

In strong wind all anchors need to be set to work well. If you apply a strong force to an unset anchor it often never sets. This is particularly true of the lightweight Fortress.

I wonder if the boat was hanging off the Danforth anchor and the Fortress was unset. If this was the case the Fortress would have little hope of holding when the Danforth let go.?

Can you outline how you laid out and set the anchors, it might help explain why the failure occurred.
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Old 20-07-2012, 02:33   #40
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

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Originally Posted by Dulcesuenos View Post
Personally I would never ever consider setting two anchors on one Rhode. I have heard one anchor never sets right along with a bunch of other issues. Had a 35 delta hold 40000+ plus lbs of boats with a horrendous amount of windage for 3 days straight of 25-35 kts. This was in mud w weeds on top. We always set up then back down to 2000 rpms. With a hand on the Rhode to ensure its not slipping.
I really wish I could say the same for Delta (which is now my 2nd anchor onboard) ... we dragged and ploughed many bays in South Africa with the strong SE winds before changing it for another type
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Old 20-07-2012, 07:12   #41
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

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Can you outline how you laid out and set the anchors, it might help explain why the failure occurred.
I am convinced it is the "pivoting fluke" issue I mentioned above, as the 40' of 3/8 chain (weighing 56lbs / 25kg or so) and 7:1 scope made the shank sink below the flukes in the mud bottom. But, of course, I could be wrong.

Also wondering if the Mud Palms were installed on the Fortress. They make a HUGE difference in setting performance in mud.
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Old 20-07-2012, 09:34   #42
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
It's always good to hear about real life anchoring experiences.

It is however an unusual data point. Normally the Fortress will hold much better in this kind of bottom than an equivalent CQR.
Heavy weed can cause a problem, but it does for the CQR, and your description does not sound like thick enough weed to cause a problem.

In strong wind all anchors need to be set to work well. If you apply a strong force to an unset anchor it often never sets. This is particularly true of the lightweight Fortress.

I wonder if the boat was hanging off the Danforth anchor and the Fortress was unset. If this was the case the Fortress would have little hope of holding when the Danforth let go.?

Can you outline how you laid out and set the anchors, it might help explain why the failure occurred.

Nolex, See response #36 (above) for details.
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Old 20-07-2012, 10:58   #43
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

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Nolex, See response #36 (above) for details.
Yes thanks, you did include a lot of detail about scope and rode etc that post, but not how each anchor was set. It can be difficult to set two anchors properly particularly in strong wind.
I have used Fortress anchors frequently and I would hate you to be condemning an expensive and IMHO very good anchor when there was a simple explanation to the problem.

Just as another data point my Fortress FX 37 held a 50 foot cat ( well beyond the size range for that anchor) in 50 k wind after they dragged. I lent them our kedge anchor and it held beatifully despite minimal chain. (They had to cut away their main anchor after colliding and tangling other boats.)

I am not disbelieving your experience. I just think there is likely to be a reason why the anchor performed poorly in a substraite where it is normally very good.
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Old 20-07-2012, 11:12   #44
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
Yes thanks, you did include a lot of detail about scope and rode etc that post, but not how each anchor was set. It can be difficult to set two anchors properly particularly in strong wind.
I have used Fortress anchors frequently and I would hate you to be condemning an expensive and IMHO very good anchor when there was a simple explanation to the problem.

Just as another data point my Fortress FX 37 held a 50 foot cat ( well beyond the size range for that anchor) in 50 k wind after they dragged. I lent them our kedge anchor and it held beatifully despite minimal chain. (They had to cut away their main anchor after colliding and tangling other boats.

Nolex,
We always drop the hook and let it settle naturally(engine in neutral) for a few minutes at a 5 to 1 scope until the boat falls back and swings into the wind. Then, we set at 1000 rpm's, 1200, 1500 giving some breathing room in between before easing the rode to 7 to 1 if we plan on spending the night. In the above case I described, we could not get the hooks to grab at 5 to 1 or 7 to 1 which led me to believe because of their weight and configuration they wouldn't bury. This was not the case with the Sascot/CQR as we had a bite rather quickly and after a few days on the hook had a difficult and messy time retrieving it from the mud. The wind was not strong when we initially set the first two hooks as there was a fortunate lull between the fast moving systems so that really wasn't much of an issue. Hope that is clear.
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Old 20-07-2012, 11:18   #45
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

No such thing as too much chain (ignoring boat carrying capacity, swinging room, and yourback.)
We cruised East Coast for two years, and drug our 35 lb CQR everywhere we dropped it from Maine to Brownsville Texas. We use 70 ft. Of 3/8 chain, 100 of rope. Still drug. When we used the Fortress 23, it Never drug except once in Galveston when the anchor fouled on a piece of sheet metal. Thats on a 41 ft 28000 lb. yawl, with more windage due to the mizzen than most cruisers. I'll never leave home without it.
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