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Old 12-07-2012, 18:11   #1
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Fortress Anchor in Mud

I have a 32' sailing catamaran (a Tomcat 9.7). The boat is light - she weighs 7000 - 8000 lbs, although being a cat, she does have high windage.
Before taking delivery I researched various anchors and chose a Fortress FX16 as my primary anchor and a Delta 10 as my storm anchor. Each has 20' of 1/4" chain and 200' of 5/8" nylon rode. Both of these anchors were sized using the respective companies sizing guides, Fortress Marine Anchors and Sizing Chart Rocna Anchors.

I've been cruising Georgian Bay, Lakes Huron, Erie and Ontario and am currently in the 1000 Islands. Whenever I anchor, I back up slowly as the rode is let out and then I motor hard astern to ensure the anchor is well set. SO far, I'm very dissapointed with the Fortress. We're anchoring a lot in mud and despite setting the flukes to the 45 mud position and installing mud palms I cannot get this anchor to set. Backing up with even moderate power (I only have 20hp anyway) just causes the anchor to drag. I did get the anchor to set nicely on a sandy bottom once, but never in mud.

My understanding was that this anchor is good in mud. Am I doing something wrong? I'd be very interested in others comments on this anchor.

Thanks in advance.

Ron James
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Old 12-07-2012, 18:19   #2
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

More chain !! Always helps with any anchor!! mud is mud ya need to know whats below the mud!!to know what anchor to use !
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Old 12-07-2012, 18:25   #3
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

intuition says that the Fortress should have the best holding power in mud. Shallow mud over hard pan is almost impossible to anchor well in... maybe that is what you are experiencing. Seems to me the Fortres should be your storm anchor and the Delta your everyday anchor. The Fortress has about 3 times the holding in sand....
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Old 12-07-2012, 18:44   #4
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

we set our 55 fortress at china camp in San Francisco Bay once.. spent 8 days on the hook there, changing direction every 6 hours with the tides..
wouldnt come up when we decided to leave.. dove on it and followed the chain down to where my face was in the mud and still wasnt touching the anchor with my hand..
took hours to get it up..
we now dont drop the fortress without adding a tag line to the rear of the anchor to pull it out backwards..

try laying out more scope.. do the 7 to 1 drop.. she should set.. the fortress is one of the best anchors made..
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Old 12-07-2012, 18:51   #5
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

Bottom line is nothing sets well in mud. I also had a problem with one in mud. My CQR acually set better (I think because it weighed a lot more and just went deeper.
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Old 12-07-2012, 19:47   #6
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I've used a fortress for years, the flukes must be clean to set. I was trying to set it one evening & it kept dragging in a spot I had anchored before with no problem. Finally pulled it up on deck & there was some hard clay type material on the fluke points. Cleaned them off & it set on the next try, after that I made sure it was spotless clean before stowing away.
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Old 12-07-2012, 20:07   #7
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldJJames View Post
I back up slowly as the rode is let out and then I motor hard astern to ensure the anchor is well set.
Do you give the anchor enough time to start digging in before applying power? If you haven't, just let the momentum of the slowly reversing boat set the anchor initially and give it a chance to settle. Then gradually apply increasing power in reverse.

You don't say how much scope you are using. With only a short length of chain, this becomes more important. For example, if you are only using 3 to 1, the rode will be at a 30 degree angle to the bottom, and unlikely to set at full power. Try an over long rode as an experiment and see if this resolves it. Don't forget to measure depth from the bow roller not just water depth.
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Old 12-07-2012, 21:08   #8
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

Your Fortress will outperform your Delta in mud any day of the week, but make sure you've got the mud palms attached.
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Old 12-07-2012, 21:27   #9
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

The Fortress should be fantastic in mud. The only way I could see this anchor not setting is if the flukes are not digging in and just lay flat on the bottom. I think the advice of giving the anchor a few minutes to start digging in before backing is smart. An immediate backwards pull can cause the anchor to not dig in. As an aside, one of the few weak points of the Fortress or any Danforth type anchor is its ability to reset is less than many other anchors.

When you retrieve the anchor, does a large amount of mud come up on the fluke, or only superficial amounts? If it isn't digging up big clods, it simply isn't ever digging in.

Finally, there is a chance that the bottom you are on is not mud at all, but some sort of hard pan. Shale, perhaps? I'm not too familiar with the Great Lakes. Sometimes a pointy anchor can catch a lip and seem to hold, whereas a Danforth type doesn't. This is not a good set, but I have seen solme cruisers who backed hard with the point of a delta or cqr tenuously gripping a small ledge and think they are well dug in.

It's all just theories, but experience says the Fortress can't be beat.

Frank
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Old 13-07-2012, 00:50   #10
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

The problem is likely to be the 45 degree setting. When the fluke angle is too steep the anchor will not set at all and does not work. The. 45 degree setting only works in a small number of ( mainly consistently soft ) substrates.
The shallower fluke angle setting will work in all bottom types, change the anchor to this setting and it should work very well.

If changing the setting does not work (I would be very surprised if this is not the problem) the second possibility is the substrate is very soft. Occasionally it is so soft the chain sinks into the mud and the flukes don't open properly. This is a very rare problem, but it does happen.
The solution is to set the anchor on a shortish scope say 3:1. This is contrary to normal experience where a large scope alows the anchor to set better. This is a special case only seen with Fortress (or very occasionally danforth) anchors.
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Old 13-07-2012, 06:41   #11
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

Thanks for all the responses. This confirms my original research in that the Fortress is a great anchor. I usually use at least 5:1 scope and I do back up slowly initially while paying out the rode so that tension is kept on the rode. I'll try with 10:1 scope for digging the anchor in and then reducing scope to reduce swing room in crowded anchorages. I'll also try the 32 degree setting.

Thanks again everyone.
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Old 13-07-2012, 07:30   #12
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

I'm with Noelex77 on the fluke angle. The 45* shouldn't be used except in rare instances (and I don't even think it is really necessary then). Also, I have spent a lot of time in the area you anchor in and found that there was a lot of weed in the mud. The weed could be keeping the flukes from gaining that initial bite. Previous posters have given you good advice for that situation.

Mark
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Old 13-07-2012, 13:04   #13
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

My primary anchor is a 33# Bruce and all 5/16 BBB, but for mud over bedrock I use a Fortress. It works well in that situation where the Bruce doesn't have enough fluke area. I think that what makes my Fortress work for me is the 20+ feet of 5/16 BBB that has the weight that makes the shank angle low while setting. Another factor could be the angle of the adustable flukes. I prefer the larger angle. The biggest reason I choose the Fortress over a Danforth style is the ease of storing the lighter anchor in brackets on the bow pulpit.

Barry
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Old 13-07-2012, 20:50   #14
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

The Fortress FX-16 has approximately the same fluke area as a 16 lb Danforth, but it weighs only 10 lbs. In my opinion, it is too small for an overnight hook for a 32' mono, and as you point out, a 32' cat has more windage. Personally, I would go up to at least FX-23. If I had the space to store it, I'd go to FX-37 -- it's still light enough to haul without a windlass. If you normally anchor in mud, more chain than about 30' will not add much in holding power.
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Old 13-07-2012, 21:22   #15
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Re: Fortress Anchor in Mud

I anchor in mud most of the time on the Chesapeake Bay. So far, my Fortress has set very well. I would suggest, with just the wind blowing you back while setting the anchor, go to the bow and hold the rode. Give it a few slight tugs and you should feel the bottom. If you have the room, set it by hand. If it is bouncing off the bottom let out some more scope and give it a good long tug. It should dig in. Cleat off and let it settle in. In a minute or so, start to back down and build to what ever throtle position you are comfortable with. I use at least 5:1scope but prefer 7:1. And 30` of 3/8BBBchain

10:1 in the squals that run thru the bay in the summertime has not let me down yet.

Good luck and happy anchoring
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