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Old 20-11-2020, 16:23   #1
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gut feel holding power comparison

I know that Fortress has holding power data for their anchors in a couple different bottoms, but I can't find anything similar for any other anchor. Given your experience, or even just gut feel based on anchor design and size, how would you compare the straight line holding power of a Spade S/A200 versus a Fortress FX-85, assuming a good set, same bottom, same rode/scope?
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Old 20-11-2020, 16:35   #2
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Re: gut feel holding power comparison

There are some bottoms (hard sand, weed), where the Fortress may never set. If it sets, it will probably have more holding power in a straight line pull. However, if the wind shifts or the tide changes, it won't reset a well as the Spade. The Fortress is a better storm anchor, but the Spade is a best bower anchor.
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Old 20-11-2020, 16:41   #3
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Re: gut feel holding power comparison

Yeah, I figured as much, that's why I said assuming a straight line pull and a good set. It's hard to get a feel for comparing a fortress to a next-gen style anchor. I am trying to get a feel for what will hold stronger in either a single direction storm situation, or in a kedge you off a reef situation.
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Old 20-11-2020, 16:52   #4
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Re: gut feel holding power comparison

I would say a Fortress or Danforth would have nearly 2 x the straight line holding power set in sand. Most tests show that. Although I have never had a Spade, plow styles like the spade dont go readily into hard bottoms well either, albeit maybe a bit better than a Danforth type. I did have a Fortress save a boat in 70+ wind shift once. It was simply thrown over the bow at the last minute before the beach.

One of the most important things for an anchor if you ask me is resetting capability after a wind reversal. . And I'm not sure many do that well.
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Old 20-11-2020, 17:59   #5
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Re: gut feel holding power comparison

I'm planning to use an A200 as a backup bower and a heavier kedge/stern anchor to supplement my FX-37. I found a decent deal on an FX-85, but it would be a fairly narrow use profile, as a high holding straight pull anchor. I'm only considering it because of the deal that's available, but also only if it is offering something that the FX-37 and A200 can't give me but that it is also likely/possible that I would need.
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Old 20-11-2020, 18:02   #6
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Re: gut feel holding power comparison

As a worst case anchor for high wind and soft mud, the huge Fortress will out-hold anything else you can reasonably carry. The big Spade will be more versatile than the Fortress, but in a straight line pull, the Fortress will out-hold it.
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Old 20-11-2020, 19:08   #7
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Re: gut feel holding power comparison

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Originally Posted by Muaddib1116 View Post
I'm planning to use an A200 as a backup bower and a heavier kedge/stern anchor to supplement my FX-37. I found a decent deal on an FX-85, but it would be a fairly narrow use profile, as a high holding straight pull anchor. I'm only considering it because of the deal that's available, but also only if it is offering something that the FX-37 and A200 can't give me but that it is also likely/possible that I would need.
It was an FX37 that saved my heavy 47 ft mono. Had it not been assembled and ready it would not have done so. An 85 is a damn big anchor
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Old 20-11-2020, 19:26   #8
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Re: gut feel holding power comparison

I guess I wasn't thinking of using it/them on the spur of the moment, but rather in particular situations, the FX85 when I needed as much straight line holding as possible. Can you elaborate on the circumstances you mentioned, as well as what your setup with the FX37 was that it was so quickly available?
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Old 21-11-2020, 07:45   #9
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Re: gut feel holding power comparison

For ease of use, my Fortress (a G-23) lives strapped to the top of an oversize milk crate. Crate contains a few feet of chain and 200 feet of 5/8 double braid. So if I need it, I pop down to the forward storage area, pull off a couple of straps holding the crate down, carry the whole thing up on deck. Then release the straps holding the anchor to the crate and deploy.

Not the quickest to deploy, but that's mostly due to storage location. If I had a good place to keep it on deck, I would.
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Old 21-11-2020, 11:04   #10
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Re: gut feel holding power comparison

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muaddib1116 View Post
I know that Fortress has holding power data for their anchors in a couple different bottoms, but I can't find anything similar for any other anchor. Given your experience, or even just gut feel based on anchor design and size, how would you compare the straight line holding power of a Spade S/A200 versus a Fortress FX-85, assuming a good set, same bottom, same rode/scope?
The Fortress has an exceptionally high holding power in a soft substrate, but can struggle in other bottom types. It does not “shuffle” as well as most other designs and it if breaks out it can drag very rapidly if it lets go.

In my view, the Fortress is more suited to a specialised anchor rather than as general purpose primary anchor. However, it is excellent as a kedge anchor that is light enough to dinghy or swim out (with a fender) although the FX-85 is very large. It is a great addition on every cruising boat.

The Spade is much better general purpose anchor. The steel Spade is excellent, but unfortunately the aluminium Spade while still a good anchor does not have the brilliant performance of the steel version. It is also worth noting Spade themselves do not recommend this option as a suitable primary anchor.
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Old 21-11-2020, 11:12   #11
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Re: gut feel holding power comparison

Yes, I agree, I have come to the same consensus from my research. As I've mentioned, my intent for the A200 is to be a backup bower, to get me back to civilization where I can order a replacement best bower. It is also to be used as a larger stern/kedge anchor than my Fortress FX-37. What I'm wondering is if there is a use for a FX-85 that the FX-37 or A200 does not fit/meet and does that justify the purchase and storage.
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Old 21-11-2020, 11:56   #12
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Re: gut feel holding power comparison

For what it is worth, I used the A200 Spade as a best bower, on my 45 foot cat, for 15 years, and it was superb. The only places that it had trouble were sand over coral, where it's overall weight of 55 lbs was a bit light for the blade surface to penetrate really well. However, it was the day to day anchor. Spade did not advise against using it as a day to day anchor until well after I started using it, but I think I understand why they changed. I don't think it has anything to do with holding power, but the size of boat that uses this generally can develop a pretty hard pull, and eventually, I bent the shank (in a hurricane!). Although I straightened the shank, it is now a backup and my primary is an S180, which should be much stronger, structurally. It weighs 99 lbs and gives up only a little holding power compared to the A (or S) 200. And, being heavier for its size than the aluminum Spade, it digs in to harder surfaces more easily. By the way, one of the comments referred to the Spade as a "plow type" anchor, which I think is a misnomer. For most of us, a plow type anchor means a CQR or similar. The Spade is in the "next generation" category, such as a Mantus, or ROCNA, and so forth, with a concave blade rather than a convex one like the plows have.
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Old 21-11-2020, 12:31   #13
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Re: gut feel holding power comparison

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muaddib1116 View Post
Yes, I agree, I have come to the same consensus from my research. As I've mentioned, my intent for the A200 is to be a backup bower, to get me back to civilization where I can order a replacement best bower. It is also to be used as a larger stern/kedge anchor than my Fortress FX-37. What I'm wondering is if there is a use for a FX-85 that the FX-37 or A200 does not fit/meet and does that justify the purchase and storage.
If you have the storage capacity and can afford the cost, more anchors are always better, but the FX-85 is very large anchor and in most cases where a stern/ kedge anchor would be needed, the FX-37 would be a more practical choice on a 50 foot boat.

In strong wind I generally prefer the simplicity of lying to an oversized good quality primary anchor. Some prefer to deploy multiple anchors, although generally this is a reflection of an inadequate primary anchor. In this case an FX-85 would provide significantly more holding power than FX-37, but there are many complications such as tangling the rodes and swinging differently to other boats in the anchorage.

As a spare primary anchor in the event of a lost anchor, the Fortress is not an ideal substitute in my view. This depends on the remoteness of the areas you will be cruising and how quickly a replacement anchor can be acquired etc.

The ideal complement to a steel Spade primary would perhaps be another steel Spade stored in the bilge. An aluminium Spade will be lighter, but it would be rare that it needs transferring from the bilge, and as well as the more expensive purchase price, the lower performance of the aluminium version means a replacement primary anchor would be more urgently required.
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Old 21-11-2020, 16:48   #14
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Re: gut feel holding power comparison

Good advice, Noelex 77.

The FX-85 is huge. I use a Fortress FX-44 as a kedge anchor and I think it is too big for my 50' aluminum cutter, but it certainly does its job. I have recently changed my bower anchor from a Rocna 33 (73 lbs) to a Spade 180 (99 lbs) as I've had the Rocna fail to reset a couple of times - only in weed mind you. Otherwise a tremendous anchor. There is no end of opinions regarding anchors and methods of using them.
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Old 21-11-2020, 22:33   #15
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Re: gut feel holding power comparison

Thanks for all the advice guys. I think that I'll hold off on investing in such a niche anchor for now. The deal is not so amazing that I can't pass on it.
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