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sailingharry 28-09-2009 17:58

Why Are Next-Gen Anchors Considered 'Better' ?
I know I'm going to start yet another "anchor" argument, but the argument has been made over and over that next gen anchors are "better" than the "old type" -- and I believe it. However, West Marine says my 34 footer needs a 16 lb Danforth (22 lb is good to 40 feet!) and that is sort of the definition of an "old sytle" anchor or a 35 lb CQR (the boat came with a 25lb). But, West says I need a 33 lb Rocna (definatly "new" style), a 44lb Manson Ray (Bruce Style, sort of "newer") and a 25 lb Manson Supreme (why so much less than a Rocna?), and Raya says I need a 12.5 KG, around 30 lbs. Now, it's true that they may have different ideas of the anchoring conditions, but if I'm to take the oft quoted advice to "just go one anchor heavier than recommended," well, the Danforth is the only anchor I can lift without a windlass! Are the newer ones really better, or just larger and heavier? I've got a new anchor idea that will set instantly in any bottom and never drag -- it's a concrete block and I recommend 10,000 lbs for a 40 footer. I win!

Seriously, what am I missing, and what size (of each!) do I need for the Chesapeake on a 34 foot 12,000 lb Sabre sailboat? I figure that the "best" anchor is the lightest (and/or cheapest) anchor that provides "X" level of comfort. Right now, based on the various recommendation tables, that is a Danforth -- but I don't think I believe it!

I'm having trouble with the concept that I need to scrap the 25lb anchor that has made the boat happy for 30 years, and "step up" to a new and better style anchor that weighs 50% more! Seems it should get smaller, or at least provide better comfort for the same weight.

No, I'm not a troll, but it probably does the job...

Rantum Scoot
Sabre 34
Annapolis, MD

Bash 28-09-2009 18:13

although I've switched to Rocna as my primary anchor, this is in large part because I need to be able to anchor in a variety of seabeds and conditions. Chances are that if you're consistently anchoring in one type of bed, you can get by with an anchor that performs well in it, especially if it's unlikely that you'll be out in storm conditions. The fact that you don't use a windlass certainly is a factor to consider. Probably better in that situation to look at Fortress/Guardian anchors. As long as you're skilled at setting such an anchor properly, you've got a reliable hook there, especially in sandy conditions without vegetation.

YOGAO 28-09-2009 18:34

We had a 34' C&C for 15 years with a 13# danforth, about 15' of chain spliced to nylon rode on the Chesapeake. In general, the Chesapeake has a pretty consistent, muddy bottom with little current that changes with the tide. Really a pretty perfect set-up for the danforth-style anchor where there are infrequent direction changes once you have set the hook.

Fair Winds,

redcobra 28-09-2009 18:44

I've had danforths on 5 boats for over 35 years on the Chesapeake and only dragged twice (not enough scope). Been in many a blow. I always set the anchor with the engine. I always use 5:1 or 7:1. I think a Danforth Hi-Tensile is the best anchor for the Chessy.

My storm anchor is a danforth also, just bigger.

s/v 'Faith' 28-09-2009 18:47


Why are Next Gen anchors considered "better?"
Because (in my experience) they really are. I have never drug my Manson Supreme. I have drug my CQR, and have twisted my Danforths out of the mud more then once. I have had it for a few years now, have cruised with it and been through a hurricane... sets fast, and it never moves from where it sets.

I think there is a error in the recommended size. I am no fan of the Rocna (probably as good as my Manson, I just don't like their marketing, cost, or the Chinese manufacturing). I see no reason why the Rocna would be required to be nearly twice the size of the Manson Supreme, they are virtually identical.

sailingharry 28-09-2009 19:17

Faith, I'm sure you've never dragged your Manson. If I were to have the recommended Manson on my boat (25lb), I'd have 50% more iron on the bottom than the recommended Danforth (16lb) -- I would certainly expect the 25 lb Manson to out-perform the 16 lb Danforth. And I'd be REALLY surprised if the 33lb Rocna drug. Which gets back to, pound for pound, what gives me the lightest anchor for "X" level of comfort? Practical Sailor does their tests using the mfgr's recommended anchor size for their hypothetical "test" boat, and, surprise!, the heaviest anchor tends to win.

I'm sort of asking the reverse question -- not "how big an anchor do I need?" but rather, for a given boat and conditions, what anchor is the lightest?

The problem gets more confusing when price factors in. The recommended Danforth at West is only $90. The recommended Supreme is $300, and the recommended Rocna is $400 (I was mistaken earlier. The Rocna has overlaping size ranges, and the 22lb is good to 36 feet, so I don't need a 33 lb Rocna). Seems that the best anchor for the job on the basis of "how much does an anchor big enough to properly anchor your boat cost" is clearly the Danforth.

What makes it worse is I'm convinced that many people buy into the "get one or two sizes larger than the MFG thinks you need" syndrome, and then anchor in good bottom with protected anchorages, and so when some sap drifts by on a too short scope with a too small anchor, they smugly say "there ain't NOTHIN like a 300 lb "sea rock" anchor, and I'm convinced of that!" One could say that if your anchor hasn't drug at least once, you have no idea how well it holds -- only that it is at least as big (and probably much bigger) than it needs to be.

I'm so confused!

Worst part is, I'll never know.


Therapy 28-09-2009 19:21


Originally Posted by s/v 'Faith' (Post 338783)
I see no reason why the Rocna would be required to be nearly twice the size of the Manson Supreme, they are virtually identical.

I think they say on their site that they rate sizes for 60 knots of wind. Others don't. I think that is what they say on their site.

FrankZ 28-09-2009 19:26

You can also look at Fortress (a danforth style) anchors. They are lighter size for size than the equivalent steel danforth. Fortress sizes theirs for 30 knots of wind. Different manufacturers have different ideas on how much wind you are going to anchor in.

Even if you have to go a size up the weight doesn't go up that fast and makes them easier to manhandle.

s/v 'Faith' 28-09-2009 19:41

If you want best holding per pound, the Fortress wins hands down. I have a FX-7 for my stern anchor and an FX-16 as a spare bower.

If you are looking for best general anchor on a budget, you are going to have a hard time finding a better deal then a Danforth, or a clone (I have used both, and doubt you will be able to ever tell a difference.

If you want to drop it, back down and forget it, get a new generation anchor. My Manson is a 25, which is the same size as the CQR it replaced. I did not think the #25 was excessive, but when the wind blows harder, it just seems to dig deeper.....

It's your boat, and your nights sleep.

Good luck whatever you choose.

seandepagnier 28-09-2009 20:36

When I think of next gen anchors, I think of something extremely small and lightweight with the ability to drill rock, dig sand or mud or otherwise and form a strong hold. With multiple units in action, and artificial intelligence algorithms running on the microprocessor on the anchor, imagine a 1lb anchor holding a 30ft boat no problem..

Intentional Drifter 28-09-2009 20:47

Harry, I don't understand why the question has even come up. After all, it sounds like you've been using the same set up on the same boat for a long, long time and it has been working just fine. Why even think about changing?

While I'm quite happy with my Rocna and has seen it do the job in some fairly nasty conditions with big tide changes, the reason I bought a new anchor was because the old one was clearly not right for my intended use. That doesn't seem the case with you.


bene505 28-09-2009 21:05


Seriously, what am I missing, and what size (of each!) do I need for the Chesapeake on a 34 foot 12,000 lb Sabre sailboat?

Not on topic with this thread, but there's someone parting out a 34' Sabre on eBay.

(I didn't see how to send him a PM like other forums.)


sailingharry 28-09-2009 21:38

International Drifter,

It's not that I've had the boat a long time -- I've had it since June and only had a handful of anchorings. It's that the boat is 30 years old, and if the 25 lb CQR was a big problem, one of the PO's (at least 3) would have replaced it by now. But I'm not sure I'm comfortable sleeping with a 25lb CQR (S/V Faith has a "next gen" that is 25 lbs, and Faith is only 26 feet, if I read the sig block right. If a 26 footer finds a 25 lb next gen comfortable, I'm starting to get nervous on a 34 footer with the same weight "old gen" anchor). And, so, once the question comes up, it just won't go away.


estarzinger 29-09-2009 02:13


There really is no mystery here.

(1) Fortress will have the most holding power for the weight - it's aluminum and has gobs of sq ft of blade surface area per lb. In the Chesapeake Bay mud it will be a good anchor - but in harder bottoms you have to check carefully that it is actually dug in, they may not set in thick weed, when the wind switches direction you have to check it is still set, and in rock sort of bottoms they can bend.

(2) A steel danforth will be the best holding for the money - gobs of sq ft of blade surface area per $. These set more reliably that the fortress in hard sand and weed bottoms and probably will not bend, but still need some checking when the wind direction shifts. Pulling out and not resetting in a wind shift is their only real drawback and that will probably not be a problem in the Chesapeake mud - they will reset in that sort of bottom. They are also a bit more difficult to stow in some bow rollers.

3. Don't even consider the bruce/ray designs for your size boat/anchor. In the larger sizes they are brilliant multi bottom anchors and perhaps the best at setting and reset on short scope but pretty miserable in the sizes you are talking about - not much surface area per lb or per $.

4. All the plows (both old gen and new gen) are good multi-bottom (except rock) anchors and re-set well in wind shifts. Generally when any of these designs (properly sized) drag it has been because of operator error (scope to short, anchor not set, bad bottom, etc). Despite all the high holding power marketing claims about the next generation anchors they are not willing to recommend smaller/light anchors than the prior gen anchors. And while generally some test results suggest they have somewhat more holding power than the CQR it is pretty unclear how much more (clearly depends on the sort of bottom and setting/pulling method) and not clear at they have much more that the Delta sort of design.

5. If you use 'proper' technique, making sure the anchor is set and putting out sufficient scope, and using protected anchorages, your current anchor is probably just fine. Dragging is almost always operator and not anchor error. Beyond eliminating operator error, the single biggest thing you can do to improve anchoring reliability is to upsize (using any of the 'good' designs) - weight helps in setting and resetting (and it will not hold if it is not set, no matter what sort of surface area it has) and surface area is pretty much directly correlated with holding (with a very slight secondary shape factor).

So, the most direct answer to your question is #1 lightest for the holding power = fortress, #2 A danforth would be a fine choice for the Cheaspeake being lighter than the plows and offering good holding/$, and #3 pretty much no-one thinks enough of the next gens vs the prior gens to suggest you should get a lighter next gen.

noelex 77 29-09-2009 11:37


Originally Posted by estarzinger (Post 338887)

Dragging is almost always operator and not anchor error.

I can understand this thinking. I had a plough on my previous yacht and only dragged once in 20 years, but try a plough in hard sand or weed and it just does not work.
The anchorage where I am currently 90 % of ploughs are not set at all. The remainder are poorly set.
Just one example there is a 35 foot HR that I have seen anchor here many times, with perfect technique. He tries about 5 times to set his CQR, painful, as he only has a hand winch after the 4 th or 5 th time he gives up and does not apply an reverse to check the set of the anchor. There is not much else he can do other than leave the anchorage.
There are anchorages where new generation anchors will set instantly, but older generation anchors will consistently refuse to set despite textbook technique.

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