Which Anchor is Best

Republished from Active Captain, 15th July, 2015

There. It's in writing. Yes, we're going to "tackle" the subject. And while you'll never see a newsletter segment about politics or religion from ActiveCaptain, anchors are fair game.

Many of you won't agree with us. You don't have to write us to tell us. We know. If 400 responded to the ActiveCaptain Services segment from a couple of weeks ago, we can't imagine how many would respond to this!

Please don't expect any replies. But we also feel that just because a subject is controversial doesn't mean we can't give our experiences. We're told all the time that this is desired. So here it is.

We love anchoring. It's one of the best things about cruising. It allows access to remote areas and makes us feel like we're really getting away. When we dropped the anchor in Bay Springs Lake, MS (yes, Mississippi) with the plan to stay a night or two, it was being at anchor in the incredible setting that made us stay (9 nights). We have similar stories at Cape Lookout, Cumberland Island, the Bahamas, and many other places.

We love anchors. When we first started long-distance cruising, we ran with 4 anchors (really) - a Bruce, a CQR, a Fortress FX, and a Danforth. Maine mud loves the Bruce and it was our main anchor. Our boat is rather large at nearly 80,000 lbs, 53 feet LOA, 16 foot beam, 6 foot draft. We
use all chain rode and put out more scope than less. We try to anchor in places where we can put out 7:1 scope. We use 10:1 or more for storms.

When we're in a crowded place, we put out 7:1, set it hard in reverse, and then pull back chain to better fit in harmony with others. We ALWAYS power set the anchor in reverse, allowing the engines to sit for as long as a minute at faster-than-idle reverse speeds using DragQueen to
monitor any type of dragging.

The first bad dragging experience we had was in the Bahamas in 2004. The wind whipped up to 25 knots with a wind change, the boat swung, and the Bruce popped out. It happened at 3 am in total darkness. The wind woke us and the electronics all worked perfectly, letting us know that we were moving. It was pretty scary because we couldn't get the anchor to reset. We slowly motored along our incoming track until daylight when we switched our anchor to the Fortress, and dropped it with a good set.

From that moment on, we only used the Bruce north of Charleston, and the Fortress when we were to the south. The CQR did a terrible job of holding our boat in any condition and the Danforth was a poor version of the Fortress (which we loved).

Through the mid-2000's we were in search of a better anchor. We often had to set the Bruce or Fortress multiple times to get it power set to make us comfortable. We hated switching anchors in Charleston. And there was a new generation of anchors emerging - Delta, Spade, Bugel and Rocna. The analysis was on and we took 3 years to decide.

Looking back, we were a fairly early adopter of the Rocna and bought ours in 2009. We sold the CQR and gave away the Danforth. The Rocna became our main anchor and the Fortress remained as our backup. From the moment we dropped the Rocna from our bow for the first time in Carver's Cove in Vinalhaven, ME, we knew this was a different type of anchor. It stuck immediately. Power setting wouldn't move us back 10-30 feet. The best electronics in the world couldn't detect any movement. It just stuck.

Everyone who has a Rocna knows this exact experience. It doesn't matter why it works or how it works. It just works.

There was an unfortunate incidence with Rocna metal switching in the 2010 timeframe. Much of this was overblown in our opinion. No matter what, it's been resolved today.

There are also some knock-offs today. The Manson Supreme is a good example of an obvious copy. We have friends with Mansons’ who are quite happy with them.

So there you have it. You might find a dozen ways to disagree with us. But it's our truth. The incredible thing is that Defender has the Rocna for this one week at lower prices than 2009 when we purchased ours. Actually, they're lower than we've ever seen, anywhere. If you have a CQR or Danforth, this is your moment. Don't let it pass.

And ALWAYS power set your anchor. We might be behind you!

Jeff calls a good anchor the world's best sleeping pill. The primary anchor on aCappella is a Rocna and Jeff sleeps just fine.

The Rocna Original Galvanized Steel Anchor features Instant Set, Self Launching, rock solid holding power, resists wind and tide shifts and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

Your anchor should provide you and your crew with reliability, security and confidence. Rocna has led worldwide anchor tests as published in the likes of SAIL, Yachting Monthly, Practical Boat Owner, Voile and others. Rocna is trusted to be rock solid in the real world. Its anchors perform in some of the world's toughest locales, including Patagonia, Antarctica, Alaska, Greenland, Scotland - as well as enduring temperamental tropical weather.

Make sure you and your crew are getting a good night's sleep.

Karen and Jeffrey Siegel


Castine, Maine