I recently submitted the following in another blog’s comments section in reaction to the usual verbal dog-fighting on the topic. I’ve thinned it down a bit…
…I’ve observed the following. Anchors are subject to the concepts of natural selection. Anchors have metaphysical properties. All purveyors of the new, must decry the old to establish a toe-hold. All subscribers to the old must decry the new to establish their wisdom.
Here are my rules for me:
If I’m not going to travel widely, what are local anchoring survivors using?
If I am going to travel, what do the locals along my route and where I am going use? I will then carry as many of those varieties as I can. (we carry five)
Go one size up — anchor sizing is an art not a science. 100% of the empirical data is suspect because the bottoms used for testing can only be approximations of what one will encounter underway. The dilemma is to get “Mooring” peace of mind from something human portable.
Use tandem (two on a rode) anchors if you doubt your equipment and relieve the doubt as soon as possible…
Anchors are not family. Sell what isn’t needed, and buy what is. The new-old price spread is excellent insurance…
If an anchor looks like it was fabricated in welding shop 101 or on a porch in Zamboanga, don’t buy it.
If it is rusted or cracked near any weldments don’t buy it (fluke faces are less troubling except from a hull stains perspective). Be suspicious of re-galvanized anchors, they can be pigs in lipstick.
Invest in the ability to set and recover an anchor well. One that is too hard to work with won’t be set properly, and so will not perform.
When evaluating new anchor technologies (and I believe as a community we should be doing so), don’t buy a new anchor style/type/design for your only anchor. Remember once you are happy with that new rip-snorter, you can sell the old one. But if that MegaMaxi1000 fails to deliver Meenie-Minie10 performance, having no options is not an option.
And ultimately, don’t ever trust any anchor 100%. We have dragged seriously three times in 37 years. Twice the anchor dragged from one bottom type to another and failed to reset. And once we had anchored with the anchor rode very securely hooked under the limb of a long dead tree. Once the chain sawed through the punky wood, the boat was off to the races—moving too quickly for any anchor to set.