Tips for choosing and using the right Anchor.
By Andrei Loskoutov
Myths and Facts:
Myth: The heavier the anchor, the better.....
Fact: Modern designs and state-of-the-art engineering have
made anchors not only better, but lighter, too! In several
real world tests, including one conducted by the U.S. Navy,
the best holding anchors were actually among the lightest!
Anchor design has more effect on holding power than weight.
Myth: Steel is the strongest material for anchors.....
Fact: Not anymore! Many materials are now stronger than
steel. For example, high-tensile aluminum-magnesium alloy is
well suited for anchors and is, pound-for-pound, more than
twice as strong as steel.
Myth: All anchors perform the same way.....
Fact: Not so! Different designs and different materials make
anchors perform very differently. When you consider the
value of the boat an anchor is protecting, (your boat!) an
anchor is no place to economize. It pays to get the best
performing anchor you can.
Myth: Anchors that look alike, are alike.....
Fact: Looks can be deceiving. Technical designs,
manufacturing processes and metal alloys go through varying
degrees of quality control and some are just plain better.
Be sure to look for independent testing of holding power and
approval from standards organizations, indicated by "ABS
Type Certification" (ABS is the American Bureau of Shipping)
Myth: Just toss an anchor overboard, and you are
Fact: It's not so simple. Your anchor is just one part of a
total anchoring system. It's made up of the anchor, chain,
rope, shackles, deck gear, and... your own anchoring skill
1. Determine Your Holding Requirements.
Be sure that your anchor can give the performance you need.
A "Lunch Hook" should be able to hold your boat in a 15 knot
breeze. A main, or "Working Anchor" should hold up to 30
knots of wind. A "Storm Anchor" is for winds up to 42 knots.
Remember that as the wind speed doubles, the holding
2. Use Adequate Scope.
Scope is the length of anchor line relative to the distance
from your boat's deck to the sea bottom. We recommend at
least 5:1 scope.At 10:1 the holding power will double, and
at less than 3:1 you will give up a significant amount of
holding power and may experience problems setting the
3. "Power Set" Your Anchor.
Know that your anchor is properly set! Back down very, very
slowly. Then as the anchor begins to set, very slowly
increase the load with your engine. Backing down at any
speed at all may not give your anchor a chance to dig in and
4. Anchor Resetting.
In areas of changing tide or wind, set two anchors off the
bow in opposite directions. Any anchor can occasionally fail
to reset once it has been pulled out of the bottom. Set two
anchors if you expect a change in wind or current.
5. Anchor Retrieval.
Slowly move the boat to a position directly over the anchor,
pulling in the line as you go. Then snub the line on a cleat
and power backwards slowly to pull the anchor out of the
bottom. Do not power forward because that will require more
energy and put very heavy loads on the anchor and gear.
You can read more tips on using the Anchor or chooce the
right Anchor for your boat on our website at:
About the Author
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