May 15, 2012

Thoughts on bow anchor...

When cleaning the waterline stain the other day, I noted once again, that s/y Dolphin Dance is leaning slightly towards her bow when floating. Obvious reason for this is her large bow anchor and windlass, which have probably been retro-fitted by one of her previous owners. She has been previously sailing in the Mediterranean, so the large bow anchor probably dates from those days. Our 20 kg CQR-anchor is pretty well oversized, and normally seen in 40-50ft boats. Together with Lofrans' manual anchor windlass and 40 meters chain, they add quite a heavy weight on the bow, which is not good in terms of sailing performance. However, we have enjoyed good night sleeps when at anchor, knowing that it can blow pretty hard before this anchor starts to drag!

Since the current CQR is also a quite heavy anchor to handle, I have considered some lighter weight alternatives. We have some other requirements for the bow anchor as well: at the moment we do not have a bow ladder, so we are using the anchor as one. Therefore the anchor should have a roll-bar which can be used as a step. Secondly, we might be using the anchor as a gennaker bowsprit, since we do not have one either. So the gennaker furler could be attached to the anchor's roll-bar – this idea needs still some refining however. Based on the holding power, price and the other requirements, I am mostly interested in Delta and Rocna anchors. According to the anchor sizing guides, 10 kg Delta or Rocna anchor should be enough for a 29 ft boat.

A Finnish boating magazine "Vene" tested different anchors a couple of years ago. In this test the CQR was a clear winner in both mud and sand bottoms. They tested the anchors also when the direction of the pull was changed by 90 degrees. Also then the CQR scored the highest points. However, CQR is said to have problems with weed, but this type of bottom was not part of the test. Furthermore, the new generation anchor designs such as Rocna or Spade were not tested, but probably they would have changed the leaderboard. In the test group, Delta was second best in terms of holding power.

If we are keeping our current CQR, it needs some re-galvanizing. 
Price of a new 11 kg CQR is about 680 € in Finland.

10 kg Delta anchor by Lewmar, price about 175 €

10 kg Rocna anchor, price about 386 €

P.S. We actually ordered the Delta anchor, but had to sent it back since it did not need our requirements for a bow anchor. Namely, the roll-bar which we use as a step, was smaller and placed higher than with the CQR. We also tried to find bow ladders, that would work with Delta, but could not find suitable one from local maritime stores. Thus, we decided to keep our trusty and chunky CQR.

Delta is basically a modernized, fixed shank version of CQR.

Previously, I often had difficulty in estimating, how much anchor chain is already out. In the chain there are colour marks in 5 m intervals, but it seemed to be difficult remember those colour codes. Thus, I put cable-ties every 10 meters, i.e. one for 10m, two for 20m. Cable-ties should have been colourful though, but I only happened to have black ones onboard.


  1. Antti are you sure you need all that chain? If you subsitute 20 m of chain with rope, you save a lot of weight.

    Those anchors are awfully expensive. Practical Boatowner did an anchor test some time back, although I'd damned if I remember what the outcome was. Those both anchor were in the test though.

    A Bruce copy is cheap and cheerful.

  2. When they test anchors OCR is always very high. So it is really good anchor ... but I do not like it otherwise. It is very difficult to handle if there is bad weather. In Kleopatra we have 23 kg OCR and 50 m chain. Not happy with that. At least we manage to replace Lofrans' manual anchor windlass with electric one.

    It all depends how you use your anchor. I think this big anchor is mainly for emergency situations. Not everyday use. I also thought to change old chain with stainless steel chain ... and anchor with stainless steel, but not this time. It was way too expensive (only the chain was more than 1500 eur). Even I REALLY HATE rost in the boat.

    But if you want to use anchor in emergency situations and since you sail a lot on open sea, I would keep at least that 30 m chain. Although I agree with Timo: Bruce is not very bad either, except if you want to have that one step to get into boat.

    Of course you could sell the old anchor first. If you have connections to re-galvanizinging it, do it first, you get better price from anchor. If new is 680 eur, you should be able to ask 300-400 eur.

  3. Timo, I agree that 10 meters of chain would be enough. However, the windlass and anchor locher work well with the chain, so adding rope to the equation could make things a little bit more complicated. Up til now we have managed all the situations with 30 meters chain without a need for additional rope.

    "luuvartti", if I could sell my CQR for 300-400 eur, that would probably make sense since I would save some money when changing it for a brand new Delta.

  4. There are ladders available for Delta anchor, I have one, it works
    Br Petri Allekotte s/y Little Girl


It would be very great to hear your opinion or comments. Thank you in advance for commenting! -Antti & Minna