CruiseWebers' impressions of their anchors.
This is an email I got from Jere Lull regarding the Spade anchor. September 2000.


RE: Spade Anchor

You asked, so I figured I'd respond.

Damn, they're expensive! but when you see one, you can see why: They're works of art with a lot of tooling.

We have the aluminum Spade 80, which I believe they recommend for boats to 35'. About 30' of 3/8" chain, then 1/2" nylon. Weight is about 15#. Previous anchor was a Danforth 13# (920 now?) on about 12' of 3/8" chain, same nylon. Have used the Spade for about 50 anchorings, now.

We cruise the Chesapeake, so anchoring is usually NOT a problem, but we knew of a few places with hard sand where the Danforth could not get a bite. The Spade dug right in and held against anything the prop could throw at it, including simulating 180 degree windshifts. We all know how Danforths love those windshifts ;-)

We also knew spots where boats on plows did exactly that when a summer squall came through. They didn't drift fast, but drift they did. The Spade buried itself about as well as the Danforth, sometimes taking most of the chain down under the mud with it. (What a mess!)

The part I'm still getting used to is that I've had to power the anchor out only once, and that after we'd been hit with unusually strong squalls overnight. It usually comes out with little effort, which used to mean -- with the Danforth -- that we hadn't been hooked that hard. But I often have to clean mud out of the last 6-8' of chain, so it was buried pretty deeply. Seems the geometry is such that the anchor can pivot fairly easily, and we need only pull it up through the lighter mud.

BTW, we had had two identical Danforths rigged up. One with 6' of whatever chain they recommend (1/4"?), the other with 12' of 3/8" chain. The one with little chain rarely buried itself very deeply and broke loose a few times. The other needed to be powered out whenever the wind piped up. Except recently, I always anchored with at least 7:1, including our freeboard. [our first length marker is at 60' of nylon.] With the extra chain and the Spade, I'll go 4:1 sometimes.

Yes, the Spade's become our primary anchor, even though it doesn't quite fit in Xan's anchor locker. Guess I'll have to expand that next


Jere Lull

Xan-a-Deux -- '73 Tanzer 28 #4 -- out of Tolchester, MD Xan's Pics & Specs:

Our BVI Vacation trip FAQ (250+ Annotated pics):


A few experiences of the SuperMax and other anchors.

The Super Max is one of the anchors, which has passed the Capt.Wil Anchor Test. Several on the TWL have purchased it. Some time ago, I asked for reports from those that have tried the Super Max and had any problems or complaints. I promised to post the results. I have had many reports with excellent results and only two complaints.



There is a hole in the shank of the anchor near the fluke for attaching a trip line. The trip line would be used for buoying the anchor for either marking anchor location or to help in retrieving the anchor. The reinforcing bar runs close to that hole and its width makes it impossible to attach a shackle to the hole. Using an unshackled line gives rise to chafe of the line.


Fabricating a fitting from two bolts and two side plates is one obvious solution. Protecting such a home made fitting from corrosion is not easily accomplished by your everyday trawler owner. A copy of this report is being sent to the manufacturer hoping he will find a solution.

If users have come up with a solution, please let me know by private E-mail




The anchor penetrates so far that it's hard to get out of the bottom.


What a marvelous problem. I love to solve problems with anchors that keep boats where anchored. You will have this problem with any anchor that

PENETRATES DEEPLY. If the anchor isn't't difficult to retrieve, it didn't' penetrate &endash; no matter what you have read to the contrary.

The solution to this problem is really very simple, and it all revolves around SHORT SCOPE. CaptnWil didn't invent the following procedure, but did change one step, so this is the CaptnWil Get It Up Procedure (no laughs, this is about anchors).

1. Move the boat toward the anchor until the scope is 1 (rode perpendicular), and put available force on the rode. If it doesn't break out, just let it sit there a while. If the boat moves back, return the scope to 1 by either tightening up on the rode or moving the boat.

2. GO INTO REVERSE. Increase the RPM slowly to that which would normally move the boat at about three knots.

3. The anchor will either break out or the boat will move a little so the scope is greater than 1.

3.1 If the anchor breaks out, retrieve the anchor normally.

3.2 If the anchor does not break out, GOTO Step !.

Don't write CaptnWil about going forward on the anchor when the scope is 1. The important thing is the scope, not the direction. Going forward will put the bow and boat over the rode and anchor. Going in reverse will keep the whole mess away from the boat. Once, going forward on the rode, I actually hooked the bottom of the boat with the anchor.

Using this procedure, I have never needed to make more than three cycles of the process to break the anchor out -- even when sending the anchor almost 10-feet under the bottom.


I have one report of a Kadey-Krogen 42 which successfully anchored in a very soft bottom in hurricane Bonnie with measured winds gusting above 60-knots.

His was one of the "happy complaints" about retrieving the anchor. He couldn't measure the penetration, but thinks it was about six-feet. It took him 45-minutes to break the anchor out, and he rejoiced all the way.

Please send any other complaints or problems with this anchor to me by private E-mail. If the list of complaints or problems grows, I'll post it in compact form.


40 Pier Pointe

New Bern NC 28562

(252) 636-3601


I don't have enough personal knowledge about anchoring to comment either, but I have done a lot of reading about the sailboat folks who do world cruising. The consensus seems to be that CQR or Bruce anchors perform best in rock and coral. Beth Leonard's (excellent) book about their travels in Silk confirms this. Of about 100 boats surveyed while enroute in the Pacific, all but two were using these two anchors. The comment she makes is that the "recommended" sizes are generally too small, and she recommends two sizes larger (heavier). They used a 167lb Bruce on their 37' boat.

She also says that all but seven (if memory serves) used all chain rode, typically 300'. Those who didn't use all chain did so for weight and balance reasons. They also used 25 to 50' of nylon line as a snubber.

She also comments that Fortress type anchors are better in sand, but says that they only had to use theirs a handful of times in three years of travelling.

I would think the same should apply to our trawlers. Frontal area is larger, so bigger hooks will be required, but otherwise, anchorin' is anchorin' :).

Mike Fairbairn

PS. Although I am sure I have accurately paraphrased Leonard's book, details may vary...