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
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
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
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
Xan-a-Deux -- '73 Tanzer 28 #4 -- out of Tolchester, MD Xan's Pics
& Specs: http://members.dca.net/jerelull/X-Main.html
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.
TRIP LINE COMPLAINT:
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
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
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
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
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
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'
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' :).
PS. Although I am sure I have
accurately paraphrased Leonard's book, details may vary...