Join Date: Sep 2005
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I have an Ericson 27 and spent 15 years sailing the Great Lakes, primarily out of your area.
I'd get an inexpensive claw of some size. I use a 22lb that has held through some pretty nasty blows, the most memorable being South Manitou as the wind unexpectedly clocked to the east, throwing up 6' swells. It's held well in rock, mud, sand and just about anything I've thrown at it. I seem to recall that style getting better ratings than plow-styles from Practical Sailor.
I've had really good luck with Defender and a good claw from them is just $70.
Keep in mind when buying anchors that you pay significantly for the brand and the design. The actual manufacture of many designs is a simple casting process that is hard to screw up. Claws fit into that category well. No moving parts adds a lot to the confidence in the anchor itself, in my opinion.
I also keep the larger Danforth as a second anchor and toss the mushroom and smaller Danforth. They aren't worth the extra load.
As for stowage, I keep my anchor in a locker down below as I don't have a roller, either. When I get a minute or two before needing it, I turn the helm over, grab it and go forward. It doesn't take but a minute and I'm ready to toss it in.
Lastly, keep in mind where you'll be. There are very few places on the Great Lakes that you'd be riding out 4-6' swells at anchor. If such an occasion came about, you'd be ready to pull the thing up and move or leave. Particularly in boats the size of ours.