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post #1 of 29 Old 07-08-2015 Thread Starter
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Anchor question

Ok so as I posted , I just put a deposit on my first sailboat. I've been around power and bass boats since before I was born so I'm not unfamiliar with boats and boating. I am unfamiliar with the anchor on this new boat.. the seller claims it's a magnesium Danforth, Methinks it's probably aluminum. If it were steel I'd say it's a 15 pounder, this thing feels like 5. It does have about 6 feet of chain which is also really light and a little short IMO for a 23' boat.

I've always been under the impression anchors and their tackle should be heavy to stay on the bottom. I am in NJ where we have mud and sand and grass. Has anyone every used these tin foil anchors or just I just use it as a backup and go get a big piece of steel like I have in my other boats?
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post #2 of 29 Old 07-08-2015
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Re: Anchor question

Hey man, congrats on the boat!

Regards to your anchor, it's probably a Fortress or Guardian anchor, they are aluminum and well made. I have a 21lb FX-37 Fortress for my 47' boat.

For mud and soft sand they are great as they have good holding power, not by weight, but by surface area and good design. If you are in soft substrate, the 6' of chain is probably good, but if you were worried, you could go to 20 or so. I have read where people use stainless cable for the first 5' or so, this apparently helps the anchor dig better because the wire cuts through the substrate as well. Now don't quote me on fact, just what I read.

Good thing about your anchor, if it is a genuine Fortress, is that it is light so if you don't have a windlass it's easy to haul. And they can be taken apart for smaller stowing size.

Here's mine when I bought it..

https://instagram.com/p/wuofT4qqEW/

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post #3 of 29 Old 07-08-2015
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Re: Anchor question

I regularly anchor my 50' 10 ton sailboat with a 15 pound Fortress and 30 feet of chain. Works great.

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post #4 of 29 Old 07-08-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Anchor question

Thanks, guess I have to look at it a little closer when I pick up the paperwork Thursday. I saw two flukes and a main shaft and decided it was a cheap Danforth.. didn't realize there's a couple different style anchors that look alike out there. I've had the same anchor for 40+ years.. never bothered to stay current on them I guess
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post #5 of 29 Old 07-08-2015
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Re: Anchor question

The Fortress anchors are made of an aluminum magnesium alloy. They are generally considered the best of the "Danforth-type" anchors. Check out their website here for info.
Fortress Anchors ? The World's Best Anchors! ? Anchors
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post #6 of 29 Old 07-08-2015
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Re: Anchor question

Weird, it's the chain than makes an anchor stay on the bottom more than the weight of the anchor, so you don't need to worry there. Just get more chain.

But, you should check out what locals use for your bottom conditions. Walk the docks at a local marina.


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post #7 of 29 Old 07-08-2015
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Re: Anchor question

The downside of a 'danforth' type anchor is that they are often reluctant to reset if they break out when the angle of pull changes.

Fine for a lunch hook or longer if you are sure the wind direction will not change.
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post #8 of 29 Old 07-08-2015
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Re: Anchor question

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Originally Posted by vtsailguy View Post
Weird, it's the chain than makes an anchor stay on the bottom more than the weight of the anchor....
Is there any point at all in posting such misinformation?

Go drop 100 feet of chain in 10 feet of water and let me know how it holds. Then try a 5# Guardian on clothesline. The clothesline will break at about 600-800 pounds without moving the anchor. A child could pull in the chain, and you know it.

Yes, chain has value, but the statement is blatantly false.

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Re: Anchor question

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Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
... is blatantly false.
Stare tranquillo, pdqaltair! He said "MORE". Our OP does need to get more chain on his nice Fortress, but once that catenary angle is low enough, he'll have a bombproof setup for sand, and a pretty good setup for mud.

As other posters have noted, this is a place where local knowledge can be very helpful.

(I've used a 15lb Fortress on 30' of chain as bower anchor for 30 years in the Chesapeake.)


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Re: Anchor question

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Stare tranquillo, pdqaltair! He said "MORE". Our OP does need to get more chain on his nice Fortress, but once that catenary angle is low enough, he'll have a bombproof setup for sand, and a pretty good setup for mud.

As other posters have noted, this is a place where local knowledge can be very helpful.

(I've used a 15lb Fortress on 30' of chain as bower anchor for 30 years in the Chesapeake.)
I'm tranquil. However, there is much misinformation regarding the usefulness of chain, and it is tiresome. I dislike overly broad statements that are traditional, untested, wrong, and mislead new sailors.

I am in the midst of anchor testing for several up-coming articles, and the one thing I know for an absolute fact is that the chain is NEVER near the bottom at full load, there is no catenary in shallow water (what the PO is talking about), and that chain has NO BEARING on ultimate holding power. What chain does do is...
* is cut resistant
* compensates for sloppy setting method by pressing the shank down
* provides shock absorption through catenary in deeper water (over 15 feet) and light winds (less than 20 knots). After that it is straight and has much less effect.
* is chafe resistant
* Moderates the effect of wind direction changes. The wind has to drag the chain around first, slowing the impact of the change. While this effect is small, it can buy enough time for less reliable hooks to rotate.
* it reduces sailing at anchor by boats with this design flaw. A bridle helps too. This can be major, if the hook is getting jerked around.

Scope is what matters on a fluke type anchor, not catenatry. Once the breeze come up, scope is all you've got. Anyone that believe scope exists in shallow water in a storm should put 1000 pounds (not much) on and anchor and watch the chain straighten out. It's really kind of obvious. You will get EXACTLY the same test result with zero chain as with full chain.

Yes, in day in, day out anchoring the reality is different. We use chain to get away with short scope. Bigger boats anchor in more water, so it takes another 5 knots to straighten the chain. We don't need to think about chafe. Chain works better in a windlass. The hook sets faster when we casually drop it. So overall, chain is a good thing. But it aint' holding power; when it really blasts it is about scope, anchor, bottom, and snubber.

(I used Fortress and Danforth anchors around here for 20 years with only 6' of chain. A different part of the world is different, but only 6' is needed for setting. I now use all chain, primarily because I have a windlass.)

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