I hate to do it, but I have an anchor question. Fortress anchors anyone? - SailNet Community

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Old 04-21-2011
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I hate to do it, but I have an anchor question. Fortress anchors anyone?

My next major upgrade will be a new anchor. So far, my Oday 27 has survived on cheap danforth knockoffs with no real problems, but very little serious use. I mostly anchor in mud and weeds, and in a lake, so tides are not a problem... But shifting wind definitely is. Most people seem to look at the newest generation of spade anchors, either Rocna or Manson, but the conventional wisdom seems to be that they're the best at everything except mud. In mud, people seem to like the fortress anchors... is that correct?

I'm wondering if a fortress is worth it... It looks like the anchor I already have, is it really any different? I understand it may hold as well (or better) as a rocna or manson in the mud, but what about fouling? Is it more likely to foul as the wind shifts and it has to reset? I've read a lot, but it's hard to separate the hype from the reality...
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Old 04-22-2011
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Originally Posted by wonk View Post
.......I've read a lot, but it's hard to separate the hype from the reality...
I would say impossible, not hard.

One of the real problems is that a test lab can not re-create every possible condition that Mother Nature might throw at us. Mud isn't mud isn't mud either. There is deep mud that will allow an anchor to bury. There is top mud, with rock a foot below it, where no anchor will set well. There is heavy washed out mud and there is loose decayed plant life mud in lakes.

If I was looking for an anchor to sleep through the night in unknown harbors and unknown bottom conditions, I would serious consider one of the new generation anchors. If I was looking for a lunch hook near my known cruising grounds, I wouldn't think too hard and just get what I already know has worked.

There is a Fortress rep on this board, who will give you more to consider, specific to your question. If I recall correctly, for a Fortress to work optimally in mud, you set the flukes at a greater angle. Which means you must either already know you are about to anchor in mud, or you make the adjustment after you have trouble setting.

I have a Fortress as my backup anchor, but admittedly, have never used it. That exercise is on my spring commissioning list.
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Old 04-22-2011
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I have a Fortress as a second and kedge and use it with some frequency, generally in tight spots. This is my 2nd boat with a Fortress, much better than Danforth, and I love it, but...

It's not really a primary anchor. IF power set in mud, hard, it is very unlikely to come out. If not deeply set, they come out too easily with a wind shift, and they will not reset if it does. I've had that happen; I was on the boat, expected it, and purposly waited to see if it would reset as an expereiment. It did reset, about 150 yards later.

The best answer? IMHO, a primary Manson/Rocna/Delta sort (I'm avoiding that debate) and a secondary Fortress.
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Old 04-22-2011
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I am happy with a vintage 45 lb CQR as my primary and have a Fortress 37 that I use as a kedge / stern anchor.

I spend about 350 days a year on the hook.
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Old 04-22-2011
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Before my current boat I used Danforth types exclusively with good success. the quality does vary. One difference is that the better (expensive) ones have bevelled edges on the flukes. The Fortress does. I use one now, but have only anchored with it a handful of times. I'm not convinced that all the old pattern anchors are bad, I use a CQR and the Fortress, I've no complaints.
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Old 04-22-2011
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I use a Fortress on my Bene31 on a mud-bottom lake for 2 seasons. So far, it's been excellent. It sets first time, and stays set. If anything, sometimes it buries so deep we have to work to retrieve it. It's lighter than most anchors with similar holding ratings, which is really nice since we don't have a windlass.

The biggest criticism I have heard is that it may "kite" in current or if the boat is moving. We get shifty and gusty winds here, but it's not that common to have a complete 180 degree swing except in conditions I probably wouldn't be out in anyway, so I can't speak to that.
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Old 04-22-2011
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The advantage of the Fortress over a steel Danforth type is that the fluke angle can be adjusted to 45 degrees for better hold in mud. Like all fluke type anchors, it has problems in shifting conditions. The light weight can make initial setting more difficult. A good length of chain seems to help in that regard.

I cruised for 30 years on a Pearson 26 and then a Cal 9.2 with only Danforth anchors, anchoring out dozens of times each season in all kinds of weather. In spots where shifting currents or close neighbors require short scope, setting two anchors at 90 to 120 degrees apart provides increased security.
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Old 04-22-2011
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I haven't heard that the next-gen anchors are anyhow inferior in mud. If you're planning on spending a lot of money on an anchor, I think you might as well go with the next-gen variety for its reliability in setting and resetting.

I have a Fortress clone called the "Viking" that is difficult to set and does not reset. The main difference between it and a true Fortress is the lack of adjustable fluke angle that has been mentioned elsewhere in this thread. I have had some scary close calls with dragging the Viking and have basically lost faith in the design. Here's what I've learned since then:

1) For soft mud, use the wide fluke angle and do an initial set at short scope.

2) You need a lot of power to set the flukes properly (my drags all happened when setting the anchor with no engine).

3) The security comes from getting the anchor really deep so that it doesn't pull out when the direction of pull changes, not through the anchor resetting. This may be somewhat controversial but I would probably not trust a Fortress to reset on its own after pulling free.
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Old 04-25-2011
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Good info- thanks.

Last question- Which is better- a minimally sized Rocna/Manson, or a slightly oversized CQR or Delta?

I'm tempted by the Rocnas and Mansons, but there's no way I'd be spending enough to get more than the bare minimum anchor for my size boat (an Oday 27). For about half that money, I could pick up a 45lb CQR or Delta...
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Old 04-25-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wonk View Post
there's no way I'd be spending enough to get more than the bare minimum anchor for my size boat
You should probably make ground tackle purchasing decisions based on the cost of the boat, not the cost of the ground tackle.
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