Seen the same thing in a mixed field of power and sail. Think the behavior is more a reflection of displacement v. beam, gyradius and hull shape. Those vessels both power and sail which had slack bilges, relatively narrow for loa and centrally heavy with weight low didn’t move much. Those light beamy boats such as planing, semiplaning or the fast sailboats (not typical cruising moderate displacement monos/multis) regardless of mode of propulsion sure do dance at anchor in a blow. Was next to a norhvn. Inspite of the high bow and much more windage than us we skated more than them but less than the go fast sailboats. I’m sure JeffH can offer a more intelligent explanation.
If I remember correctly Herreshoff said you could judge a boat by its behavior at anchor.
I think you’re onto something OB. I do think most power cruisers have a harder time anchoring than cruising sailboats. One theory I have, based on many years of observations, is this is due (in part) to the typically-higher bows these boats have. This means most powerboaters should be letting out more rode to get the right angles, but too many do not appear take this into account.
Combine this with the typically higher windage (high freeboard, big bridges, etc.), and the lower lateral resistance these boats have, and it’s a mixture that makes it harder to anchor these boats correctly.
Personal anecdote (which proves nothing, but is one data point): A few years ago I was anchored in a smallish nook when a cruising powerboat came in. He appeared to be of similar size to us, but with the typical high bow and larger windage. I noticed he was using similar anchor gear (55# Rocna, all chain), and they were anchoring in the same bottom and conditions as us.
I watched this boat try and anchor for over an hour. Each time they failed to set BECAUSE they were not letting out enough rode. After a while I gently
suggested they try letting out more rode before backing down. They did — and they held right off. Could have been luck, but I doubt it.
Later we got together, shared a drink and a few stories, and the fellow thanked me for the advice.