Exuma Park, Exumas – Bahamas
Our boat is a Pearson 35 with a displacement of 13,000 lbs. Two anchors (35 lbs Plow/CQR and 16 lbs Fluke/Danforth) came with the boat but decided to buy another one. After long hours of reading books and blogs, it seems that everyone is preaching for their trusty Rocna for Bahamian and eastern Caribbean grounds (mostly sandy bottoms).
Of our three anchors onboard, the one we use 99.99% of the time is our Rocna 15kg (33 lbs). After cruising two seasons in the Bahamas and weathered severe cold fronts and strong clocking winds, I can say that we absolutely don’t regret that purchase! And you will find a lot of people out there who are as excited as you are about your anchor because when you feel that you won’t be dragging at night, you sleep much better (trust me!). Although I can’t say if the Rocna performs better that the Plow or Fluke as we rarely use them. We keep them for special occasions such as “in case we are dragging and in need of a second anchor to deploy quickly”, which luckily usually happens to us once a year (like a tradition it seems).
The advantages of the Rocna are numerous: it has very high holding power even with clocking winds and changing currents and tides, it sets really easily thanks to its roll-bar and weighted tip and performs well in most bottoms. There is, as least to us, one drawback: the Rocna is bulky so it makes it difficult to keep a second anchor handy on the bow roller (although it might not be impossible with some creativity!).
We have the habit of preparing a second anchor (Plow/CQR) on deck when the forecasts call for winds 35+ knots. Thanks to its articulated shank and weighted tip, the CQR sets well and responds well to clocking winds and tide/currents changes. The articulated shank makes it difficult and awkward to manipulate but overall it’s a great anchor. Delta is a newer design with a fixed shank and is fairly popular.
Our third anchor is a Fluke, which despite its described excellent holding power, good performance in mud and sand, is likely to foul in shifting winds or changing current. So, as most of the time strong winds are associated with a front (meaning shifting winds), we never used it.
I found that this website is a great reference for all the different types of anchor out there and their pros and cons.
To find out the appropriate anchor size for your boat, you need to know your boat length and your displacement. The displacement is the volume of water that the boat pushes aside when sitting in the water. It can be calculated but you should find that information for your boat make fairly easily online. These websites are a great sources of information: http://bluewaterboats.org/pearson-35/ and https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/pearson-35
Then, you can visit the manufacturer website. For example for Rocna and you will find the following table:
Or, for Delta anchors:
Finally, we’ll be talking about the kind of material most anchors are made of: galvanized steel, stainless steel and aluminium.
Galvanized steel is steel coated in zinc by way of galvanization. That process prevent the steel from rusting. This material offers the most economical solution. We had our anchor for three years and (still) no signs of corrosion. Although we make sure to rinse it off with fresh water at the end of every season. After a few years, you might have to re-galvanize your anchor as the zinc coating tends to wear out. Galvanized steel shouldn’t be used anywhere else on your boat but for your anchor and anchor chain!
Stainless steel might be a better long-term option as you won’t have to re-galvanize it but its price is 3-5 times that of the galvanized steel version. Although, you should consider that the highest grade of stainless (marine grade or 316L) is weaker in term of tensile strength than mild steel.
Aluminium anchors are less common than galvanized and stainless steel ones. They won’t have the same strength as steel anchors and would be lighter (which, for an anchor, is not ideal). The advantages of aluminium are that it doesn’t require a coating to prevent rust and is cheaper that stainless steel.
Rocna provide a great ressource about the different materials if you would like to learn more about it.
At the time we bought our Rocna anchor, the best price we found was on Amazon with free shipping (for a heavy item!) and free return. We actually ended up returning it (for FREE) because, right after we received it, we found a better deal at the time on Defender.
Because I like to be transparent, you should know that liveaboardsailing is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide me to earn some advertising fees (at no cost to you!) by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
I would suggest to check prices on multiple websites as the best deals aren’t always found on a single one. Amazon has the advantage of free and sometimes next day deliveries. It’s sometimes helpful when in need of that really specify nuts that you need right now to get your project moving along that you can’t find anywhere else :).