How to Choose the Right Anchor
So, how do you make the right choice when it comes to selecting the anchor design that is right for you? As you have probably noticed from the preceding pages, it’s not quite as easy as you may have first thought and your research options are somewhat limited.
You can read the manufacturers claims (they are trying to sell you something), talk with other boaters (remembering that, with few exceptions, human nature is to defend even poor decision making), or consider the independent testing results (probably the best of the lot, but realize, most everyone has an agenda.)
What is it that you need to look for in any anchor?
- "Holding Power." This above all else is the most important criteria in the selection of an anchor, or the "bottom line," if you will allow me the humor.
- "Set Quickly and Reliably." A close second in the terms of anchor requirements, is the ability to set quickly and reliably and then reset in the same fashion if the anchor happens to breakout.
Everything else, while important, is far down the list from these items. Presuming no catastrophic failure of any part of your ground tackle, these are the 2 things that will keep you and your boat off the beach when everything else around you is going to hell.
Matching the Anchor to Your Boating Style
Whether you have a daysailer or a bluewater passagemaker, the anchor selection process begins with knowing the bottom types you expect to encounter. While having a selection of anchors on board for every conceivable bottom type is the perfect solution, space considerations, your budget, or both, typically means a compromise will have to be made. On the plus side, with the newer generation of anchors, your compromise may not have to be as severe as it was 40 years ago when all you had to choose from was a Danforth or a CQR plow.
The #1 Anchor Rule
"Choose an anchor design matched to the bottom conditions that you expect."