The original Bruce Anchor has not been produced for the small boat market since 2007. The Bruce Anchor Group has returned to its roots of producing only large scale commercial mooring systems. After Bruce left the small anchor market, a number of other manufacturers have come forward to fill the void with the Lewmar Company probably being the most well-known of the current manufacturers of the claw style anchor.
Originally designed in the early 1970s by Peter Bruce, the design was based on his other large-scale commercial anchors for fixed installations such as oil rigs and drilling platforms. The original Bruce Anchor and its copies have garnered a large following among boaters.
Due to its simple construction, the claw anchor is relatively inexpensive when compared to other styles of anchors. Being the shape of an open claw, the design intent was to allow the anchor to tip in any direction when it reaches the bottom and still be able to set properly.
As for sizing, currently Lewmar is producing the claw anchor in weights up to 176 pounds (80 kg.) An anchor roller platform is almost a must have item to conveniently stow and have the anchor available for immediate use.
The Major Players
In this case there is only one major player available now that the Bruce Anchor Group has gotten out of the market. The Lewmar Company headquartered in the United Kingdom with offices in Europe and the United States is now probably the premier maker of the claw anchor. You can compare sizes and pricing here: Lewmar Claw Anchors @ Amazon or Lewmar Claw Anchors @ West Marine.
Setting aside any shortcomings of the anchor design itself, the Lewmar name generally equates to a quality product.
The Pro’s and Con’s
After researching the pro’s and con’s of the plow anchor earlier, I ’m sorry, but I had to see what the experts had to say about the Claw style anchor too. Amazingly enough, the views were not as divergent as those of the plow anchor. I did come across one very insightful statement in regards to the claw anchor that I felt honor bound to pass on and I quote:
"Moreover, the claw does not set particularly well in harder seabeds if the anchor lands upside-down."
Alrightyyyyyyy then, moving on . . .!
- Stows easily on a bow roller
- High-strength one-piece design
- Sets quickly and reliably in most bottom types and resets well.
- works well in mud, sand and rocky bottoms
- works well in silt bottoms, may hold in rock
- Roll stabilized
- a reputation for not breaking out during wind/tide changes
- designed to withstand change of direction and pull, once the anchor is set, over a range of 360 degrees
- perform relatively well on short scopes and set fairly reliably
- The Bruce anchor is designed to right itself, no matter how it lands on the bottom
- Awkward one piece design can make it difficult to stow without an anchor roller platform or chocks for deck storage
- Limited holding power in mud or soft sand
- Claw types have difficulty penetrating weedy bottoms and grass
- The claw anchors configuration tends to act as a trap for rocks and boulders, and other undersea obstacles
- do not perform particularly well in terms of holding power
- Fairly low holding-power-to-weight ratio, and generally have to be oversized to compete with other types
- The bluntness of the penetrating portions of the claw anchor affects its ability to set in hard sand and clay
- Has a bad reputation for becoming fouled on u/w obstructions
The Lewmar Claw is available in galvanized or stainless steel, in sizes from 2.2 pounds (1 kg) to 176 pounds (80 kg.) The Claw manufacturer’s specifications and sizing chart can viewed or downloaded here.