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). You can talk with other boaters (remembering that, with few exceptions, human nature is to defend even poor decision making), or you consider the independent testing results (probably the best of the lot, but realize, most everyone has a bias.)
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."
- "Reset Quickly and Reliably."The ability to reset quickly and reliably 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 3 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 onboard for every conceivable bottom type is the perfect solution; life is full of compromises. Space considerations, your budget, or both, typically means a you will typically have to limit your choice to (2). On larger boats maybe (3). On the plus side, with the newer generation of anchors, your compromise may not have to be as severe as it was 50 years ago when all you had to choose from was prettyt much a Danforth or a CQR.
The #1 Anchor Rule
"Choose an anchor matched to your vessel and the bottom conditions that you expect."