Good ground tackle opens up the option to stay overnight in stunning bays and creeks, away from costly marinas and expensive harbour moorings.
A decent anchor is also an essential safety item that may need to hold you off a lee shore in the event of engine failure.
However, unless your boat’s anchor has been upgraded recently, the chances are it’s of a type that will not provide good holding power.
Much has changed in the world of anchors in the past 20 years, which led to classification societies such as Lloyds adding a new Super High Holding Power certification category for anchors in 2008.
Most of the best anchors exceed the requirements for this by a wide margin.
These advances in anchor technology mean older boats won’t have been equipped with what we would now consider to be decent ground tackle when they were new. This is also true for most vessels built in the last 20 years. Until recently the latest generation of anchors was relatively expensive, so were generally only fitted as standard equipment to very high quality yachts.
The various brands of today’s very high holding power anchors share a number of key characteristics that make them more effective than older products.
The best anchors tend to have a concave profile akin to the shape of a shovel. This digs more firmly into the seabed without tending to act like a plough when under load.
Another important aspect to look for in a good anchor is the tip weight, as loading as much weight here as possible is a massive help in enabling it to penetrate weed and other difficult types of sea bed. Typical new generation anchors have 35-45% of their weight on the tip.
Some also have roll bars that enable the anchor to dig in quickly, even if it lands upside down on the seabed.
Whatever anchor you choose, beware of cheap unbranded copies. These rarely have the precise geometry needed to maximise holding power. Some are also badly cast and therefore weaker than the original design.
This was one of the first of the new generation of ultra high holding power anchors and quickly gained much acclaim, despite an initially high price tag.
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