ROCNA SANS ROLL (BAR)
As you can see from the extensive coverage, anchors are a hot topic at the moment, and it also happens that Rocna is launching a new type, pardon the pun.
Rocna has been a favorite among cruisers since they first came out in 2005, but they don’t fit in the anchorroller assembly of many power craft because of their prominent roll bar. The new Rocna eliminates the roll bar but employs a combination of shank and fluke geometry, which combined with a “roll-palm” at the rear of the fluke, forces the anchor to self-right as it’s pulled over the seabed.
According to Rocna, the fact that it can achieve this without a large mass of tip ballast, allows for a larger fluke surface compared to other anchors, pound for pound.
Shank strength is optimized with I-beam construction. The new Rocnas, ranging from nine to 121 lb., come in hot-dipped galvanized or polished stainless steel. They are manufactured by Canadian Metals. Visit www.canmet.com for pricing and more information.
Spade, Ultra and Manson (better known as the “boss”) also offer anchors without roll bars.
(including in Scandinavia, Scotland, the U.S. East Coast from Maine to Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean). For one reason or another, this experience is not reflected in these tests. Maybe the anecdotal data should be discounted, but I rather think not.
Hawley: “Different horses for different courses.” Nigel, you and I do find ourselves in violent agreement in two areas (and probably many more). Anchor tests provide largely controllable conditions in which to test hunches and hypotheses on how anchors perform under a specific set of assumptions. But focusing solely on test results ignores the enormous importance of experience at sea on different boats, in different anchorages, using different rodes and with different anchors. The school of hard knocks that one is forced to attend when cruising is powerful education and has to be added to the knowledge that we get from testing. Both are extremely useful.
The variability of ocean bottoms around the world forces cruisers to have a quiver of anchors, and leads to certain anchor types having a good reputation in specific areas. Among those anchors that should be in the quiver is a pivoting fluke anchor for sand and mud bottoms, preferably with the ability to change the fluke-shank angle.
Additionally, having one of the relatively new scoop anchor models offers different benefits, especially in those bottom types that you mention. What’s clear is that having two identical anchors, side by side, alongside one’s bowsprit, limits the options available to the offshore sailor.
One of the reasons we go to sea is because of its unpredictability. As soon as we get too convinced that we know the exact right way to do anything, or the best piece of gear, the ocean has a tendency to throw some cold water in our faces and set us straight. If I have learned anything from participating in anchor tests, it’s that the results are never as actionable as one would like. The same anchor, in the same conditions, can have widely varying performance. Incidentally, the same thing is true in non-test conditions: mostly an anchor works predictably, but on occasion it doesn’t engage.
But anchor tests, no matter how confusing the results may appear, allow us to try some combination of anchor, rode and seabed, and to test the combination repeatedly, to see what we can learn from the data.
Anchor tests will never replace hard-earned experience at sea, but they can allow us to test our biases, hunches and hypotheses. Armed with the test results, cruisers are better informed when they go offshore and anchor in some lovely cove, regardless of the bottom.