Passage Maker - - Seamanship -

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.can­ 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.

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