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Choose an Anchor

Choose an Anchor

Buying a New Anchor?

Review this handy guide, reproduced here courtesy of BLA (

Anchoring, mooring, tying up, all require certain techniques and appropriate ground tackle to ensure safe and secure anchoring is achieved. Basic anchoring consists of common sense, determining the location, dropping the anchor, laying out the rope and chain, and assessing where the vessel ends up.

Every situation will be different but the basics remain the same; determine a suitable location, survey the surrounds (GPS, chart or sounder often confirm your visual view), be mindful of prevailing wind, tide and other vessels. If the location is good, approach from the stronger down wind or down current and as you arrive at the desired location, the vessel should be stopped and the anchor quickly lowered, remaining under control, creating a relatively straight lie for the rope and/or chain.

When feeding out the rope or chain a general rule of thumb in generally smooth water is to let out a minimum of three times the depth of water to set the anchor and between five and seven times the depth if you are to stay at anchor and the surrounds permit. The vessel should then be gently put astern to help set the anchor and to provide indications of possible dragging. If the anchor continues to drag, or sets after having dragged too far, it should be retrieved and moved back to the desired position or another location chosen.

What constitutes the right anchor for the type of bottom and what’s the best — rope or chain?

Sand Anchor

The most popular of all anchors. Suitable for use in mud or sand. Generally fitted with a retrieval eye for ease of removal if snagged. Stows flat and generally finished in hot dipped galvanising for longevity.

Reef Anchor

Suited to temporary reef anchoring. If snagged in reef conditions the prongs are designed to straighten with the retrieval load. Vessels anchored with reef anchors should not be left unattended. Finished in hot dipped galvanising.

Plough Anchor

Ideal for sand and mud bottoms. Provides safe and sure anchoring for heavier craft. Generally fitted with a retrieval eye for ease of removal if snagged. Lead filled tip aids in setting the anchor. Generally finished in hot dipped galvanising but also popular in 316 grade stainless steel.

Lewmar® Anchor

Lewmar brand anchors are world leaders in anchor technology. Models such as Delta® and CQR® are often recognised as benchmark designs and are highly regarded worldwide. Delta®, CQR® and DTX® anchors all have Lloyd's Type Approval which is a testament to the performance and durability of these products.

Self Aligning Anchor

Suited to sand and mud bottoms. Self align anchors roll upright, irrespective of initial drop altitude, within two shank lengths of engaging the seabed. High holding power is obtained by the highly efficient fluke and shank design. Low retrieval force results from the short, broad, single fluke. Retrieval force is generally 30% of the prior holding power. Generally finished in hot dipped galvanising but also popular in cast 316 grade stainless steel.


The primary advantages of rope is its inherent elasticity which creates a shock absorbing effect and its relative light weight. Common types include three strand ‘silver’ (polyethylene staple), three strand nylon (premium rope with excellent elasticity and recoil) and three strand polyester. With the introduction of large drum type rope spoolers an eight or sixteen plait rope is often employed for its non-kink characteristics.


The primary advantage of chain is its inherent weight and that it will not chafe over aggressive sea beds as will rope. The obvious disadvantage when primarily stored in an anchor locker in the bow is its weight. In light winds chain gives a perfect horizontal pull to the anchor and the best holding. In moderate wind, its weight provides for a perfect shock absorbing effect but in strong winds can become tight, increase the jarring effect and possibly dislodge the anchor.

Stainless steel chain is mainly used in situations where there is exposure to water / seawater such as boating and yachting. It has excellent corrosion resistance. Stainless steel chain is suitable for day anchoring but is not recommended for long term anchoring as it can work-harden the chain, making it susceptible to cracking.

Galvanised chain offers a high degree of weather and corrosion protection. It is recommended for industrial, commercial or any




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