I’m pretty sure that by the time we leave Annapolis, we’ll be broke. This place is like a boating Disneyland full of south-bound cruisers and friendly salesmen ready to make all your dreams come true…for the right price.
Before we even arrived, Ryan was in the market for a new anchor, and he was determined not to leave Annapolis without one. Having a “big, stonkin’ anchor,” as he put it, would mean not having to spend money in marinas, and it would give us the freedom and confidence to anchor wherever we wanted on our way south.
Our anchor, which we inherited with Hideaway, is a 22 lb. Danforth-style “traditional anchor” with 20 feet of chain and 100 feet of line, which has served us pretty well around the harbors of New York and New Jersey. Therefore, I wasn’t totally sure why we needed a new anchor, but according to Ryan, “no one in their right mind sails to the Bahamas with only a Danforth.” So, we were definitely buying a new anchor – we just needed to work out which of the three existing “modern” anchors to buy so we could retire our Danforth to the role of back-up anchor.
The three choices in question were the Manson Supreme, the Rocna and the Spade.
I had a lot of questions about the pros and cons of each, but the main question was why were these “modern” anchors so freakin’ big? I mean, don’t things typically get smaller as technology advances? But even as I said that, I realized if there’s anything you don’t want to be small or lightweight, it’s probably a stinkin’ anchor. I guess that’s why Ryan was doing the research, not me.
And since we were doing research, we decided to shake things up for the anchored cruisers of Annapolis by taking our Danforth over to Back Creek to see how many times we could drag anchor in a really tight space. The answer was three.
After politely watching us fumble around for over an hour, drifting closer and closer to his boat, our friendly neighbor Mike aboard Bay Tripper kindly advised us not to reverse on our anchor in such soft mud as we’re bound to drag. It seemed obvious when he said it, but it would appear we’re sometimes oblivious to the obvious.
Eventually, we started looking around at the other boats in Back Creek and we noticed a few things. 1) None of the other cruising boats had a Danforth. 2) All the other boats’ anchor lines hung straight down from their bow, which meant they had a lot more heavy chain than we did. 3) Our boat was the only one with a ton of line out, and this made the other boats nervous. We know this because Mike asked if we would kindly move a bit further away from him.
But Ryan was reluctant to put down less line because he had little faith in our Danforth. Hence why we needed to get shopping.
In the end, we spent two days visiting West Marine and a few smaller chandleries, doing our research on types and prices. West Marine was by far the most helpful, and they even offered to match any deal we could find online. So once Ryan decided to spring for the Rocna 20 (20 kg.), he showed West Marine the price offered on Defender’s web site, and they honored it.
So, why did Ryan go with a 44-lb. Rocna over a Manson Supreme or Spade (or Danforth)? Here are some of his reasons, based on his research:
- All three “modern” anchors are known to cut into reeds and grass fairly quickly, securing a good hold in any type of anchorage, unlike the Danforth, which is really only good in mud.
- The Manson Supreme appears to be a Rocna copycat, and statistics show it’s slightly less speedy in grabbing a hold. This wouldn’t be a dealbreaker, except it’s also only $60 cheaper than the Rocna, which wasn’t enough of a discount to bother going to the Manson if the Rocna was also available.
- The Spade is a good $250 more than the Rocna, making price a big consideration. But, also, distributors of Spade are hard to come by, which makes us suspicious. If they’re so good, then why aren’t more stores carrying them?
- Rocna’s current, Canadian production line of anchors have an excellent reputation. Their anchors originally started in New Zealand, but there was a period when they got a bad reputation for manufacturing poorer-quality anchors in China.
- We had drinks with a helpful and experienced cruising couple called Dan and Jaye aboard their boat Cinderella, and they swore by their Rocna 20.
For all of these reasons, we decided to buy the Rocna, along with 94 feet of 5/16″ chain (only because they didn’t have 100 feet), 120 feet of 5/8″ line, shackles, a buoyed trip line, and a snubber.
And we bought it from West Marine in Annapolis because they bent over backwards to help us out. Aside from giving us a discount based on Defender’s prices, they also hand-delivered all this equipment to our boat because we didn’t have a car. We are definitely not in New York anymore.
So, what’s the price of a good night’s sleep? $1,100.00, apparently. And only $377 of that was the actual anchor. If you’re thinking of going into the business of robbing boats, my advice is forget the anchor – go straight for the chain.
But the hope is that this $1,100.00 will buy us hundreds, if not thousands of restful nights in free anchorages and a good many sunsets out on the open water.