Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Better Hook

The anchor that came with our boat when we bought her was a 45 lb. CQR which I believe was the standard anchor they outfitted the boat with when they were new.  While the anchor was still in OK shape, I wanted to beef up our main ground tackle since we intend to spend a fair amount of time at anchor.  I definitely don't want to be up at night when the wind blows worrying if our anchor would drag.  That would know...a drag!  (sorry, couldn't resist)

In my research on anchor recommendations, many of the older style anchors such as the CQR or Delta (plow), Bruce (claw), Spade, or Danforth are good for one or two particular bottom types (sand, mud, rocks, grass, etc.), but not others. I'd like my primary to work in a wide variety of conditions as I don't want to carry an abundance of anchors or have to switch them out depending on what I'm floating over at the time. This led me to some newer design anchors that seem to be getting favorable reviews in tests and in real life with varying bottom conditions.  These newer style anchors are more of a scooping spade design with a roll bar to aid in orientation so it digs in. I decided this style of anchor is what we should be looking for.

So, after a bunch of online research, one of our missions at the boat show was to check out these newer style anchors from Rocna, Mantus, and Manson and see if we could find one that we liked and would fit our boat (the anchor locker sits behind the trampolines and I had some concern about the anchor fitting in the available space). Most cruisers also say to figure out the recommended anchor for your boat and then go one size larger, which added complication to the already difficult fit issue. We found displays at the show that included each of the anchors and compared the various designs, sizes, and (of course) price.

We had narrowed the decision down to either a Rocna or Mantus.  In the end, we chose a 65 lb. galvanized Mantus for our primary hook.  The reason for choosing the Mantus over the others boiled down to a few key considerations.  First, I knew of several other boats that have recently taken the plunge with Mantus and have been happy with their decision.  Watching the test videos from Mantus as well as independent comparisons of anchors from other sources indicated the anchor set, and reset, well in a variety of conditions.  The people at Mantus were very helpful and friendly when we were asking questions and did their best to help determine fit and assured us they would work with us if there were any fit issues.  And finally, the price of the Mantus anchor is just a bit more friendly on the cruiser's pocketbook.

Mantus at the Annapolis Boat Show

As my wife and I were leaving the boat show, I realized I had once again forgotten to take some pictures for the blog and so I ran back in to take pictures. I stopped back by the Mantus booth to get a picture and we started talking again.  The result is that I now have my first official "sponsor".* If you have noticed, thus far I have avoided advertisements or sponsors on the blog. I didn't want to get into a situation where I felt obligated to write anything other than how I felt about a product.  But I also realized that I often use the recommendations and sponsor lists from other blogs when making decisions, so it did make sense that I should provide that same help to others.  And if it is a product I want anyway, getting a little compensation for all the time spent blog writing and providing thoughts on various products is something I needed to consider.  But don't worry dear reader, I fully intend to continue to tell you how I really feel about the various products we use,

Anchor Packaging...only 73 lbs.

Now back to the anchor.  Our anchor was shipped to the boatyard where I am currently busy working on the boat.  When it arrived, it didn't take me long to decide to assemble and install our new hook (can you say kid at Christmas).  The anchor arrived disassembled and attached via webbing to an open wooden box inside a cardboard box.  I assume it must have been a bit of a struggle for the delivery man to wrestle a 73 lb. anchor plus wooden box, based on the condition the box arrived in, but the anchor itself was in fine shape (I'll assume any anchor should be able to handle whatever a delivery man can throw at it).

New anchor assembled and sitting next to our old CQR

Assembly consists of bolting the shank and the roll bar to the fluke.  Mantus provides and instructs that you use a liberal amount of grease on the bolts and holes so assembly is a bit sticky.  While we plan to keep ours installed, the anchor does come apart so it could be a good spare for those with limited storage space...but you may need to bring some extra grease along for reassembly (I assume it is recommended for each assembly).  I then shackled the anchor to our chain rode (after buying a new anchor shakle) and manually cranked the anchor up into its new home on my bow.  The anchor fit like a glove with the roll bar just clearing the strut between the two trampolines.

Our new Mantus in its new home.

So, we now have a larger, newer style anchor on Rover...and I think my wife and I will be able to sleep better on the hook knowing it is there.  Can't wait to give it a try and let you know how it holds. Now the question is....what to do with the old CQR.  Do we replace our backup Bruce anchor?  Do we keep both?  Do we sell it?  Hmmm.

*Sponsor Disclosure: In the interest of full disclosure, the company mentioned in this article has graciously provided free or discounted products or services to help support our effort to sail away from the rat race. The opinions expressed in this blog are still our own and not indicative of the opinions or positions of the company. We do encourage you to check out the products or services provided by this, or any, company that supports the cruising community.


  1. I think you will be happy with Mantus. Really, I think any of the three you narrowed it down to would be great. We went with the Manson Supreme but at the time the Mantus wasn't out. I probably would have gone with the Mantus if it was out then because I think it would fit my bow roller better. I don't know if you follow the Cruiser's Forum, but you should check out this thread on anchors:

    I would keep the CQR and the Bruce. I would also look to get a Danforth style (preferably a Fortress because they are a lot lighter) and a fisherman's style. We carry 4 anchors on Smitty: the Manson Supreme (2 sizes larger than recommended) on the bow roller; a 30 lb danforth in the anchor locker; a FX-11 fortress as a stern anchor, and; a 50 lb folding fisherman's anchor in the lazerette. All have rhodes (mix of various length chain and 3 strand). Other than the Manson, I got all of the anchor and rhodes "used". I put that in quotes because none of them have actually seen the water. All were carried as spares and not used and then sold on Craig's List or at a marine consignment shop when the previous owner stopped cruising. I would carry a couple more, in fact I had them and sold them, but we are only on a 31 foot boat and you have to make sacrifices to go on a smaller boat.

    The next question is to trip line or not. I am still struggling with that question.

    Happy hooking!


    1. Did you have to raise the waterline having all those anchors on board? :-)

      Seriously though, I do understand the desire to have multiple anchors, particularly in a blow. I just don't know how I feel about the CQR I could more easily justify the danforth for, if nothing else, it's stowability.

      Don't know what to tell you on the trip line. Probably won't need it most of the time...but the time you do will be in cold, murky water for sure...if your luck is anything like mine.

  2. I sold my 60# CQR on CL for just about what I paid for my 55# Rockna. Perfect. I still have the Fortress FX-23 as secondary.

    1. Nice. Your CQR was probably in a bit better condition than mine, but I like the idea of trading the CQR for a Fortress.

  3. We LOVE our 65# Mantus. The customer service at Mantus is the best we've encountered anywhere.

    S/V Kintala

    1. Nice to hear. Based on the people I met at the show, I can imagine their customer service is top notch.