So why did some anchors—including some of the best-known models—test poorly while other did so well? A number of explanations are possible, the most likely being the hard bottom. Some anchors excel in our test conditions, some don’t. Another might be the size of our test boat. In a subsequent round of tests, the West Marine crew was able to set all of the anchors using a smaller boat, although it had no data-recording equipment onboard to measure holding power. (West Marine’s test vessel is powered by a 170-hp Yanmar, compared to Shana Rae’s 375-hp diesel, is more than 82,000 pounds lighter, and turns a much smaller prop than the 40-inch wheel on Shana Rae.)
In any case, we never intended our test to be the definitive word but rather one more piece of data for you to consider when choosing an anchor, along with things like ease of handling, the type of cruising you do, the kind of bottom you normally anchor on—and yes, how it looks on your boat.
Addendum:The Hydrobubble anchor was tested during a second round of pulls a month or so after our initial tests, and I was not present to see how it performed. However, we include it because of its interesting design features.
The Hydrobubble set almost immediately and held to 5,630 pounds, impressive for a 16-pound anchor. The company claims that its buoyancy tank is what makes the anchor work so well—it purportedly causes the anchor to land upright every time, so its plow-type flukes are positioned to set.
This article originally appeared in the February 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.