The choice of boat anchors and chains available on the market today can be a bit overwhelming. Although anchor manufacturers may sometimes claim that they have invented the wheel, there is quite simply no perfect anchor for every boat and every situation. Every anchor has its pros and cons, and there are specific types and sizes tailored for different occasions and conditions. There are numerous variables involved in anchor and chain choices, and it is important to know all the facts before making a decision.
While many anchors are named after a certain manufacturer, others have generic names. Sometimes very similar anchors can go by different names on the market, so it is also key to learn a bit about all the different designs available.
The variables to consider when looking to purchase anchors and chains online include the type of boat, depth of the water one plans to be sailing on, and boat size, to name just the essential details. Keeping in mind some basic information about the different anchor and chain types available to the online shopper helps buyers choose the right anchor and chain sets for each embarkation and boating plan.
There are many different anchor designs, and they can be made of different materials and be suitable for different uses. Some of these designs can work for the majority of boaters, such as the standard Claw anchor, while others are tailored for more specific needs. New generation anchors boast an impressive performance, but they tend to be rather pricey.
Developed in the 1970s by a company called the Bruce Anchor Group, the original Claw anchor came about as an alternative to the Plough style anchor by CQR, which was the only common use anchor available at the time.
The main advantage of the Claw is that it is a solid, general purpose anchor. Although it performs well on a variety of bottoms, it is not at its best on mud and sand. It can, however, maintain a strong hold in spite of wind and tide changes, and it is easy to set down and retrieve.
On the other hand, the Claw anchor has a low power to weight ratio, which means that a heavier Claw is required in situations when a lighter anchor of a different model might do just as well. A stainless steel Claw anchor can work very well for almost any situation; its main disadvantage being its one-piece design, which can make stowing it somewhat difficult.
CQR/Plough and Delta/Wing
Dating back to 1933, the CQR/Plough is probably the oldest anchor model still on the market. It is one of the recreational boater's favourites alongside the Claw and the fluke anchors.
While the Plough works acceptably in many different bottoms, it does not perform exceptionally well in any of them. Under wind and tide change conditions, the Plough anchor tends to turn instead of breaking out. On the downside, every seasoned boater knows that any Plough anchor that weighs less than 11 kg is not functional. This means that small boats, which would still require a large Plough, might do just as well with a much smaller anchor of a different type.
The Delta/Wing anchor is basically a single-piece Plough anchor. While it boasts an increased holding strength, it can break out as a result of tide and wind changes.
The Danforth/Fluke offers a strong hold on difficult bottoms such as mud and sand. When properly set, this anchor's flukes offer astounding holding power. However, it offers a very poor performance on other bottoms like coral or rock.
The Fluke also has a reputation for dragging on mud and sand, which makes it an unsuitable choice for uses other than that of a secondary anchor or a main anchor in a short, easy trip.
Mushroom, Grapnel and Small Craft Anchors
Designed for use in small craft such as canoes and kayaks, the Mushroom anchor and many other similar anchors are small, compact, and free from sharp points that might damage inflatable devices.
The foldable Grapnel anchor combines extremely easy stowage with a great holding power. However, its powerful hooks can also become a disadvantage, as it may not be easy to unhook afterwards. As a rule, these small anchors are only good for short time anchorage.
New Generation Anchors
Modern anchors have been designed to be easy to set and have a remarkable holding power. These include the Spade, the Rocna, and the Bulwagga. While they may cost 10 times more than regular anchors, they can sometimes offer increased reliability and a dramatically higher holding power.
Anchor Chain Types
The set made up of an anchor, rope, and chain used to secure a boat is called a ground tackle, while the combination of the rope and chain receives the name of "rode". The characteristics of the chain required generally depend on the type of bottom beneath the boat.
People who usually sail on lakes and over sandy bottoms rarely include chain in their rodes, which are usually made of nylon rope in their entirety. This makes rodes much easier to handle, while preventing scratching accidents on the boats.
When Chain is Needed
There are many different reasons for completing rodes with chain. Experienced boaters use a minimum of 6 to 9 mts of chain at the end of rodes. This adds extra weight, making it easier and faster for anchors to sink, while it also prevents breakage. Large ocean-bound boats commonly use all-chain rodes. This is due to the fact that bigger boats put a lot of strain on ground tackles and require them to be heavier.
All-chain rodes are heavy, and they can put too much of a strain on small leisure boats, which makes a combination of rope and chain more suitable in these cases, even when the vessels are sailing across the seas.
Proof coil is an inexpensive option for anchor chains. Made of special steel, it is treated to prevent corrosion, but it does not last very long when used consistently in salt waters. However, it can be a sensible, affordable choice for fresh water boating. In order to prevent damaging boat surfaces, proof coil also comes with Teflon coating.
The more expensive high test chains are made with grade 40 steel, while the steel used for proof coil is only grade 30. This means that high test chain is much more enduring and suitable for strong current and strong wave conditions.
Anchor Weight Tips
It is difficult to offer a generic recommendation for anchor size without taking into account boat type, anchor, and rode type. However, 1.5 kg per metre is a good starting point. There are many conditions and circumstances in which a heavier anchor should be used. For example, if the boat is heavier than usual, if the rode is extremely light, in fast-changing weather areas, when going out to the open sea for extended periods of time, or if the boat has lots of windage, to mention only a few possible scenarios.
On the other hand, it is possible to use lighter anchors on short day-trips, in nice weather, in the case of very lightweight boats, or if the rode is exceptionally heavy to compensate.
How to Buy Boat Anchors and Chains on eBay
eBay is an ideal place to find a wide variety of boat anchors and chains at very competitive prices. With the information provided above buyers can select the type of anchor and chain they prefer. For example, if you decide you need a standard Claw anchor, you can restrict your search by typing keywords such as "Claw anchor" on the eBay search bar. To browse all the boat anchors and chains on eBay, you can choose more general keywords like "boat anchor".
Once you have found an item you would like to purchase, it is time to check the item's description carefully, looking for precise details about its dimensions and materials. The next step involves reviewing seller reputation, postage fees and return policies. Anchors and chains can be heavy and thus expensive to ship, so it is important to consider these costs as part of each item's final price.
Buying anchors and chains is not easy; their quality and performance might affect your personal safety, and you need to be sure you are making the right decision. Whether buying new or used, chances are the sellers know their product well, and asking lots of questions about each item's actual performance is the best way to make an informed decision.
Anchors and chains are essential elements of boating equipment. Both recreational boaters and professional sailors take boat anchor selection very seriously. While there are some anchors that work well for most boats and in a variety of situations, others are more specialised.
When selecting boat anchors and chains, it is important for boaters to carefully assess their needs in terms of weight, stowage conditions, durability, and performance on different bottoms. Boat size and kind, as well as boating expedition types, play a very important role in determining what kind of anchor and rode is needed in each case.
Traditional anchor models such as the Claw and the Plough continue to be in great demand. However, new generation anchors offer a great performance on a variety of bottoms, though for a higher cost. As for anchor chains, a combination of rope and chain is the right choice on most occasions, and the heavy-duty high test chains offer a better performance than other options, such as proof coil,
eBay offers a rich variety of both used and new anchors and chains that are suitable for all kinds of boats and boating trips. It only takes a few clicks and a couple of simple calculations to find a set of boat anchor and chain that can safely keep any kind of embarkation in place, under variable conditions.