American cruising guru Steve Dashew was interested in new generation anchors, and bought a Rocna for his new 83' ocean-going motoryacht Wind Horse. The anchor is a custom built 115 kg (254 lb) model, and is all but identical to our 110 design (a few changes were made to accomodate the bow on Wind Horse, at Steve's request).
Steve is one of the world's most experienced and innovative yacht designers. Wind Horse represents his latest design - built by Kelly Archer Boatbuilders in Auckland, she is a custom alloy offshore power cruiser, and is a development of Steve's successful Deerfoot and Sundeer range of long distance sailing cruising boats.
Steve was once a proponent of Bruce anchors, or claw-types. His general anchoring philosophy is to use an oversized anchor with less focus placed on the rode, meaning reduced scope may be used if necessary. This explains the use of the oversized Rocna 115 on Wind Horse instead of the Rocna 70 we recommended, an approach that seems to work: "Setting and holding are better than any anchor we have used in the past, keeping in mind that we are often setting on 2.5 to one scope and then shortening down to 2:1 due to tight swinging room and/or water depth."
And compared to the Bruce? "The Rocna anchor continues to please us. It has worked well in all the bottoms in which we've used it, and we now think the claim that it has significantly better holding than the Bruce to be valid... I feel the Rocna is a better all around anchor than the Bruce type. We sold the Bruce after getting comfortable with the Rocna."
After a year of constant use, from New Zealand through the Pacific to the North West coastline of the United States and Canada, Steve has nothing but praise for the anchor. "We've found the Rocna anchor holds well on minimum scope, as long as the bottom is good... Setting under power we start on one engine, initially just at idle, then bring the second engine on at idle, and then gradually increase the revs. If we get 1200 RPM on both engines, that is the equivalent of 50 knots of breeze, and we sleep contentedly."
In comments on his website, Steve talks about an unforeseen advantage of the Rocna: "One big advantage is when maneuvering around pilings – the Bruce has large 'wings' sticking out which tend to catch – and this anchor, in conjunction with our rub rail, just slides by the pilings. This is particularly important when using a bow spring line to angle the stern away from the dock. We are now able to tie to the piling with a short spring line, and then just lay the rub rail against the piling as we apply forward thrust with the engine."
Below, with Steve's permission, is a copy of recent e-mail correspondence. The first e-mail was unsolicited.
Wind Horse has 15,000 miles under her keel since launching last year. We've just completed a trip to South-East Alaska, including the outside of Baronof, and Prince of Wales islands, about as wild a country as you can imagine.
Having now used the ROCNA anchor in a variety of bottoms I wanted to tell you how pleased we are with its performance. It does well in poor holding bottoms, even when the ROCNA is set with as little as two to one scope – which is often required by lack of swinging room.
There are a lot of deep anchorages in Alaska and British Columbia with nothing but granite boulders for bottom. Or, thin layers of mud over granite pans. In all cases we have had good luck with getting the anchor set to a point where we were comfortable with it. We've had the same results in the tropics with thin sand over coral. Our normal method of operation is to set the anchor at slow revs on one engine, then engage the second engine, and then gradually bring both engines up to 1200 RPM. We figure this equals between 40 and 50 knots of breeze in terms of windage load. Sometimes we will set on 2.5:1 scope, and then shorten up to 2:1 after setting if space is really tight. For anyone looking at weight comparisons, our chain is 3/8" (9.6mm) schedule seven, so most of the weight is in the anchor – where it belongs.
One aspect of the anchor design about which we were concerned was the roll bar. We thought this might be a problem hooking on coral heads or rocks when we wanted to raise the anchor. We are pleased to report that this has not been a problem.
We are very pleased with our ROCNA anchor and would recommend its consideration to anyone looking to upgrade their anchoring system.
Regards, Steve Dashew
Date: August 23, 2006 16:23
Thanks for the e-mail, and Peter says Hi too.
We have been following your various entries on SetSail.com, and have noticed with interest the various mentions of the anchor. Pleased to hear that you're pleased.
Your comments re holding power are interesting. I seem to remember you had strain gauges or load meters onboard, have you used them on the rode at all? The chart over time of force would be interesting. Failing that, what does the reverse load you put on the engines at that RPM represent in terms of force (thrust)?
We have not as yet used the strain gauge. On the list for this winter. We like to see 1200 RPM on both engines in reverse for that really nice warm and fuzzy feeling. We can maintain forward progress in 50 knots of breeze and eight to 10 foot seas with these revs so the wind which this will equate to is at least equal to the above (allowing for the fact that the props are less efficient in reverse).
I know you also are/were a proponent of Bruce types, and of course you have that big Manson-built copy onboard, similar size to the Rocna. Would you be confident now in saying the Rocna "is better than a Bruce" or is that too much?
I feel the ROCNA is a better all around anchor than the Bruce type. We sold the Bruce after getting comfortable with the ROCNA.
We'll put that e-mail on our website with your permission, and I also had some other specific questions for you if you wouldn't mind.
OK with us.
- What other anchor types do you have experience with?
Bruce, Fisherman, Danforth, CQR, Fortress, Northill.
- What was your main motivation in changing to a Rocna?
Initially, because it would not catch on pilings when rotating off a dock, and we wanted something better in heavy weed and kelp found in high latitude anchorages.
- Which other types did you consider and what differences sold you on Rocna?
Tried to buy a Spade, but they did not make anything large enough – and Pete came over to Kelly Archer's shop and gave me a sales pitch. Looking at the anchor design I had a gut feeling it would be an improvement.
- Now that you have used your Rocna for some time, what do you think of your new anchor's
quality, in terms of construction and durability
Quality looks fine. Galvanizing holding up well so far and have anchored on a lot of rocky bottoms.
performance, in terms of setting and holding
Setting and holding better than any anchor we have used in the past, keeping in mind that we are often setting on 2.5:1 scope and then shortening down to 2:1 due to tight swinging room and/or water depth.
versatility, in other words success as a "general purpose" anchor
Excellent versatility. The only time we've had less than excellent holding is in extremely soft and deep mud. This was off Westpark in Auckland, but this was one occasion in the last 15,000 miles, covering New Zealand, tropics, Pacific Coast of US, British Columbia, and Alaska to 55.5 degrees north.
- design, in terms of non-performance related features, such as fit on your roller, attachment points, etc