Choosing the right boat anchor

Despite its non-obligatory nature, a boat anchor is still an essential piece of equipment for any vessel. An anchor will basically prevent your boat from drifting away in the event of an accident, particularly as it will allow you to wait for help or to carry out repairs, but also simply in case you want to moor on a beautiful shore. 

How does a boat anchor work?

An anchor will basically penetrate the seabed. The more the boat pulls on the rode, the deeper the anchor digs into the bottom. This is what happen when you anchor in a sandy or muddy seabed. In a rocky environment; the anchor will simply cling on to the rocks lying on the bottom.  

Types of boat anchors

There are several types of boat anchors:

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Fluke anchor: does great on sandy or muddy bottoms, but struggles on rocky bottoms. Another pro is that it stows very easily compared with other types of anchors. Fluke anchors are very popular among recreational boaters

Grapnel anchor: mainly intended for temporary anchoring. Grapnel anchors often have four flukes which allows them  to hook onto the bottom, especially on rocks. They have great holding power and are foldable which makes them easy to stow. 

Claw anchor: another popular type of anchor, claw-type anchors or Bruce anchors are good all-arounders as they perform well on most sea bottoms (rocks, sand, mud or coral), but it struggles when it comes to penetrating harder surfaces such as clay. 

Plough anchor: this type of anchor performs well on all types of bottoms. They have a high holding power and are responsive to current but on the downside they are more difficult to stow due to their shape.

Boat anchor weight

 

Type / length of boat

Anchor weight in kg

Kayak

2

Up to 4,5 m

3,5

5,5 m

6

6,5 m

8

7,5 m

10

9 m

12

10,5 m

14

12,5 m

16

16 m

20

18 m

24

20 m

34

25 m

40

 

What anchor material should you choose

Boat anchors can be made out of several materials. The most frequent are:

- Aluminium: aluminium anchors are more lightweight, but not as resistant as other materials, except for some models that made out of high-strength aluminium, but these are quite expensive.

Galvanised steel: a coating of zinc is applied to the steel to make the anchors more robust and resistant to corrosion.Galvanised anchors are strong and not that expensive. The con to this material is that it wears down over time.

- Stainless steel: just like galvanised steel, stainless steel is extremely strong and resistant to corrosion, and it is also more attractive. However, a stainless stell anchor is much more expensive than a galvanised steel one.

Conclusion

Choosing the right anchor for your boat depends on many factors. The size of boat you own is key and will determine the weight of your anchor, but you also need to factor the environment where you are more likely to navigate as some anchors perform better than others on specific bottoms. Also think about stowing, some boat anchors are more difficullt to stow than others. You need to go for an anchor you will be able to store seamlessly on your bow roller. Finally, the material and more crucially your budget need to be taken into account. 

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