Saturday, January 26, 2013

Solid as a Roc(na)

Our anchor is laughably huge.  It is 73 honking pounds of galvanized steel and looks positively ginormous on our bow.  This is just the way we like it.  On our 35 foot Hallberg Rassy, we had a 55 pound Delta as our primary anchor.  It, too, was huge.  People commented on it all the time, "Wow...got an oversized anchor there, huh?"  Why, yes.  Yes we do.  While there aren't too many places on a boat where "more is better", I think your ground tackle is one such place where you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't round up.  You do not want to be the dude in the anchorage with the dinky anchor.  We don't want you to be that dude with the dinky anchor.  People with dinky anchors make cruisers around them really nervous.

So why did we go with a Rocna this time?  Word. Of. Mouth*.  There's really nothing more to it other than the fact that we met many cruisers between Chicago and Trinidad who had them and nary a one had a bad thing to say about 'em.  In fact, most used the word "love" to describe their anchor and would spontaneously launch into an account of some storm in some anchorage where every boat dragged but them.  We heard story after story of Rocna's being put to the test** and passing with flying colors.  Call it the cruising version of "keeping up with the Jones'", call it covetousness, but we wanted one.  Bad.  The fact that they agreed to sponsor us made the deal that much sweeter.

When cruising, you put an insane amount of trust in your anchor***.  There might even be a time when your life depends on it.  Picture this: You are sleeping in your cabin when all of a sudden you hear the wind start howling and something feels different.  You check the GPS.  It is pitch black outside but you know there is a reef behind you now because the wind has unexpectedly shifted and repositioned your boat.  You will be fine as long as you stay put.  Your boat begins to aggressively and erratically lurch and pull at the anchor chain as the wind builds.  The rain starts.  Sheets and sheets of water turn your cabin top into a drum making it difficult to hear anything else.  You turn on the instruments and see the wind is now gusting to forty knots.  It is shrieking and whistling through the rigging and again, there is a reef behind you.  Dragging and re-setting anchor at this moment would be horrible.  Definitely boat threatening and possibly even life threatening.  You, however, are confident you won't budge because you know you set your anchor properly (you dove on it) and you trust your ground tackle (perhaps it's a Rocna?).  Despite this, you decide to do anchor watch shifts anyway because a) you are a prudent mariner and b) you can't trust the folks (the ones with the dinky anchors) around you.  A couple hours pass and by the time the sun rises, the storm has cleared and it's a beautiful day in paradise.  You have a fresh cup of coffee in the cockpit, share a chuckle with your partner about how annoying last night was and jump in the water for a snorkel.

A scenario similar to this will happen to you at some point if you go cruising.  Do you want to worry about dragging?

Dragging anchor can, at best, be a nuisance and, at worst, be catastrophic.  Part of the allure of being on the 'hook' is how peaceful, calm and relaxing it is.  And it really is most of the time.  We chose a Rocna for when it's not.   Because we like a good night's sleep every night.

* As I mentioned in an earlier post, cruisers have strong opinions about gear ESPECIALLY anchors.  We strongly urge you to do your own research when selecting an anchor for your boat.
** An independent anchor performance test compilation consistently showed Rocna to be an outstanding performer. 
*** No amount of anchor can make up for human error.  If you don't know how to anchor properly, it won't matter what size and type of anchor you have, you will most likely drag at some point, possibly often.  There is no "magic" piece of gear in sailing.  Before you rely on a piece of gear (like an anchor) make sure you trust yourself using it first.

6 comments:

Steve said...

while I am no engineer, I have deduced that the bubble wrap will buoyantly reduce the underwater weight of said anchor by......... just joshin' ya, nice hardware and coupled with all the chain you loaded aboard I predict much success. Congrats on the sponsorships and thank you for directions to that excellent anchoring article. I've got a 75 delta on our Tayana55 with all chain but reading your logic I may need to up the size? Cheers, Steve

Brittany Meyers said...

@Steve - haha...yeah, the bubble wrap is now off ;) and a Tayana55 - oooooOOOOoooo - beautiful boat!! I love those. I am sure your 75 Delta is fine, we just always er on the side of caution and go with the biggest. It's up to you - if it has been working for you in the past, I see no reason to change. Like they say, if it ain't broke - don't fix it!

Michael said...

Take a look at the reviews on the ROCNA over are West Marine. A good bit of the ROCNAs have had their shanks bent due to poor material. I think ROCNA out sourced to a vendor in China and had issues. Pretty serious stuff. We decided on a large Manson after reading about the issues ROCNA had. Same anchor like yours, just no problems with the shank twisting that we know of.

Brittany Meyers said...

@Michael - yes, we are aware of that issue - there is a TON of controversy around Rocnas because of it (just hit the cruising forums and see). However, we did our own research and decided that this was the anchor we wanted regardless (which is why we approached them for sponsorship). Mansons are supposed to be fantastic as well and I know of a couple boats that have them and love them too. We'll keep an eye on ours and if we have problems, trust me, you'll hear about it ;)

Anonymous said...

A cast fluke indicates China production, to a spec which the designer of Rocna originally said was insufficient for anchors. It's nice that he changed his mind when he was found to by lying about the spec of anchors Rocna were selling. And very nice of them to give you one. Personally, given their propensity to lie, I wouldn't trust my life to one.

Jill Bebee, s/v Earendil said...

We bought a Rocna and heard about the China problem. We found out that happened under previous ownership. The design is currently made by a company in Canada (I think Canadian Metal) and they have returned to the original specs. In addition, they sponsored a recall of the bad ones (that they didn't even make). Our anchor was produced in a time when there was a one in ten chance is was a bad one. They replaced it at no charge. This is a great company and a great anchor.

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