PS Advisor 05/01/99


CQR Anchor
In your anchor tests in sand (January 1, 1999) you rated a 22-lb. Bruce against a 35-lb. CQR. Why not a 33-lb. Bruce, which would seem to be the obvious comparison? I was thinking of buying a 33-lb. Bruce for my Sadler 34 …would/should it perform as well as the 35-lb. CQR?

And do the non-CQR ploughs fare as well as the real article?

Andrew Mack
via e-mail

The question you raise about the CQRs weight is one we wondered about, too, initially. The reason why the 35-lb. CQR is recommended for a 30-foot boat in high winds is because much of its weight is in the large shank. But the feature that has more to do with holding power is the cross-sectional area of the flukes, which in the case of the 35-lb. CQR is not as large as its weight might suggest. That is why the 35-lb. CQR is matched up against lighter anchors, including the 22-lb. Bruce.

The 33-lb. Bruce should hold proportionally more than the 22-lb. Bruce, and may approximate the holding power of the 35-lb. CQR.

Were not sure about non-CQR ploughs, only because we were surprised at how much difference we found among lightweight types that appeared very similar in dimension and design. Therefore, we wouldnt assume that two similar looking ploughs will perform the same. Small design differences can affect ability to set and hold. Unfortunately, we havent tested all brands. Maybe someday…in the meantime, well stick with our 15 major brands.

Cake and Eat It Too
As a cruising sailor with a family, my ultimate boat would have both sails and powerful enough engines to go farther and faster than a normal sailboat. I like getting to a vacation port before nightfall and before all the slips are filled by powerboats. My family would like the ability to outrun an approaching storm. Heretofore, nobody has built a sailing vessel that also has the ability to power in the teens. At least not to my knowledge, in my price range.

Recently, I have seen several manufacturers of catamarans advertising 35- to 40-foot trawler versions in their line that are obviously using the same hull as one of their sailing catamarans. My question is, Why can’t a catamaran with a mast and sails be outfitted with big inboards to reach powerboat speeds? Obviously I am not a purist but I can’t get a straight answer from anyone. Why does it have to be one or the other? Ive talked to many boat owners from both sides who would like to have this option. Seems to me a boat like this would be very popular.

Philip Morgan
Lisle, Illinois

Well, you would think such a dual-purpose boat would be popular, but by and large, experience has proven otherwise.

In the mid-1980s, the now defunct Lancer company produced a number of so-called Powersailers- sailboats with large outboard motors that enabled them to power in the teens. We don’t know how many were sold, but Lancer did not survive the end of the decade.

Also during that period, a British-made boat called the 36-foot MRCB (a play on the missile acronym) was exhibited in the US. It was unique in that it had hydraulically operated stern quarter panels that lowered for powering. And therein lies the problem, and answer to your question.

A displacement hull (i.e., most sailboats and larger powerboats) is more or less round. For a boat to exceed its theoretical hull speed, it must get up on top of the water and plane. This requires a flat bottom. Flat-bottom boats have good initial stability but poor ultimate stability, and they tend to pound. The MRCB tried to have it both ways by altering the underwater shape of the buttocks. It was, of course, expensive. Not only were the moveable panels and hydraulics costly, but the 165-hp. turbo-charged diesel wasnt cheap either.

About the only sailboat built today that tries to sail and power fast is the MacGregor 26X, which can take a 50-hp. outboard and reach 24 mph. This boat might be the exception to the rule as Roger MacGregor has always managed to sell a lot of whatever boat he builds.

Some catamarans with the right hull shapes could power quite fast if fitted with large twin powerplants. Of course, the larger the engines, the more weight the hulls must support. Some hull forms simply squat when more power is applied, wasting much energy. A trawler catamaran is not going to give you speeds in the teens. But if the hull form can plane, then that power can be applied to forward motion. You might try contacting some of the catamaran companies to see if your ideas would work, and if theyd be willing to custom build you one.

For a more thorough explanation of hull speed and the problems of exceeding it, see the April 1 issue.

Darrell Nicholson
Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on sailboats and sailing gear for more than 50 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising. Its independent tests are carried out by experienced sailors and marine industry professionals dedicated to providing objective evaluation and reporting about boats, gear, and the skills required to cross oceans. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser who has been director of Belvoir Media Group's marine division since 2005. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license, has logged tens of thousands of miles in three oceans, and has skippered everything from pilot boats to day charter cats. His weekly blog Inside Practical Sailor offers an inside look at current research and gear tests at Practical Sailor, while his award-winning column,"Rhumb Lines," tracks boating trends and reflects upon the sailing life. He sails a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Yankee 30 out of St. Petersburg, Florida. You can reach him at