Taking Our Test Anchors Out for a Wiggle-walk


First, we established baseline holding capacities for the 2-pound anchors by pull testing each anchor after letting it settle into the bottom for 10 minutes and setting with a steady pull.  These matched several rounds of prior test data in the same area. We then walked them back and forth through 30, 60, and 120 degree arcs every two minutes, maintaining reasonably even tension. We pulled just hard enough to make the anchor rotate, never exceeding the setting force. After 6 cycles, we recorded the force required to make the anchor rotate and walk forward. All testing, including on-boat testing was done using a 15:1 scope to eliminate lift as a variable. 2-pound anchor testing was done with no chain and on-boat testing was done with 15 feet of chain.

  1. In a straight line, the Mantus anchor digs straight and deep into the soft sand bottom.Taking Our Test Anchors Out for a Wiggle-walk
  2. As the direction of pull changes the anchor shuffles and the anchor stays near the surface. With every yaw cycle the anchor moves forward a fluke-length, slowly walking downwind towards potential trouble.Taking Our Test Anchors Out for a Wiggle-walk
  3. In a straight line, the Fortress Guardian anchor digs straight and deep.Taking Our Test Anchors Out for a Wiggle-walk
  4. The Guardian anchor takes longer to reset after each “shuffle” in a new direction.Taking Our Test Anchors Out for a Wiggle-walk
  5. In moderate winds with a steady pull the Guardian resets well, but if the strain is to light or the bottom is too hard, it can break out of the bottom.Taking Our Test Anchors Out for a Wiggle-walk
  6. If the anchor becomes partially disengaged it may never reset (notice the long drag mark).Taking Our Test Anchors Out for a Wiggle-walk

Related posts: Yawing and Anchor Holding

Deep Anchors Stay Put in Moderate Yawing

Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on sailboats and sailing gear for more than 45 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.


  1. I don’t think anchor tests in even wet sand are relevant to real world anchoring in water. The water fills the area between The particular of sand creating much more suction than just plain sand.

  2. My 1979 Cal31 has always “sailed” at anchor more than I was comfortable with. I’ve lately been experimenting with hanging a kettlebell off the stern to slow the motion down.

  3. My Beneteau Oceanis 321 weighs 9,800 lbs. It has a bow roller. It is equipped with the following.
    – Lewmar Delta galvanized Fast-Set plow anchor. It is 22 pounds.
    – 20 feet of 5/16″ of pre-cut galvanized anchor chain with a large end for the shackle from West Marine
    – 200 feet of 1/2″ premium prespliced three-stand anchor line with a galvanized steel shackle from West Marine
    – Kong stainless steel anchor swivel connector
    – Stainless steel screw pin bow-shape anchor shackle that is moused with seizing wire
    – Anchor rode markers from West Marine

    We anchor in hard sand, mud, and clay in Lake Erie. We set our anchor with 10:1 or more scope for overnight stays. Zero problems in winds up to 30 knots and 2 foot waves. It has never dragged.


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