Testing the Limits of Tiny Anchors

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calibrated load cell

Each anchor was pulled in both a straight line and at 90 degrees in both soft mud and firm sand at a 10:1 scope. All findings regarding load were recorded with a calibrated load cell.

Testers performed the 90-degree test by lightly setting the anchor (with a 15-pound load in mud, 40 pounds in sand) and then slowly pulling at a 90-degree angle, as though the wind or tide changed. Additionally, each anchor was used day-in, day-out aboard an inflatable dinghy to evaluate ease of use and real-world effectiveness.

To push the limits of these anchors, we also used both the Guardian G5 and Mantus Dinghy Anchor as lunch hooks in good sand for an 8,000-pound catamaran. We wanted to see how they responded to surging and shifts over a period of hours, under what would amount to storm loads for a dinghy anchor.

We used a 10:1 scope in 4 to 6 feet of water and a polyester rode to avoid the damping effect of chain, inducing shock loading similar to a chain stretched tight by a powerful squall, exacerbated by the steep chop of shallow water. Both held through significant shifts in winds up to 15 knots in an exposed anchorage.

The Mantus began to slowly drag when gusts hit 20 knots, while the Guardian simply kept digging deeper. Results were impressive for bits of metal weighing little more than a paperweight. Needless to say, anchoring a 34-foot catamaran with a 2-pound anchor is a dumb idea that we would never recommend.

Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on marine products for serious sailors for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising or any form of compensation from manufacturers whose products we test. Testing is carried out by a team of experts from a wide range of fields including marine electronics, marine safety, marine surveying, sailboat rigging, sailmaking, engineering, ocean sailing, sailboat racing, and sailboat construction and design. This diversity of expertise allows us to carry out in-depth, objective evaluation of virtually every product available to serious sailors. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser with more than three decades of experience as a marine writer, photographer, boat captain, and product tester. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.

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