If you ask ten sailors what the best anchor is, you’ll get ten different answers. Furthermore, what works for one sailboat/one sailor won’t necessarily work for you. A better question to ask regarding the best anchor for your sailboat is this:
My boat is a (type of boat),
it weighs (weight),
has a beam of (width),
I plan on anchoring predominantly in (area – eg. Caribbean, etc.),
where the depths are up to (depth of water at high tide),
and the seabed is predominantly (mud, sand, grass, rocks, etc.),
I plan on being in the area during (season – eg. outside of hurricane/typhoon season),
and would like to carry no more than (chain/rope),
furthermore, I need to pull the anchor up using (my hands, automatic winch, etc.)
Ask that question followed by:
Do you have experiences anchoring within those specifications and can compare and contrast what anchor worked best for you?
Now that’s how you’ll get a more productive answer.
And there are two major components to successful anchoring – it’s certainly not all about the anchor. It’s also about the anchoring technique used.
Out of all the things I see that sailors get wrong (inexperienced and experienced), anchoring is top of the list (myself included – how do you think I’ve learned how not to drag?)
A fantastic anchor, perhaps perfect for your boat, won’t do you any good if you don’t properly set the anchor using the correct amount of scope considering the seabed, weather conditions, and so forth.
But lets push anchoring technique aside (but before I do, if you’re not sure about your technique, check out my Anchoring Guide…)
Let’s focus on the question at hand; what is the best anchor for your sailboat?
A key point is that you must match the strength of your anchoring equipment to your boat and its likely cruising grounds/conditions. In other words, you’ll need to determine what the load, or pressure, on the ground tackle will be in your worst-case scenario. Will you be sailing on a lake experiencing the maximum of 30 knots of wind OR might you get caught in a tropical storm or hurricane?
Once you understand the worst conditions you might get caught anchoring in, you’ll be best apt to decide what anchoring equipment is required to keep your boat from dragging.
Of course, if you’re only sailing in an area that has one kind of sea bottom research the various anchors to determine which one excels in that kind of setting. Better yet, ask locals as to the best anchor for the area.
If, however, you’ll be cruising to various different locations it’s important to get the best all around anchor.
When we started looking for the best anchor for our sailboat, aside from being adequate to handle our load, we looked for the following:
- Needs to sets fast
- Easy to drop/launch and fits will with the windless
- Sets in a variety of different bottoms (predominantly sand and mud)
- Is likely to reset itself if it does break loose
- Low risk of being fouled by the anchor chain when it swings
- Can break down making it easy for stowage
- Is light enough to be able to pick up but heavy enough to drop quick and dig in
- Will hold strong during storms
We watched several YouTube video reviews, asked what other sailors where buying and read various compare/contrast articles.
With a variety of good options out there, we felt somewhat confused as to the best way forward…
That is, until we acquired a new anchor for our dinghy.
Our grapnel anchor was terrible and we needed something better to hold our dinghy. If you’ve ever been to the Caribbean, there are dinghy docks on most islands. The docks are great but if you fail to use an anchor to keep the dinghy from smashing into the dock with the tide you’ll soon have a popped dinghy. (Yes – learned that by experience too. We popped our old dinghy on a dinghy in Mustique).
Very rarely did we ever anchor our dingy for the sole purpose of anchoring – it was almost always used as a popping prevention tool.
Simon would tie us onto the dinghy dock, throw the anchor over, jump off the boat to push the anchor in (grapnels are terrible for setting themselves)…and then he’d get back in the boat, pull the anchor line tight and off we went.
Hardly an ideal process. And Simon had to walk around wet for a while!
The new dinghy anchor we acquired was a Mantus Dinghy anchor. Upon getting the new anchor, Simon, Sienna and I decided to test its effectiveness against the Bruce (claw) and grapnel. We tested all three anchors in dry sand (to see how they moved), wet sand to see if they set and out in the harbor to put them under an engine load. Watch our Dinghy Anchor Review here.
Hands down the Mantus anchor was the winner.
With such positive results, we decided to get a full sized Mantus Anchor for Britican.
The Mantus ticked all our needs:
- It’s one of the fastest setting anchors out there
- It’s easy to drop off our bow and fits our anchor plate area
- The Mantus sets in sea bottoms that we mostly anchor in – sand and mud
- If the Mantus gets turned upside down (something that worried us with our previous anchor) the roll bar enables the anchor to right itself and reset
- If we need to store the Mantus anchor, it breaks down and lays flat
- I can lift it up. Our previous anchor, the Excel, was impossible for me to lift.
I’ve written this article not necessarily to promote Mantus, but to show you the process in which we came to our conclusion. There are loads of great anchors out there but the key is to find the one that will be best for you.
If you do, however, want a Mantus, we’re a part of their affiliate program. If you click this link and then buy anything on the Mantus website you don’t pay any more yet we get a commission. Using affiliate links helps to pay for articles like these and the 100+ videos that we have on YouTube. Click here to check out Mantus Anchors
If you do, however, get a Mantus Anchor, this is how it comes packaged and how you’ll need to put it together.
Mantus Anchor – How to assemble it
Any comments or questions? Leave them below.
- Buy the t-shirt Simon is wearing in the video! It displays a Britican exclusive compass design with the quote, ‘Not all those who wander are lost’ by Tolkien Buy now!
- Check out an anchor, or other goodies, at Mantus Anchors – clicking on this link will enable us to get a commission from your purchase at no extra cost to you. Affiliate, t-shirt and guide sales are a large portion of the funds that help to pay for hosting, IT support, video equipment, etc. thus providing quality free educational information.
- Watch our Dinghy Anchor Review here.
- Grab a copy of our ‘How to Anchor – A checklist to prevent dragging‘ guide. The guide comes with 16 steps to properly set the anchor, 20 tips to help a novice go from beginner to expert fast and how to choose the right equipment for you and your boat.
And if you want more information on anchoring, check out the following:
- Preventing Anchor Drag – Lessons Learned while using two anchors during a hurricane threat.