Q&A: Rocna Versus SPADE?

Question: Do you have any opinion on the Rocna anchor versus the SPADE?

Answer: I have no personal experience with a Rocna to compare against our SPADE, which we have used literally hundreds of times from the Bahamas to Greenland and a lot of places in between. In all of that time the SPADE has never dragged once set, and has only refused to set twice and that in very difficult bottom conditions.

As far as first hand endorsements go for the Rocna, Steve Dashew, of Deerfoot/Sundeer/Beowulf fame, fitted one on his new motor boat Windhorse and informs me that he is very happy with it.

A Rocna and Bruce on the bow of a Tiana 53

It appears that the Rocna’s basic fluke design is very similar to the SPADE and I would expect it to be as good. Both anchors were designed by cruisers with engineering knowledge who were sick of the reliability problems of old style anchors—nothing like a few dragging scares to inspire a person! The SPADE does have the advantage of disassembling into two pieces.

All in all, I don’t think there is much in it. Both anchors will serve you well so it probably comes down to price, availability and which will fit your bow roller better. In fact, because SPADE does not make an anchor big enough, I specified a 110kg Rocna for the 88’ Jongert that I advised on preparation for a trip to Greenland and sailed on in 2006. (As it transpired, we never used the Rocna because her standard anchor, an 85kg Bruce, proved adequate in the benign weather we had.)

Rocna have some interesting film of various anchors showing the dramatic improvement in setting and holding of the new types over the old. What makes this clip interesting is that it takes place above water so you can see how different designs perform. Anyone who is still using a Bruce or CQR should see this.

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Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan’s Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

2 comments… add one
  • Evan Selbiger Mar 9, 2011, 6:09 pm

    The other difference between the Spade and the Rocna, is that the Spade has 50% of the total weight of the anchor in the tip, whereas the Rocna only has 25% of its total weight in the tip. Therefore, I believe that the Spade will initially set deeper when it first makes contact with the sea bottom.

  • ted wasserman Jan 30, 2013, 9:33 am

    I have a Spade A140 on our Outbound 46 It has never let us down from Maine to the Carribean. Since it is aluminum it only weighs 41lbs ,and it is designed for a 65′ boat weighing 44,000lbs . So we have an overkill and less weight on the bow! I think it’s the best designed anchor on the market It fits easily in our bow roller and Practical Sailor just gave it a “best choice” .

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