We think this anchor is the next best thing to sliced bread! We like the SPADE so much, we have a 120lb as our bower anchor and a 66lb as our secondary anchor. The SPADE has replaced the Luke as our primary high latitude anchor because it is the only stockless anchor I know that will set reliably in thick kelp, it is more versatile than the Luke and of course easier to use.
I think that much of the SPADE’s success can be attributed to how fast it sets, so it has no time to foul with weed or rock. We were using a SPADE as a secondary anchor in the hard sand of the Bahamas some years ago, together with a CQR as primary. I dove on both anchors several times and found that the SPADE had dug in right at the point it landed with NO dragging at all. The CQR would drag at least 20′ before setting.
We have never had trouble with the SPADE dragging due to change of pull angle even though we are often in areas that experience rapid wind shifts due to frontal passages or katabatic gusting.
The SPADE works great in soft mud, even in the VERY fine mud we found off glaciers in Svalbard (Spitsbergen). I think the key is the concave shape and very high fluke area.
The SPADE does not seem to get fouled by rocks or boulders, unlike what I have been told (second hand information only) about the Bruce. In one anchorage in north Iceland, the bottom was rocks ranging from grapefruit to melon size (shallow clear water) with NO mud. Though the anchor could not grip, it did not foul. Instead it just pulled back through the rocks very slowly as I applied substantial reverse pressure (120 hp motor at 1800 rpm before dragging started).