Members' Online Book: Anchoring Made Easy—Gear, Chapter 5 of 20

Resetting Failures With Rocna and Manson, and Some Thoughts on Vulcan and Mantus

This was a tough article to write back in 2016 when we first published it, and it's a tough one to update, too:

  • It was no fun to reverse ourselves from our long-term recommendation of the Rocna anchor.
  • The article resulted in more angry personal attacks on me than any other we have ever published, at least since we restricted comments to members.

However, we are dealing with a particularly dangerous dragging modality that could result in lost boats, or even lost lives, so publishing, and republishing, this is worth the aggro. Particularly since being aware of the weakness can go a long way to managing it.

Just wanted you to know I don't enjoy calling gear that is much loved by many into question.

With that out of the way, on to the meat of it.

Many of you will be aware of the excellent work Steve of S/V Panope has done by rigging up a waterproof video camera in such a way that it allows the viewer to see exactly how an anchor sets, or not, in the real world.

As part of that testing, Steve subjected each anchor to a true resetting torture test by motoring across the position of the set anchor and coming up on the rode at 180 degrees to the original line of set, in order to simulate what happens in a radical wind-shift.

This part of Steve's testing confirmed that many modern anchors reset amazingly well, even after a radical and sudden pull-angle change.

A Scary Problem

That is, with the exception of the repeated reset failures with the Rocna, which you can see in the video above. To really understand what's going on here, you need to watch the entire 11-minute video.

Real World, Too

That said, given my general scepticism about anchor testing, I probably would not have written on this if it were not for the reports of sudden and inexplicable dragging of Rocna anchors that we have been receiving over the last few years.

Put the two together, and I'm convinced that there's a real problem with the Rocna, and that concern extends to the Manson Supreme, since it is so close in design and Steve's testing shows the same failure.

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Meet the Author

John

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.

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