A few pounds of steel for complete peace of mind

This morning, Michel got a message from a friend who is about to embark on a long journey to Australia with his family. He also owns an Oceanis 393 and was asking about our anchor. This quick question got me looking for pictures on the blog, only to realize that I had never actually completed that post…

When we bought Water Music, she was equipped with a 45 lb CQR and a 20 lb Danforth. The 20 lb stern anchor was mounted on a starboard stanchion just outside the cockpit. It sure was easy to deploy at all time, but it also implied that toes kept getting bruised – mainly mine. We tried to move it out of the way, but we just couldn’t find a suitable home for it. It was large, heavy (it did feel much heavier than the advertised weight) and didn’t fit anywhere else on the boat. We eventually took it back to Montreal and gave it to a fellow sailor.

The CQR also had to go. Some cruisers love them and have total trust in them, we're not that confortable with them. I suppose we'd rather trust the latest technology when it comes to securing our home for the night. That being said, we also drove it North and, thanks to Craigs’ List, dropped it off at a rest area near New York City where a CQR die-hard fan picked it up.

Now that Water Music was anchorless, we had to come up with a plan. After a lot of research we settled for a small Texas company that had recently released its new baby: the Mantus. The test videos on their website convinced us. Two years later, we're still in the honeymoon phase and we wouldn't trade it for anything else. Of course our Mantus anchor can't take all the credit, we do carry 225 ft of 5/16" chain which does help a little.

We keep three anchors on the boat : a 45 lb Mantus that we use as our primary anchor, a Danforth-type FX-16 Fortress anchor that we’ve been using as a stern anchor and a FX-23 Fortress that sits in a locker waiting for its time to shine. We chose the larger Fortress as a spare anchor for its lightweight and ease of storage. It comes in a tiny box that is still unopened to this day.

All three anchors have one thing in common : they dismantle quickly for easy storage. Even our huge 45 lb Mantus stores flat once the six bolts are removed.

We were in fact quite puzzled when we got that slim wooden box in the mail. It looked like a flat pack from IKEA. Could it really be all of it? It was.

It took no more than 15 minutes for Michel to put it all together and the few pieces of steel turned out to be a monster of an anchor. It measured almost 2-feet across… At first we called it “The Flying Nun” as it really looked like the oversized cornette worn by Sally Field! Once we had a good laugh, we got worried; there was no way that anchor would fit in the bow roller. But it did; like a glove. We, however, had to give up our plan of adding a second roller. All the available real estate at the bow was now occupied.

A flat pack! Is IKEA branching out into marine accessories?

A few tools, some grease on the bolts... 
Et voilà! Our Flying Nun fits like a glove.
We’ve used our Mantus in all sorts of bottoms and have never been disappointed. We were shopping for peace of mind when we were selecting our new anchor and we’ve been sleeping very well since (at least I have). It failed us only twice, once in the Jumentos Cays and once in Spanish Wells. Both times the bottom had been washed out and there just wasn’t enough sand for it to dig in. Mind you, in Spanish Wells, it actually held up by the tip of its nose against 2000 RPM of diesel engine pulling on it. When we realized something was off, I looked down in the water to find it holding for dear life in… limestone. No sand at all.

Our only complaint: it’s very difficult to retrieve in the morning! It usually sets in less than 6 feet. In sand I've watched it touch down and dig in right away. Since we're on the cautious side, we do back down on it for much longer than we should, which means it digs down deep, very deep. I often lose complete sight of it as the roll bar gets completely covered. Once it gets to that point, it’s not coming up without a fight. I'm very glad Water Music’s original owners decided to upgrade the windlass. Had they not, I would probably have arms like Popeyes'.

Dug in right away. At least it's still somewhat visible.