The price of a good night’s sleep

in Intracoastal Waterway / Life at Sea / Sailing the World
rocna 20 anchor line

I’m pretty sure that by the time we leave Annapolis, we’ll be broke. This place is like a boating Disneyland full of south-bound cruisers and friendly salesmen ready to make all your dreams come true…for the right price.

Before we even arrived, Ryan was in the market for a new anchor, and he was determined not to leave Annapolis without one. Having a “big, stonkin’ anchor,” as he put it, would mean not having to spend money in marinas, and it would give us the freedom and confidence to anchor wherever we wanted on our way south.

Our anchor, which we inherited with Hideaway, is a 22 lb. Danforth-style “traditional anchor” with 20 feet of chain and 100 feet of line, which has served us pretty well around the harbors of New York and New Jersey. Therefore, I wasn’t totally sure why we needed a new anchor, but according to Ryan, “no one in their right mind sails to the Bahamas with only a Danforth.” So, we were definitely buying a new anchor – we just needed to work out which of the three existing “modern” anchors to buy so we could retire our Danforth to the role of back-up anchor.

The three choices in question were the Manson Supreme, the Rocna and the Spade.

I had a lot of questions about the pros and cons of each, but the main question was why were these “modern” anchors so freakin’ big? I mean, don’t things typically get smaller as technology advances? But even as I said that, I realized if there’s anything you don’t want to be small or lightweight, it’s probably a stinkin’ anchor. I guess that’s why Ryan was doing the research, not me.

And since we were doing research, we decided to shake things up for the anchored cruisers of Annapolis by taking our Danforth over to Back Creek to see how many times we could drag anchor in a really tight space. The answer was three.

After politely watching us fumble around for over an hour, drifting closer and closer to his boat, our friendly neighbor Mike aboard Bay Tripper kindly advised us not to reverse on our anchor in such soft mud as we’re bound to drag. It seemed obvious when he said it, but it would appear we’re sometimes oblivious to the obvious.

Eventually, we started looking around at the other boats in Back Creek and we noticed a few things. 1) None of the other cruising boats had a Danforth. 2) All the other boats’ anchor lines hung straight down from their bow, which meant they had a lot more heavy chain than we did. 3) Our boat was the only one with a ton of line out, and this made the other boats nervous. We know this because Mike asked if we would kindly move a bit further away from him.

But Ryan was reluctant to put down less line because he had little faith in our Danforth. Hence why we needed to get shopping.

In the end, we spent two days visiting West Marine and a few smaller chandleries, doing our research on types and prices. West Marine was by far the most helpful, and they even offered to match any deal we could find online. So once Ryan decided to spring for the Rocna 20 (20 kg.), he showed West Marine the price offered on Defender’s web site, and they honored it.

So, why did Ryan go with a 44-lb. Rocna over a Manson Supreme or Spade (or Danforth)? Here are some of his reasons, based on his research:

  • All three “modern” anchors are known to cut into reeds and grass fairly quickly, securing a good hold in any type of anchorage, unlike the Danforth, which is really only good in mud.
  • The Manson Supreme appears to be a Rocna copycat, and statistics show it’s slightly less speedy in grabbing a hold. This wouldn’t be a dealbreaker, except it’s also only $60 cheaper than the Rocna, which wasn’t enough of a discount to bother going to the Manson if the Rocna was also available.
  • The Spade is a good $250 more than the Rocna, making price a big consideration. But, also, distributors of Spade are hard to come by, which makes us suspicious. If they’re so good, then why aren’t more stores carrying them?
  • Rocna’s current, Canadian production line of anchors have an excellent reputation. Their anchors originally started in New Zealand, but there was a period when they got a bad reputation for manufacturing poorer-quality anchors in China.
  • We had drinks with a helpful and experienced cruising couple called Dan and Jaye aboard their boat Cinderella, and they swore by their Rocna 20.

For all of these reasons, we decided to buy the Rocna, along with 94 feet of 5/16″ chain (only because they didn’t have 100 feet), 120 feet of 5/8″ line, shackles, a buoyed trip line, and a snubber.

And we bought it from West Marine in Annapolis because they bent over backwards to help us out. Aside from giving us a discount based on Defender’s prices, they also hand-delivered all this equipment to our boat because we didn’t have a car. We are definitely not in New York anymore.

So, what’s the price of a good night’s sleep? $1,100.00, apparently. And only $377 of that was the actual anchor. If you’re thinking of going into the business of robbing boats, my advice is forget the anchor – go straight for the chain.

But the hope is that this $1,100.00 will buy us hundreds, if not thousands of restful nights in free anchorages and a good many sunsets out on the open water.

Read Turf to Surf’s testimonial of the Rocna 20 anchor on Rocna’s web site.

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  • Dan N Jaye November 9, 2012, 12:12 pm

    Hey guys, thanx for the shout-out; don’t know how we missed this the first time thru.

    • Tasha November 9, 2012, 2:21 pm

      Thank YOU for all the useful info! And not just about the Rocna… everything, including leading us to the best wine bar in Annapolis. You’ve helped us out by being so generous and so wise. I hope our paths will cross again… in warmer weather!
      Tasha & Ryan

  • Daniel August 22, 2015, 11:20 am

    Rocna arncohs are made in China, but that is not shown on the arncohs. We have had a number of enquiries with regards to this issue, so to put the record straight we no longer manufacture Rocna Anchors in NZ or Canada. The reasons for this are as follows:Two years ago Rocna had manufacturing facilities in both Canada and New Zealand and at the time were a small, boutique manufacturer/distributor.As word of our anchor starting to spread so too did demand and, in anticipation of strong growth, we began to make plans to increase the capacity of our manufacturing capabilities.We also used this as an opportunity to ‘raise the bar’ and further improve the quality and consistency of our anchor as our existing manufacturers were struggling to spend the time, or pay as much attention to detail, as our specifications demanded without increasing the costs beyond acceptable levels.During this process we considered manufacturing options in China, India, Australia, Poland and naturally continued negotiations with our two incumbent manufacturers in New Zealand and Canada.After extensive research and evaluations, including numerous overseas trips and manufacturing samples, we eventually elected to move production to new, purpose built facilities in Shanghai, China.Staffed by highly skilled, well-qualified engineers and workers, the Chinese facility is already ISO 9001 accredited. All the welders are certified and the factory has invested in the latest X-ray technology for random weld inspections as part of a rigorous quality control regime and we employ our own specialised NZ production and QC staff in China.In addition, we have invested considerable time and effort training their Chinese production team to meet our high standards. Experts in quality control and production management worked closely with Chinese factory personnel and we also engaged the services of Italian based RINA [Registro Italiano Navale], an internationally recognised leader in certification and assessment of conformity, and have been working with RINA now for over 18 months.RINA is now in the final stages of certifying the Chinese facilities. Only 5% of Chinese companies meet RINA’s standards and Rocna will be the first and only anchor manufacturer in the world to be certified to such a high level.Rocna arncohs are RINA certified to Super High holding Power.With the move, we were able to use what we had learned from our existing manufacturing experiences to upgrade the specification and improve the manufacturing process as a whole.Although the arncohs use exactly the same high quality steel as before, the specifications and consistency out of China are way higher than they were – it’s now a significantly superior product.

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