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Old 11-19-2011, 08:35 PM
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Default How can an anchor just stop holding?

I have a Danforth style anchor that I have had for probably 10 years or more. It's a Cabela's anchor w/ the plastic coating on it. I have it connected to the rode w/ 2-3' sections of chain. I have never had a problem with this anchor holding until this season. I boat on Lake Erie and rarely anchor in any water deeper than 40'. I was always amazed how little anchor rode I had to play out for the anchor to hook up and it always held.

This season the very first time I tried to use it I couldn't get it to hook up. I was fishing in 25' of water and ended up letting all 125' of anchor rode and it still wouldn't set. I usually only had to let out maybe 60' of rode to get it to hold in 25' of water. The anchor drug for maybe 200' and it finally set and I had a hard time getting it out. This continued to happen all season and was really making me mad. Several times I would get it to set only to have it break lose after a few minutes.

The plastic coating has worn off the anchor tips but it doesn't appear to be damaged or bent in any other way. Late last year I was fishing in some rocks which is how the plastic coating got worn off. I had to drive around in circles to get it out but eventually got it. Could I have some how damaged it?

I ended up taking the small chene style anchor out of my little boat and this anchor set pretty good but it's way to small for the boat so it would pull out often.

How could this anchor have gone bad? Any suggestions short of just giving up and buying a new one? Does anyone have a chene style anchor they use on a larger boat >25'? How does it hold?

Russ
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Old 11-19-2011, 08:39 PM
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Bending. There is some specific geometry in a danforth

Different bottom types. What's the bottom like? Danforths do good when they can dig, not so good on hard bottom.
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Old 11-19-2011, 08:48 PM
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First off, you should read up on how an anchor works and the proper way to use an anchor. I suggest you buy a copy of Chapman's Piloting and Seamanship. Once you understand how a danforth style anchor works, you will answer your own questions.

As for the anchor you have, you can't wear it out, and it's unlikely you damaged it. It is most likely you are not using it correctly. How the anchor performs depends a lot on the bottom conditions. If it's grassy, a danforth will not set easily or reliably. What was the bottom condition where you were having this problem? Read the chart. Normally use a scope of 5:1 to 7:1 to set such an anchor. You may not be using enough scope (letting out enough line). If the water is 25 feet deep, and your bow is 5 feet off the water, then 5:1 scope would have you put out 150 feet of line, and 7:1 would be 210 feet.

The danforth style anchor is not right for all conditions, as you discoved when anchoring in rocky areas.
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Old 11-19-2011, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RussH View Post
I have a Danforth style anchor
There have been countless accounts of how Danforth "style" anchors do not perform as well as genuine Danforths or their licensed copies...

It doesn't seem like rocket science to clone the Danforth design, but that is apparently the case...the fluke dimensions and angles are apparently critical, as is the temper of the steel...in the USA, the licensed vendor is Tie Down, LLC, and they also produce a non-Danforth-branded version, which appears identical but apparently doesn't collect Danforth licensing royalties...

I have no clue why your "Danforth style" anchor would stop holding, when it had performed well before, however.

Hope we get to the bottom of this...pun intentional...
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Old 11-19-2011, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
First off, you should read up on how an anchor works and the proper way to use an anchor. I suggest you buy a copy of Chapman's Piloting and Seamanship. Once you understand how a danforth style anchor works, you will answer your own questions.

Thanks for the suggestion but I'm no rookie at this. I've owned boats for more than 30 years. Because I'm having a problem getting this anchor to hold when it always held before is the problem. Besides, anchoring is not that complicated and I'm sure I have enough experience/training to know how to use one.

To answer the question about the bottom. It varies from sand, mud, and rocky. I know the bottom of Lake Erie about as well as I know my own yard. I know the bottom composition before I ever throw out the anchor. The Danforth style I consider a "general purpose" anchor and it's always held well in sand and mud. Not so good in rocks but it's the only style anchor I carry and I rarely anchor in rocky areas.

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Normally use a scope of 5:1 to 7:1 to set such an anchor. You may not be using enough scope (letting out enough line). If the water is 25 feet deep, and your bow is 5 feet off the water, then 5:1 scope would have you put out 150 feet of line, and 7:1 would be 210 feet.

I know about scope and depth ratio's. You must have missed my point, I never had a problem with the anchor previous to this year. Personally I don't pay much attention to depth/scope ratio's. I fish alone most of the time so the least about of rode I have to let out the better. If I can get the anchor to set using a 2:1 ratio in calm water, that's how much rode I put out. If it's rough and I have to let out 6:1 that's what I do.

Since it's not possible to wear out an anchor and not likely it's damaged, I guess it's a real mystery. I don't know what else it could be other than the anchor itself when I can unhook one anchor that won't set, hook up another one and it sets fine. I'm probably just going to buy another anchor to keep on the boat, not sure if I want to use the same style or go with a chene anchor.

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Old 11-19-2011, 10:13 PM
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The anchor must have gotten bent or damaged in some way , time to get a new one . I would get a real danforth they work much better then the copies
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Old 11-19-2011, 10:16 PM
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Put fifteen or twenty feet of chain on it
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Old 11-19-2011, 10:29 PM
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Put fifteen or twenty feet of chain on it

That's the depth of water that I frequently anchor in. I guess I could just use all chain.

It held fine for 10+ years w/ 6' of chain so I'm sure that's not the problem.


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Old 11-19-2011, 10:47 PM
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Are you sure its not bent and the shaft goes free in both directions and the flukes aren't bent at all? I get what you are saying. Nothing changed, it used to work, now it doesn't.

Fact is something had to have changed and it is more likely your anchor changed than the lake bottom.

If you are just curious what is going on, then throw it in shallow water where you can watch it and pull on the rode. Flip the anchor and try again. See if it digs on one side and not the other, heck you can do it on dry land if you get somewhere sandy.
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Old 11-19-2011, 11:11 PM
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hi russh.
my guess is you have done something to it when you went in circles trying to pull it when it was stuck.
the geometry matters a lot. if its not right they wont grab and dig and if they do they will rotate and keep coming back out. if one of those 2 points is slightly different to the other they will just corkscrew and keep coming out. or will not penetrate or will 'walk'.

im a not a fan of danforth style. i know they look like they work and they are very popular but they have only low holding power and are worthless if out of geometry.

cheers

Last edited by puppy; 11-20-2011 at 12:07 AM.
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Old 11-20-2011, 12:02 AM
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Make sure that it pivots freely to both sides, so it can angle properly. Maybe there is some gunk that's not letting it angle all the way.
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Old 11-20-2011, 02:22 AM
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are ya throwing it upside down???
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Old 11-20-2011, 05:12 AM
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In your first post you say 2 to 3' of chain, and in another post you say 6' of chain. The missing 3' could be the reason.
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Old 11-20-2011, 05:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phillipgo View Post
In your first post you say 2 to 3' of chain, and in another post you say 6' of chain. The missing 3' could be the reason.
I read it that he had two 3 foot sections of chain for a total of 6 feet of chain in the first post.
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Old 11-20-2011, 05:53 AM
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Russ, I'd like to know the answer if you ever figure it out.

I've got a 13 lbs. Danforth knockoff that's been bent severely a couple of times. In fact, it's been cut apart and re-welded. I'm sure the geometry is not what it used to be, but it still works with 10 ft. of chain in 100 ft. of water.
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Old 11-20-2011, 06:15 AM
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Russ,

Since most of the variables such as chain lenght, scope and your experience have remained the same, I have to think something has changed with the anchor. Look it over very carefully to see if you can figure it out. If not, replace it as it is not worth the headache of it pulling on you.

I would still try to figure out what happend to it and keep it on the boat as a back-up.
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Old 11-20-2011, 06:22 AM
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I also would never buy or use a plastic coated anchor or chain they can rust away and you would never know it till it breaks
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:05 AM
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I'd make sure it's not somehow tangling when you let it out (had that issue with mine and it kills the holding power). Any changes to the boat to create more windage or anything? I'd try it in shallow water where you can see it, and maybe add another chain section to see if that helps....
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RussH View Post
That's the depth of water that I frequently anchor in. I guess I could just use all chain.

It held fine for 10+ years w/ 6' of chain so I'm sure that's not the problem.


Russ
Thats your problem, in 15' of water you should have between 75' to 150' of anchor road out (Chapmans) and why would you have a plastic coated anchor?
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Old 11-20-2011, 08:07 AM
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Is there a chance the bottom has changed - like having become covered with something like zebra mussels?
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