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September 19, 2009

Boat Anchor Types – Plow, Fluke, Claw

Filed under: Yachting — Tags: , , , , — Richard Jordan @ 5:15 pm

Anchors secure a boat to the bottom. Anchors have rode (rope or chain) that runs from the anchor to the chain locker and bitter end attaching to the hull. The generally rest of a bow roller ready for deployment. Anchors come in three common types: plow, fluke, and claw.

Plow anchors perform great in all bottoms and are the most popular and common.

Plow anchors perform great in all bottoms and are the most popular and common.

Plow
Plow, aka CQR, anchors perform good but not great in all conditions. They are the most common type. They fit great on bow rollers partly because of the neat shape and partly the roller design. Anchor rollers are shaped to accomodate plows. Then, plows from the roller lower swift and accurately. The shape does not catch water and glide but stubbornly sinks to the bottom. At the bottom, a plow, no matter the terrain, sets well. Sailor’s like best plow versatility. A sailor does not want to drag a different anchor for every situation. The plow is a one-fits-all solution. No matter were you are she sets securely. Depending on weight a plow ranges from $500 for a 20 foot boat to $2,000 for one for an 100 foot boat.

Fluke anchors bury great and hold adequately in all bottoms

Fluke anchors bury great and hold adequately in all bottoms

Fluke
Fluke, aka Danforth or Fortress, anchors perform well for most bottoms. The anchor has long, flat heads. These “flukes” protrude from a stock attached to the shank end. See the picture at right. The flukes flatten and stow nicely on deck. Fluke anchors then lower and hit the bottom adequately. At the bottom, the flukes dig under soft dirt. Sailors prize a fluke anchor the most for mud, silth, and sand bottoms. The anchor also penetrates and performs adequately in rocky or hard packed bottoms. Like the plow, the fluke can be an all surface performer. Flukes are less expensive than plows at $100 for 20 foot boats to $1,500 for an 100 foot boat.

Claw anchors are simple and set quickly.

Claw anchors are simple and set quickly.

Claw
Claw, aka Bruce, anchors are simple and all-purpose. The anchor has no joints unlike plows and flukes. Instead, claws are shaped with backwards griplike hand that digs quickly into the earth. See the picture at right. On lowering, claws sink quickly and hit the bottom. At the bottom, the gripping claw head digs into dirt. Sailors prize the claw for setting quickly even in hard bottoms. The anchor also penetrates and performs adequately in soft and rocky conditions. Like the plow and fluke, the claw can be an all surface performer. Claws are least expensive compared to the plow and flukes at $50 for 20 foot boats to $1,000 for an 100 foot boat.

Conclusion
Many boats carry a combination of plow, fluke, and claw types. In addition, many other anchors exist including grapnel, mushroom, etc. No matter the type one final mention is the weight. A general rule is a pound for each foot of length. A 40′ boat needs a 40 pound anchor, a 60′ a 60 pound one, and so on. It’s all about safety so be conservative.

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  • Black Fox

    Ahoy, a lighthouse shone in the distance. Aye, me the one-eyed, one-legged pirate Fox Axel dropped anchor that night like me always have. After lowering, I went below and attached a warning anchor line to the tense rode in me forward chain locker. Me pulled the warning through the locker bulkhead the V-berth in me quarters. I laid down and slept with the line tied to me hand. I laid there and sleep soundly. But bilge, I did not set the anchor well. We started dragging. The line yanked me up. I anxiously waited to see if the anchor would reset. Slowly it seemed to, and I relaxed laying back to sleep. I drifted off again.

    Then, she dragged again. The warning line yanked me up. This time I felt her screaming. I jumped up and ran aloft. The lighthouse shone no more than 10 leagues port. Begad! Me and Sea Belle crashed against the rocks. Handsomely handle your anchors mateys.

    Arghh, after me and Sea Belle smashed against the rocks, I met the lord almighty. He asked me questions. I promised I would reform me swashbuckling pirate ways. He told me the meaning of life was to sail. Go out and hold the sea to your heart. Ye can’t do wrong. I awoke on the shore. Me mateys said I had lain senseless for hours. I am the reformed pirate of monkey isle.

  • Timriod

    If you know what type of anchor has flukes that bend in different directions, please call 507 390-0232

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