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, 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, 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, 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.
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.