Diggin' our new Spade
When we bought Lady Roslyn at the end of 2015, she came with 2 x 25kg Delta galvanised anchors and a collapsible 25kg Fortress aluminium anchor.
At the time we had 70metres of 12mm galvanised chain attached to our primary Delta anchor.
We want to have as many options as possible when coming into an anchorage. We also want to feel that our anchor is holding us VERY securely and re-setting itself if the wind switches direction at night or when we are not on the boat.
In 2016, we sold one of the Delta's and bought a second hand all stainless steel 30kg Bugel anchor which came highly recommended. At the same time, we sold our galvanised chain and bought 100metres of high strength, individual link tested, 10mm stainless steel Cromox chain from Ketten Walder in Germany and a new gypsey for our windlass.
We never felt secure with the Bugel. During our trips to Croatia and Venice in 2016, we had some issues setting the anchor and we were really not happy that no matter what we did, the anchor rode up into the anchor slot with the tip facing upwards.
However it was during the 2017 season, when we spent 92 nights on board, with 67 of those nights at anchor, that we lost all faith in the Bugel. We struggled to set it. It dragged unnecessarily during setting, no matter how slowly or fast we tried to get it to dig in. In a nasty squall one morning at the top end of Navarino Bay on the Pelopponese it just dragged and would not reset, even with both engines holding us steady, the boat at a complete stop, the bottom sand and mud and with no other boats around us dragging. It was absolutely hopeless in weed. The final straw was in Finakounda in the southern Pelopponese, when in 4metres of water and over pure white sand, we tried over 12 times to set the anchor, with absolutely no success. As soon as we reached Nafplion and were tied up against the harbour wall, we swopped out the Bugel for the remaining Delta and did not have any issues for the next 40 or so nights at anchor.
As we were planning to sail to the Cyclades in 2018, where there is a lot more wind, we were not satisfied to have a 25kg Delta as our, now, primary anchor and the Bugel, which we did not trust, as our back-up.
I began researching anchors in detail, reading anchor tests, watching YouTube anchoring videos and speaking to everyone I could about the subject.
Finally we made a decision and in April of this year, we ordered a S160 40kg Spade galvanised anchor directly from the factory in France and had them deliver it to Lady Roslyn in Athens.
Upon placing the order, the factory recommended that we buy a Wasi Stainless Steel Powerball Swivel for the connection between anchor and chain.
When we bought the anchor, Spade had not yet sold one of their anchors for use on a Fountaine Pajot Saba 50 catamaran, so we were not exactly sure how it would fit.
Well, today marks exactly 1 month that Catherine and I have been back onboard Lady Roslyn. We were in Athens Marina
for 3 nights before leaving and have dropped anchor every night for the last 28 nights as well as a number of lunchtime stops.
The Spade anchor has set first-time, every-time. I have to reverse very slowly upon setting, or it digs in so quickly that the windlass starts to release chain under the strain. I have dived on the anchor in almost every anchorage and cannot believe how deeply and completely this anchor sets and digs itself into the ground. We have set in sand, sand and weed, sand and rocks and mud. On one occasion, in sand, I could not see the flukes or shank. The chain just disappeared in a depression where the anchor had set.
I am absolutely in love with this anchor. Catherine and I sleep very well at night now. I still have an iPad next to my bed with a Night Guard screen, which I have set-up, showing the chart, wind speed and depth of water. I still set an anchor alarm with a tight radius so that we will be alerted if there is any dragging. However, up until now, we have not once dragged from our initial set and we have had a number of occasions where the wind has switched repeatedly from the time we anchored until the time we have raised it again the next day. We have also held absolutely securely 5 nights ago in a bay on the southern tip of Ios with winds gusting over 42 knots, when a monohull in front of us dragged anchor while having to deal with their small RIB being spun around and around, flying in the air behind the boat.
We can confirm that the S160 Spade anchor fits the Saba 50 perfectly. It does not slide into the stainless steel anchor slot of the boat, but pulls up against the tips of the slot. However, the tip of the anchor does not come anywhere near the hull AND very importantly, with the WASI Powerball, the anchor swivels and faces the correct way, with tip facing downwards, every time.
Well done Spade, you have completely won us over and we are very happy to recommend the Spade anchor to anyone considering a new anchor.