This is a three-toed “scoop” anchor with a three-position, adjustable shank (pivoting arm model) that is excellent in sand, mud, clay, marl, rocks, and depending on their size and spacing, boulders. Although the Super MAX anchor was not tested in the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Test, we and others have found that this anchor sets easily in mud, regardless of how it is deployed though proper technique in deploying and setting this anchor should still be observed.
Heading from the Chesapeake Bay to the Bahamas, fall of 2015:
Along the ICW heading south in October, 2015. We had a chance to use our new Super MAX anchor that we got from Max Marine Products on different Seabeds. It dug in so well in a clay/mud bottom that I had to put a stopper on the chain to get it out of the bottom. We dropped it again the next day in a sand/mud bottom and it set immediately. I have never anchored so easily before. A little difficulty getting it free in the morning is a small price for a good night’s sleep!
Each time the Super MAX Anchor has set on the first try. It grabs quickly when you begin to back down it. Once in a clay/mud bottom the anchor set so firmly that my anchor chain backed from the windlass capstan with the brake set. In all of our 50 years of boating, I have never had an anchor set so quickly and firmly. We have had Fortress, CQR, Spade and Rocna anchors before. We liked our Spade the best, but the Super MAX Anchor is proving itself quickly.
I was a little concerned about reversing currents causing it to free from the bottom, fearing that when the stress on the shank was so great, it may have lifted the anchor off the bottom so quickly and completely that it would take awhile for it to reset. That did not happen in Wrightsville Beach in sandy-clay bottom. The anchor must have stayed buried as the current reversed. I had a difficult time getting it to release from the bottom the next morning because it was so firmly buried in the seabed.
We are anchored for the next night in an area where the current runs more than 4 knots! It set just by letting the current take us back, but we backed down on it anyway to make sure we had it set well. The strong current reversed five times before we retrieved the anchor and the Super MAX Anchor held firm in almost the same position. The bottom was soft black mud, so the anchor, even though set well, came out of the soft bottom fairly easily. Here are the coordinates when first anchored and when we picked up the anchor. These are with the current flooding in each case:
Anchor Down: 32 – 24.6485 N and 86 – 40.330 W
Anchor Up: 32 – 24.6490 N and 86 – 40.338 W
So far, I am really impressed with this anchor!
Our next anchorage was at the southern end of Cumberland Island in an area that had 13′ at MLW. The tide was 6 feet and with a maximum current of about 5 knots. We had 3 current reversals while there and the Super MAX did well. It set on the first try at high tide. I put out 90 feet of chain rode. The bottom was silt mixed with sand. The anchor chain came up clean, but the silt and sand stuck tenaciously to the anchor.
Next we anchored just off the ICW just south of Jacksonville near the Atlantic Blvd. Bridge. Swinging room was a little tight as the water was about 20 feet deep at high tide. We initially set the anchor with about 60 feet of chain. It set so fast that we thought we had caught a snag. But, with darkness setting in we decided to deal with the problem in the morning. I called TOWBOAT US and notified them that we may need some help in the morning getting our anchor free. As it turned out, after getting up twice in the middle of the night at the time of the tide reversals together with 20 knot winds there was no apparent dragging of the anchor. In the morning, Lynne and I said a little prayer and proceeded to raise the anchor. We motored over the top of it with a half inch nylon line secured to the anchor chain with a rolling hitch and the other end secured to a cleat on deck. The anchor took a bit of lifting to break it free, but it was not snagged. It was set securely in clean sand.
Tonight we are anchored in Melbourne, Fl. Lots of wind, but not much current or tide. The bottom should be mud. So, I will again get a chance to use my new wash down pump. Tomorrow night we plan on anchoring again near Eau Gallie, Fl on the Indian River.
We love our Super MAX anchor.
Our next anchorage on the voyage south was inside Dragon Point on the Indian River. It may be the best place to anchor on this stretch of the ICW. It is very protected and I believe the bottom was silt and sand. No current reversals here, but we were exposed to 25 knot winds all night. Not a lot of fetch, so no sea to worry about. In the morning when raising the anchor the chain came up clean and the anchor with just a quick washing came up with just small deposits of silt and sand on it.
Eventide anchored seven times making the voyage north from Florida, returning to home on Virginia. All of the anchorages were in mud or silt sand. Each time the anchor set on the first attempt. We always put out 40-50 feet of rode and then either back down on it or let a strong current set it. I had to put a snubber on it to protect the windlass because the anchor dug into the bottom so quickly on the set. After the anchor set, I let out 30 to 50 feet more rode, depending on the depth of the water. I always recorded the anchor coordinates and never observed any dragging. It would be easy to be over confident with this anchor! But, as an old salt, I can’t let that happen.
The Super MAX anchor really digs in and holds! I have had several good anchors including a CQR, Rocna, and a Spade, but the Super MAX has proven to be the most reliable. I have not had the opportunity to use it in sand. But there is no reason to believe it would hold any differently. And, it comes out of the water clean!
It is a well-known fact that one should not pick an anchor size based upon what will fit the boat but rather one what will hold in the conditions expected. However, my small downeast boat with a roller well aft in the pulpit puts some finite limits on what will work as a routine anchor including obviating anything with a roll bar like the Rocna (it was a 72-pounder) I had aboard my last boat. I think I scored a hit with the 32-pound Super Max 15 (SM 15) I recently added to the boat to replace the 40-pound CQR knock-off which I had temporarily placed aboard to in turn replace the 16-pound toy Claw the boat came to me with (the Claw is now my “tossable” stern anchor). This SM 15 is the smallest Super Max made with an adjustable shank and also the largest Super Max that can physically fit between my anchor roller and windlass. It is suitable for boats up to 15,000 pounds, and mine weighs in around 12,000 pounds full up.
I would have up-sized if to a SM 16 or 17 if possible, but this boat’s entire bow structure probably would not withstand the maximum loads a larger anchor is capable of withstanding anyway – heck, it may not even handle this anchor’s 2,000-lb working load, much less its probable yield strength. It is a boat that will never be unattended at single-anchor moor to face nature’s wrath. So in the end, I saw this as a quite suitable anchor on paper.
Today brother Jim and I took this new anchor, set to its middle shank position, into five feet of water in the north end of the bayou over what in the past (when hurricane-mooring the 40,000-lb Calypso) was so gooey that a 40-lb Danforth rowed out on 200 feet of rode was simply reeled all the way back to the boat without ever setting , even after I stood on the points of the flukes to bury them. A Fortress FX-37 Danforth-style anchor with adjustable fluke angle later solved the issue of the Danforth style anchor not setting in the ooze, but that Fortress (now disassembled in Frolic’s bilge as an extra hurricane anchor) is just way too cumbersome and large for routine use in this boat.
With five feet from anchor roller to waterline plus five-foot depth of water, I let out 30 feet of 1/4 high test chain for the 3-to-1 scope recommended for use to initially set the anchor. We eased back to stretch the chain taut on the snubber and then added throttle for a moderately hard set. The boat never moved an inch aft from the point where the chain initially went taut – it was like getting hung up on a rock.
Getting the anchor out of the muck required us to reel in the chain to the “up and down” position and then working the boat back and forth until it broke free and came to the surface with a soccer ball’s worth of mud in its grip – there is a LOT of fluke area on this anchor.
Next will be a trip to the barrier island to drop this dude into some sand.
The features of the Super MAX anchor-it’s adjustable shank (pivoting arm models), good weight distribution, and three “thin”, strong, sharp-edged toes (on the fluke), along with the fluke’s angle of attack- allows for the anchor’s ease of setting even in hard-to-penetrate bottoms. With the fluke angle adjustable to the appropriate position, high-tensile steel for strength, and large fluke area, this anchor has the ability to develop extremely high holding power. With its ability to set in so many types of bottoms, and its propensity to remain set in shifting winds of changing currents added its list of advantages, it is our opinion that the Super MAX anchor out-performs any other contemporary anchors we have used, experimented with, or observed in action.
I did finally get down to our barrier island just a couple of days back where there is plenty of just plain old sand. I was alone on the boat and was just down there to pass the time on a nice day reading a book and eating my lunch. On a whim, I decided to anchor by bow and stern with the stern in wading-deep water at a favorite spot where the bottom drops off precipitously (Yup, you can do this in the winter here.).
This is a type mooring I very seldom attempted in the deeper and heavier Calypso and could only accomplish with extra crew, and I would only go into chest-deep water with that boat’s stern. Unlike the Calypso, the Frolic has windlass control at the helm as well as foot switches on the bow which gave me a better shot at this while single-handing.
With the transom door open and the 16-lb Claw anchor on the swim step (tied off with 25 feet of chain and fiber rode) and the Super Max 15 (weight 32 pounds and set to the mid position) just over its tipping point on the bow roller, I used the bow thruster to help aim the stern where I wanted it to go and hit the down button on the helm in 10-15 feet of water about two boat lengths from the shallows. I kept my finger on the button until the stern was into 3 feet of water and then stopped sternway and hopped aft to the swim step and tossed the Claw as far as I could (I have since removed the few feet of chain on that anchor as superfluous in such shallow water).
Then I jumped into thigh-deep water and pulled the boat back in a few feet before grabbing the Claw and running it onto the beach. Once back aboard, I adjusted the stern anchor rode and walked to the bow to find the all chain rode looking taut at a fairly steep down angle – sorry did not note length of chain out, but it was not much. The only “setting” tension placed on the SuperMax was whatever I gave it while pulling the 11,000-lb boat to me by hand against a bit of breeze while standing on the beach; I believe the windlass was fast enough in the down mode that there was little if any pull on the chain as I was slowly backing into the beach.
Upon departure a few hours later, I grabbed the claw and jumped aboard as wind and current pushed the boat out into deeper water. The boat swung around to the point where it was now on the back side of the Super Max. I brought the boat to the anchor and had the chain “up and down,” and the anchor was still holding. I was contemplating attaching a snubber to it to allow use of the engine to break it out of the bottom, but I let things simmer a couple of minutes before gingerly hitting the up foot switch a few times to break it out. It came up with a bit of sand on the fluke which washed off before it broke the surface of the water. As you can see from this description, this was not a traditional set using a 3:1 scope (as recommended by Steve Bedford, the owner of SuperMax) and a snubber and engine power, but the anchor sure did its job with no fuss and no muss in this situation. Like the cruise missiles I used to have control over in the Navy, this is a “fire and forget” weapon and one I highly recommend.
We have owned our Super MAX 17 pivoting arm anchor for about 10 years. We spend 8 months on our Defever 44 (44,000 lbs dry weight) traveling from Connecticut to Florida and the Caribbean each year. The Super MAX is our “main bower” and we have anchored in all seabeds along the east coast without a problem. While working for one of the nationwide towing and salvage companies, I never saw a dragging incident with a Super MAX anchor. On Long Island Sound during a five-day nasty storm when another boat’s anchor dragged across our chain it may have caused the our anchor to slip. Beyond that, never a mishap.
The Super MAX is the quickest setting anchor we have ever seen. It sets immediately and at a very short scope and it does so in any bottom we have tried. In 50 feet of water in the Cooper River, 75 feet of rode was let out and it was made fast. The Super MAX grabbed the bottom with gusto and we remained fixed until repairs had been made. The Super MAX is a masculine brute and just doesn’t give a damn how you set it. It will dig into the bottom and fight it like a professional football defensive tackle, no matter what the circumstances.
Last winter we got a 25 pound Super MAX anchor in Florida. We were happy with our Delta, but we thought we would try this out on our return trip to the Chesapeake. The Super MAX is now a permanent fixture on our bow roller. In a month of use, more than 1,000 miles, it set instantly and held every time through winds of 35 knots and changeable currents of up to 6 knots. We used it on hard clay, oozy mud, grass and sand, with scopes ranging from 3 to 1 up to 7 to 1. It always held. The Super MAX is simply the best anchor I have ever used.
I have now spent two seasons cruising my native Maine coast, and my Super MAX 17 has stuck, rock solid, first try, every single time I dropped the hook. And as I do all the anchor hauling, an absolutely delightful bonus was the unexpected ease of breaking it out. I have slept a whole lot better hanging on to my Super MAX. I am immensely satisfied with the Super MAX’s performance, would not use anything else.
The Super MAX sets quicker than the original Max, I believe it sets quicker than the Bruce… The capacity of this anchor when put under load 180 degrees from where it was set may be one of its moot desirable characteristics… The Super MAX passes the ‘Emergency Test’ with a grade of A+. I have never seen an anchor do as well in this test… The Super MAX indicates it will truly be a “Super Anchor.”
We wouldn’t trade the Super MAX anchor for anything. Got it originally as a result of Captain Will’s experiments in North Carolina and Chesapeake Bay. We always let it set for a few minutes and then back down at 1200 rpm. We’ve gone through near hurricane force winds with it several times as well as anchored in everything from mud, sandy-mud, mud with shells, gravel, rock, etc. and it has never missed a beat. In a bed of heavy grass in the Keys where nothing else would hold, the Super MAX sat for awhile before backing down and it held!
We anchored in 31 locations on our 6000 mile, 7 1/2 month trip (Big Loop) with all kinds of bottoms, and it held beautifully every time. Our boat is 65′ and we have a 117 pound Super MAX Rigid anchor with 400′ of chain – never used more than 200′ on the trip. Once the Super Max sets, the harder the wind blows, the deeper it digs in.
In soupy jello mud near Miami, where a CQR, Bruce, Danforth HT and a Peckney Northill all dragged, the Super Max set in less than ten feet. Trinity was unable to make the Super MAX drag once she bit. In hard coral the Super MAX was able to penetrate the surface while the HT Danforth danced on its tips, the Bruce just scraped up a little sand, and the CQR plow just skidded along. In what I call a good bottom (medium sand and gravel) the Super MAX bit so fast and so hard that Trinity squatted and Rosemary and I had to hold on. Some anchors that hold well never seem to want to let go. However, the Max comes free with very little effort, and to top it off, even in mud she cleans up easily. I recommend the Super MAX as the primary anchor for any boat.
In tests over one week anchoring with the Super MAX Rigid 15 in the Bahamas, I dove at each site which included seaweed, coral and coral sand. I watched this anchor set immediately at every site, penetrate deeply and hold in bottoms that most other anchors don’t even set in. When reversed with a 180, the anchor followed around and did not become dislodged. An amazing performance!
My first ten days of using the new rigid anchor was remarkable. We anchored in sand, grass, mud and sand over coral pavement. It set the first time in each bottom and didn’t budge except once when we did a 180 and it came free of the coral and reset within a few feet. One night anchored in sand we had two fifty footers rafted alongside us with only our rigid Super MAX holding all three. The wind piped up to 25 knots overnight and we never moved.
After spending 4 weeks on an 800 mile trip on the ICW, we never had the slightest reason for concern whenever we anchored out. Even anchorages that are noted for poor holding posed little problem. It is great to get a good night’s sleep with the feeling you will wake up in the same spot in the morning.
Everything you claimed is true, we sleep well now even in poor holding grounds, a welcome change. The short scope and lack of chain required is incredible. It also breaks out easily, even when buried in 20′ of silt. We love it, and love it more each day. We realize that the only reason everyone else isn’t using the Super MAX more is that things catch on slow, and we’ve all heard that if it seems to good to he true, well… But it is true!
Each night we rafted together and usually alternated which boat would set their Super MAX anchor. The anchor set for each of us on the first try, virtually 100% of the time. We anchored in conditions varying from sand to mud to eel grass (where my Fortress is useless). Even in 30+ knot winds and mud conditions, one Super MAX held two 37 footers secure all night. We usually used the settings recommended by the manufacturer, but even when they were not set correctly, the anchor dug in and held. We can give the Super MAX an unqualified thumbs up for its performance on our cruise.
I anchored with my brand new Super Max 15HD Rigid anchor in a bay near Galveston that no other anchors normally hold in. It set immediately and two other boats rafted alongside my boat with the Super Max holding all three. About 2 in the morning a storm came through with winds a steady 60 knots. All the other boats in the bay were dragging anchors. One dragged over my anchor rode. Now the Super Max 15 was holding four boats in a 60 knot wind! I had the two alongside me break away. Then because untangling the two rodes would be such a problem at 3 in the morning, I cut the anchor rode and motored back to Galveston. Then I ordered another 15HD Rigid anchor! It has just unbelievable holding power!
The Super MAX has outperformed every rig I have seen to date. During a routine weekend cruise on Pamlico Sound (noted for poor holding), we rafted with two other boats for the evening. Each vessel set their anchors by backing down appropriately. During a minor blow we discovered that the Max was the only anchor that held! This included our 35 Endeavour, a 33 Pearson and a 39 O’Day.
In a storm off Marathon we deployed the Super MAX after both the CQR and Danforth had dragged forever. The Super MAX was dropped with only a 2 to 1 scope, and it held in winds up to 40 knots. It saved the boat, it ending up only 20 feet from some rocks. As stated in PRACTICAL SAILOR/POWER BOAT REPORTS, “Do we endorse the anchor? You Bet!”
I have a Super MAX 17… I have never had it not set on the first try. During a recent cruise on the ICW, my Allied Seawind II was struck by a severe squall. The winds clocked over 50 MPH and a lee shore was only yards away – scary stuff. The Super MAX was steady as a rock. The anchor quite literally has never failed me. Frankly, I think it is the best small boat anchor made.
Over a period of three years, anchoring in practically every bottom type between Norfolk and Georgetown, Bahamas, and in winds to 80 knots, one anchor stood head and shoulders above all the others, the Super MAX. I performed my own testing of the Super MAX 17, Bruce 44, Danforth 25, and Fortress FX37. The results indicated the Super MAX to be the only anchor to consistently set and hold under all conditions. The Super MAX would initially roll onto a single fluke, and with more tension it would roll to a center position and dig its entire surface area deeply into the bottom. It was the only anchor I tested that had any penetration power in a weed bed. When all is said and done, every captain wants an anchor he can trust. This is one sailor who would not think of cruising without a Super MAX aboard.
One winter, I was sailing the Bahama Islands aboard Bifrost, a 41 foot Morgan sloop. I’d been spending my winters in these waters for years, and during that time, had become a complete believer in the setting and holding power of my Super MAX 16 Pivoting Anchor. Late in November one year, I sailed from the Abacos to Royal Island for my jump to the Exhuma chain. Unfortunately, the remnants of a hurricane (I can not remember the name.) turned from the Central American coast and headed straight for me.
It was time to batten down the hatches and prepare for the worst. I set Super MAX as my primary anchor in good sand and mud holding ground with 35 feet of chain, and approximately 200 feet of nylon rode in eight to ten feet of water. I also set a CQR 35, with the same amount of chain and rode, on a sixty degree spread, knowing that I would ride to this anchor when the storm passed overhead. I backed down on each anchor individually, at full reverse power. Completing anchoring drill, I stripped the rig of anything that might blow away or rip apart.
The wind started to pipe around 0900 the next morning, with winds gusting to 25 knots. By noon, I was seeing gusts to 45 on the wind speed indicator. Around 1500, as I remember, the masthead transducer blew away at 65 knots, never to be seen again. Bifrost was riding well on the Super MAX, and I spent the day reading a novel and listening to howling winds whistle threw the shrouds. Around 2000, I’d had quite enough of wind and rain, but did one final check on Super MAX’s rode and chaffing gear. All was well, and I headed to bed, knowing that I’d be safely riding on the CQR in the morning.
The wind shifted, as expected, deep into the night. I grabbed a flashlight and trudged forward to check the CQR’s chaffing gear. Not so fast Skipper Dave, we were still riding to the Super MAX, and she was holding just fine. Back to bed. Next morning, I found the same situation, Bifrost was lying to Super MAX, and that just could not be, not with the 60 degree spread I’d dug in the morning before. I could not figure out what had happened. I checked for a crossed or fouled rode . . . not the problem. However, since the storm had past, Bifrost and crew were safe, and Super MAX was still on duty I just went about replacing all the gear I had stowed.
Three days later, when the water had cleared of the stirred-up mess it had become, I found the answer to the BIG question. Why and how could I still be hanging on Super MAX? There, in the now crystal clear waters, lay the Super MAX dug in to her chain. The CQR had scribed a perfect half circle from where it had been set to where it now lay. If I had not been a believer already, I sure as heck would have become one. Sometime in the night, the wind, still gusting above 40 knots, had shifted 180 degrees. The boat started its swing “dragging” the CQR with it. Thank goodness for my Super MAX! That big beautiful hunk of galvanized steel held the line like a Marine assigned a fighting hole.
If you want an endorsement on any Super MAX anchor, call me at 252-639-6095 and I’ll give you an ear full for an hour or more. I’m in the process of buying yet another sailboat, and you can bet your bottom dollar, it will have a Super MAX hanging from her bow . . . I don’t sail without a Super MAX period!
Tommy and Emily Brown’s Slocum 43 was anchored in Destin (FL) harbor during Hurricane Opal. Their Super MAX 17 was on an all chain rode and ended up holding their boat by itself after their second anchor’s rode had been cut by a dragging boat in the storm. With tears streaming down my face, I got out of the car to take one last picture of the boat and to tell it goodbye, because I knew this would be the last time I would see it in one piece. No anchors could hold under these conditions… After the storm died, so did our hopes that the boat had survived. Thursday morning a friend from Destin had phoned with the unbelievable news that our boat was still floating in the same spot! Only a handful of boats remained; the rest had sunk or landed on shore with holes. We cannot praise the Super MAX enough. [The Super MAX 17 had to have had from 9,000 pounds to 15,000 pounds pressure on it to have held their boat in steady winds of 125 knots with gusts to 147!]
In Hurricane Ivan our Kadey-Krogen 42 was the only boat left at our anchorage, all the other boats were on the beach. The winds were up to 146 knots but our Super Max 17 held us firmly to the bottom. I don’t think we budged more than a few feet during the whole hurricane!