Yeah, I’ve done some sailing and a lot of anchoring. I’ve also taken advantage of very nice marinas when available. That said, I believe the Max anchor is the best anchoring hook on the planet at this time. I am talking real life experiences in a wide variety of anchoring situations and not about some simulation situation created by well meaning reviewers. I commend their efforts in the pursuit of finding the ultimate anchor in any situation that would tend to keep a yacht safe. There is really only the anchor that is right in the situation you are in. This would be the anchor your wife says, I can sleep at night when you put our anchor down. This is the anchor that is your yacht insurance when cruising outside the limits of your US yacht insurance. (But the Max also works in the USA!) The anchor for me is the Max anchor.
When I bought my BABA 30, new in 1978, I went to a few boat shows and bought a lot of stuff. I didn’t really know what I needed but some kind of anchoring gear was essential. So, based on common knowledge, I went with 50 feet of 5/16 chain and 150 feet of 5/8 nylon anchor line. I added the recommend 35 lb. plow type anchor at the time which every yachtsmen was carrying and thought I was ready for the off-shore islands of Southern California. This system worked in calm conditions but dragged when put to the test. When I headed south for the first time in 1993, to Mexico, I replaced the 5/8 line with 5/16 chain, but unfortunately I still had the same plow anchor which would latter prove useless. I also had aboard other recommended anchors as backup.
Everything went well for the sail down and the few stops in between but the anchoring gear was not tested. Later in the Sea of Cortez during the hot and turbulent summer of Hurricane season with it’s frequent ‘Chubascos’ spin offs of tropical weather disturbances (winds in excess of 60 MPH with water spouts) often on lee shores, gear and sailors get tested! These summer delights frequently occur at night without warning. In my case, my first one was in daylight while anchored in Puerto Escondido, (Hidden Harbor), BCS, Mexico.
Well, we got the full show on this one. I watched a very large Deerfoot (70 Ft.) sailboat nearly turn turtle as the leading edge with two water spouts hit her, I drug my anchor like crazy in the 7 fathom depths while boat gear was flying throughout the anchorage. I was able to motor around other boats behind me while dragging my anchor so I know that tactic works. I was one of the lucky ones. I needed a better system which I later found with a Max anchor. I single handed my BABA 30, ‘DESPERADO’, back to California and refitted in 1995.
On my return to the Sea of Cortez I was far better equipped to handle what Mother Nature handed me. My Max anchor, which was at the time a 44lb. adjustable served me well. Where I really noticed a big difference for the first time, was at La Cruz, near Puerto Vallarta. Very hard pan bottom where most anchors seem to just skip along the bottom as you back down. I had this problem with the recommended anchors at the time during my first sojourn. Not so with my Max. First time every time, dead stick and hold. Good feeling. At the time, I had heard about this same kind of bottom, I believe in the Med around Greece, I’m confident the Max would have worked there too, it’s really that great!
My Max was with me across the Pacific and we anchored sometimes in very deep anchorages in French Polynesia averaging 12 to 15 fathoms with 3 to 1 scope, without problems. In the shallower anchorages we always managed to wrap a bomie so we were not going anywhere. The high light of why I love the Max anchor is next!
Pango Pango, American Samoa, arguably the most difficult anchorage in the South Pacific. With a notorious reputation of a non holding ground where all boats anchored drag due to the garbage on the bottom and high winds. It is infamous among cruisers. Our first try, Max down and no dragging for the next six months we were there. Later the anchor came up clean and looking good. Not so for the 5/16 HT chain which looked like it had been exposed to an atomic pile and was dispatched at sea. Who knows what evil lurked below in that bay.
And so, it continued, no problems throughout our journeys and we continued to totally rely on our Max. Indonesia with it’s incredible passage currents was no problem although we were witness to numerous other boats dragging and colliding. It appears for the most part they were carrying those other recommended and touted anchors from the current publications.
Well, we got as far as Thailand and Malaysia where I notice after 33 years with my BABA 30, that a refit might be in order for everything except the Max which was still going strong! The best compliment regarding the Max for me was one uninformed cruiser saying: “Isn’t that anchor overkill?” Well, it does look like a small tractor blade even to me. I later decided to sell my DESPERADO in 2010, and start a new chapter. We are now proud owners of a new to us ‘Vancouver 25’ here in the USA and are currently refitting her for cruising with the first order of business a Max anchor of course! We were pleased to learn that we could still obtain our favorite Max anchor from a new company and suggest you check them out.
Take care, stay safe, Crazy Cal and the Dutchess, aboard ‘DESPERADO’, the second course. Cal Fitzgerald