1 – Do SPADE anchors fit bow rollers designed
for “plough” anchors?
Yes, usually there are no problems. You can now
download a full sized template from this website to build a model from the page of this site.
2 – Does the
aluminium SPADE have the same holding as the steel version of the same size?
power of an anchor has very little relation to its weight. Holding power has
a much closer relation to the size, and the shape, of the effective surface
area of the anchor’s blade. Because each model of our anchors will have the
same effective surface area, whether made of steel or of aluminium, each
anchor will have the same holding power. Several independent tests, by
nautical magazines have confirmed that our aluminium anchors hold with
exactly the same power as the steel version of the same size although it is
important to note that we do not recommend the use of an aluminium anchor as
a main anchor.
3 – Does
your aluminium model have the same weight distribution that your steel one?
our models – steel, aluminium or stainless steel – are well balanced, with
nearly 50% of the anchor’s total weight on its tip, giving the SPADE the
best penetration qualities of the designs presently available.
4 – Does the
lighter weight of an aluminium SPADE mean that it will not penetrate as well
as a steel version of the same size?
true; the model in steel will dig in slightly more readily than the
equivalent aluminium version. However, due to its superior design (which
gives 50% of the weight on the tip), an aluminium SPADE will have better
penetration qualities than most other types of steel anchor of equivalent
size (which, because of the materials, will be twice the weight of the
aluminium SPADE). And we remind you that once set; the aluminium SPADE will
have the same holding power as the steel SPADE. Both will be far superior to
other types of anchor of equivalent size.
5 – During
the tests by the French magazine “BATEAUX”, the shank of the aluminium model
tested was slightly bent. How do you explain this?
tested was a size recommended for boats of up to 4.5 tons. It was tested
with a boat of 18 tons, four times the recommended displacement. The
anchor was not destroyed, only slightly bent. We consider it performed well,
given the very unfair match of boat and anchor. We do not recommend
the use of an all chain rode on aluminium anchors.
6 – What
type of aluminium are you using? Is it more prone to bending than steel?
We use a
marine aluminium alloy, and as its resistance is less than that of steel, we
use heavier grades to compensate. But for use in very rough conditions,
we will suggest our steel model as a main anchor and the aluminium one as a
secondary to stern anchor.
Following your recommendation, what would be the best use of your aluminium
suggest our aluminium model as a secondary or stern anchor; or as a main
anchor if your boat is a ULDB; or light weight catamaran; or if you are
frequently racing; or if you have a large boat and no electric windlass.
8 - Do
you consider the SPADE anchor good for all bottom types?
bottoms are more difficult than others: thick weed, shingle, boulders, or
flat rock surfaces all make difficult bottoms for anchors. In these cases we
can only say that the SPADE anchor will hold better than most models. In
very soft mud, equivalent sized flat anchors with an opening angle of 45
degrees (between fluke and shank) will give better results – but only in
this type of sea bottom on the whole we believe the SPADE to be the best all
round anchor on the market.
Tunisia sounds like an odd country to operate from. Why do SPADE operate out
based in Tunisia for similar reasons that many North American industries
base themselves in Mexico. Tunisia is an ex-French colony in North Africa.
It is a stable state where labour rates are lower than in France, and
bureaucracy is simpler. With its well developed infrastructure it is an
ideal base from which French businesses launch new products into Europe –
and to the world.
do you recommend I connect my anchor to my chain?
There are a large number
of purpose built anchor connectors on the market, the majority of these are
simply inadequate and are prone to failure. They were originally
designed to overcome the problems associated with using a normal shackle
which tends to get caught on a bow roller during recovery. If this is
not likely to be a problem, we advise using a shackle of one size greater
than that of the chain. If the bow roller is likely to fail a shackle,
then use a rigging toggle as shown in the picture below.
Monthly and PBO recently reported the loss of a New Zealand vessel
apparently due to a problem with the SPADE anchor's shank bolt. How do
you explain this?
The New Zealand
authorities investigated the case in order to prevent a similar case
occurring. Based on the account of the skipper, they concluded that
they only possible explanation was that the nut somehow unscrewed itself and
the bolt somehow dropped out. They offered no explanation of how a nut
specifically designed not to come undone could do so without any forces
acting upon it. They recommended a simple modification to the bolt to
eliminate any possibility of the situation reoccurring. Despite doubts about
the case Spade followed this advice. During the investigation, no
doubts were expressed about the general performance or design of the SPADE.
No similar cases have ever been reported despite thousands of anchors sold.
This was a new anchor in calm conditions and in our opinion it is extremely
unlikely that the nut did unscrew itself from tight as described. For
more information please
World magazine published an anchor test in 2003/4 in which the Spade seemed
to come out worse than the CQR and the BRAKE. How do you explain this?
The ratings for this test
were based only on the maximum holding power achieved. The equipment
used was not able to measure the maximum holding power of the Spade as it
did not break out. If you read the text it is clear that the Spade is
the preferred anchor. The test did not include a turning test which
would have shown the CQR's tendency to roll out. The Spade did not
perform well in the gravel seabed, but all the anchors performed badly in
these conditions and the seabed was inconsistent. The BRAKE anchor
used was considerably larger than the other anchors tested. This test
was originally published in a French magazine.
Today magazine published an anchor test in 2003 in which the Spade did not
perform well, contradicting all other tests. How do you explain this?
The testing procedure was
very poor. They tested a range of anchors in a single poor holding
seabed (they admit that they intended to test the anchors in three seabeds
but ran short of time and the weather drew in - the test was originally
scheduled in January for the December edition - this was simply no excuse!)
Their test results clearly showed that the sea bed was inconsistent (the
smaller Kobra outperformed the larger unit!) They did not seem to
acknowledge this. They also claimed that the aluminium Spade and the
Océane failed to penetrate. When these anchors were returned to us,
they showed clear evidence of effective penetration. The tests
did not consider turning on tide or wind and were not scientific.
A subsequent anchor test
by Sailing Today failed to include Spade (predominantly Lewmar
(Simpson-Lawrence) anchors (we were not invited to participate). The
results clearly showed the CQR to be the best performer, yet they concluded
that the Delta was the better anchor. The Delta is indeed a better
anchor than the CQR only because it is roll stable - a factor they failed to
test or even comment on. Fortunately most other magazines are carry
out tests in a more responsible manner.