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SPADE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

   
 
 

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?

Holding 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?

 All 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?

This is 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?

The model 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.

 

7 – Following your recommendation, what would be the best use of your aluminium model?

We will 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?

Some sea 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.

 

9 – Tunisia sounds like an odd country to operate from. Why do SPADE operate out of Tunisia?

SPADE is 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.

 

10- How 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.

 

 

 

 

11- Yachting 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 click here.

 

12- Yachting 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.

 

13- Sailing 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.