How Big Should Your Anchor Be?


We submit the photo above as a baseline for thinking about anchor size. We are ensconced in Vikingevagen, Norway. A tight, protected anchorage. Water depth is 40 feet (12m) and the barometer is plunging. It is gusting 40 knots, and the granite shore is 150 feet (45m) off our stern. This is not a situation in which you want to worry about anchor size.

So, how big an anchor is right?

This is a tough calculation. Typical tables published by anchor suppliers or organizations like NMMA are a joke. They assume good holding, and moderate, protected anchorages. Our basic rule has been to use a multiple of what would be considered a storm anchor.

This pays dividends in every day use allowing you to anchor with much shorter scope

At the risk of repeating ourselves (this topic is covered in great detail in our books), and using one of the new generation highly efficient hooks like the Rocna, Spade, or Bruegel, we would carry the following:

  • Sundeer 56/60 – 110lb/50kg
  • Sundeer 64/68 – 176lb/80kg
  • Beowulf 80 – 240lb/110kg
  • For yachts in the 40 to 50 foot range – 80lb/38kg
  • For yachts in the 30 to 40 foot range – 60lb/28kg

This assumes a chain rode.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 8, 2009)

One Response to “How Big Should Your Anchor Be?”

  1. Craig Smith Says:

    Steve, a post we can agree wholeheartedly with.

    We were in not such a dissimilar situation ourselves a few months ago, except the location was Antarctica and the winds were 50-60 knots. Behind us, a lee-shore of jagged cliffs. Situations which re-define anchor sizing.

    Rocna explains in detail their sizing philosophy, as it applies to “official Rocna sizing recommendations”, at the following page: