Designed by STEVE WOODWARD
This anchor is an idea was first conceived by me while walking around the Southampton Boat Show several years ago. I was looking at the boats like 99.9% of us do that only a lottery win would enable us to purchase. I was looking at the beautiful polished anchors that they was sporting on their bows and thought to myself that even if I could afford this boat I would be seriously upset if an anchor of this value ended up lost on the sea bed, jammed in under a rock or other kind of obstructions. Straight away the cogs started turning and although I was at that show for the rest of the day I was constantly running various things through my mind.
I thought on the lines of the “Break away” fishing leads, and even thought down the lines of a torque wrench that broke when a specified pressure was reached. Anyway, I just started to put a few things together and the only design that was planted in my mind was a “Danforth” style of system. I wasn’t long before I welded a few bits of steel together and the concept slowly fell into place. I was constructed from scrap mild steel and very crude but I put a length of chain on it and pulled it across a field. It dug in and held perfectly. This was the first ever shot at it. I approached a fabrication shop that was on our industrial park close to where I was working and he made two up for me out of stainless steel, one was polished!!!
Both of these were a reversed Danforth style. Looking back at it I was thinking about practicality rather than being aesthetically pleasing, but then the next thing that popped into my overactive head was: could I convert this very simple system to work with a different type of anchor head? I had some stainless steel plate and it took me hours to cut by hand but the end product was quite good for the first effort. I did think about buying a Bruce or Delta copy to cut the head off and adapt to work with my mechanism.
The original was LOST, yes LOST at sea very close to the Needles, but this was not down to the anchor malfunctioning, the rope was fouled and frayed through, so if any divers find it you know where it came from now.
The original was tested though in an area of Hurst Race known as the TRAP, and was tested out on an Avon 620 RIB. The anchor was deployed and held in a very strong flooding tide, this established its holding ability but it still “Broke Out” when I wanted it to. I then set off to an area called Sowley in the western Solent, a lot less tidal run and in about eighteen feet of water. Again the anchor was deployed and straight away the boat offered its bow to the tide, it held as one would expect from a traditional Danforth. I then slowly retrieved the warp of rope until it was practically vertical. I jerked the rope and felt the anchor release it grip of the muddy sea bed. The head had totally rotated as was designed to do.
The anchor works on a sprung loaded rod running the length of the anchors stock. One end is attached to a shackle, the other into a slot cut into the desired head type. When an excessive load is applied to the anchor rope/chain the pin running through the stock lifts, freeing the head and allowing it to rotate and releasing its hold, or whatever is holding the anchor. It does work although I would not like to put my faith in it if wanting to sit out a storm in a safe haven. I have had some suggestions that the sprung loaded pin could pull with gentle movement of the bow moving up and down in a short chop but there is quite a lot of pressure being exerted from the flukes or head of the anchor creating a sheer force and basically “Jams” the head in place. Only with a hard pull will in surrender its hold.
Anyway, there are only three of these in existence, one is still at the Needles, and the others are still about. One is on a friend’s boat and he loves it to bits and the other has been modified to take a plough style head. This has to be evaluated as yet but I am positive it will prove itself like its predecessors.
I have had several people tell me that it’s an amazing idea and I had illusions of making a fortune from it, but to be fair it’s a tough thing to get into unless you have a small fortune behind you for all the patent work and research, something I haven’t got. But I am happy to go into the public domain with this knowing that it is an idea I had that’s works as intended and if anyone’s life can be made easier at sea while anchoring I can settle for that. They are not being manufactured, nor are they likely to be, but if you know anyone that can throw one together for you I think you might be impressed.