Our New Parking Brake

The list of items and projects to be bought or completed seems to only grow longer as we race to cut the dock lines this summer. Melissa and I seem to be working feverishly on about a dozen projects all while living on the boat and working full time.  So when we do get an item ticked off our list, it is worth celebrating.

Bill and Donna on sv Denali Rose bought a 99 pound Spade anchor for their Nauticat 43. Their New Best Bower Post was timely and inspired yet more googling.  The Spade is a great anchor and at 99 pounds, will surely keep their boat safe in the worst conditions. I had been considering the spade anchor, among others, and had almost made up my mind about buying one when we did our annual trip to the Seattle Boat Show. A new best bower for Galapagos was at the top of our list.

Usually at the boat show you have the opportunity to hear the sales patter from several different manufacturers and this year, we looked at the Mantus, Excel and Rocna anchors. I had done my due diligence research on line and had seen that anchors, like religion, all have their followers. In the end, the consensus seems to be that pretty much any of the new fangled anchors out there are good but there isn’t one particular anchor that is best in every single situation. Melissa’s brain trust group, Women Who Sail, splits about evenly between Rocna and Mantus in terms of anchor love.

For those readers not familiar with the term ‘Boat Buck’, that means $1000.  Both the Rocna and the Spade would cost us about 1 boat buck, more or less, for the size we need for Galapagos. At the boat show we saw another very nice anchor, the Excel.  It was going to cost us, again, a bit more than one boat buck. And anchor is not something where you want to just go with the low bid, but that’s a lot of money. And again, all of the new anchors get good reviews.

So, what did we buy?

The Mantus anchor comes in three parts but in one really heavy box.

The 40 kilo (88 pound) Mantus anchor above was shipped to our marina in less than a week and cost us less than $600 with shipping. That was about half the price of the very nice Excel anchor we saw or a Spade.

Everything laid out and ready to assemble. Small packs of Lanolin are also provided to smear onto the bolts.

The assembly was quite easy with everything provided and a one page set of instructions.  Small Packets of Lanolin are used to coat the bolts prior to assembly.  The use of nuts and bolts to connect the shank and roll bar to the fluke was a concern to me as it has been to many folks considering anchors that can be disassembled.  Given the robustness of the bolts provided and the use of common sense to check them periodically, I think the fact that the anchor can be taken apart and stowed more easily can be an advantage. Using bolts to put an anchor together is a bit counter-intuitive, but the way the load is distributed on the anchor relieves that concern. Losing the bolts is not an issue that has been a problem for any of these kinds of anchors.   Mantus could add some peace of mind to the system by drilling the bolts to accept a pin or seizing wire, like the Spade .

The 30 kilo Bruce being usurped by the new Mantus. The difference in surface area is impressive.

As far as I can tell, any of the new style anchors will be superior to the older CQR or Bruce anchors we now carry.  We have been using a 30 kilo Bruce for the last two years of Salish Sea cruising and it has held well in winds up to 30 knots.  But as we travel further afield, we need to know that we are secure. One of Melissa’s friends in the WWS group describes their Mantus like a parking brake. I like that.  I was tempted to go up another size to the 45 kilo Mantus but worried that handling that much weight by hand if things go pear-shaped would prove difficult. The sale’s person at Mantus did not recommend we go up to the next size.

The anchor fits well but it doesn’t leave much room for a second anchor on the port side roller.

The new anchor fits well onto the starboard roller which is the only side of our windlass with a chain gypsy.  The roll bar can be an issue for some boats but it fit well on Galapagos.  The very wide fluke does cause a problem on the bow though.  I can’t fit a second anchor on the port side roller and I would like to carry the Bruce as a backup.   At this point, I am thinking that I will stow the Bruce below with 30 feet of 3/8 inch chain and two hundred feet of rope rode.


There is good clearance for the anchor but no room to stow a second anchor on the bow.

I look forward to taking Galapagos out for a weekend to test our new best bower.  Melissa and I rarely take guest moorage in a marina and we love anchoring out. Knowing that you are well and truly fastened to the bottom during a blow makes for restful nights and more enjoyable time away from the boat.  We’ll keep you posted on how well this new piece of kit performs.


15 thoughts on “Our New Parking Brake

  1. I look forward to hearing how you like it. Everybody with a Rocna swears by them, and the Mantus looks like it has the same design (for almost half the price). We’ve had such good luck with our CQR, we’ve never been tempted to upgrade but most people in the PNW don’t seem to care for them very much (something about having a difficult time getting a set).

    • It’s interesting about Rocna vs Mantus. There are many threads on the WWS facebook site asking for recommendations for anchors from currently cruising sailors. It’s really a toss which is more popular in that group of over 10,500 women, many of whom are currently cruising in different parts of the world. Unless there is something seriously amiss, I bet we love this.

    • We used a CQR on our Cal 34 for years and it worked well in the Gulf islands and Barkley sound. With good scope most anchors will do a pretty good job in the weather typical for our area. The Bruce we have been using on Galapagos has been good as well and I like the simple, beefy design. I hope I find a way to make it fit somewhere on the boat.

  2. Re placing a 2nd anchor on the roller.
    We had the same issue when we added our (beloved) Rocna. Our solution was to place our 2nd anchor (20kg CQR) upside down in the other roller. In an emergency, we could flip the CQR and deploy.

    (And yes, for us, switching from CQR to Rocna was a HUGE improvement.)


    • Thanks for the tip on flipping the anchor. That might just work. At any rate I am going to revisit the roller and see what I can do to fit a second anchor up there. I have an aluminum fortress on the stern that can be used as a kedge but I really need something bigger as a backup.

  3. This is perfect timing! We were just having a conversation with our friends on SV Terrapin about why they and we LOVE our mantus. You will be super satisfied with your boat $1 purchase.

    • Yes, the proof is in the pudding. I would like to think that we could get the boat put together in the next three weeks to allow us to decamp for Gig Harbor for a weekend in March. That wouldn’t exactly qualify as a test of the anchor, but at least we could get it dirty.

  4. When we bought our boat it came with a big Bruce copy that’d served the previous owners well for years but would often require a second or third set to really dig in. After one season, I bought the exact same 40kg Mantus you did and have had it on the bow for three seasons now. If you’ve lubed the bolts, used the lock washers, and torqued everything sufficiently I’d be amazed if they ever came loose. You could use a 4′ cheater bar and I don’t think you could strip those bolts so if you’re concerned, make them grunt-tight.

    The great thing about the Mantus is its setting and re-setting ability. In Puget Sound mud, at least, it’s been first time every time for me. The only thing that’s ever defeated it is a thick patch of brown kelp in Garrison Bay, but I don’t think any anchor would’ve made it through to the mud in that spot. The spare Fortress is sitting in the locker if I ever suffer a rode failure or have to cut the Mantus loose but at this point, I don’t feel any need for a second anchor on the bow.

    FYI, Steve Goodwin up in Port Townsend has produced a series of videos torture testing different anchors and the Mantus does very well.


    Video #56 is the most comprehensive if you’ve got 40 minutes to spare watching underwater footage of anchors setting, being ripped out, and re-setting (or not).

    I will say the Mantus doesn’t have the cosmetics of its more expensive competitors. In the end, they put the money into the design and the volume of material, not the looks. The welds are rough and the galvanizing on my roll bar had a flaw that resulted in a 1″ long patch of bare steel being exposed. However, Greg Kutsen (the husband of the husband/wife team behind Mantus) stepped right up and offered to ship me a replacement roll bar. In the end, I opted to cold galvanize it so he gave me a generous credit for some other Mantus gear I wanted. Kudos to Mantus for their support. FWIW.

    • My dear Pook,

      Thanks for the vote of confidence and the good report on Mantus’ customer service. I have watched Steve’s videos before and think they serve as yet another example of how the cruising community shares knowledge and resources.

      I’m not too worried about the bolts any more but I will check them after retrieval the first few times just to reassure myself that I did a good job. As others have mentioned, the wheels on our cars are similarly attached.

      I will be curious to see how the anchor performs in kelp and other difficult areas. I have read that the roll bar can be detrimental to setting in such conditions and can become fouled which affects how the anchor orients itself.

      We have a fortress aluminum anchor on the stern but I do want to carry a secondary anchor in case we lose or must abandon the Mantus. The 30 kilo Bruce is the front runner for that spot if I can figure out how to stow it. sv Pelagia and sv Denali Rose have both suggested flipping the spare anchor upside down; something I intend to try soon.

      I have

  5. Hey Mike,

    That looks great, and conducive to untroubled rest at anchor…

    The Mantus is a fine anchor, and I envy you could use one and save those precious boat bucks! I know several boats in Alaska who swear by them too. It looks like it readily stows as you bring it in too- always a plus! Nice install.

    Our bow sprit won’t allow for any anchor with a roll bar, so our choices were limited… [Rocna Vulcan and Spade were the finalists…]

    RE: Spare anchor on the bow: Would something like a Mantus Anchor Mate [www.mantusanchors.com/mantus-anchor-mate/] help keep the new anchor forward enough to allow for another anchor in your spare roller? That or I’ve seen boats with upside down anchors as spares. That way it is ready to deploy in an emergency [when wrestling a spare anchor up on deck is least desirable…]

    Enjoy your new boat jewelry…

    Cheers! Bill

    • Thanks Bill. Your are the second person to suggest flipping the anchor over, so it is something I will try very soon. Looking at the space today, it seems possible but I might need to make blocks to fit on either side of the shank to remove any slop. Drake Paragon did that with his primary when they were on passage to keep the anchor from moving too much and I think it could work for this situation as well.

  6. Like others, I can’t wait to here your impression of the new gear once its good and dirty!
    Aboard Sionna its a SLIGHTLY oversized (35#) CQR and 3/8″ (for the extra weight) chain. So far that’s worked flawlessly for us. Fingers crossed and knock on wood!

    • We will report back after a few weeks of testing. Now that we can smell our departure date, I’m getting antsy to try out this new gear.
      We used a similarly sized CQR with about 30 feet of chain to good effect on our Cal 34. With the heavier chain you carry I would think your beautiful Sionna would ride very safely.

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