ASA’s Anchors Aweigh Series #3.The Mushroom Anchor
The mushroom anchor is a weird little beast. Named for its mushroom shape, it has its place in the anchoring universe, but is not really the anchor you’ll see on most cruising boats. However, the next mooring you pick up (or install) might well have a sizable mushroom anchor holding it down. For the actual anchoring of boats little mushroom anchors are often used for temporary anchoring purposes on smaller dinghies, providing it’s a mud or sand bottom. It’s big or small with the mushroom – that’s the way it is.
Although Bruce isn’t as elegant and sophisticated a name as Danforth, it is certainly a tried and tested anchor design that many cruisers use as their go-to hook. Unlike the Danforth, a Bruce anchor doesn’t have any moving parts. It’s all one piece and for that reason it takes a knock from some for not being very storable. Although this simple one-piece construction makes for that particular detriment, it is also seen as a positive when it comes to the effectiveness of the design. If it’s affixed to a roller hanging off the bow then everything is fine, but if not, its awkward physique takes up a bit of room. Assuming you find a nice little home for it, according to many cruisers, the Bruce digs in and sets nicely in a variety of conditions. Incidentally, the Bruce is often referred to as a “Bruce type” or “claw” anchor because the Bruce company went out of business in 2007.
Maybe nothing beats the feeling of broad reaching on flat water in a 12-knot breeze. As the boat gallops along, you can feel the boat almost smiling – it’s doing exactly what it was born to do and the feeling is contagious. However, a close second to this awesome experience is the feeling of arrival. Destinations at the end of a sailing voyage are often beautiful and it’s always amazing to pull into a space only accessible by water. A place that requires dropping the hook, hence becoming part of the surroundings. But what hook? Let’s talk about all the different types of anchors and what they do best and where. We’ll start with probably the most popular anchor on the market, the Danforth.
Anchoring is a giant part of the boating experience and we have to know how to do it well. Here’s a little anchoring quiz we’ve created from ASA’s Coastal Cruising Made Easy and Bareboat Cruising Made Easy. Answer wrong and you may have to suffer a wisecrack! Good luck!
My favorite part about cruising is finding a remote anchorage and exploring the surrounding area. Knowing that your boat is securely anchored will give you the peace of mind to leave the boat while you are ashore and allow you to sleep soundly.