Fortress (Alum.) anchors: opinions

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
I have been quite happy with the holding power of our old Danforth 12H, with 30' of chain, and 250' feet of rode. We anchor in a combination of sand and mud. Almost always in less than 30' of water - often 20'.

Recently a friend was telling me about being happy with a Fortress 7# for his 25' trawler. Same geographic area for anchoring.

This caused some pondering about whether we might be just as happy with the lighter anchor for everyday use. Deploying and retrieval would be a LOT easier, too. And with somewhat less % chance of it chipping my new paint, when it's out of the water but not on deck yet.

Anyone tried one of these aluminum anchors? Experiences? Stories??
:)
Our 34' boat weighs about 11K#, I should note.

Thanks,
Loren
 
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nquigley

Sustaining Member
I have a 33lb Vulcan. I've been wondering if a Fortress designed for a bit bigger boat than mine would serve as a supplemental storm anchor. I like the weight savings, but Danforth-style anchors can be hard to stow. Can Fortress anchors be dismantled for storage like Mantis anchors?
 

JPS27

Member III
Yes they can. I assembled mine sometime ago, but hadn't thought about disassembly. My stows well enough in the lazarette at the helm. I use mine as a back up for now. Haven't gotten around to trying it as primary. But maybe this thread will prompt me to do so. here's a link:

 

nquigley

Sustaining Member
Yes they can. I assembled mine sometime ago, but hadn't thought about disassembly. My stows well enough in the lazarette at the helm. I use mine as a back up for now. Haven't gotten around to trying it as primary. But maybe this thread will prompt me to do so. here's a link:

Nice - now I'm even more interested!
 

Alan Gomes

Contributing Partner
I have been quite happy with the holding power of our old Danforth 21H, with 30' of chain, and 250' feet of rode. We anchor in a combination of sand and mud. Almost always in less than 30' of water.

Recently a friend was telling me about being happy with a Fortress 7# for his 25' trawler. Same geographic area for anchoring.

This caused some pondering about whether we might be just as happy with the lighter anchor for everyday use. Deploying and retrieval would be a LOT easier, too. And with somewhat less % chance of it chipping my new paint, when it's out of the water but not on deck yet.

Anyone tried one of these aluminum anchors? Experiences? Stories??
:)
Our 34' boat weighs about 11K#, I should note.

Thanks,
Loren
I had an FX-23 on a previous 30 footer and I currently have an FX-16 (I think it is) for the stern anchor on my Ericson 26-2. This is way overkill for my current boat, especially for use as a stern anchor. I have a Rocna 10kg anchor for my primary.

There are two issues with these to keep in mind: (1) As is true for all Danforth-style anchors, they may not always reset on a wind and/or tide shift. That's why I use the Rocna for my primary since it is better at resetting itself. (2) One of the *really light* Fortress anchors might skate along the bottom and not set due to the very light weight. I personally have not experienced this, but others report it. My FX-23 was heavy enough for that not to be an issue and I haven't used my 10# FX-16 enough to have run across this issue yet. Since you are contemplating the 7# Fortress you might want to be alert to that issue.

All that said, I think the Fortress is an excellent anchor. It's well made and, once set, it's really solid in a stright-line pull, especially in mud or sand.
 

Joliba

1988 E38-200 Contributing Member
I have a Rocna as a primary and an oversized Fortress (sorry, I don’t remember what size) as a second anchor. With no windlass, if I am in less than 30 feet with a mud or sand bottom, I find the Fortress to be much easier to work with and very secure. I stow mine flat on the floor of the cockpit lazarette. If you use it only for rare occasions you can even keep it disassembled, but there is little advantage in doing so. I have a bracket on my bow pulpit that can hold the anchor outboard with its shank vertical when approaching an anchorage. Though my experience with it is limited, the Fortress has a very solid reputation and performs well in most anchor tests.
Mike Jacker
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Good video. Thanks for posting.
He makes a good point that the width of the stock influences how effectively the device can 'dive' into the seabed. Our boat came with two Danforth's, a 13S and a 12H. The later has a noticeably thinner forged stock. That is our main anchor choice.
Both anchors work in our mixture of sand & mud, BTW.
One minor quibble: he Fails to explain that Danforth invented the precise degree of fluke angle and also the area of fluke needed, and that others later copied it to produce a plethora of cheap and sometimes low quality "danforth style" anchors.

Also interesting is his take on the total weight, and that seems to directly lead to the importance of the chain length (and rode). We use 30 feet of chain, and I might use more if our well had room for it... But there is a tradeoff in putting more weight in the bow, the other 99% of the time.
It does look like the very attractive Fortress 7 might be too light for us, and that their 10# might be best. Unfortunately that one may be too large to fit in our anchor locker.
More proof that if.... yacht ownership were easy, they'd let anyone own one! (sigh) :)
 

racushman

O34 - Los Angeles
Loren - I have the FX-11 in the bow locker of my O34. I don't have much experience with it, however my world cruising parents have had very good luck and recommend it. It doesn't fit well in the locker though. Originally it was too wide, and I had to cut an inch or two off whatever you call that cross piece is that holds the flukes. I also found that it wouldn't fit with the optional bolt-on mud fins attached, which I don't think is a big deal but net-net is the fitment isn't ideal.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Loren - I have the FX-11 in the bow locker of my O34. I don't have much experience with it, however my world cruising parents have had very good luck and recommend it. It doesn't fit well in the locker though. Originally it was too wide, and I had to cut an inch or two off whatever you call that cross piece is that holds the flukes. I also found that it wouldn't fit with the optional bolt-on mud fins attached, which I don't think is a big deal but net-net is the fitment isn't ideal.
Thanks! So did you have to cut some metal off of the cross bar to get it to fit into the molded-in slots on each side of the rear of the well?
(These slots were, based on the exact fitment on our boat, designed for a Danforth 12 or 13 size anchor, at the widest.)
 

racushman

O34 - Los Angeles
Thanks! So did you have to cut some metal off of the cross bar to get it to fit into the molded-in slots on each side of the rear of the well?
(These slots were, based on the exact fitment on our boat, designed for a Danforth 12 or 13 size anchor, at the widest.)
Yeah I had to cut 2" off the crossbar as I recall. That said, the crossbars still don't sit in the molded in slots because the stock on the Fortress is longer than the Danforth it replaced. All said and done it does fit OK in the locker with 300 feet of 1/2" rode and 45' of 1/4" chain.
 

GrandpaSteve

Sustaining Member
I use a Fortress FX-16 in Chesapeake bay mud. It is oversized for my boat, but it holds great. One time I was anchored in St. Michaels and felt the wind shift while I was ashore. Fearing my anchor not resetting properly I made my way back to the boat. The anchor had reset 180 out from where I had left it. No worries that time.

The 32-3 anchor locker is huge. It holds the Fortress and a same sized Danforth. 15 feet of chain and 200 feet of rope rode for each in there, plus spare mooring lines and a hose and collapsible step.
 

Alan Gomes

Contributing Partner
I use a Fortress FX-16 in Chesapeake bay mud. It is oversized for my boat, but it holds great. One time I was anchored in St. Michaels and felt the wind shift while I was ashore. Fearing my anchor not resetting properly I made my way back to the boat. The anchor had reset 180 out from where I had left it. No worries that time.
The Fortress resets great in a 180-degree shift, except when it doesn't. Danforth-style anchors are just not especially good at that, or at least doing it consistently. If I were on one hook, particularly in any area where wind and tidal shifts might significantly change my orientation, I'd feel more comfortable with a Rocna, which resets itself like a boss. But when anchoring bow and stern where the direction of pull will not change much, a Fortress is hard to beat.
 

CTOlsen

Member III
Hi Loren
We have a Fortress FX-16 on Loki, and have been using it for about 5 years. We've had no problem with this anchor dragging. In fact, it is often a time consuming process to get it off the bottom. It has served us well in a number of conditions.
Up to this season I had only 5 ft of 5/16" stainless anchor rode. I've replaced this section with 10' of 5/16 stainless rode for additional comfort.
Hope you're enjoying your new boat!
CTO
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Thanks, Craig. Did you also have to "shorten" the cross bar? (So it will fit in the frp molded anchor well in the O-34 ? )
 

CTOlsen

Member III
I did. I shortened both ends of the stock. Additionally, I shortened the Shank to just below the manufacturer's swivel attachment hole. I drilled a new hole to accommodate my stainless swivel, and rounded the end of the shank. This lets the anchor sit in the anchor locker with ease. Again, no problems encountered.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Installed our Fortress FX-11 today. Luckily, no modifications needed at all. The width of the cross bar is just a tad less than that of the Danforth 12H that it replaced. The anchor well is rather full, with 30 feet of chain and 250' of rode. The lid does latch down with a bit to spare, tho. Note B: we have never used a swivel. (well, yet.)
The faithful Danforth is now stowed in the bottom of the lazaret and the spare chain and rode is securely stored away : under the cover over the little compartment in the starboard settee footwell.

This anchor should be a little easier to deploy and retrieve, since the only "windlass" we have is the "armstrong" kind. :)
 

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