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Thread: Bruce Anchor - buy or not?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    New Gloucester, Maine

    Bruce Anchor - buy or not?

    I'm going to look at a 33 pound genuine bruce anchor tomorrow (craigslist $80 obo) that I plan to put on a bow roller on A-414. I know that the 33 pounder is a size up from the suggested weight but I feel OK about that for two reasons: 1) I'm a newbie and I don't want to worry about the anchor when we are sleeping aboard 2) from what I've read the bruce has relatively low (compared to a Rocna or Spade say) ultimate holding power. Upsizing should help in both these departments I figure. Also I'm trying to get her back in the water next spring without busting the bank and if I can score an anchor I can depend on for $75ish than that would be a good thing for me and my marriage .

    So does anyone have any first hand knowledge? Or sage advice?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Orinda, California
    Ebb has a significant take on Bruce and other anchors in the "anchor" thread. Please search using the Google search described in the Off Topic forum.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    San Rafael, CA


    Before you invest in the 'Bruce', you should be absolutely positive that it is Genuine.

    Copies of Bruce (Bruce style) anchors have bad reputations.

    There are no genuine Bruce anchors being made. Don't buy a copy!

    To that end, and so you won't have to wade thru Ebb's New Generation stuff,

    Go to S/V PANOPE on YouTube and research Steve Goodwin's ANCHOR TESTs

    and RESET tests. You will find actual underwater camera tests on various anchors

    you mention. His is the only individual source for anchor comparisons that I trust.

    A genuine Bruce is good for certain, but not most, cruising grounds.

    It cannot serve as your Primary.
    Last edited by ebb; 09-10-2017 at 11:36 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    New Gloucester, Maine

    Bruce bad or new generation just so good it's crazy?

    Hi Bill,

    Thank you for the reminder on the search function. I did use it and I did read all of the "new generation" anchor thread but I thought it could be useful to ask if anyone had been using a bruce specifically and if so what their experience had been.


    Thank you very much for your response too. A wade is not what I'd call reading the pages on this forum! I am totally eating this stuff up and in particular your detailed posts are often helpful - thank you.
    I've watched all of S/V PANOPE's videos and they are really great. It does seem that lots of the other videos are now "paid content" or at least they have a bias since an anchor was given to them or whatever.

    My only criticism of Panope's tests is that they are obviously extreme. Its a big, heavy, powerful motor sailer and he is generally using really short scopes when he has problems or has just done a full, directly overhead, reversal. I'm not sure if this is a minus on the old generation anchors tally or an extreme test that demonstrates how ridiculously good the new generation anchors are. Obviously the rocna and spade in particular are hands down the best choice.

    It is definitely a genuine Bruce - made in belgium and looks like it's been sitting in a wet locker for 30+ years given the state of it's galvanization . Have you used one in the past Ebb? Anyone else? I know from the search function that some of you have owned them but there seems to be little talk here on them.

    Speaking of S/V Panope - what a boat! I love that pilot house and can imagine a lot of use for such a boat off our beautiful but often cold coast here in Maine. If any of you have not watched the making of videos they are worth your time. Check it out here


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    San Rafael, CA

    swallowing anchors (& a recommendation)

    Goodwin is an engineer. He approaches comparing from a no nonsense point of view.
    His RESET tests, recorded underwater with GoPro cameras, are the only consistent,
    objectively evaluated, group anchor testing in existence.

    As you may have noticed I've given him the benefit of doubt. His perfunctory deliberate
    approach to testing is 'extreme', to put a word to it. His anchors are larger than what
    we would use on Ariel's. But only a size larger than what we might choose for a storm
    anchor. His marvelous ship is, imco, not really an issue, because he is performing
    extreme resets and holding on extreme short scope. Can't imagine anything more useful
    than this choice of comparison testing. When I've looked at past testing by anchor
    vendors and manufacturers, Goodwin's method favors no type of anchor over another.

    Banding words, could say his test grounds are an extreme normal. His methodology:
    we want it extreme, because it represents the upper limit of what we can expect from
    the anchor. We want to know how short a scope an anchor holds the boat.

    Goodwin's testing would be more useful in more bottoms. But his choice of anchors is
    tested in the same sand/mud/grassy bottom (rather than just mud, say) -- I'd argue
    it is perfect testing ground. Some of his test's were done up in the San Juan's.

    So we have to extrapolate/imagine what an anchor will do in pebble, shale, rock,
    solid grass, kelp, hard sand, oozey muck.

    Cruisers have liked Bruce because when dropped on its side it always digs in one of the
    blunt tines. Only in softer bottoms will it turn (or not turn) and bury further. But if we
    compare it with a sharp pointed single fluke TYPE anchor,. the single fluke will
    penetrate more sea floors (like hard sand, grass, kelp, etc.)
    The Bruce was designed as a huge mud anchor for oil rigs. Yacht sized it's barely OK.
    It depends where you are or will be cruising. It depends. So, it may be perfect for you.
    And if it is the one-piece genuine cast Spheroidal Iron Bruce, it will be fun to try.

    I've discovered and Goodwin's testing has once & for all proven that a couple popular
    single fluke rollbar anchors are dangerous to depend on. Dangerous to trust.

    It's hard to believe that a Genuine Bruce is a precisely engineered anchor. That's why
    ALL copies are lesser anchors. InMyConsiderableOpinion the two popular rollbar anchors
    on chandlery shelves today cannot be depended on. Because Rocna and the Manson
    Supreme are NOT ENGINEERED, Ebb categorizes them as whimsy anchors, from
    individual designers, whose (lack of) DESIGN expertise is finally being called to attention.

    A dependable new yacht anchor, imco, is the take-apart Mantus. BUT this anchor is,
    imco, stupidly engineered for deck use, because of the funky way the fluke is assembled.
    However, it's wide sharp pointed blade equates to 'extreme' holding power when set.
    (This is conjecture, not tested by me, or found on any forum I've visited). Goodwin
    approaches anchors from an engineer's point of view, yet allows the immeasurable
    intuition its weight. I lean in that direction, he's not promoting anybody's hook
    -- just being nasty. (for some reason, a good anchor does often look good, too)

    Good luck! and I'm pretty sure good luck is what we all need when it comes to anchors.
    `````````````````````````````````````````````````` ````````````````````

    Poiraud Spade, Alain Poiraud trained as a medical engineer and designed things like
    heart valves., not sure of Spade's exact provenance: totally unique, the original still
    inspires new anchors entering the market -- the original is the primary for LittleGull.

    Looking at it from the computer monitor, it has a bunch of things I find problematic
    with Spade inspired NewGens. EG, Rocna's BOWL shaped fluke is flawed. It picks up
    and holds sand/mud/grassy seafloor which causes the anchor to drag out of set in
    Goodwin's resets. Supreme also
    . The no-rollbar weighted tip Spade has a bowl
    shaped fluke, a non-blade wedge entry into bottom, hollow fabricated shaft, too small
    a fluke area -- things I used to believe unacceptable for an all purpose cruising anchor.
    And there's that rather alarming wide open rear cavern of the wedge.
    ... ...But, found a deal -- now pack a 33lb galvy, & a same size 14.5lb aluminum Spade.
    They both take apart, simply with a single pin!! which could be considered another
    'negative' for ultimate strength -- shaft & fluke stronger when welded together.

    Never the less, the anchor has an unassailable reputation with cruisers who have come
    to accept the personality of the anchor, if not the genius of its nearly forgotten inventor.
    Anchors are compromises. Spade for nearly 25 years has done well in many bottoms,
    especially grass. And predictably better than any other Spade-inspired new-gen.

    Technically, these anchors are the most beautifully constructed, carefully finished works
    of art you can find. All other competitors (including Bruce) seem clunky and crude....
    To borrow a phrase from a newly released wine at 'my' vineyard: Could say.....IMCO:
    Spade is an anchor of finesse and enduring elegance. Flowery but appropriate!!
    Last edited by ebb; Yesterday at 11:11 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    New Gloucester, Maine
    Amen brother and thank you for another IMCO!

    Now you've got me more curious than worried about the thing! If I can get it for a good price I'll buy it and try it out in my local waters and report back.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Scarborough, Maine
    Hey Ben,

    A fringe benefit of a 30# anchor on the bow - mentioned in passing in that inspiring and excellent video - is that it will help trim the boat so she sits on her lines better.

    As you'll discover, Ariels have a tendency to "squat", especially with a 250+ lb inboard. Inside the anchor locker, you'll find a 60lb (+/-) lead "pig" (no idea why they are called that) which I moved from the bilge forward to the anchor locker to help her sit on her lines a little better.

    You can see how she squats a bit in this post here: http://www.pearsonariel.org/discussi...1502#post21502

    Maybe that shippy anchor on the bow is just what was missing to get her sitting on her lines!
    Totoro (Sea Sprite 23 #626)

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