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The 'stockless' v/s the 'old' Stock anchor

There was a 'time' long ago when God upon man did bestow an anchor design that was divine.  For it was strong and 'sure' and its shape was 'pure.' It was the 'stock' Crown anchor that had two 'pod' like or 'palm' flukes of many a shape, and was used by many vessels of all sizes over the years.  Even today there are many that still 'ply' the seas with the smaller versions on their ocean excursions.

It has been used in many a form and 'name' for over 2000 years, and later became known by many as the 'Fisherman' or 'Admiralty'  pattern, due it being used by naval institutions. 

Photographed outside the 'Tamar' Yacht Club in Launceston, Tasmania.

The use of this anchor in its smaller 'poundage' around the 20 to 40 kg mark continues on, but the larger 1 - 5 ton or more versions are not so common, and are no longer used on the modern merchant or naval fleets of the day.  The 'James Craig' has a 1200 kg anchor.

The now 'common' anchors used on merchant and other large ships are the 'stockless' kind.  Those on large ships having two flukes that swivel on the base of the shank body.

The common anchors now used on fishing and pleasure craft are also stockless, having either the similar twin flukes such as the Danforth, or the single fluke variety such as the well know CQR, that has been and yet is a very reliable anchor in many anchoring conditions.

Why did the large ships seek change from using the Admiralty stocked 'design' anchor? For a number of reasons, the primary one being that due to their size, they had to be made in sections, with the two 'fluke' arms being 'welded' to the base of the body.

This welding together in a 'foundry' of old consisted of heating the two parts to be joined, and after placing one upon the other, it was 'hammered' together with a 'giant' drop hammer.  This 'forced' the two metal sections to 'meld.'

However, due to the very powerful 'holding' capacity of these anchors, there were many times when the 'weld' un-melded and the 'anchoring arm' broke off with dire consequences, for large ships of those days carried up to a dozen anchors on board, and there was great difficulty in 'un-stowing' another anchor 'quickly,' and even less 'chance' of hauling up the now 'useless' one in a 'hurry' to replace it.

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Some of the 'hemp' rope lines were 8" in diameter, they needed up to 72 men 'manning' the 12 spokes of the capstan, (6 on each) and the incoming rope had to also be stowed as it came back onboard, and the rode length could be some 600 feet.

There was also another 'fault,' being that the fluke designers 'never' thought of using a large area fluke.  All flukes were small and thus easily penetrated hard ground like a 'pick,' but could also be dragged in some cases.  Maybe they were not 'blest' with being able to 'purchase' 8' x 4' steel plate sheets in a variety of thickness as we so easily can today.

It was in 1821 that the first forerunner of today's 'large' stockless anchors for ships was patented.  Since then there have been many different designs that all follow a 'similar' trend.  These anchors became popular as they could be easily 'stowed' on the outside of the vessel, as their stockless 'body' could be drawn up through a 'hawse pipe' in the side of the hull.

There are also many other 'claims' made about the 'goodness' of these anchors but, - - - even today, many ship equipped with such an anchor has dragged its anchor or anchors and foundered on many a rocky shore, and many will continue to so do - - - Why?

If you 'examine' the design of these anchors, they all have a fluke that swivels.  Thus its only penetrating 'capacity' is the weight of the fluke tip.  Not only this, but its 'block' shape is also not 'conducive' to penetrating to any depth in hard ground.  Thus in reality, it relies 'heavily' on its weight and the amount of chain used.

Tests have 'proven' that this 'style' of anchor can 'hold' against a force of between 1 to 10 times their own weight.  This is not a great deal considering the forces generated against a hull by wind and wave action.

It is well known too that anchors such as the 'Plough' and Admiralty 'stock' anchors have the capacity to 'dig' down, and the holding ratio of the proven CQR far exceeds the above figures, and if properly 'set,' its ratio is probably a factor of 50 or more.  Therefore a 20-kg CQR could hold against a 'pull' of 1000 kg or much more if it sets correctly.

Note - The weight and length of the chain and rope used also has a considerable anchoring 'effect' factor - the heavier and longer the better.

The 'old' Admiralty style also has a better 'hold' < weight for weight > than the modern stockless, but is not as good as the CQR.  However, by 'updating' the old 'stocked' Admiralty anchor with an 'innovative' new fluke design, there is a totally different picture that has emerged. 

Why the use of a 'crossbar'? Because it is the only 'style' that guarantees to 'set' itself in every situation, especially when it’s a matter of life and death and material loss of the vessel.

Not only this, but the ARK Crown fluke design that uses a 'concave' face that 'faces' the 'wind and wave' blown vessel gives an even greater 'drag' resistance than the forward facing convex shape such as the 'Plough' uses, or the 'flat' face used by the Danforth style.

This 'added' resistance is only needed in poorer holding ground and when there is extreme weather situation.  But after all, it is only at that time when you need your anchor to anchor itself quickly and not drag.

When your cruising 'family home' is in dire straits, then it is nice for you to be able to 'relax' and know that when you do get home, you can tell the end of the story to others that says:

"The 'ship' weathered the storm and 'rode' it out easily with each passing wave.  The ARK Crown anchor held 'fast' and its reassuring design did us all save, and this was also due to the fact that we had learnt how to anchor safely by using the correct anchor and chain size and length for the conditions prevailing"

The OLD - small flukes

The NEW - large flukes

The ARK Crown anchor is thus 'offered' to those seeking the 'ultimate' safe & sure anchor that will be their friend when a 'life or vessel' needs 'someone' strong on whom to depend.

As for its 'ease' of use or 'deployment,' well a little 'effort' spent on 'how' to 'bracket it' to the 'deployment' section of the 'bow or stern' of your 'boat' will be time well spent.  For the time does come to many on the sea when their anchor needs to be dependable.

There is no 'patent' on the new ARK anchor because I believe that all good 'inventions' are the inspiration of God for the benefit of all to make or use - feel free to make your own and use the design sketches found on this web site found HERE.

The designers are my son Timothy and myself, Terence