Sunday, 22 September 2013

A Cracked Anchor & Fake Rocna's

Cracking Up!
Planning an ocean crossing, early this year we sent our Bruce anchor and chain to Bangkok to be galvanised.  Tick another job off the list we thought ...... wrong.

Whilst the chain came back looking shiny and new, our anchor came back showing a significant crack above one of the flukes. The Bruce has been great, 15 years of sterling service for us and 8 years on the boat prior to that.  This crack was not evident before it was galvanised - but better to discover it now than when it inevitably fails under load.  Click on the photo at right for an enlarged view of the crack.

So the search was on for a new anchor.  After the usual wasted days of reading and research, we decided to buy a galvanised 33kg Rocna anchor.  It has a number of advantages over the Bruce and other more traditional anchors, including greater holding power, the roll bar for instant setting and it is self lauinching.  

Is It Fake Or Is It Real ?

Rocna anchors are readily available in Phuket, but we just couldn't work out which was an illegal copy and which anchor was the real thing.  We spoke with many resellers and came away more confused.....did a real Rocna have impressed lettering or raised lettering - we saw both types.  Each dealer claimed to have the real Rocna, and warned about fakes every where else.  With rumours everywhere, we found even the Rocna website warned of copies, and the variance in pricing was quite remarkable.

So we contacted the Rocna head office in Canada, first by email and then on the telephone, to clarify the situation.  How could we pick the fakes ?

Picking The Fakes 

Turns out that both the embossed lettering and the raised lettering are found on "real" Rocna anchors.   Rocna tell us that demand for the product has been so high that the original factory (in China) could not keep up, so they now also manufacture using a second factory with slightly different production techniques.  Hence the differences in the lettering.

In the end, the only truly fake or "copy" anchors we saw were damned obvious - the quality was clearly inferior and they had no Rocna labeling of any kind. 

Kun Wiwat and his team from AME, at Boat Lagoon Marina in Phuket, delivered our 33kg Rocna for a test fitting.   We immediately decided to fit a new bow roller and to extend the side cheeks.  Fortunately this whole area of the boat was rebuilt in stainless steel back in 2000, so welding onto the roller cheeks was fairly painless.

The extended cheek plates let us install a proper locking pin.  Unfortunately the large roll bar also meant we had to remove our existing bow light and refit separate red and green lights at a new location. Its never easy....

So far, we've found the anchor sets extremely quickly and securely.  On retrieval the flukes, just like the Bruce, are usually thickly coated in mud/sand and require a good wash down.  One extra bonus that we did not count on was the fact that the Rocna really is self-launching, the Bruce always had to be woman-handled into its launching position. The Admiral is very happy.