Of all the dockside debates that crop up year after year...

Of all the dockside debates that crop up year after year, nothing stirs up as much passion as anchors. Everybody has an opinion about what’s the best design to go for and none more so than the anchor manufacturers themselves. Almost invariably their marketing boasts about their anchor’s ability to set in seconds and stop an aircraft carrier in its tracks, usually backed up by some official sounding certification or carefully selected test results. Yet, when you look into precisely what these claims mean, they often amount to the square root of bugger all.

Thankfully there’s no pulling the wool over the eyes of MBY’s Tim Bartlett, whom we called on to settle the issue once and for all (p86). Tim has a bloodhound’s ability to sniff out the facts from the hyperbole and never shies away from telling it like it is. So rather than test every single anchor on the market, he selected what experience tells him are five of the most popular and effective types of anchor in the UK, then methodically put them through their paces both in mud and sand. The results make truly fascinating reading and show that there’s a lot more to selecting the right anchor than choosing the one with the most brazen claims.

Once you’ve made your choice, the next step is knowing how and where to use it. The beauty of anchoring is that it gives you the freedom to explore so much more than the local marina. As one of the UK’s pre-eminent architects and a Grand Banks owner himself once said to me: “You would have to pay millions for a house with an uninterrupted view of the coast, yet even a modest boat gives you access to any number of stunning locations.”

No doubt you already have your own favourite local anchorages but what about further afield? Cruising expert Peter Cumberlidge has generously decided to share with us his 20 favourite hideaways around Britanny’s idyllic coastline on p64. And just in case you do find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place with an anchor that won’t budge, former charter skipper Michael Howorth gives his tips on how to think your way out of trouble (p96).

With all this knowledge safely stashed in the memory banks you should be set for a fine summer’s cruising. I, for one, can barely contain my excitement, having just sealed the deal on not one but two new boats. You can read about MBY’s new pride and joy on p12 but mine won’t be on the water for another week or two. In the meantime there’s a pint for the first reader to guess what it is.