Lewmar Delta Anchor Review On Our 38ft Sailboat

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Lewmar Delta anchor review –This post contains affiliate links for products we recommend

Lewmar Delta anchors get mixed reviews on forums. With most people these days favouring the next generation anchors such as Rocnar and Mantus, the Lewmar Delta anchor has been pushed aside.

When we bought our heavy displacement, 38ft sailboat it came with two 15kg Delta anchors and a promise from the previous owner that they had served him very well indeed. With no anchoring experience we were none the wiser, and decided that although they were a little on the small side we would give it a go. Now that we’ve spent months and months out at anchor we have a better idea of the whole anchoring business – the ugly ins and outs – and we’ve researched anchors as though our lives depended on them (because sometimes they do).

We’re now onto our second Delta, so we thought we would share our experiences below for anyone else looking into buying a Lewmar Delta anchor for themselves.

a sailboat at anchor using a lewmar delta anchor
Lewmar Delta Anchor review

The Facts About Anchors (not just Lewmar Delta anchors!)

After doing a whole lot of research into anchors over the last year and a half we have learnt there are a lot of factors to consider when anchoring or buying an anchor. It’s a VERY heavily debated topic and if you decide to delve into various forums you’ll find heated conversations about the ins and outs of various anchors – it’s a rabbit hole you could get lost down for days. Here are some of the key factors we decided were important when considering what anchor will suit your needs best.

Where Are You Anchoring?

We have learnt that different anchors suit different holdings. For example, a Danforth or fluke style anchor does well in tests with sandy or mud bottoms but terrible in other holdings. If you know your cruising area is sand or mud then you might be fine with a Danforth. Our Delta anchor does well in most bottoms, but struggles to grip in rock. We have found that it performs best in sand and mud, so we look for sandy patches when we pull into an anchorage to help us sleep that little more soundly!

When Are You Anchoring?

Obviously no one wants to be out at anchor in a huge storm, but if you decide that you’ll spend the majority of your time at anchor then there may well come a time when you’re caught out in a thunderstorm and it will be unavoidable. We love life at anchor and hate being in marinas or on town quays, so we knew we needed an anchor that could handle a storm if it came to it. This has an affect on the size of anchor you’ll want on your sailboat.

a graffiti image of an anchor on a wall

The Size Of Your Boat

The size of your boat needs to be considered before you buy an anchor – how heavy and how long. This part seems obvious. The bigger and heavier the boat, the bigger the anchor. Sort of. Of course it isn’t really that simple. The weight of the anchor is just part of its holding power, the other part is it’s surface area. Of course, the heavier you go the more likely it is that the anchor will be bigger and have a bigger surface area!

Our first Delta anchor was undersized for our tank of a boat. According to Jimmy Green’s anchor size comparison chart we should have had at least a 20kg anchor, and if we were planning on anchoring out often then even bigger still. The general thought seems to be that for any sort of serious anchoring you want to go two sizes bigger than the recommended, though there’s a lot of debate about whether this necessary for new generation anchors which have a clever design to make their holding power better.

What Happens When The Wind Turns?

After dragging when the wind changed direction in a busy anchorage we will forever be a little nervous of this. New generation anchors claim to have solved this problem by introducing a roll bar that should mean the anchor will reset if disturbed. We watched a lot of review videos and read a lot of independent tests and the opinions were quite divided about whether or not this happens in real life. I can certainly see the theory behind it, and we liked the idea of these new design anchors partly because of this reason.

Where Will You Store Your Anchor?

Will it fit on your boat? When considering whether or not to buy a next generation anchor we realised we would have to make serious adjustments to our current anchoring set up because of the added roll bar. It was possible to do, but not ideal. It wasn’t enough to put us off buying one but it was another factor to consider.

What’s Your Anchor Budget?

We like to think that money doesn’t play a part in our decisions when it comes to upgrading our sailboats but in reality it has to. Buying a boat and maintaining it is very expensive and it’s easy to get lost down a never ending money pit. In the end it was price that made our decision for us, with the extra £700+ for a next generation anchor being something we just couldn’t afford. Read on to find out what we really think of our new Lewmar Delta anchor!

The truth about the Lewmar Delta anchor

Our Teeny Tiny Lewmar Delta Anchor Review

Our anchoring set up when we first bought the boat was a 15kg Delta anchor with 60m of 10mm chain. We actually had two Delta anchors on the bow sprit, one that we used only once in our first season during a bad blow. The two anchors sat there looked laughably small. It was hard to imagine how such a little thing could stop our boat from blowing away. Below I’ll share the good, the bad and the ugly to help you see why we made the decision to buy another bigger Delta instead of something different.

Our first real experience of anchoring with our Lewmar Delta anchor was unfortunate. We were anchored in a small bay next to a pretty town in Ithaka, Greece. There were light winds forecast and we had anchored with winds from the West. We’d put out 4:1 chain in quite shallow depths, motored back hard and hadn’t moved an inch. We were pretty happy we were secure and after spending several hours watching (we were still pretty nervous about dragging!) we were happy enough to head to shore. After about 15 minutes of wondering we realised the winds had picked up and changed direction, and we watched in horror as our boat started happily sailing itself into the expensive looking catamaran behind us. Luckily we made it back to the boat just in time to get the engine on and avoid disaster.

the lewmar delta anchor in action holding a sailboat safe at anchor
We decided not to blame our Lewmar Delta anchor for this one!

As we were sorting out our own problems the majority of boats in the anchorage had picked up anchor too, either because they were also dragging or because they were worried about a boat dragging into them. On reflection, it was obvious that it wasn’t just the fault of our little Delta, but it didn’t give us much confidence in our anchor.

For the rest of the season we were pretty nervous about leaving the boat in any kind of wind, but in reality our tiny Lewmar Delta anchor was actually very reliable. We sat out a week of gusting 40knts with no movement at all, and a huge thunderstorm that bought over 50knts.

We found that it worked best in sand, and struggled most to set first time in rock. There was only once in a whole season of anchoring out that it took us a while to get the anchor set, most of the time it set first or second attempt.

So in summary, although we felt our Delta anchor was way too small for the job it actually did amazingly well in all kinds of different conditions, and by the end of the season we had a lot of faith in the design.

Buying A Bigger Lewmar Delta Anchor

After a whole year of research into anchors, which included asking every cruiser we met what their preferred choice was, we felt we were left with two options. Go for a large Rocna, which seemed to be the general favourite of the next generation anchors, or upgrade our trusty Lewmar Delta anchor to something bigger and better suited to our boat.

To get the Rocna we would have had to make some big moderations to our anchoring set up. It wasn’t impossible to do but not a small job either. This is something well worth looking into if you’re considering a next generation anchor. Will it fit in the same place as your old anchor or will you need to make moderations? The roll bar is often a problem. The thing that really swayed us was the price. It cost less than half to go for a bigger Delta anchor, and although you can’t put a price on the boats safety we had been so happy with the performance of our teeny tiny anchor that we felt pretty loyal to Delta and had faith in their design.

We bought a 32kg Lewmar Delta anchor and couldn’t be happier. It sets immediately and with satisfying certainty. It’s held us through consistent 50knts of wind and hasn’t budged an inch in a wind direction change. On diving it we can see why it works so well, as it’s very often buried completely beneath the sand and usually takes a bit of work to pull it out when we leave! We sleep much more soundly and we aren’t worried about leaving the boat when the wind picks up. For anyone like us who is sailing on a budget and keen to upgrade their anchoring set up, we can thoroughly recommend the Lewmar Delta anchor. It was worth every penny – thank you Lewmar, we really do love our Delta anchor!

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