Happy to be anchored inside the relative protection of Minerva!

Our Silent Ally – A Review of the Spade Anchor – From Minerva Atoll

There are some pieces of gear that work so well that after a while you begin to take them for granted. Such is the case with our Spade Anchor. But every so often, we are reminded just how well it works.

After sailing north five days out of New Zealand, we sought protection from the wind and seas at a mid-ocean circular reef system named Minerva.  For the past 24 hours we have been riding out the reinforced SE trade winds tucked behind a thin strip of coral that breaks most of the brunt of the 3+ meter swell that is punishing the outer reef.  We are anchored in 13 meters, sand, with 50 meters of chain out.  At the end of our chain, buried deep in the sand, lies our trusty ally, and perhaps most important piece of gear in times such as these, our beloved Spade Anchor.  While our catamaran (a Voyage 430) dances and pulls at her gear in the 25 knot winds, and the breaking wind waves bounce her around while tearing past her hulls, we take solace in the fact that the Spade Anchor has not moved since we set it a day ago.  We love our anchor and we aren’t shy about it!  Without the best anchor, you would be constantly worried about dragging across the lagoon and would not get the much-needed rest that we were able to get last night.

For the past couple months there have been a few memorable occasions where the conditions have deteriorated, and the wind starts howling in the rigging.  There’s always a tinge of apprehension about the ground tackle holding us in place; but to our relief, our anchor stays firmly set and silently protects us from the conditions.  Did we mention how much we love this anchor??

So, just what is a Spade Anchor?  Spade Anchor was designed by a French company and the anchor is built in Tunisia.  The anchor is a concave scoop shape with a sharp tip.  The construction is of galvanized steel. The anchor is unique in that it has molten lead poured into the tip; this allows the anchor to keep burying deep into the substrate, always falls correctly, and will stay set if pulled 180 degrees.  The absence of a roll bar is an advantage so that when the anchor is pulled hard and starts to disappear below the substrate, the Spade can keep on digging in without the resistance of the roll bar pulling the tip upwards.  The other advantage is that it’s less likely to foul (or pickup) whatever is down there such as grass, seaweed, lines, etc.

I really enjoy diving on the anchor after a strong blow.  I follow the chain to the anchor but all I see is the chain buried into the sand; no anchor in sight!  I smile because I know the spade is set deep and won’t be coming out until we are ready to move on.

We loved our Spade Anchor on our last boat; we love our Spade Anchor aboard now; and we will have another one on our next. In full disclosure, we are sponsored by Spade Anchor, but even if the Company didn’t sponsor us, we still would have bought the anchor. It’s simply the best anchor we’ve ever used and we trust it.

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Happy to be anchored inside the relative protection of Minerva!
Happy to be anchored inside the relative protection of Minerva!
Happy to have our trusty Spade anchor set well and holding strong!
Happy to have our trusty Spade anchor set well and holding strong!
...and the wind waves go flying past!
…and the wind waves go flying past!
...even when the winds pipe up above 30 knots!
…even when the winds pipe up above 30 knots!

More Information on the Spade Anchor at the link below:

http://www.spade-anchor.com/-Spade-Anchor-.html

 

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Exploring Picturesque Cape Brett, Bay of Islands, NZ

This coastline is stunning!  As beautiful and rugged as the Big Sur coast is back home, we both voted and this stretch of coastline beats it.  I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

Great hike in the morning followed by and afternoon of boat projects.  We have at least another few days of boat labor before we feel ready for the crossing up to Fiji.  Watching weather closely to find a window to sail north.  Fiji is getting drenched this week under the very active SPCZ with a few cyclones thrown in for fun. Hope everyone up there stays safe in the deluge!

Salud,

L&A

Deepwater Cove, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

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Archway Island on the southern end of the Poor Knights

Sailing and Diving the Poor Knights Islands, New Zealand

After heading back into Whangarei to have a new floor welded on our stainless diesel tank, we managed to escape and headed back out for more exploration!  A morning hike out to Bream Head was followed by an afternoon sail to Tutukaka for the night.  The next morning we set sail for the Poor Knights Islands, a marine preserve located 12nm offshore.  After sailing past what we have been told is the largest sea arch in the southern hemisphere we dropped anchor in the lee of Aorangi Island, within spitting distance of the rocky cliff face.  Some future charter guests arrived and rafted to Quixotic.  We all donned dive gear to explore the beautiful kelp forests and swim with the schools of fish that are lucky to call this place home. After the dive, and a delicious lunch on Quixotic, we all toured an enormous sea cave (we’ve been told it’s the largest in the world) that you could almost fit a small cruise ship inside!

The afternoon saw us sailing north to Whangamumu Harbour, where we are currently anchored.  Looks like we will sail north in a day or two back into the Bay of Islands to finish passage prep for the sail north back to Fiji.

Hope everyone is having a nice long holiday weekend!

Lewis & Alyssa

Anchored in Urquharts Bay, in what was once a big volcanic caldera
Anchored in Urquharts Bay, in what was once a big volcanic caldera
Smugglers Cove
Smugglers Cove
Bream Head
Bream Head
Archway Island on the southern end of the Poor Knights
Archway Island on the southern end of the Poor Knights

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Clean bottom!  And our Fijian keel is still looking good and going strong!
Clean bottom! And our Fijian keel is still looking good and going strong!
The first time in over a year I have gone diving for fun and not boat maintenance!
The first time in over a year I have gone diving for fun and not boat maintenance!
The entrance to the "world's largest" sea cave named Rikoriko
The entrance to the “world’s largest” sea cave named Rikoriko
View from inside looking out
View from inside looking out

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Sailing north with the Poor Knights in our wake
Sailing north with the Poor Knights in our wake
Quixotic at rest in Whangamumu Harbour
Quixotic at rest in Whangamumu Harbour