Anchor Roller and Anchor Upgrade

Published date: February 23, 2010
  • Boat Type: Boat Type

Anchor and roller upgrade to Lewmar anchor roller and Fortress FX16 anchor

I was compelled to upgrade to larger anchors after several daytime and overnight dragging episodes. The Mac 26M is a light boat with a lot of wind surface above the waterline. With the rudders and dagger board up there is very little surface below the waterline to resist sway. Both contribute to a lot of extra load on the anchor when the wind pipes up and overloads the recommended setup . Dragging anchor into shallow water, shore, a navigation channel or open sea is very serious business. If you overnight on your Mac I highly recommend a larger anchor than the 13 pound anchor setup recommended in the Mac 26 owner's manual.
.After researching on this site and reading numerous test and studies I decided on two larger primary anchors styles that would cover any sea bottom we would normally encounter (muddy lake bottoms in Louisiana to sand, grass and rock on the Atlantic side of the Florida Keys). A model FX16 fluke style anchor by Fortress and a 22 pound plow style by Delta fit the bill. The FX 16 Fortress is made from aluminum alloy, weights only 10 pounds and is rated for a 32' to 38' boat. It has an adjustable fluke angle for soft mud and can be disassembled quickly and easily. The 22 pound Delta is a magnesium steel alloy and is rated for 30' to 40' boats. Neither of these anchors will fit in the Mac 26 anchor locker thus the need for an anchor roller upgrade. I also wanted a roller and anchor system that was handy, self launching, easy to recover and could store either anchor while sailing or trailering.
.West Marine has several universal anchor rollers to choose from. I purchased several that would accommodate both the FX 16 and 22 Delta with the understanding that I could return the unsatisfactory ones. The one I liked best was the universal pivoting anchor roller by Lewmar ( pn #WM221440). This roller is sturdy and has two rollers to keep the anchor shank from contacting the deck. I removed the short pivoting section and mounted the roller as a fixed roller because pivoting would allow the anchor to contact the hull of the boat and there was insufficient room to mount the roller straight (parallel to the centerline of the boat).
.Lewmar, West Marine and Mac owners on this site all recommend that if you are going to install a larger anchor roller that you install a backing plate under the front deck to reinforce the bow. I recommend it also. It is a little extra work but well worth the time.
.I removed the access panel in the V berth and removed the styro-foam flotation to access the bow cleat nuts. After removing the bow cleats I made a card board template of the underside of the deck. Using the template I had a local metal shop fabricate a backing plate out of 3/8 aluminum. I chose aluminum over wood because there is no chance of the backing plate loosening due to compression or rotting due to water ingress. I coated the topside of the backing plate with fiberglass mat and resin to remove any space or air gap between the backing plate and deck. This was to avoid cracking the deck when tightening the cleat and anchor roller bolts. I then used a bottle jack and short piece of timber to hold the backing plate in place while I drilled the holes for the cleats and anchor roller. I decided at this time to upgrade one of the stock 6" bow cleats with a larger 8" from West Marine. This was to better accommodate either 1/2 nylon or 1/4" all chain anchor rode. I removed the rear roller from the anchor roller so I could install three 3/8" stainless bolts, washers and lock nuts to fasten the anchor roller securely to the deck and backing plate. I sealed everything up with 3M # 5200 adhesive sealant, installed the removed rear roller and floatation material.
.The new anchor roller looks good and can easily hold a 200 pound weight (me) without budging. Both anchors work like a charm on the new roller. The Mac anchor locker is now used only for rode and holds 200' of 1/2 nylon and 50' of 1/4 chain. When using the Delta plow as primary I keep it on the anchor roller and the Fortress FX16 suspended from the stern seat rails using a Schaefer fluke anchor rail mount (West Marine # 8241333). The Fortress can also be quickly and easily disassembled for storage below deck in a hold.
.Two things to be aware of on this mod are 1. The anchor and roller make boarding the boat while on the trailer (using the stock boarding ladder) awkward, more so with the Fortress on the roller. 2. The boarding ladder can interfere with the new anchor/roller set up when launching and recovering the boat (particularly on steep ramps). This becomes a potential pinch point for arms and hands so be careful.

Published by: Semper Fi

Model Year: 2006
Photo Caption: Lewmar Universal Roller and Fortress FX16 Anchor

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