Monday, November 26, 2018

Northill Anchors

It seems quite a few have never heard of these, so I thought I would post a few images. I used one a bit with my Stiletto 27; it was better than Fortress in weed, rocks, and shell, and the new generation anchors had not taken off yet. I used it a little with my PDQ 32, testing in-line rigs, but never collected hard numbers; there did not seem much point, as they are long out of production. But I'm thinking of going back to it for my F-24, since it has a few advantages:
  • Folds flat
  • Very easy to assemble, better than any other break-down anchor (less than 10 seconds)
  • Works on any bottom type
  • Good reset behavior
  • Good holding capacity (450 pounds for 12-pound 6R Utility in mud), comparable to  many new generation anchors. The cross stock adds a LOT of holding power when it meets the bottom. I've tested this anchor to 750 pounds in fine sand and it didn't budge.
It has two disadvantages:
  • The lazy fluke is sticking up. A problem if the tide does a 360, which it can.
  • Unlike new generation anchors, it does not rotate to face a shifting breeze. Instead, it pops out like a pivoting fluke anchor. Fortunately, it is much better at re-setting. Thus, the fault is nearly forgivable. Considering fault one, it's not the anchor to use when tidal reversals are expected.
I still have the one shown below, and I think it is the right size for the F-24. All you do to fold it is unclip a carabiner and slide the stock out.

Northill 6R, 12 pounds.

They suggest a larger anchor, at least a 12R for a storm anchor for the F-24, but I carry a second anchor and I'm pretty good at reducing the load. And really, I'm just day sailing, anyway. If I start cruising, I'll find a nice cove for nights.


  1. I have two Northill stainless (aviation/stainless) anchors that I use for storm and kedging. Having ridden out several hurricanes on these (including Cat 5 Maria) without dragging I can heartily endorse the Northills as being one of the best boat gear investments I've ever made.

  2. I have one( an 12-R) that came w/my my '69 Morgan 41 K/CB sloop. As hurricane approaches here in Eastern NC I am considering putting on my Morgan-44 CC as spare. Any thoughts? I have never used this anchor before.

  3. The Northill R12 is 27 pounds (see above table) and is really only recommended as a working anchor up to 35' and as a storm anchor up to 25'. It is too small for the job IMO.

    That said, it might be useful as one of a group of anchors used to secure the boat in a narrow creek or such. The best anchors for mid-east coast mud are original Danforth (not cheap imitation) and Fortress Anchors. If your marina is not safe and you cannot haul out, I'd be looking for a protected creek upstream, set a pair of large anchors (one would be a Fortress), and rig shore ties if practical.