For several years we have been using our much loved aluminum A140 Spade anchor (33 lbs). It had held in a "weather bomb" - which sustained winds over 80 knots. The weather bomb story.
But this aluminum anchor has a bit of a weak spot: the shank. It bent slightly in the bomb (maybe 5 degrees) and perhaps a bit more in French Polynesia, where we caught it on a coral head, and loaded the shank sideways in very strong current and a squall at the same time. So it was time to think about a slightly more robust anchor. We've kept the Spade as a a backup because for the weight, it's still a great anchor.
We have been using a Manson Boss anchor for the past 18 or so months, from Australia to South Africa. We stayed in a marina for about 5 days in Australia, and about a week in Malaysia. Otherwise we have been anchored, so we have some good long term experience with this anchor. We have used it in sand, very soft mud, normal mud, coral sand, coral rubble, and small boulders about the size of bowling balls. No thick sea grass or weed to test it on.
Stowing it on the roller/deploying: the curved shank makes it very easy to self deploy and it self stows in the upright position.
Setting: It sets very quickly, much like the Spade. The Spade always seemed to like >3:1 to set, but we've got this one to set on 2.5:1 scopes in tight quarters. As usual, in mud it takes time for it to sink a bit before applying lots of reverse with the engine.
Dragging: yes, a few times. Townsville, Australia has to have the soupiest mud I've ever experienced. We tried repeatedly to get it to set and it would just pull through the stuff. What came up with the anchor was like pea soup. Very difficult ground for any anchor. The Alor islands of Indonesia have deep anchorages and corally rubble bottoms. We try to never anchor in coral, but sometimes the options are few and the sun is setting. We anchored in very deep water, with limited scope due to local boats being close. Strong currents but not wind - and we woke up the next morning about 100-200m from where we had dropped the hook. I think we may have just hooked some coral rubble then popped free when the current switched directions. Overall it certainly has shown no bad faults in this area
Holding: Strongest sustained winds we've sat on the hook have been in the Maldives with over 50 knots for 10 minutes in one squall, and 40 knots for much longer. Its surface area is considerably greater than the Spade, so I think it should do as well in stronger winds.
Issues: the shank has a nearly full length slot - " Brand new patented Manson Shackle Preventor™ The Manson Boss has one slot in the shank with two docking
stations to enable you to use your anchor in all seabeds. The patented
Preventor quickly unscrews and docks on the alternate station to
transform the anchor from a fixed shank to a sliding shank for operation
in foul ground. The Preventor is captive which means you won't lose it.
This is a waste of effort and weakens the shank. I don't know anyone who would really use this feature. The last thing I want is an anchor that unhooks itself with a sliding shackle. If the bottom is that foul, don't anchor there! The small plastic washer that holds the s.s. bolt in place to keep the shackle from sliding deforms if you tighten it too much
Really minor - but the s.s. bail over our anchor roller does a good job of scraping the galvanizing off the top of the shank. I'll have to cover the bail with a better protective foam collar instead of the wrapping of rope which always gets dislodged with time.
So that's it. It's a nice anchor, reasonably light for its huge surface area and seems to hold in strong winds.