Rupert Holmes puts the next generation Lewmar Epsilon anchor to the test on his Rob Humphreys-designed 36-footer…
New generation anchors with holding power well beyond that of the previous common shapes, including the CQR, Bruce and a whole host of their derivatives, have been with us for many years. However, not all will sit comfortably (if at all) on every bow roller and some are pretty expensive.
These are perhaps reasons that new boat anchors continue to come on the market. One of these is by Lewmar, the company that also produces the long-standing Delta, which has been standard fit on a huge number of new boats for the past couple of decades.
Although the Lewmar Epsilon is a very different shape, with much more of a spade format than the Delta’s plough-like form, and has a shorter shank, it’s designed to fit any bow roller that works for the Delta.
This was a huge factor in its favour for Zest, where the arrangement of bowsprit/bobstay, plus headsail and Code 0 furlers, means many anchors, especially those with roll bars, won’t fit.
For those worried about whether it will suit the existing set up on their boat Lewmar usefully produces a set of PDF plans that enable you to construct a 3D cardboard model of the anchor to check.
When my partner, Kass, first bought Zest (36ft and 5 tonnes displacement) the boat still had the original 15kg CQR, which proved difficult to set on almost every occasion it was used, even on a mostly chain rode.
It was therefore quickly changed for a new generation type anchor that proved enormously better, digging in quickly every time, but unlike the 16kg Epsilon didn’t fit the bow roller neatly.
I first tried it in a depth of 10m off a sand and pebble beach a few miles to the east of the Raz de Sein in south Brittany, while waiting for a favourable stream in the tidal race and for a stiff northerly breeze to moderate.
To give the Lewmar Epsilon more of a test I only used 10m of 8mm galvanised chain, with eight-strand nylon line for the remainder of the rode, and a 3:1 scope.
With reverse power applied it dig in fully after we had gone backwards half a dozen metres with the rode taught, subsequently holding firm even at full revs.
With more rode paid out, I stayed there two nights in winds of up to 25 knots, with the GPS tracks indicating no further movement of the hook.
A pure cruising boat would likely use much more chain and therefore experience even greater holding, providing a nylon snubber is used. Nevertheless, this was a useful test in a type of bottom that’s not ideal thanks to the pebbles.
Happily, even despite the pebbly nature of the seabed, the results were more reassuring than the those we experienced with the boat’s original anchor in similar conditions.
The second test was in a muddy bottom in the Solent, in 6m depth and 10m of chain, plus 18m of rope rode. This time it held almost instantly and was not dislodged by subsequent changes of tidal stream.
Lewmar Epsilon verdict
Anchor design has moved on enormously with new generation models, which set more reliably and have a higher maximum holding power than their forbears. Although not as expensive as some, the Lewmar Epsilon is easy to handle and appears reassuringly effective.
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