SeaHelp Test: Anchor buoys for moorings and anchorage
The Italian company PME Mare, specialised in mooring technologies since two decades now, has made quite a name for itself in this area. The latest products of the creative minds at PME for leisure skippers: Anchor buoy Grippy Heavy and mooring buoy Clik Easy for anchorage. But which benefits do they really provide? Is their purchase really worth while? Which are their weaknesses? In order to spare SeaHelp members any possible negative experiences after the purchase, our editorial has carried out a test for you.
In the first place we are looking at Grippy Heavy. This anchor buoy, which can be fixed at the rail when not in use, is equipped with a solid and reliable roll mechanism. It will be fixed to the anchor by a shackle. When dropping the anchor and giving chain, you immediately see how far you are drifting until the chain is taut. Furthermore, it is quite reassuring to know where your anchor is sitting. Thus, newcomers at the mooring will be well aware of the course of your anchor chain indicated by the buoy, so they won’t lay their anchor chain over yours which will avoid problems at the time of putting out to sea.
When in use, the automatic anchor buoy ”Grippy Heavy‟ really does credit to its name: Good quality in terms of material and processing, a strong blinking light at night and a generously dimensioned battery which can be loaded within six hours via the integrated solar panel, delivers sufficient energy for the buoy to send a bright blinking light during three nights. The rope connected to the anchor is strong enough to free a 30-kilo-anchor. During the test with a 80 hp dingi, the anchor was not dragged over the seabed by the anchor chain but by the buoy’s guy.
So far, so good. In practice, though, the ”human factor‟ plays quite an influential role here. The buoy was run down twice by a power boat. Although it did not drown, it was severely damaged after just one season. And its professional appearance is not always of advantage: Pleasure crafts tried to moor three times at the buoy as the crews probably took it for an ”official‟ anchor buoy. And there is as well a certain danger at free anchoring: When the wind changes, it might get entangled in the engine and make you drift off. And, in addition, one of your neighbours might drift over the buoy and so he gets entangled.
So, from the testing team‘s point of view, it is highly recommendable to use it preferably in bays where shore lines will limit any swaying at anchor.
For your regular place of mooring, PME Mare recommends its Clik Easy which, in this regard, was tested as well at the site of the SeaHelp operational boat in Punat. This mooring buoy is fixed to the mooring line and they normally sit together on the seabed. The buoy is then activated through a signal at the top of the provided grappling hook, so it comes to the surface and then can be ”caught‟ with the grappling hook. This principle proved to be very reliable and useful, as the test showed, nevertheless, it should be avoided that the mooring line will come to rest on the buoy. Even if the bow is well over the water level, some practice is required for catching the buoy.
SeaHelp conclusion: With smaller boats as, e.g., the SeaHelp operational boat, an experienced skipper is definitely faster without a buoy when putting out to sea. Nevertheless, with larger boats or yachts the SeaHelp test result is unmistakable: ”The Clik Easy truly makes sense!‟