top of page
  • Adam Morris

The Best Dinghy Anchor - Is the Cooper Anchor a Contender?

In our quest for a reliable dinghy anchor, the Cooper Anchor became an intriguing contender, very distinguished in design and promise from its peers.

We were tired of the insecurity of our grapnel/grappling style anchor.  More than once we spied our dinghy floating away, even after doing our best to bury the anchor in the sand. It seemed to barely function as an anchor.

In my research, I stumbled upon the Cooper Anchor. And I had serious doubts that it would actually work as advertised. What is a boat technology nerd with a blog to do? At its low price point, it seemed like a fun thing to test for myself.

Ultimately, it had much better performance that the grapnel anchor, but it’s far from flawless.  Here's a deep dive into our experiences and analysis.

Choosing a Dinghy Anchor

I wanted to reach right for a Rocna Vulcan.  We have been very impressed with its stellar performance as our primary anchor. However, the Vulcan's smallest variant, at 9lbs, proved impractical for dinghy use due to its weight and size, especially considering the space constraints of our Highfield CL310's bow locker.  We don’t want to add extra weight to the dinghy, either.

Mantus, however, has a modern design dinghy anchor that looked right up our alley.  At 2.5 lbs, this could be the one.  However, would the foldable roll bar be an annoyance to set up each time?  Did I really want to spend $176 dollars on my dinghy anchor?

Let’s Give the Cooper Anchor a Try

Since we like to bring some more experimental ideas to the table on this blog, we figured we would try out something we had not come across before: the Cooper Anchor.

When it arrived, I was quite worried that I had made a mistake.  This thing is light — 2.2 lbs.  It did not feel like it was going to have much holding power at all!

I was wrong, to a degree.  Let’s get into some testing.

Righting Ability

Getting the anchor with the pointy side down is half the battle. I had read some other boaters accounts that you can just toss the thing over the side, and it’ll set itself the way it’s supposed to.  And in my tests, it does right itself very impressively.

It has a small tab in the middle of the shank that is meant to right it if it’s on its back. It seemed that the cavity back also trapped some air that helped it roll over, but that was hard to confirm visually.

This function is similar to the roll bar on the Mantus, but without the hassle that comes with fitting a rollbar.  The compact design makes it quite easy to fit in the bow locker with no trouble.

Holding Power

Despite its innovative design, the Cooper Anchor's performance did not consistently match that of other modern designers like Mantus.

It struggled to consistently fully penetrate sand on some drops, especially if there was any grasses at all. When it does dig, it offers significantly less resistance to parallel or lateral forces.

Apologies for the wind noise in the video. Forgot to bring a proper microphone to our deserted beach.

Even though I’m disappointed with the holding power, it does have some significant advantages that make me contemplating keeping it.

Who should buy this?

Let’s take a look at the distinct advantages this design has.

It’s plastic — there’s no worries about corrosion or expensive stainless steel.  And it can take a beating without worry.

Speaking of cost — it’s only $65 USD, compared to $176 for the Mantus. Although, I have seen it on sale for as low as $140.

No sharp edges — we don’t have to worry about it doing any damage to our RIB when tossing it about.  Don’t have to worry about it doing any damage to Connie or Connie’s lockers.

It’s a nice size — it fits nicely in our bow locker without any finagling.

If your priorities are an anchor that you can pick up inexpensively, leave on the dinghy, and won’t harm your expensive RIB, this is an interesting choice.

One More Annoyance…

One challenge was to find a shackle to fit on the anchor and our chain.  The plastic is quite thick around there, requiring a bigger shackle, however, the pin hole is small, and it doesn’t leave much clearance for the chain with these sized shackles.  After rummaging through three quarters of Connie’s lockers and cabinets, we finally found one that fit (with a little encouragement).

I also highly suggest attaching it with some chain and not just line.  We have about 8 ft of chain on it, which I’m sure is much more than needed, but I happened to have a spare galvanized chain the right size laying around.  I would guess that 4 feet of chain would be sufficient.

Final Thoughts

The Cooper anchor does have some distinct advantages

  • Durability and Resistance: Its plastic construction eliminates corrosion concerns and withstands rough handling without risk of damage.

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Priced at $65 USD, it presents a significant cost advantage over the Mantus.

  • Safety: Its design minimizes sharp edges, reducing the risk of damage to inflatable dinghies and storage compartments.

However, the holding power is going to be well behind the Mantus. The advantages for safety and durability mean that there’s a lack of a sharp point to dig in, and the shape of the spade itself presents holding challenges.

It’s a fun little anchor, and it might just be worth a spot on your dinghy.




bottom of page