Copies and variants of original anchor patterns are rife all over the world, even when patents remain technically in force. Copies and look-alikes typically are of greatly inferior quality when compared to the genuine item.
Patents exist to protect inventions. These however expire, and, even if a copy is infringing a current patent, an expensive fight in court is not commonly a practical option to a small company.
In general, original anchors are superior to the copies. The copies have limited ways in which to distinguish themselves. Typically the only way is to sell at a lower price, and this means lowering production costs. Unfortunately there is usually a good reason for the cost of the original. With a copy, one can elect to take obvious construction short-cuts, making use of cheaper methods of fabrication or poor quality castings, or the use of cheaper steels. The resulting copy might appear similar to the genuine anchor, but the "get what you pay for" factor has never been present in more force.
Principally these issues relate to build quality, which impacts strength and durability. The differences are frequently also evident in performance. Consider the series of photos in the below PDF, comparing the genuine CQR to a knock-off:
Another factor contributing to the lower cost of all copies is the lack of research and development which otherwise needs to be invested. Companies producing knock-offs are parasitic in that they ride on the back of the work of others. For the same reason, they are not progressing the technological development of the product, which at the end of the day hurts all boaters.
We must urge you to abhor knock-offs, copies, and look-alikes of all creed. The genuine articles may be slightly more expensive, but you should consider carefully the reasons for these price differences, the resulting problems and decreased performance, and if the security of your boat and her crew is worth quibbling over a small increase in investment.
The Manson Supreme (Rocna look-alike)
|The topic of this section is supplemented by an article at the Rocna designer's personal website.
To read this article, click here: About the Manson Supreme anchor
Manson are a company located very close to Rocna Anchors in Auckland who produce a range of anchors including copies of the CQR, Bruce, and Danforth.
The Manson Supreme appeared sometime after the Rocna and looks, upon superficial inspection, to be very similar. However closer inspection shows, that through design decisions and to allow for cheaper construction, there are a number of subtle differences between the Rocna and the Supreme.
I tried to get out on the cheap by buying a Manson Supreme anchor, as opposed to a Rocna, for my main anchor. Both anchors have very good ratings. Over the last few months I have not been able to get the Manson to really set well once. Not once! So after using only the Rocna during my month in the Bahamas on Vick's 55' cat, I decided to sell my Manson and get the Rocna. I can't believe it! The anchors look the same. The Rocna has set first time every time so far and I've even anchored in the same places that the Manson dragged. The Rocna bites instantly. There's no discernable boat movement as you pull the anchor into the bottom. Diving on the anchor has shown that it's completely buried with only the chain leading back to the boat. Who would have thought that two so very similar anchors would perform so very differently.
— Klutch-Kargo.com , SV "Felix" (USA) re experience with both anchors
Some of the differences are summarized as follows:
Construction: the design goal of the Rocna was purely focused on performance and quality whilst the Supreme construction pays significant attention to reduced manufacturing costs. For example the Supreme uses a rolled toe construction with laminated plates, whilst the Rocna in comparison requires folding solid metal plate, a process that gives it greater strength. The laminated plate is only edge welded, and furthermore this weld is itself reduced substantially by grinding a bevel edge. Any pin-holing in the weld would eventually permit the entry of salt water, and rust would gain a foot-hold. The end result allows the Supreme to come to market at a cheaper price than the Rocna. However in our experience, many customers, once aware of this distinction, are willing to make a greater investment for the significantly better value offered by the Rocna.
Setting ability: tip-weight is an important characteristic of any anchor. Many anchor designs resort to dedicated tip-weight in the form of (environmentally unfriendly) lead inserts. The Rocna's tip-weight is 33% of the total mass of the anchor compared with between 17% and 23% for the Supreme, depending on anchor size. The skid plate design of the Supreme (skid plates are attached to the back of the fluke to assist the anchor to set) is not as good as the Rocna which affects performance particularly when setting in very soft mud. Finally, the Rocna boasts a unique chisel tip and this combination of factors allows the Rocna to enjoy greater setting performance to the Supreme and other anchors as demonstrated in the 2006 independent testing published by Yachting Monthly and SAIL magazine.
It is a combination of these differences that add up to ensure that the Rocna simply outperforms the Supreme. These are clearly seen in the summary comments from West Marine following their 2006 testing.
There is a fair amount of independent testing of both the Supreme and genuine Rocna. The following summary comments from West Marine in the USA relating to their 2006 comparison testing best sums up the true differences.
| West Marine
|Manson Supreme 35 (35.9 lb):|
|“||In six pulls never held less than 2,300lb, and held over 5,000lb three times. Seemed to engage the bottom immediately.||”|
|Rocna 15 (32 lb):|
|“||Superb, consistent performance. Held a minimum of 4,500lb and engaged immediately.||”|