Delta Anchor Explained – Plus Best Delta Anchors

The Delta anchor was first made in the 1980s for commercialization by British marine manufacturer Simpson–Lawrence. Delta anchor is the trademarked name for the type of anchor generically called a plow anchor.

This type of anchor has superior holding power and can be used in different applications. It has an open design that enables it to penetrate different sea bed conditions rapidly. It has a ballasted tip and a unique shank profile, making it self-launching.

Many national lifeboat organizations have designated the Delta anchor as their primary anchor.

Read on to learn more about the delta anchor, how it compares to a plow anchor and CQR anchor, and our recommended Delta anchors.

Also, take a look at my favorite Delta anchor, the Lewmar Stainless Steel DTX Anchor to see its price and great reviews:

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Or the more affordable Lewmar Galvanised Delta Anchor:

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Delta Anchor

The Delta anchor is actually a trademarked name. It’s called the plow or wing anchor when referring to its generic name. Simpson-Lawrence, a British manufacturer of marine products in the 1980s, developed the Delta anchor.

The Delta anchor is like a regular plow anchor with a fixed shank as opposed to the articulating style of the common original plow design in the earlier years. This design modification has carefully balanced the weight of the anchor and the shape of the fluke’s rear end. It resulted in the improved guidance of the fluke as it goes to the setting process.

See the below video to watch the Delta anchor in action:

Although the basic shape remains like a plow anchor, the Delta anchor has a brake-pressed plate. The Delta anchor also has a solid cast tip, which is welded to form the joint that attaches the tip to the anchor’s other parts.

The Delta brand was acquired by another company, Lewmar, a marine equipment manufacturer. For several years now, the Delta anchor has been out of patent. As a result, other companies produced inferior copies of this type of anchor. Unfortunately, these imitations are proven to have poor construction quality with poor performance.

The high-quality construction and superior performance of genuine Delta anchors are due to the use of high tensile steel shanks. It’s the first design element that imitators have sacrificed to save on costs.

Differences Between the Delta Anchor and the Plow Anchor – Delta vs Plow Anchor

While the Delta anchor can be regarded as a type of plow anchor, there are some differences between them. One of the main differences between them is that the Delta anchor has a wing shape, while the plow retains its plow-like shape.

Another significant difference between the two is the sharpness of the plow. The plows of the original anchors are much sharper than those of the Delta/wing and CQR anchors. Like a knife that cuts through butter, these anchors penetrate the seafloor much easier than the Delta/wing and CQR.

Similarities and Differences Between CQR Anchor and the Delta/Wing Anchor

Another anchor that we need to discuss concerning the Delta plow anchor is the CQR. Both the Delta and these anchors are plow type anchors. Their basic form and design are derived from the original design of the plow anchor.

Their main difference is that the CQR has a hinged design while the Delta has a one-piece design. One significant advantage of CQR’s hinged design is that it’s more responsive to the tide and wind changes than the other anchor design modifications.

Unfortunately, you seldomly find a CQR anchor that weighs below 25 pounds. That is why it is commonly regarded as an anchor for bigger boats. For this reason, most boaters assume that there is no such thing as a small CQR.

How the Delta Anchor Compares with Rocna Anchor

Peter Smith was the one who developed the Rocna anchor. In his boat trip from the United Kingdom to New Zealand, Peter Smith saw the need to improve the Delta anchor’s design and used this type of anchor throughout his cruise. The Delta was the favorite anchor of boaters in the 1990s when Smith outfitted his yacht. Some say it is the best of the older generation of boat anchors.

Here are some points of comparison:

delta boat anchor

1. Fluke

The Delta fluke shape is basically a plow but has a convex fluke, such as the articulated CQR. Rocna’s fluke has a massive surface area with a concave fluke that can hold the ground more effectively.

2. Holding Power

On a weight for weight basis, Rocna’s holding power is better than Delta’s. In other words, it would take a bigger Delta to hold the weight of a much smaller Rocna. Even then, the smaller Rocna will have a holding power that is much more superior to the Delta.

3. Setting Time

The Rocna anchor can set much faster and more steadfastly on a wide variety of sea bottoms, including challenging compact sand, weed, kelp, grass, and the like.

4. Anchor Size

Regardless of the anchor size, the Rocna offers more holding power, consistent performance, and reliability.

5. Fit on Bow Rollers

While the Delta and Rocna anchors have somewhat similar profiles, when they are introduced to the roller, the Rocna offers a slightly better tip clearance.

How to Choose the Right Delta Anchor for Your Boat

Here are several tips on how you can choose the right Delta anchor for your boat:

1. Get a Bigger One

When you are looking for an anchor, always remember that the bigger the anchor, the better it is.

2. Get Two Anchors

It is also wiser to have two anchors instead of just one. A wise boater will always have a smaller “lunch hook” anchor, which is for flat water and calmer weather.

The other anchor will be a larger one, which they call the “storm or working anchor.” This anchor is typically used during stormy weather with winds of more than 30 miles an hour or when the crew is ashore or asleep.

Get two anchors with different styles, too. The best is to get a Delta plow anchor and a Danforth anchor. But if you can’t get a Danforth, get at least two different types of Delta anchors, such as a CQR and a Delta/wing anchor.

3. Get an Anchor That Can Provide Enough Holding Power

It is not just the weight of the anchor that you should be looking for. Although the size and weight of the anchor are essential considerations, its holding power matter as well. Thankfully, modern anchors have amazing holding powers that range between 10 and 200 times their weight.

In other words, there are Delta anchors that weigh only 5 pounds but can hold more than 1,000 pounds. This tremendous holding power is developed when the anchor penetrates the seabed surface.

The anchor’s bottom material, combined with the material’s weight on its top, creates suction. Resistance is then created, which is actually the holding power developed by the anchor.

However, it is different from rocky sea beds. The anchor will not be able to dig in and can only snag on rock protrusions. The anchor’s hold is very precarious, so there is not much holding power in this condition.

4. Get an Anchor Weight Suited to Your Boat

While bigger is better, you still have to consider the size of your boat when buying the right Delta anchor. Delta anchor sizing is quite important to ensure your boat doesn’t float away. You also need to consider the usual weather conditions in locations where you usually anchor. Your boating style is also an important factor.

Consider the usual places you go to and anchor your boat. What are the typical weather and bottom conditions there? Search for the right Delta anchor that will fit those parameters. To be safe, choose a Delta anchor that will work well with most conditions.

Important Considerations When Choosing an Anchor

Anchors come in many sizes, styles, and varieties. And choosing the right one for your boat can be somewhat tricky, given the many options available. If you find it hard to select the right anchor, just remember these three things:

delta anchor for boats

1. Your Boat

The correct anchor will depend on the type of your boat and the way you use it. You have to consider its design, weight, and size. For example, a 30-foot sailboat weighing 6,000 pounds will need a smaller anchor than a 30-foot houseboat weighing 10,000 pounds.

2. Anchoring Location

Consider the places that you usually anchor during your boat trips. What are the conditions of the seafloor or lake floor in those places? Is it soft mud, grass, rocks, or solid sand? You can ask the authorities in the area if you don’t know.

3. Lake, Cove, or Open Sea?

There are significant differences when anchoring in a lake, cove, open sea, and a large bay. Anchoring in an ocean is very challenging, even if you are not far out at sea. You need to consider waves, tides, high winds, and the weather when choosing the right anchor.

Delta Anchors Available in the Market

Here are four Delta anchors that you can consider for your boat:

1. Lewmar Stainless Steel DTX Anchor

The Lewmar Stainless Steel DTX Anchor is one of your best Delta anchor options.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

It is made of 316 stainless steel that offers superior anti-corrosion properties and stylish aesthetics. It will definitely look prettier when it hangs on the side of your boat. 

This Delta anchor uses lead ballast that is encapsulated within the anchor’s tip, giving it a perfect center of gravity. It also has the Lloyd’s Ordinary Holding Power standard. Plus, this anchor has a three-year guarantee against breakage.

2. Lewmar Galvanised Delta Anchor

The Lewmar Galvanised Delta Anchor is made of galvanized steel but offers the same capabilities as the first Lewmar Delta anchor above. This type of steel is still strong and durable but not as strong as stainless steel.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

However, this galvanized Delta anchor is cheaper than the stainless steel DTX above. Galvanized steel is coated with zinc for protection against corrosion. It is not as shiny as stainless steel, but it is more affordable.

This galvanized version offers the same holding power as the stainless steel anchor because it has the same design and specifications. The only difference is the type of steel material used in the anchor.

3. Mophorn Delta Style Boat Anchor

Another Delta anchor that you can consider is the Mophorn Delta Style Boat Anchor. This 22-pound anchor is made of high-strength 316 stainless steel. It is corrosion-resistant and offers 28 to 42 feet of easy use. 

Click here to see it on Amazon.

The Mophorn Delta anchor offers a unique construction and tip pressure, which enables retraction. Its self-aligning geometry and low center of gravity ensure fast setting at the sea bottom. This type of anchor is also the primary anchor used by lifeboat organizations around the world.

4. Five Oceans DC AISI316 Stainless Steel Delta Style Anchor

The Five Oceans DC AISI316 Stainless Steel Delta Style Anchor is another stainless steel plow anchor – Delta anchor style – that you can consider.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

This anchor is made of AISI 316 stainless steel. It is Lloyd’s Register certified and is recommended for boats measuring up to 48 feet long.

This anchor weighs 22 pounds and is 25 ¼” long, 11 ¾” wide and 11” tall. It is self-launching and offers fast setting, high holding power, and smooth setting into the bow roller.

Conclusion – Delta Anchor

So, to summarize everything, the Delta anchor is a brand name for the type of anchor that is generically called the plow anchor or wing anchor. It is also self-launching since it has a ballasted tip and a unique shank profile. This type of anchor offers superior holding power, too.

Anchors of this type can be used in different applications. They have an open design that enables them to penetrate different sea bed conditions rapidly. Also, this anchor has been designated as the primary anchor by many national lifeboat organizations worldwide.

You cannot go wrong with a galvanized steel or stainless steel plow anchor or Delta anchor. See our anchor examples above for some excellent options for your boat.