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Anything but a grapnel will do. A grapnel is good for one thing only and that is dredging bicycles from the Amsterdam canals. Though some seem to claim you can stick it between two rocks for a safe mooring.

A good anchor will bury itself in soft soil, in order to do that it has to be pulled perfectly horizontal, even the slightest angle can prevent it from burying itself. Having said that, it should be obvious that the anchor chain is far more important than the anchor itself. The weight of the chain ensures the anchor is pulled horizontally.

I use an Aluminium (lightweight) fortress and 5 meters of chain followed by rope. This setup proves the weight of the anchor is not significant. A Fortress is rather expensive, a Brittany anchor is far more affordable but heavy. I have seen others use a plough anchor with great success but I find those a little hard to stow away. My fortress is nice and flat and when it sits in its cradle nothing sticks out that could hurt me or my crew.

So here it is:
– Use a chain or leaded rope.
– Choose an anchor that digs in well. (Dry test it on a beach if need be).
– Chose an anchor that is easy to stow away and does not hurt you or your crew.
– Don’t even consider a grapnel unless you live in Amsterdam and want your bike back.