West Marine, the biggest distributor of Rocna anchors in USA has issued a 'Product Specification Notice' in regard to 13 types of anchors sold by the New Zealand based company. Rocna anchors are sold in 34 countries.
The West Marine notice reads in part: 'One of our suppliers, Rocna, recently notified us that beginning in 2010, their anchors (with the model numbers listed below) were manufactured using a different, weaker grade of steel compared to that published on the Rocna website at the time and that had been previously published in West Marine catalogs.
'West Marine was unaware of the change in the grade of steel from that indicated on Rocna’s website, and West Marine did not publish exact specifications (either in our catalogs, or on the product packaging) at the time, or since.
'However, we felt that we should communicate the fact that this information was different so that you are fully informed about the products you purchase from West Marine.'
The notice concludes with the offer to replace any Rocna anchors 'if you feel your Rocna anchor does not meet your expectation, our 'No Hassle Guarantee' assures you are protected and you may return your Rocna anchor to us for a refund'. For their part, Rocna have covered off the issue with a note on their website click here?nid=87567
Several cruising publications have picked up on the issue, which attracted over 70 pages of comment in one online forum.
Prestigious British sailing magazine, Yachting Monthly?nid=87567
, wrote 'the under-fire manufacturer exclusively told YM (see the current August 2011 issue) that it was 'deeply sorry' for unknowingly producing low-grade steel anchors.
'New Zealand-based Rocna had been manufacturing anchors in China from 'shank steel with a reduced specification'.
'Chief executive Steve Bambury said: 'This was not done with Rocna's knowledge and we stress that only a limited number of anchors were affected.'
The notice, which is being described as a Recall Notice in some media, says that 'West Marine were informed by Rocna at the beginning of 2010 that anchors were being manufactured using a weaker grade of steel.'
Rather curiously West Marine describe the issue as a 'bummer' and goes on to say that Rocna produced anchors with steel of a lesser grade than that called for on their website and that had been previously published.
Estimates vary on the number of anchors that could be affected by the recall offer, with Rocna claiming that only 300 anchors are affected while a former production manager for Rocna claims that the real number is nearer 4000.
It is not known how many owners of Rocna anchors have availed themselves of the West Marine offer. No other marine outlets have made a similar offer to West Marine
Rocna, in a story published in Practical Sailor?nid=87567
, could find no cause for the recall claiming that that based on recent tests, 'the [anchor] chain is going to fall apart long before the anchor ever does,' he said.
However many of the tests quoted by Rocna are straight pull tests and the issues seem to arise under a sideways pull situation. In the forums, several owners have claimed that their Rocna anchors have bent shanks, however it is not clear whether this is a material issue or operator error.
A Rocna spokesman is reported in Practical sailor as saying that there is no way to identify the anchors with the reduced specifications, something which has raised the ire of many owners who have commented on the end of the Practical Sailor?nid=87567