Innovative HydroBubble anchor updates one of man's earliest inventions
By Mike Hanlon
February 1, 2005
February 2, 2005 Man has been sailing for thousands of years and the anchor has been around just as long - like the wheel, history failed to record its inventor. The concept of the anchor is simple and has changed little in recent times, which makes a significant design development an important event. The unique patented HydroBubble anchor uses a buoyancy device to position it so it "sets first time" and has been highly acclaimed by the US boating industry in the short time it has been on the market. Not surprisingly, the inventor of the HydroBubble is a keen boatie. "I saw a need for an anchor that worked, first time, every time," says inventor John Willis.
"My invention is the first significant change in anchor design in decades. It addresses most of the fatal flaws that exist in other anchors and we are seriously interested in boating safety. In the brief time since it has come onto the market, our initial Standard HydroBubble has been credited with saving lives."
With hundreds of grateful boaters praising it's ease of use and safety, and the anchor's performance so foolproof, John has now extended the range and is offering 100% money back guarantee of satisfaction.
The idea came about several years ago when John, who has several boats of varying sizes, had been having trouble finding suitable anchors for his boating activities in the intracostal waterways of the North Carolina coast and simply couldn't get any to work effectively.
The area has "lots of waterway with a woody, reedy bottom where basic anchors won't hold in the strong currents."
Born in the United Kingdom, John migrated to Australia at age 16. He studied engineering, married and had a family in Australia and his entrepreneurial activities saw his business grow and "take off." In 1985 he moved his family to the United States to relocate his engineering and manufacturing business.
An engineer by trade, John had a company manufacturing conveyor belts for GoodYear and his boating anchor problems, engineering training and manufacturing facilities put him in the right place at the right time. He went to sleep one night thinking about the problem, and like many flashes of inspiration, John's answer came to him in his sleep and he woke up with the design in his head.
He went to his Computer Aided Design (CAD) specialist when he got into work that day and they drew up the first HydroBubble anchor on the spot. The design has changed very little since that first day, although it has now been adapted for different sized boats.
There are five different models in the HydroBubble range available for boats ranging in size from 12 to 100 feet plus and there's even an innovative derivative of the design called the BreakAway.
The BreakAway is designed for use in areas where an anchor may become lodged and stuck, and has a cam lock underneath the plough. If the anchor becomes stuck, simply drive back upstream and when the anchor line reaches around 60 pounds pressure, the cam unlocks and the anchor dislodges.
"It's a very versatile anchor because if you need to use it in an overnight anchoring situation, you can put a shackle on the locking cam," says Amanda Willis, John's (very proud) daughter and the new Australian distributor of the HydroBubble range.
"All anchors in the range quickly assemble and disassemble for easy stowage so it's easy to carry more than one anchor onboard for storm, stern or lunch hooks," says Amanda.
The first Australian appearance of the HydroBubble will be at the NewQuay Summer Boat Show at Docklands next weekend.
The anchors will be sold by Anchor Concepts in Australia via the Internet and through selected distributors and marine outlets. In America, Anchor Concepts' web site has some illustrative animations that clearly demonstrate the concept, and a full dealer listing.