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China Glaze Anchors Away Spring 2011 Collection – Knotty Nauticals Swatches & Review

By on February 23, 2011
in Berry, Blue, China Glaze, Green, Orange, Red, Spring 2011, Yellow
china glaze anchors away spring 2011 nail polish collection knotty nauticals The Knotty Nauticals set from the China Glaze Anchors Away collection for Spring 2011 is filled with rich, bold cremes and glimmering glass flecks.

It’s common knowledge in the boating community that there is a long standing rivalry between power & sail boaters.  As a kid I would watch Ohio’s version of Jimmy Buffet, Pat Dailey, rile up the power & sail boaters at the Beer Barrel on Put-In-Bay. This was long before it burned to the ground and rose from the ashes to become the world’s longest bar. And yes, I was a kid in a bar.  Let the Sweet Home Alabama analogies begin.

Anyway, Pat would taunt each side with stereotypes.  That sailors are wine sipping fuddy-duddy’s who look at the water as a relaxing escape.  That power boaters are beer chugging, party people who look at the water as a mode of transport, something to rip through.  Granted these are heavy generalizations but in some cases they hold true.

In my eye the Sand & Sea set is a smooth afternoon cruise on a sailboat and the Knotty Nauticals are a wind-whipping, wild ride on a speed boat.  They represent both sides of the boater in me who appreciates the zen of sailing but loves the thrill of zipping across the lake.

Formula & Application: China Glaze is a 3-Free brand with a round brush that is both medium in length and firmness with enough give to allow for ease of control. The cap is slightly tapered and made of smooth plastic that is comfortable to hold.

In this half of the collection, the majority of the polishes are cremes and they all flowed on the nail perfectly in two even coats.  They are more squishy/jelly-ish than creamy but I think that lends to their ability to even out on the nail which is great for novice at-home polishers who don’t have their application down pat.

The two glass fleck polishes both applied with a similar squishy consistency but with differing opacities. It is the nature of glass fleck polishes to apply semi-sheer but they are usually buildable to opaque but this wasn’t the case with the yellow (Lighthouse). Even after three coats, my smile line still shows through.

Starboard is much more vivid in person and I’m honestly REALLY unhappy with how it photographed.  This murky Cleveland weather is not my camera’s friend.  Starboard is a leaf green that isn’t quite as bright as Essie Pretty Edgy yet not as dark as OPI Don’t Mess With OPI though it’s more pigmented than both of them.  A comparison will be included in my OPI Texas review.  Maybe it’s just me but I find it odd to include Starboard (right side) in the collection and leave out Port (left side).

china glaze starboard swatch from the china glaze anchors away spring 2011 collection

Ahoy! is a raspberry glass fleck a la Raspberry Festival from the Summer Days collection only this one isn’t as packed with clear glass particles.  The glass fleck effect is more subtle and mixed with gold micro-glitter.  The result is a rich, pigmented polish that looks more opaque than the Summer Days lacquers.

china glaze ahoy! swatch from the china glaze anchors away spring 2011 collection

Hey Sailor is a “come hither” cherry red creme.  Seriously, what is it with men & red nails?  The boyfriend always takes notice when I use red polish. For some reason Hey Sailor looks tomato red in the bottle but reads more blue based on my nails.  Now my brief affair with red polish may be over but what would a nautical themed collection be without a classic red and this one fits the bill.

china glaze hey sailor swatch from the china glaze anchors away spring 2011 collection

Lighthouse is the other glass fleck polish and it is more of a traditional glass fleck than Ahoy!  This yellow gold  applies pretty sheer so it can be used in one layer as a top coat or built up to semi-opaque.  Another option would be to wear it over a yellow creme so the true color of the base can pop.

china glaze lighthouse swatch from the china glaze anchors away spring 2011 collection

I already know that First Mate will be my new BFF once sandal season rolls around.  A rich blue creme, it falls somewhere between royal and navy.  It’s one of those idyllic blues that effortlessly walks the line between bright and almost-black.  It’s so easy for a navy to cross over into that “too dark” territory and this one will never go there.  Better yet, it’s not so bright that your nails will be screaming “BLUE!”  I’d say it’s the perfect marriage of Bermuda Breakaway and Calypso from the Bahama Blues collection.

china glaze first mate swatch from the china glaze anchors away spring 2011 collection

Life Preserver is a muted orange creme but thanks to its melon-y undertones it definitely feels more spring than fall.  There’s no way anyone would accuse you to hanging on to Halloween wearing this shade.  While it’s not necessarily a shade I would gravitate towards naturally, I saw it paired with First Mate in a mani/pedi combo last summer and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.  The pairing looked classic and so boat-y.  There’s no doubt in my mind that it will be the first combo I wear once the weather warms up.

china glaze life preserver swatch from the china glaze anchors away spring 2011 collection

In fact, I was inspired by that mani/pedi combo and the signal flag for the letter “T” to create my own nautical themed manicure.

I polished all my nails in First Mate and turned my ring nails into little “T” flags with China Glaze Snow and Life Preserver.  I wish the white line was a bit thinner but I didn’t have easy access to my nail art brushes.  Either way, I’m happy with it.  What do you think?

nautical manicure of a signal flag using china glaze first mate, snow and life preserver from the china glaze anchors away collection for spring 2011

Bottom Line: Individually the polishes in this half of the collection aren’t exactly ground-breaking but they make sense as a unit.  I love everything about First Mate and the opacity of Ahoy! makes it a winner in my book.  Since I’m a girl who can never have enough greens, Starboard gets the thumbs up from me but if you already have OPI Don’t Mess With OPI you might find it a bit redundant.

China Glaze Anchors Away is available now and can be found at stores like ULTA and online at, and China Glaze polishes retail from $3-6 depending on the retailer. Sally Beauty will not be carrying Anchors Away instead they have exclusive collections Treasures (in stores now) and Tronica (coming in March).

Which set from Anchors Away is your favorite?  Knotty Nauticals or Sand & Sea?  Do you agree that First Mate & Life Preserver make a killer color combo?  Which polishes made your shopping list?

Disclosure: Product samples were provided by China Glaze.  For more info view my Disclosure Policy.

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There Are 60 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Cristina says:

    I love the little flag mani! It’s adorable. I was convinced I didnt need Ahoy! But I might now. Soo beautiful!

    • Joanne says:

      I just loved the red white and blue striped nail you did. That would be really cute for 4th of July. I live in Cleveland, also, (PAinesville) and we are really having murky days. I love your site, you are so good with your reviews and ideas. Keep up the good work!!

  2. Essiefashion says:

    Lovely colors:) xxx

  3. Nikki says:

    Life Preserver turned out to be one of my unexpected favorites of the collection and the first one I wore. I love it.

  4. Scienter says:

    I love Life Preserver! I’m already wearing it on my toes. It’s still winter where I live so it makes me happy to wear a springy shade. I thought that Starboard is a little too much like OPI Jade is the New Black, so I didn’t buy it. It looks really different on your nails than it does in the bottle. I bought Sunset Sail, Pelican Gray, and White Cap from the Sand & Sea collection. I love all of them. White Cap is great for a top layer. Now that I’ve seen the swatches, I might need to reconsider Light House. It reminded me of OPI Bling Dynasty when I saw it in the store.

  5. Renee says:

    So pretty!! I think your flag mani is so cute and patriot looking. The colors are extremely rich looking. Gotta say, I’m a nail newbie and I’ve been refreshing your page daily over the long weekend waiting for some new swatches. Thanks for making me smile with such great colors today!

  6. grace says:

    Bermuda Breakaway is one of my favorite polishes of all time, so I was excited that First Mate was so similar, but still different enough that it’s not a dupe. I picked up Life Preserver, as well, and I’m dying to try them, but I’m holding out until the snowstorms die down. It just doesn’t feel like it’s time for these polishes quite yet.

  7. I’m with you on leaving on Port! I do LOVE these colors though! Starboard?!?! Already on my birthday list! Ahoy is super gorgey as well! I think we need another night of drinking wine together very soon!

  8. Carey says:

    Yum! I agree with you– wondering where port is!

  9. Hanna M says:

    Hey Michelle, could you please tell me which way round the mani-pedi went when you saw it at Cosmoprof (I think it was there anyway) – was Life Preserver on fingers or toes? I love the idea of that combination ;o)

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      The way I saw it Life Preserver was on the toes and First Mate was on the fingers. Though I will probably wear it the opposite way. I can’t wait to get First Mate on my toes.

      • Hanna M says:

        I’m torn! First Mate is definitely going to look better on my toes now (until the weather’s nice enough for me to start fake tanning again) but I’ll have to see how Life Preserver looks against my pasty skin. I’m not sure I can wait to try the combo!

  10. Decor Girl says:

    Oooh those are nice. I’m ordering online in a sec. Great colors!

  11. Ofelia says:

    hey sailor is super cute!

  12. Tierney says:

    I don’t have any of these polishes yet but I really want a lot of them.
    I love your T flag nail!! Last September I painted different signal flags on my nails for a regatta I was at.

  13. Paz says:

    Love Life Preserver! I myself am not a huge red nail fan but am always looking for a creamy coral to substitute instead. This I think fits the bill! Yay!

  14. Pammy says:

    What fun colors!!! I think I might have to get Life Preserver! I am not usually into oranges, but what a pretty and unique shade!!!

  15. BL says:

    I know you’re from Cleveland, but that T mani would be so cute to celebrate Melo’s first game with the Knicks!

  16. Tyesha says:

    Not really wowed with the collection overall but I do like Ahoy! and First Mate. Starboard looks really close the Essie Pretty Edgy which I have so I’ll wait for the comparisons.

  17. Danielle says:

    Such a cute flag mani! I’m surprised I’m finding Life Preserver so appealing. Me loving an orange? Who knew!?!

    These colors are so richly pigmented. Some are basics, but well done.

  18. moeysullivan says:

    I can’t get my bottle of Raspberry Festival open so I guess I’m going to run out & buy Ahoy!

  19. Kitty says:

    I’ve seen many swatches and my favorite remains the same, Ahoy!

  20. Chris says:

    Despite owning OPI Dating A Royal and RBL Dead Calm, I think I want First Mate! The blue-loving demon within me refuses to give me any peace. Do you think you can do a comparison between the three colors I mentioned?

    • josie says:

      I second this! I would love a comparison between the OPI and the RBL as well please if that’s possible, Michelle. They’re such great colours! =)

    • Mc Huggs says:

      I love them reds, one of the reasons you BF might like when you wear the red nail polish CG “Hey Sailor” is red is a power color. Men wear red striped ties on TV for “controlling the audience,” or in meetings when they have to do a presentation. One such newscaster only wore red striped ties with every suit he owned for many years.

      However, I love the color and would gladly wear it on my toes. Starboard (green color) and love then lavender of “Ahoy,”First Mate and Life Preserver look amazing on your nails. I don’t know why you didn’t like the way Starboard came out, it’s gorgoeus on you Michelle. In fact, you make the polishes work! A big reason I love these color polishes, (and I would say your other hundreds of woman fans) they wait for the swatches and they looks so fantastically beautiful on you and then they decide what would look good on you. That’s what I have done in the past.

      Plus, I must say your swatches of the colors you choose are far different from the many other nail polish web bloggers I subscribe to. The colors always “pop” and some of them make me feel like, “I can’t stop looking at my colored toenails, LOL

      I know I am just a feminine guy who loves nail polish almost as any woman but it just feels so good to do this. Some day I would love to sell nail products on-line buying them wholesale in 1000′s of pieces (nail polish bottles) and selling them for retail for a small profit margin. Namaste.


      Mc Huggs :)

  21. Wenqi says:

    Ahoy! remind me of one of the opi nail polishes from the katy perry collection

  22. Lauren says:

    I love First Mate! I can do without the rest of them. I do love it with Life Preserver, but I think it would look just as good with another orange cream. Btw, I know you’re not a red person (neither am I), but Hey Sailor really flatters you.

  23. NailPolishFan says:

    I like some from Knotty Nauticals and some from Sand and Sea. I love your manicure with the flag, it’s really cute. The polishes that made my shopping list are Starboard, First Mate, Life Preserver, Pelican Grey, Sea Spray, and Below Deck.

  24. Molly says:

    Starboard, Ahoy!, and Hey Sailor are to die for. I’m also craving Sea Spray and Below Deck from S&S

  25. Christine says:

    Wow- I really like “Life Preserver”! I’ve been looking for an orange like this that is a bit more “quiet” than those usually fluorescent screaming orange shades. This would make orange more wearable for me. Looks like one I will be adding to my ever-expanding collection. Thanks for the wonderful swatching you do, it helps greatly in the selection process!

  26. Hollie says:

    None of these colors really suit my taste except maybe Ahoy!

  27. Diane says:

    I really love Ahoy! and First Mate!

  28. Lorinda says:

    I love them all!

  29. mac says:

    Hmmm… sad that they left out port, as well! It would have been a red if they’d left it in, so I think they probably took the name ‘Hey Sailor’ instead of ‘Port’.

    After a fair few years of sailing/racing, I also would’ve LOVED it if they had put an exclamation mark after ‘Starboard’… it’s something people always yell in regattas :)

    LOVE all of these, even the yellow! They make me itch for summer!

  30. meme says:

    Loving Life Preserver & thought it was going to be too orange – but you are right, just the correct amt. of peach to it. Try it with one light coat of Lighthouse over it – it’s a fun look esp. for toes. Sorry you missed your port side, but kind of hard to incorporate anything called port and not have it in the true purple/port as in dark wine) shade which would not fit in with the rest of this collection. Like both Sand & Sea/Ahoy..have room for a # of shades from each collection in MY own collection.

  31. MRS_MIAGI says:

    China glaze does a great job with creams. And this collection is no exeption. My first experience with this brand was a creme and the application was perfect. And your right something about men and those RED’s (LOL)

  32. Stacey says:

    I would like to see what the Treasures and Tronica collections look like on your swatch & review.

  33. Sol says:

    mmmm…. no, I’ll pass this collection. I can’t stand cremes (my limit, I know) and the two glass-flecked ones are a bit too “already seen, been there. done that” for my tastes. But obviously, these are just MY tastes, a humble personal opinion. Tha 3-coloured mani is absolutely lovely, anyway!!! :)

  34. Emilie says:

    Wow they all look great!
    PS – Love the french flag!

  35. Silva says:

    I love First Mate, it’s a very pretty blue!

  36. s-k-s says:

    Yay for swatches! I like your other material but I’ve really missed the regular swatch postings. You are by far the most reliable source out there.

    Are you going to be posting the Zoya spring collection anytime soon?

  37. riss says:

    My faves from this one are first mate and ahoy. Starboard is nice but I have a few others that are really close to it.

    I bought both full sets but will probably only use 2 or 3 from this set and pelican grey, sea spray, and below deck from the other set.

    What is it with men and red polish?? My husband is the same way. He always notices red and if I ask him to pick a polish out for me to use 99% of the time he’ll pick a red creme. Once in a while he might choose a dark pink. He doesn’t like greens, blues, purples, and greys which are what I tend to reach for.

  38. ach167 says:

    I just picked up Essie’s Pretty Edgy (I know a little late to the game) so I’ll prob skip starboard. But after seeing your swatches I’ll most likely pick up Hey Sailor, First Mate and Life Preserver. I agree with you that they aren’t ground-breaking but as a collection super cute! I grew up on Lake Erie too so the anchors away theme is just appealing. And that nautical flag accent manicure is too cute not to copy! In the spring my wardrobe is very nautical and I think these are the perfect accent to it!

  39. Andrea says:

    I adore Starboard, First Mate and Life Preserver. So pretty looking.

    Really looking forward to the OPI Texas collection swatches and review!

  40. Coco says:

    Ahoy! is sooo cute!

  41. Wow, I have never tried this product before. Can’t wait to try it. The colors are great.

  42. Jana Paniz says:

    I love this collection!
    I wish I had easy access to China Glaze. =)

  43. Alllison says:

    I don’t heart any of those colors.

    If i had to pick, I’d choose Hey sailor.

  44. RR says:

    These colors are ok – but I LOVE the sand and sea collection. I’m excited for your Texas and more Zoya reviews! I LOVE THIS BLOG!!!!

  45. Yasmin says:

    I Love this collection! I ended up buying Knotty, White Cap, and Lighthouse!

  46. Esther says:

    How nice is the French Flag! Love love love!
    My Anchors Away favorites are First Mate & Starboard. I am so disappointed in Lighthouse. Too bad it is so sheer :(

  47. Decor Girl says:

    I ordered the green and blue, wow these are really nice. The pigmentation is strong – doesn’t require endless coats. They remain tacky for a bit but one swipe with the China Glaze top coat and I was good to go. No smears or smudges.

    Thanks for introducing me to this line!

  48. Scienter says:

    I blame this blog for my newfound addiction to China Glaze! Before subscribing to it, I was strictly an OPI girl. After reading your reviews, I picked up Sea Spray, Pelican Gray, Sunset Sail, and Life Preserver. I live near an Ulta, I should send you my bill. ;)

  49. Michelle says:

    I will be wearing Starboard for St. Patrick’s Day. If Life Preserver comes across orange enough, I’ll probably do an Irish flag on one of my nails with them and a stark white. But if it’s too red I’ll just stick with Starboard.

  50. Jane says:

    I just loooved this collection and I’ve really enjoyed reading this post and ofcourse looking at your always great pics!

  51. maya says:

    So far, I tried Ahoy! and Hey Sailor. Both are gorgeous but Hey Sailor is simply amazing. So cheerful and sexy. Love it.

  52. Lillian says:

    I got First Mate, Ahoy! and Hey Sailor from this part of the collection. Love them all. I wish I had gotten Life Preserver too..

  53. Samantha says:

    I have looked at this post a million times and never noticed the Pat Dailey reference. Oh, they Oyster song. (I’m from Indianapolis, where the Bob and Tom show originates and he has been on there a lot. He talks about Put-In-Bay a lot and it sounds like a great place.)