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Old 02-02-2017, 04:06 PM   #1
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bitter end of anchor chain

sorry this is a stupid question - if I want an all chain rode, i'm looking at my complete guide to anchoring which suggests lashing the bitter end to a structural member in the locker area... but I might actually want to be able to get rid of it from up on deck, and I might also want to get rid of it with a float for later retrieval.. so does having a length (say 100') of some lightweight rope/rode to be able to cut from on deck and if needed attach a float to make sense?
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Old 02-02-2017, 04:17 PM   #2
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I use 40 feet of yellow polypropylene to secure it to the boat. I have a knife in the anchor locker. I can run out all the chain, cut the rope and have the yellow floating rope to locate the anchor. When running out the chain it is unlikely that you would have the time to stop and put a float on the line, so using floating line solves that problem.
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Old 02-02-2017, 04:31 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by kev_rm View Post
sorry this is a stupid question - if I want an all chain rode, i'm looking at my complete guide to anchoring which suggests lashing the bitter end to a structural member in the locker area... but I might actually want to be able to get rid of it from up on deck, and I might also want to get rid of it with a float for later retrieval.. so does having a length (say 100') of some lightweight rope/rode to be able to cut from on deck and if needed attach a float to make sense?
IMO the best idea is always to have some type of line regardless of type between the chain and some hard point on the boat. Much easier and faster to sever in an emergency from up on deck. In my case I removed the 10' of 1/2" nylon and replaced with 150' of 5/8 nylon for when I need to anchor in a deep location.

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Old 02-02-2017, 04:45 PM   #4
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I use 40 feet of yellow polypropylene to secure it to the boat. I have a knife in the anchor locker. I can run out all the chain, cut the rope and have the yellow floating rope to locate the anchor. When running out the chain it is unlikely that you would have the time to stop and put a float on the line, so using floating line solves that problem.
This is a common and effective approach, however a friend pointed out a potential issue. Suppose you end up with all your chain deployed and everything hanging from the 40' poly line. And suppose you don't want to cut the line, but rather haul it all back in. Depending on the water depth and the size of your chain, you could have an enormous amount of weight hanging on the poly line. Easily 200-300 lbs. How will you haul that back in? You can't grab the line and pull it in - it's too heavy. You would have to tie a line around the poly line, hope it doesn't slip, and somehow winch in a few feet at a time, then repeat until you get enough line pulled up to maybe be able to get the chain back on the gypsy.

One suggested remedy was to make the poly float line a separate line that can be clipped on when/if required. Then adjust the length of the chain's securing line such that it's long enough to be reachable to cut, but short enough to prevent the chain from coming off the gypsy. That way an accidentally released chain will stop before it comes off the gypsy, and the windless can still be used for recovery. Yet if you do need to cut free, the rope section is easily accessible. I haven't tried this, but plan to at some point (famous last words) since I know that if I have more than about 75' of depth, the suspended chain will be too heavy to lift by hand.

tadhana has a good point about the tradeoff between a permanently attached float line, and one that needs to be manually attached. Manual attachment is one more thing that needs to be done in an emergency situation, and might be over looked or there might just not be time. So I think it comes down to which you think is more likely to happen.

1) Accidental payout of all your chain, no need to cut it free, but a need to haul it back in somehow?

2) Or a need to quickly cut yourself free from your anchor in an emergency situation, and not wanting to rely on manual attachment of a floating line?
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Old 02-02-2017, 04:50 PM   #5
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I use 40 feet of yellow polypropylene to secure it to the boat. I have a knife in the anchor locker. I can run out all the chain, cut the rope and have the yellow floating rope to locate the anchor. When running out the chain it is unlikely that you would have the time to stop and put a float on the line, so using floating line solves that problem.
+1

I use a 50 ft length because I have never needed to anchor in water deeper than that within the SF Bay and CA Delta. YMMV in other waters. Many recommend 100 ft.
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Old 02-02-2017, 04:55 PM   #6
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One of the advantages of having a combination chain road windless with capstan is the answer to the above problem. The combined system also allows for a second anchor with a short chain and mainly line to be hauled in with the windless with the primary road or chain tied off to a cleat etc.
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Old 02-02-2017, 04:55 PM   #7
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All - good stuff, thanks!

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Easily 200-300 lbs. ...


1) Accidental payout of all your chain, no need to cut it free, but a need to haul it back in somehow?

2) Or a need to quickly cut yourself free from your anchor in an emergency situation, and not wanting to rely on manual attachment of a floating line?
Not sure I follow on the weight thing - are we talking about 200' of water? its just the depth of water x chain weight per foot if you are able to take up the scope? like 50-75# in 50' of water.. no?

as to your 1 vs. 2.. 1 is far more likely for me.

Am kind of wondering about the floating poly approach but at a size that will break except under very docile anchoring conditions. (Like maybe 1/4" or smaller (my boat is < 15tons). So in the situation 2) you need to cut loose.. it breaks without damaging anything. In 1) assuming you're not getting pushed around too much... it holds you and even it does break.. you can retrieve it.
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Old 02-02-2017, 04:58 PM   #8
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I use 40 feet of yellow polypropylene to secure it to the boat. I have a knife in the anchor locker. I can run out all the chain, cut the rope and have the yellow floating rope to locate the anchor. When running out the chain it is unlikely that you would have the time to stop and put a float on the line, so using floating line solves that problem.
I like this idea. This last summer I used an anchor buoy to mark my anchor location. I found it worked very well, however it had a max length of only 30'. A number of times it was submerged at high tide at different anchorages. So if I have 40' of poly line, then cut off 5' at the level of the level of the deck, then I only have 35' of floating line which may or may not end up reaching the surface. If it does barely reach the surface, I am not sure that I would be able to grab it and haul the chain up.

In general, I have always like the system that Twisted uses, a strong line that is just long enough so the bitter end of the chain clears the deck.

For those of use using Poly line, what size line are you using? ie is it strong enough to use as secure stop?
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Old 02-02-2017, 05:50 PM   #9
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I like this idea. This last summer I used an anchor buoy to mark my anchor location. I found it worked very well, however it had a max length of only 30'. A number of times it was submerged at high tide at different anchorages. So if I have 40' of poly line, then cut off 5' at the level of the level of the deck, then I only have 35' of floating line which may or may not end up reaching the surface. If it does barely reach the surface, I am not sure that I would be able to grab it and haul the chain up.

In general, I have always like the system that Twisted uses, a strong line that is just long enough so the bitter end of the chain clears the deck.

For those of use using Poly line, what size line are you using? ie is it strong enough to use as secure stop?
Why not just use 50-60 ft of poly? No hard rule for 40'.
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Old 02-02-2017, 06:13 PM   #10
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Whatever kind of line you use be sure to mark or paint your chain so you will know the "end is near" I painted 10 feet white and the last three red. hopefully I'll be able to spot it and stop it in time to cut it and fix a buoy before the chain runs off the gypsy.
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Old 02-02-2017, 06:19 PM   #11
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Why not just use 50-60 ft of poly? No hard rule for 40'.
Of course, but I hate to have all that line in the bottom of the locker acting as a filter to hold back mud and debri coming off the chain.

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Whatever kind of line you use be sure to mark or paint your chain so you will know the "end is near" I painted 10 feet white and the last three red. hopefully I'll be able to spot it and stop it in time to cut it and fix a buoy before the chain runs off the gypsy.
That is where the idea of two lines would be kind of nice. A short line strong enough to stop the anchor before it leaves the gypsy, and a longer poly line. Cut the short line and have leave the Polypro line's bitter end free.
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Old 02-02-2017, 10:08 PM   #12
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All - good stuff, thanks!



Not sure I follow on the weight thing - are we talking about 200' of water? its just the depth of water x chain weight per foot if you are able to take up the scope? like 50-75# in 50' of water.. no?

as to your 1 vs. 2.. 1 is far more likely for me.

Am kind of wondering about the floating poly approach but at a size that will break except under very docile anchoring conditions. (Like maybe 1/4" or smaller (my boat is < 15tons). So in the situation 2) you need to cut loose.. it breaks without damaging anything. In 1) assuming you're not getting pushed around too much... it holds you and even it does break.. you can retrieve it.

Like I said it depends on the depth and chain size. 3/8" chain is about 150lbs/100'. So in 50' of water the chain would be 75lbs. That's manageable and probably not something to worry about. If you chain deployed in open water you could have 300' or 400' plus the anchor weight, but that's worst case and pretty unlikely.

But as another data point, 1/2" chain is about 275lbs per 100', so in 100' of water, which is typical anchoring depth in many parts of the PNW, that's 275lbs hanging over the side. I know I couldn't lift that. Two people might be able to to, but probably not my wife and me together.
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Old 02-02-2017, 10:53 PM   #13
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Like I said it depends on the depth and chain size. 3/8" chain is about 150lbs/100'. So in 50' of water the chain would be 75lbs. That's manageable and probably not something to worry about. If you chain deployed in open water you could have 300' or 400' plus the anchor weight, but that's worst case and pretty unlikely.

But as another data point, 1/2" chain is about 275lbs per 100', so in 100' of water, which is typical anchoring depth in many parts of the PNW, that's 275lbs hanging over the side. I know I couldn't lift that. Two people might be able to to, but probably not my wife and me together.
Yes, but on that...wouldn't you be able to just wrap the non-chain rode around the rope side of the gypsy, which most windlasses have, and bring up the rope rode that way until up enough to just move the chain onto the chain gypsy..?
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Old 02-02-2017, 11:44 PM   #14
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Yes, but on that...wouldn't you be able to just wrap the non-chain rode around the rope side of the gypsy, which most windlasses have, and bring up the rope rode that way until up enough to just move the chain onto the chain gypsy..?
Yes, but only if something else is taking the weight of the chain such that the rope end is free to wrap around the capstan.

But if your chain went out uncontrolled and all the weight is being taken by the line between the end of the chain and the strong point in your anchor locker, the entire length of the line will be taught. To get a wrap or two on the capstan, you need to pull back in a few feet of that line to get some slack and then a couple of wraps. Getting it pulled in those few feet is the problem if it has 300lbs of tension on it. If it's 75lbs or 100 lbs, no problem, but I think 200lbs and up it starts to become a real problem.
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Old 02-03-2017, 12:10 AM   #15
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Ok, yes, see whatcha mean. However, returning it likely scenarios. How likely is a complete run-out of the chain and rope road...really..? I can't see it ever happening with the set-up on my boat, and my boat is not unique in any way.

Actually, as we never need to anchor in water any deeper than say 20 metres, I only have a 10 foot rope rode locating the chain into the locker. Mainly just in case I had to cut it to get away in an emergency with a fouled anchor - extremely unlikely with a Super Sarca and it's trip mechanism. Or, even more unlikely, a runaway of the chain, (the clutch being very unlikely to suddenly give way unless purposely released, with takes a lever to do so), in which case the end of the chain would only be just over the roller, and about halfway to the water surface. We don't need hundreds of feet of chain here. So retrieval would be a cinch.
I'm in awe of those who routinely anchor in depths where they have to put out hundreds of feet of chain &/or rope rode.
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Old 02-03-2017, 12:37 AM   #16
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I have about 6' of line between the bitter end of the chain rode and an attachment point in the anchor locker. The chain would still be reachable. I used multiple loops of 3/16" line to get reasonable strength but still have something very easily cut if I need to abandon the anchor.

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Last year on the Outer Great Barrier reef I often had difficulty finding water shallow enough to anchor in. It was surprising. The charts said 15m depth but what that meant was a minimum of 15m to tops of bommies, some ancient sea level point. It was usually 30m or more to sandy bottom. I only have 280' of chain at present, and frankly it isn't enough for the outer reef. At low tide parts of the reef may uncover, but at high tide there is nothing but water for 360 view, and I want more than 3:1 scope before going to sleep! I'll have at least 50% more than that by the time I go back this year.
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Old 02-03-2017, 03:22 AM   #17
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Like I said it depends on the depth and chain size. 3/8" chain is about 150lbs/100'. So in 50' of water the chain would be 75lbs. That's manageable and probably not something to worry about. If you chain deployed in open water you could have 300' or 400' plus the anchor weight, but that's worst case and pretty unlikely.
We were with friends to the east off of Puerto Rico when their anchor chain and anchor deployed underway. 300 feet of 3/8" chain and a 45 lb. CQR went quickly into a couple of thousand feet of water. Fortunately for my friend the line by which the bitter end was fastened to the boat snapped like a piece of thread. No damage to the boat.
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Old 02-03-2017, 05:34 AM   #18
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We were with friends to the east off of Puerto Rico when their anchor chain and anchor deployed underway. 300 feet of 3/8" chain and a 45 lb. CQR went quickly into a couple of thousand feet of water. Fortunately for my friend the line by which the bitter end was fastened to the boat snapped like a piece of thread. No damage to the boat.
Ah, bitter end indeed, especially when such a loss is so easily avoided. Clearly they did not routinely take the simple precaution of clipping a short snubber via simple but stout hook onto the chain when the anchor is stowed for any more than short passage. See below for my set-up...the second pic shows the hook disengaged from the chain. The line used does not have to be all that heavy, and is tied off at the Samson Post. Oh, and that swivel has since been removed as redundant and a potential weak point, and the last chain shackle has been renewed.
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Old 02-03-2017, 05:58 AM   #19
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Ah, bitter end indeed, especially when such a loss is so easily avoided. Clearly they did not routinely take the simple precaution of clipping a short snubber via simple but stout hook onto the chain when the anchor is stowed for any more than short passage. See below for my set-up...the second pic shows the hook disengaged from the chain. The line used does not have to be all that heavy, and is tied off at the Samson Post. Oh, and that swivel has since been removed as redundant and a potential weak point, and the last chain shackle has been renewed.
Peter

Do you have a combination rope/chain rode? If all chain affixing the bitter end to the vessel with an arguable length of rope is a good idea, no matter how the chain on deck is tied down.

BTW, good for you for jettisoning the dime store swivel. Stout and long lasting swivels are available.
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Old 02-03-2017, 06:39 AM   #20
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Peter

Do you have a combination rope/chain rode? If all chain affixing the bitter end to the vessel with an arguable length of rope is a good idea, no matter how the chain on deck is tied down.

BTW, good for you for jettisoning the dime store swivel. Stout and long lasting swivels are available.
Absolutely. As you'll see, but clearly missed in an earlier post, I have about 10Ft of poly rope at the bitter end, secured in the locker, so when fully out the chain is just above the water. So, all chain. The aim is to prevent loss, or even a nasty jerk, if it all ran out...most unlikely...more for ease of cut, (float Mark if possible), then jettison for quick getaway if unable to retrieve, and quick move imperative. Again, unlikely with the trip capability of the S-Sarca.

The short hooked snubber is clipped onto the chain near the anchor shank when underway, purely to prevent unintentional deployment or run-out, like Bay Pelican/Marty reported happening aboard a friend's boat above. However, it also is strong enough for a short, calm weather lunch hook snubber, saving putting out the whole anchoring shebang.
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