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Old 10-31-2014, 04:23 PM   #1
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Question Educate Me on Anchor Chain

OK I am actually looking forward to spring. I will be setting up my ground tackle, which at this point is just plain miserable. The boat came with a 40lb Danforth and 120' of 3/8 (I think) chain.

To prepare for my adventure north, I will be switching to a 77lb plow and 500' of chain.

My question is about chain. I have read a few places where there is a rating(?) on chain, HT and ??? I saw WM had BBBB ?
1. What are the ratings and their meaning?
2. Should I use galvanized chain. yes I will be in salt water
3. Where is a good place to but bulk chain?
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Old 10-31-2014, 04:44 PM   #2
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Well, the primary thing is to match your chain size and type to your windlass gypsy. There are two types of 3/8" chain in wide use for anchor rodes: BBB and G4 high tensile. They have different dimensions and require different gypsies. You can often see the G4 on the link. Don't know about BBB. And you can measure the link on your existing chain and compare it to the specs you can find by googling ACCO chain, a major manufacturer.

Do you really need 500' of chain? It will be heavy, not so much for windlass loads but bow weight. Think about having all chain for your most likely anchoring situation at 6:1 scope. Then use nylon backing for deep water or when you need more scope.

Where to buy? Chain is heavy so online may not be good. Ask rigging shops in your area where they get it. 500' is more than a full drum so you may be able to buy wholesale from local distributers. Google ACCO to find them.

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Old 10-31-2014, 04:49 PM   #3
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Thanks David. I didn't realize there were two differant types. I know 500' seems heavy, but all my tanks are aft so this will help even it out. Also in discussing with folks that do ithe inside passage, with the very high currents they have all recommended an all chain rode. But I am open to ideas..
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Old 10-31-2014, 04:51 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
...Do you really need 500' of chain? It will be heavy, not so much for windlass loads but bow weight. Think about having all chain for your most likely anchoring situation at 6:1 scope. Then use nylon backing for deep water or when you need more scope...
A good source for chain is 1st Chain Supply.

Gr 40 Windlass Anchor Chain

And I'm with David on the length. We spent 100 days a year anchoring in the PNW for over 10 years and then did a circumnavigation and never put out more than 280 feet of chain. Had more, just never used it.

Plus, if you go with 500' from 120' you will be adding over 500 lbs of weight.
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Old 10-31-2014, 05:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Alaskan Sea-Duction View Post
OK I am actually looking forward to spring. I will be setting up my ground tackle, which at this point is just plain miserable. The boat came with a 40lb Danforth and 120' of 3/8 (I think) chain.

To prepare for my adventure north, I will be switching to a 77lb plow and 500' of chain.

My question is about chain. I have read a few places where there is a rating(?) on chain, HT and ??? I saw WM had BBBB ?
1. What are the ratings and their meaning?
2. Should I use galvanized chain. yes I will be in salt water
3. Where is a good place to but bulk chain?
You field be able to find a good price for that much at commercial fish places out west.

Bbb is also stamped on the links.
I'm any case, it was in my gypsy also, and then I found the windlass online to confirm.
BBB also stacks better in the chain locker, due to the shorter links.

Check out Englund Marine in Oregon.
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Old 10-31-2014, 05:05 PM   #6
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Seaduction-- A smart thing to do when buying new chain is to either remove the windlas wildcat and take it with you to the chain shop to make sure the chain you buy will fit properly, or take short sample of the chain you want to buy to the boat and check it on the windlass. It can be risky relying only on the size stamped on the wildcat and a catalog size of chain. The two may not match even if the numbers do.

When we bought 200' of new chain to replace the rusted, too-short length that came with the boat, the shop whacked off about a foot of the kind of chain we wanted so we could take it back to the boat and make sure it fit properly.

Chain that doesn't fit the wildcat properly will be constant source of headaches when deploying and retrieving the anchor.
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Old 10-31-2014, 05:06 PM   #7
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A good source for chain is 1st Chain Supply.

Gr 40 Windlass Anchor Chain

And I'm with David on the length. We spent 100d days a year anchoring in the PNW for over 10 years and then did a circumnavigation and never put out more than 280 feet of chain. Had more, just never used it.

Plus, if you go with 500' from 120' you will be adding over 500 lbs of weight.
Ha, I just found the link and they have a pretty good FAQ.
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Old 10-31-2014, 05:07 PM   #8
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Seaduction-- A smart thing to do when buying new chain is to either remove the windlas wildcat and take it with you to the chain shop to make sure the chain you buy will fit properly. When we bought 200' of new chain to replace the rusted, too-short length that came with the boat, the shop whacked off about a foot of the kind of chain we wanted so we could take it back to the boat and make sure it fit properly.

Chain that doesn't fit the wildcat properly will be constant source of headaches when deploying and retrieving the anchor.
Very very good point.
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Old 10-31-2014, 05:56 PM   #9
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Higher test chain may allow you to drop down a size to save weight (9/16 v 3/8) and just may cost less.

Many windless company's have optional gypsies so you may be able to change the gypsies to get you where you need to be.

Don't let the connectors be your weak link, avoid China chain and connections at all cost.


500 ft is a bunch of chain
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Old 11-01-2014, 12:34 PM   #10
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You don't say what LOA or hull form is your boat but I would caution about adding too much weight to the bow. 500' of 3/8th" chain weighs over 850 lbs. Years ago I had a 30' Monk cruiser and decided to add an electric windlass and a bunch of chain. The first trip out Juan De Fuca I noticed the extra weight seriously effected buoyancy in steep seas, causing the bow to dive and make a slow recovery. In my 40' Willard I've cruised the Inside Passage to SE Alaska, including Glacier Bay (deep water anchorages) and Sitka, and never needed more than 225'. If you really want the extra length, switching to nylon rope is a good option. Depending on the size and displacement of your boat, switching the wildcat to 5/16th" G4 could be a good way to add length while reducing weight.
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Old 11-01-2014, 03:45 PM   #11
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IIRC BBB chain was designed to not kink and jam. I avoided the temptation of HT chain with longer links in favor of not jamming, and never regretted the decision. I would change the gypsy to fit the chain I want rather than the other way around.
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Old 12-19-2014, 09:58 AM   #12
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IIRC BBB chain was designed to not kink and jam. I avoided the temptation of HT chain with longer links in favor of not jamming, and never regretted the decision. I would change the gypsy to fit the chain I want rather than the other way around.
Something to keep in mind is that HT chain is manufactured in short (ISO) and long (NACM) link versions.

Most windlasses seem to take the short link rather than the long link.
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Old 12-19-2014, 03:08 PM   #13
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IIRC BBB chain was designed to not kink and jam. I avoided the temptation of HT chain with longer links in favor of not jamming, and never regretted the decision. I would change the gypsy to fit the chain I want rather than the other way around.


BBB (bends before breaks) G30 or G3 is less used as the G4 HT short link is now the industry standard. The only advantage in my opinion of BBB is it cost slightly less.

G4 short link is MORE flexible then BBB
Most all gypsys will use G4 short link chain the same as BBB

G4 chain is stronger by a factor of two over BBB (G3) chain so you can downsize to a much lighter more flexible chain without given up strength.

"Strength levels are the same as Gr 43 but the dimensions of the chain links are smaller using ISO standards. Primarily used for boat windlasses, this grade has become a standard for that industry."

"High tensile strength carbon steel anchor (windlass) chain with an ISO short link.
The short link makes it more flexible and ideally suited for use as an windlass chain."


Gr 40 Windlass Anchor Chain



http://www.cruisingworld.com/how/your-chain-explained-understanding-anchor-chain



I changed over to G4 short link and it works fine on the same gypsy as the old BBB, very happy with my choice.
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Old 12-19-2014, 06:20 PM   #14
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I replaced both the windlass and the rode a couple years ago so I know what you are going through right now.... . Boat came with 200' 3/4" nylon and 100' of chain. The old windlass never worked right and I always wound up hauling it in manually. Went with 300' of 5/16" G4 since that is what the windlass specified. Made sense then and has worked well since. To be honest I can not even see that it made any difference in the way the boat sits in the water with all-chain rode, even though I know it has to have changes a bit. What ever size and type of chain you choose, be sure to use about 30' or nylon as the bitter end. In the event you need to let the whole thing go it is much easier to cut nylon than steel.

Marty.......................
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Old 12-28-2014, 11:26 AM   #15
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An easy way to see how much 250-300 pounds of chain will settle your boat by the bow is to just have two normal sized people go stand at the very front of the boat while you stand on the pier and note how much it changes the trim. Unless it's a pretty small boat, most people won't see much change.
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Old 12-28-2014, 11:50 AM   #16
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What is the simplest and easiest way to add nylon rode to the end of a chain? I'm not asking about using it to cut loose the rig, but to use for anchoring if needed.
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Old 12-28-2014, 01:02 PM   #17
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Ok folks....I need some questions answered and I have not found a resource with the questions or the answers so I have come to one of the largest pool of collective small boat knowledge I know of.

1. There are 2 splicing methods to join chain and rode that does not use a shackle. A shackle wii not pass through a chain-rode wildcat therefore a direct rode to chain splice is required. One method is a modified back splice with one lay of the line (3 stran) passed through the end link and then the back splice completed. This is the most popular, perhaps the easiest. It leaves a friction wear point and should be re done regularly. Seems like a real weak spot. The other is a rode to chain links weave. 2 to 3 feet of all 3 strans of three stran is woven into alternating links of the chain. Which is better? Will the weave method pass through the wildcat reliably?

2. I have 65 feet of short link chain. In the future, should I determine to add to it how do I do it in a way that will pass through the wildcat seamlessly? Is there a universal link that is as strong as the rest of the chain? Should I take the new and old chain to a very skilled welder? What??

Thanks in advance for your responses.
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Old 12-28-2014, 01:28 PM   #18
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I've been using three-strand back-spliced (also called shackle splice) to chain for 16 summers. All three strands pass through the link of the chain. 1/2" rope, 1/4" HT chain.

The splice (described in Brion Toss's Chapman's book of knots and splices, and on the New England Ropes web site) is easy to learn, especially if you've done any three-strand splicing. The splice lasts me through a summer in BC and SE Alaska, anchoring 50-100 times per summer. Runs through the windlass quite well.

At the end of each summer, I cut off maybe 5-10 feet of rope at the chain end (whever it looks especially worn) thoroughly wash and rinse the rope in a tub with Tide, reverse both chain and rope, and re-splice. Three strand lasts me about 6 summers before it needs replacing.
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Old 12-28-2014, 02:02 PM   #19
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I was a 3rd class boatswain mate in the USN. I know or barely remember my marlinspike seamanship learned 40 years ago. I have not tried to get all three strands of 5/8 nylon through 5/16 short link chain. Might work. I have never had the problem of getting something too big into a too of a small hole, (damn it) so my eyeball estimate might be suspect.
There is a reason the weave method is seldom seen, therefore at this time I defer to your suggested method. Have you tried it with 8 plait?
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Old 12-28-2014, 03:02 PM   #20
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Have you tried it with 8 plait?
http://www.yalecordage.com/pdf/brait...ain_splice.pdf
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