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Old 03-06-2015, 05:42 PM   #301
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Everyone here has had some very thoughtful comments on their personal experiences regarding anchoring emergencies (to steal a phrase) and their mitigation. Thanks all for the opinions.

For me, my boat, my situation, and like others I am a very experienced boater with lots and lots of anchoring under my belt...

I feel that all that considered I am going to go with a short piece of line connecting my all chain rode to my boat. That piece of line will be short enough that it will not get into my windlass should all my chain be out.

I will also be bringing a set of bolt cutters on board because if I ever get into a real emergency, it will probably be a heck of allot faster to get the bolt cutters than it will be to let all my chain out then cut the line free.
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Old 03-06-2015, 05:51 PM   #302
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That line at the bitter end is important. Normally people talk about if you ever have to leave your anchor and go quickly you can cut the line, attach a float and go. I witnessed a second reason. While underway off the eastern end of Puerto Rico in a couple of thousand feet of water the anchor and chain of a sailboat with which we were traveling went into free fall. 300 feet of chain and a 60 pound anchor dropped like a rocket. Fortunately the chain was attached to the boat by 3/4 inch line which parted like paper. Anchor and chain were lost but the boat survived undamaged. Bow was submerged for an instant until the line broke.
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Old 03-06-2015, 06:09 PM   #303
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On my boat if I loosen the windlass clutch enough or lift the chain off the wildcat, quicker than I can get to the wheelhouse for a knife and back, all 200' of chain will deploy in most cases.

If there is no current or wind or I am only in a few feet of water...then it might be slower...but still plenty fast as if an emergency...something will alter that equation.
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Old 03-06-2015, 06:16 PM   #304
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That line at the bitter end is important. Normally people talk about if you ever have to leave your anchor and go quickly you can cut the line, attach a float and go. I witnessed a second reason. While underway off the eastern end of Puerto Rico in a couple of thousand feet of water the anchor and chain of a sailboat with which we were traveling went into free fall. 300 feet of chain and a 60 pound anchor dropped like a rocket. Fortunately the chain was attached to the boat by 3/4 inch line which parted like paper. Anchor and chain were lost but the boat survived undamaged. Bow was submerged for an instant until the line broke.
I worry about that!
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Old 03-06-2015, 06:29 PM   #305
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I feel that all that considered I am going to go with a short piece of line connecting my all chain rode to my boat. That piece of line will be short enough that it will not get into my windlass should all my chain be out.

I will also be bringing a set of bolt cutters on board because if I ever get into a real emergency, it will probably be a heck of allot faster to get the bolt cutters than it will be to let all my chain out then cut the line free.
A few things to keep in mind ...

One, as Psneeld said, when you let chain run out on its own--- and you can do that with a Lofrans Tigres--- it goes out amazingly fast. I would guess within seconds because it's going to be accelerating as it goes. Like many of us probably, I've seen it happen accidentally on a boat in its slip on our dock and the chain--- a couple hundreed feet I'm sure--- was gone almost instantly. Big roar and then dead silence.

Two, you have the same windlass we do. The line connecting the bitter end of your anchor chain to the shackle, eye bolt, etc. in the anchor locker will not hurt anything if it runs through or over your wildcat. The important thing is that it will appear on deck next to you where you can easily cut it with a rigging knife.

Three, I've cut chain with a bolt cutter I bought in Hawaii for my Land Rover. Chain about the same size as our anchor chain (and larger). The thing is some four feet long and has compond leverage. I'm sure a lot of people here are familiar with or have this type of cutter.

It's not like cutting a piece of paper. Even with the long handles and compound leverage, it takes a fair amount of bearing-down force and a biit of time to finally cut through a link. That's standing on the ground. Envision yourself doing this on the bow of a boat that's heaving up and down in the waves in the dark (because these situations never arise when it's light).

You've got to get the cutter jaws on a link and keep them there no matter how much you're being thrown around. As opposed to cutting a line with a rigging knife when all you have to do is contact the line with the blade.

Given the choice of being tossed around up on the bow with a big, long, heavy set of bolt cutters in both hands or a little, lightweight rigging knife in one hand, it seems to me the knife is the safer bet. With your experience, I'm sure you'vfe heard the old addage, "One hand for the boat, one hand for you," a million times.

Bolt cutters with sufficient power to cut through an anchor chain are by definition pretty big and heavy and awkward and clunky. Which means they have to be stowed somewhere, preferably out of the way. Which means when you need it you have to go get it. A rigging knife, on the other hand, can be kept right next to the cabin door or on your person if you desire-- my wife always wears hers whenever we have to back away from a dock using a bow line around a cleat to hold the bow in place. So when you need it, it's right there.

Finally, if I'm going to cut something that might be under tension, while the risk of injury is always present, I'd rather be whacked in the head with the end of a nylon or dacron line than the end of a chain.

Just some things to think about perhaps.......
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Old 03-06-2015, 07:13 PM   #306
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On my boat if I loosen the windlass clutch enough or lift the chain off the wildcat, quicker than I can get to the wheelhouse for a knife and back, all 200' of chain will deploy in most cases.

If there is no current or wind or I am only in a few feet of water...then it might be slower...but still plenty fast as if an emergency...something will alter that equation.

I agree w that.
Perhaps a knife holder (and a knife) attached to the windlass or somewhere else nearby wouldn't be a bad idea.
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Old 03-06-2015, 07:50 PM   #307
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I agree w that.
Perhaps a knife holder (and a knife) attached to the windlass or somewhere else nearby wouldn't be a bad idea.
Good SHARP knives generally loose their edge quickly due to rust if left out.....might be a good idea if you had a foredeck box.

My assistance tow company has tried about every knife under the sun without much luck...especially the cheap to intermediate stainless dive and or fishing knives.

I'm sure there a knife out there that someone will recommend....maybe I can get the boss to try it.
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:38 PM   #308
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I'm sure there a knife out there that someone will recommend....maybe I can get the boss to try it.
This is the manufacturer we bought our rigging knives from. http://www.myerchin.com/

For cutting line, you want a serrated edge, not a straight edge.

The model we have is the lower one with the serrated edge.
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:40 PM   #309
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:16 PM   #310
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Buy a box of the red handled "lobster" knives. Sprinkled around the boat, with or without sheathes. They are sharper than 90% of anybodies knives, disposable and cheap. Hamilton marine, Fisheries supply and others sell Thousands of these.
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Old 03-07-2015, 06:25 AM   #311
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Buy a box of the red handled "lobster" knives. Sprinkled around the boat, with or without sheathes. They are sharper than 90% of anybodies knives, disposable and cheap. Hamilton marine, Fisheries supply and others sell Thousands of these.
We do...but one shot of salt spray without washing and the edge is gone in a couple weeks.

it's not a big deal to stick one in your pocket or leave one at the helm....I was just saying g leaving one at the windlass was probematic.
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Old 03-07-2015, 07:15 AM   #312
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We use mostly line and the bitter end has an eye splice.

Should the line need to be cast off its easier/faster to tie a fender to an eye than make some sort of knot.
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Old 03-07-2015, 08:03 AM   #313
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Ok that makes simple sense, although it does seem like a potential failure point. But it's all a compromise right? Thanks!


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Kev, there is another reason. In fact it was this that finally made me make this modification myself by adding about 10 feet of nylon to the bitter end where mounted in the anchor locker, where previously I did have the chain attached with a shackle to an embedded loop in the locker.

That being that in the event of you powering out the whole chain, without realising or intending to, or needing to to get adequate scope, it avoids the possibility of the whole shebang coming to a grinding, screeching, and possibly-ripping-the-end-out-of-the-locker type halt, when you run out of rode. The synthetic rope rode part will just slip on the gypsy, instead of the whole guts being ripped out or the winch itself damaged. To me, this seemed a more likely scenario then having to cut the rode adrift in an emergency, although I have to admit, neither contingency has occurred in all my years of boating. But Murphy's law does tend to work overtime out on the water, so…

The issue KSanders describes where he says…

"Imagine if you will that you run into a situation where your anchor locker empties for whatever reason. Chain jumps the gypsy for example, or you were just stupid and let it all out. If you have 10 or 15' of line out there, and you are deep you could have up to several hundred pounds of force on that line. There is no way you'll ever get that line up so the windlass can get a bite on the chain."

...would only be relevant or likely in the sort of very deep waters they tend to have to anchor in, and I take his point, but psneeld's suggestion below would deal with that situation also I think…

"If it goes overboard and tight....I would just use a rolling hitch to it (with another short line), and bring it up on the gypsy side...keep repeating till I had some links on the wildcat."
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Old 03-07-2015, 10:10 AM   #314
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That line at the bitter end is important. Normally people talk about if you ever have to leave your anchor and go quickly you can cut the line, attach a float and go. I witnessed a second reason. While underway off the eastern end of Puerto Rico in a couple of thousand feet of water the anchor and chain of a sailboat with which we were traveling went into free fall. 300 feet of chain and a 60 pound anchor dropped like a rocket. Fortunately the chain was attached to the boat by 3/4 inch line which parted like paper. Anchor and chain were lost but the boat survived undamaged. Bow was submerged for an instant until the line broke.
Fellow boaters... With the several posts after and in addition to the harrowing story above of what can happen due to chain rode: All the others mentioned past the above link quote (post # 302) make me ever so much more confident that anchor, to 14' chain, to a few hundred feet nylon line is the easiest, safest, most affordable way to go. Worked well for me since 1950's... does now... will in the future.

Bay - Feel I must ask. If all the anchor and chain weight were already on boat's bow in storage mode, why/how did their decent weight (with the mass weight reduced by water surround) have enough thrust to "submerge" the bow???... was it due to just the momentum as it all went taught and the line took a instant to have "parted like paper"?
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Old 03-07-2015, 10:35 AM   #315
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On my boat if I loosen the windlass clutch enough or lift the chain off the wildcat, quicker than I can get to the wheelhouse for a knife and back, all 200' of chain will deploy in most cases.

If there is no current or wind or I am only in a few feet of water...then it might be slower...but still plenty fast as if an emergency...something will alter that equation.
Pretty much what I have done, got slack in it to pull it off the wildcat.
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Old 03-07-2015, 10:43 AM   #316
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Fellow boaters... With the several posts after and in addition to the harrowing story above of what can happen due to chain rode: All the others mentioned past the above link quote (post # 302) make me ever so much more confident that anchor, to 14' chain, to a few hundred feet nylon line is the easiest, safest, most affordable way to go. Worked well for me since 1950's... does now... will in the future.

Bay - Feel I must ask. If all the anchor and chain weight were already on boat's bow in storage mode, why/how did their decent weight (with the mass weight reduced by water surround) have enough thrust to "submerge" the bow???... was it due to just the momentum as it all went taught and the line took a instant to have "parted like paper"?
The unspoken assumption. The new "science" of the 21st century.
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Old 03-07-2015, 11:08 AM   #317
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I'm sure there a knife out there that someone will recommend....maybe I can get the boss to try it.

Get your boss to try a titanium beta by ocean master.

Also if you use polypropylene line no fender required.

Never had to ditch an anchor but I've found several while diving around the rocks and ledges.


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Old 03-07-2015, 11:41 AM   #318
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Great advice. I've always kept one of those 4' long chain loppers at the ready in the locker but enough rope at the bitter end to allow exposure below and above deck to be cut with a knife will be the way I go from here. I have that Lofrans Tigres and have "free spooled" my chain out a few times but it is just too lightning fast for me to counter a foul or other issue should that occur. So, I go slow.
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Old 03-07-2015, 11:56 AM   #319
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I think the idea of keeping a knife at the bow to be something I'll start doing. I had my 65 pound anchor jump out of its roller a few years ago and had to wrestle it back in with one hand while the boat idled on autopilot. It was a tad lively at the time. The chain jumping the wildcat when the anchor was not in the roller was a possibility I had not considered while busy.

We used to use the serrated victorinox steak knives for diving, and I buy them by the handful. Whenever I've had to cut a line out of a prop I go for one of those or a hacksaw. The hacksaw would rust on my deck!

Everyone says these events are rare, and they don't happen every day, but then everyone has a story too.
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Old 03-08-2015, 07:15 AM   #320
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Fellow boaters... With the several posts after and in addition to the harrowing story above of what can happen due to chain rode: All the others mentioned past the above link quote (post # 302) make me ever so much more confident that anchor, to 14' chain, to a few hundred feet nylon line is the easiest, safest, most affordable way to go. Worked well for me since 1950's... does now... will in the future.

Bay - Feel I must ask. If all the anchor and chain weight were already on boat's bow in storage mode, why/how did their decent weight (with the mass weight reduced by water surround) have enough thrust to "submerge" the bow???... was it due to just the momentum as it all went taught and the line took a instant to have "parted like paper"?
No idea what the physics were. I have assumed it was the momentum as you are correct it could not have just been the weight.
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