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Old 10-25-2014, 07:39 AM   #1
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Anchor swivel attachment

So one day with nothing to do I put on scuba gear and watched our anchor go through a current change to see what happens, as some dock walker had pointed out what he thought might be a better way to attach the chain. I had attached the Kong swivel directly from the 5/16" HT chain rode to the anchor.

The 20kg Rocna was pretty well set. As the boat swung around one side of the anchor, the swivel was twisted to the side, causing what I perceived was quite a bit of stress on the bolt that holds it together until the anchor broke free and reset. Under extreme circumstances, like when the anchor might be caught in rocks or coral and not swing around this could be a problem.

The solution: Attach the "roundy" part of a 7/16" shackle to the anchor. The "bolt" part goes to four links of 3/8" chain, the other end of which attaches to the Kong swivel which attaches to the 5/16" HT chain rode. The swivel cannot side load any more, as the oversized shackle rotates in the anchor attachment and doesn't care which way the anchor is oriented. It looks cool and people will now stop and talk to you on the dock and ask you for advice about all sorts of things.

My wife says I should have a photo of this attached to this. Email me and I'll come up with one.
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Old 10-25-2014, 08:09 AM   #2
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Or just abandon the swivel. Marin convinced me to do this, it works!
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Old 10-25-2014, 08:53 AM   #3
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You must have one of those swivels with two prongs that go on either side of the shank. IMO that is a very poor design. I haven't ever used a swivel just a nice loose shackle that could move in any direction.

Every once in a while IMO it is a good idea to lower the anchor in deep water and allow it to untwist. Even with a swivel the untwisting may not happen as expected. Even with three strand rode in the past I never had a twist related problem when I did this every once in a while.
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Old 10-25-2014, 09:16 AM   #4
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Mount the swivel securely to the peg board and rotate your body 180 degrees on a vertical axis and return to your home port.

A swivel is a solution to a non existent problem. You saw the anchor re set yes? So what if if comes up backwards. Re drop it and take the 1/2 turn out of the chain and go on your way.


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Old 10-25-2014, 09:37 AM   #5
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I've had problems with the chain twisted to the point that the windlass has difficulty engaging the chain properly. My solution is to disconnect the chain from the anchor and lower the chain allowing it to untwist itself. I have 50 ft of chain and in my cruising area it's hard to find water that deep.
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Old 10-25-2014, 10:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjanacek View Post

The solution: Attach the "roundy" part of a 7/16" shackle to the anchor. The "bolt" part goes to four links of 3/8" chain, the other end of which attaches to the Kong swivel which attaches to the 5/16" HT chain rode.


As others have said you can do without the swivel. I have not had one for many years. The only problem I have seen is that if you anchor in one spot for a while and the boat rotates around the same direction you can end up twisting the chain. This is not apparent until the anchor is retrieved. The gypsy does not allow the chain to twist so the the twists get concentrated in last bit of chain as it is retrieved.

If the twists are sufficient the chain bunches up like a wound up rubber band. This will not pass trough the gypsy and creates a difficult problem.

It is quite rare. In my case less than 1 in 1000 nights at anchor, but if you anchor in shallower water with a consistently rotating wind or tide especially for longer periods of time it may be an issue.
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Old 10-25-2014, 10:23 AM   #7
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Tim:
Do it in the deepest water you can find. If the chain has not been out very far because of shallow water it is unlikely that the unused chain is twisted.
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Old 10-25-2014, 03:09 PM   #8
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A swivel introduces the "weak link". Not necessary in the type of anchoring we do.
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Old 10-25-2014, 04:09 PM   #9
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Why dos'nt the anchor chain untwist totally shortly after the anchor leaves the sea floor? Most bow rollers have a grove in the center of the roller so it would seem twisting behind the roller would be unlikely ... But on the other end the anchor "sailing" around in circles could twist the chain .. especially if the anchor was light.

I read about all these anchor chain troubles and think how lucky I am to only have about 15' of the stuff on my rode.

I've got my new 33lb Claw on the bow and wondered how it would come up after reading all this stuff on TF. First time I've set up to leave an anchor on the bow and not pulled it over the rail. So I let the anchor down about two feet and pulled it back up. Was about 35 degrees off but in the last inch or so it turned perfectly to the bow roller. I had it on a little piece of 3/16"piece of line so it was quite free to rotate.

Actually if one put enough tension on the rode as the first act of weighing anchor to bring the chain up off the bottom I would think the whole rode would almost immediately un-twist w all the links lined up. And then of course the chain should come up the way it went down and the anchor would be positioned correctly just as it went down.

Perhaps a lot of twisting occurs in the chain locker.
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Old 10-25-2014, 06:17 PM   #10
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Maybe it will maybe it won't. People who anchor on tide reversing areas may see more twisting.
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Old 10-25-2014, 09:46 PM   #11
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I have done a lot of anchoring from the bow without a swivel in the past with no issues. On my new boat with a remote windless control at the helm I find the special Ultra swivel very useful. This devise flips the anchor over if it comes up backwards or sideward and takes a lot of load off the entire rig. The Ultra swivel is a ball and socket type. The swivels that are not ball and socket have been known to fail do to repeated un toggled lateral stress and are a poor choice for the job particularly stressed if they come up to the roller and jam at the wrong angle across their toggle plane. So I do see a use for a good ball and socket swivel if you have a remote windless application on your boat.
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Old 10-28-2014, 02:08 AM   #12
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I first read about the situation the original poster describes in a book we bought in 1998 shortly after acquiring our own diesel cruiser. The book is "The Complete Book of Anchoring and Mooring" by Earl Hinz, and so far as we're concerned it's the best book on the subject available.

Hinz spends some time describing the right and wrong ways to install a swivel, and after realizing that I had installed ours the wrong way and correcting it, I came to observe that the vast majority of swivels on the boats in our section of our marina were installed the wrong way, too.

Unfortunately, some of them, particulary the nice, polished "bullet" swivels can only be installed one way, and that one way happens to be the wrong way. Unless one elects to put a shackle between the swivel and the anchor shank, which of course ruins the nice sleek look the boater was probably after.

This whole bit about the right and wrong way to install a swivel got me interested in the subject of swivels itself, so I talked to several people in our boating club and on our dock at the time who have a lot of experience anchoring.

And what I learned--- and observed by looking at their anchor rigs--- was that none of them use a swivel at all, and they highly recommended not using one.

So I removed ours and connected our all-chain rode directly to the anchor shank using a shackle with the closed end put through the hole in the anchor shank. This allows the chain to rotate and pivot in any direction and keeps the pull of the anchor "straight through" the shackle. There is no sideways load on anything other than the anchor shank itself.

There tends to be a fairly impressive tidal range in the PNW and on up the coast, and wth the current typically reversing four times a day, it's not uncomnon for our boat to circle the position of the anchor multiple times over the period of a day or three.

But we have never had the chain come up kinked or bound up. When the anchor comes off the bottom I suppose it might pivot around a few times as the accumulated twist comes out of the chain, but by the time it gets to the surface eveything has straightend itself out.

Our current anchor does a good job of aligning itself properly with the forward pulpit roller, so I can't recall ever having to reach out and give it a bit of a twist to make it align properly although I may have from time to time. I did have to do this on occasion with our previous anchor.

So I can understand how on some boats with long pulpits, high bulwarks, etc., a swivel can make it easier to align the anchor for hauling it up over the bow roller. But that swivel should be installed correctly, so that there is never any sidways pull exerted on the swivel pin.

While we see no advantage to instralling a swivel in our own anchor setup, if we did need a swivel there is only one we would consider and that is the WASI Power Ball. Hellaciously expensive, and I don't know if they are even available in the US (they're made in Europe). But from the reports I've read about them, it gives you the advantage of having a swivel while eliminating the risk of sheering the swivel pin (because there isn't one.).
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Old 10-28-2014, 04:58 AM   #13
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But we have never had the chain come up kinked or bound up. When the anchor comes off the bottom I suppose it might pivot around a few times as the accumulated twist comes out of the chain, but by the time it gets to the surface eveything has straightend itself out.
Once the anchor is broken out and off the bottom it not a problem. The anchor will spin around and undo the twist.
The difficulty occurs when trying to break out the anchor. The chain needs to be at close to 1:1 for this to happen. Thus all the twists in the chain are concentrated between the windlass and the unbroken out anchor. More than a certain number of twists per unit length of chain and the chain will bunch up. In this condition it will not go through the windlass.
However I stress this problem is very rare. It needs conditions where the boat rotates the same way, but the anchor itself does not move. I have only experienced this twice. I still do not use a swivel despite this very occasional issue.

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While we see no advantage to instralling a swivel in our own anchor setup, if we did need a swivel there is only one we would consider and that is the WASI Power Ball. Hellaciously expensive, and I don't know if they are even available in the US (they're made in Europe). But from the reports I've read about them, it gives you the advantage of having a swivel while eliminating the risk of sheering the swivel pin
The Wasi power ball is beautifully made. They were supplied as standard with Bugel anchor so they are quite common in Europe. The ball and socket design allows for some articulation (30 degrees each way from memory). This is said to eliminate the side loading problem, although some claim that 30 degrees is not really enough.

Ultra have produced a copy with also an option of a separate arm that self rights the anchor. The Ultra version is less beefy than the original Wasi which is a help in terms of anchor penetration. Some have expressed some concerns about the strength, but none have failed as far as I am aware. Ultra claim a very high SWL, but it is not clear what would happen if a side load did develop.
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Old 10-28-2014, 05:23 AM   #14
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This photo shows the Ultra swivel in action.



It is easy to imagine in these sort of conditions that the 30 degree articulation may not be sufficient to prevent a side loading.
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Old 10-28-2014, 06:39 AM   #15
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Good point about the potential drawback of the 30-degree limit. I've wondered about that myself. I just figured the WASI is so hell-built-for-stout that even if the arm came up against the side of the socket it would be more than strong enough to take it. As opposed to the relatively thin swivel pin in the typical swivel.
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Old 10-28-2014, 06:47 AM   #16
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It appears to me that the anchor shank inserts into the big slot of the WASI Power Ball and thus only moves in one direction. High side loads will surely be applied and felt on the pin to the right of the ball. And if the rode pulled 30 degrees aft of the shank a 90 degree side load would result.

Looks classy but a waste of money to me. I'd say the typical swivel is probably every bit as good. But the ones I've fiddled w in stores do not swivel smoothly and w little friction.
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Old 10-28-2014, 06:59 AM   #17
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Eric-- I think you're orrect, but the arm of the WASI is massive compared to the thin swivel pin in a conventional swivel. Plus the ability of the arm to pivot with the ball relieves some of the pressure.

But I agree that a conventional swivel if fastened to the shank correctly will work just fine if one really needs a swivel in their setup. I'm convinced we don't and our experience has shown that to be correct. I believe the fewer components in an anchor setup the better. We have three-- the anchor, the all-chain rode, and the big shackle connecting the rode to the anchor.

Well, four I guess, if you count the line that connects the bitter end of the chain to the ring in the anchor locker that's long enough to appear on deck so we can cut it if we need to let the whole works go overboard in a hurry.
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Old 10-28-2014, 09:17 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cafesport View Post
Mount the swivel securely to the peg board and rotate your body 180 degrees on a vertical axis and return to your home port.

A swivel is a solution to a non existent problem. You saw the anchor re set yes? So what if if comes up backwards. Re drop it and take the 1/2 turn out of the chain and go on your way.


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Anchors coming up bass akwards is a bit more of a problem when the anchor weighs more than you can lift. I have an Ultra flip swivel that is rated stronger than the 1/2" G4 chain I use and flips the anchor to the correct position every time. A bit easier than trying to rotate a 176# anchor with a boat hook in one hand and the windlass control in the other.
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Old 10-28-2014, 09:20 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyschulman View Post
I have done a lot of anchoring from the bow without a swivel in the past with no issues. On my new boat with a remote windless control at the helm I find the special Ultra swivel very useful. This devise flips the anchor over if it comes up backwards or sideward and takes a lot of load off the entire rig. The Ultra swivel is a ball and socket type. The swivels that are not ball and socket have been known to fail do to repeated un toggled lateral stress and are a poor choice for the job particularly stressed if they come up to the roller and jam at the wrong angle across their toggle plane. So I do see a use for a good ball and socket swivel if you have a remote windless application on your boat.
Just FYI, if you can trust the testing documentation, the Ultra swivel exceeds the breaking strength of the chain it is mated to in all directions of pull - side loads included. My only question is whether over time the little nub that forces the rotation of the anchor to the correct position will wear down. Suppose it will eventually.
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Old 10-28-2014, 10:40 AM   #20
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I removed my swivel (per Marin's guidance) about 50 anchorings ago, so far no end of the world twists in the all chain rode. I will say the Bruce is properly weighted so that it aligns perfectly once the shank hits the grooved pulley.

I do use the forward foot buttons so as to be able to wash the rode and anchor as required with fresh water and know when to pull the anchor into the right final over the top pull. If I did the final pull up from the helm Id have a swivel.
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