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Old 07-14-2012, 01:13 AM   #1
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Bad Day

Bad luck yesterday, I fouled my anchor just south of the state park near Rio Vista. I had stopped to let the dogs run on the beach on my way home to Locke ca when my 75lb plow anchor fouled on what turned out to be a 1-1/2 inch steel cable buried in the river sand. I have never liked the feel of setting an all chain anchor rode as it is harder for me to feel when it's hooked up and set solid than nylon and chain. Well this time it felt real solid when I backed down. I had been down in the salt of the SF bay so I thought I would let out 200' or so and rinse off the salt from the chain. When I weighed anchor I couldn't break the anchor free of the bottom so I set up my anchor bridle with a hook and secured the 1"nylon rope to my front bow cleats and proceeded to try and horse out my anchor with all 66tons of Hatteras. It took a while nudging from different angles to finally pull the anchor free. To my surprise I pulled up a 1-1/2" steel cable on the flukes of my anchor. I had to tie it off lower the anchor to free it and release the cable. In the process the bridle slipped off my anchor chain and I ended up bending the hell out of my anchor roller bracket. In the scheme of things it might have been cheaper to have cut the chain and left the anchor on the bottom. The location of the cable is about midway between bouy 23 and 25 on the west side of the Sacramento River just downstream from the State park ramp.
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Old 07-14-2012, 01:54 AM   #2
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Underwater is scary. Congratulations for getting out of the tangle. Stuff happens, and that's part of the adventure. No?
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:20 AM   #3
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Do you carry bolt cutters aboard? I crewed on a friend's Defever once and he had an all chain rode. I asked what happens if the windlass breaks or you hang the anchor? His answer was that he has a hacksaw (somewhere down in the ER)!! Sure that will work when everything is hunky-dory. I tend to prepare for the doo-doo on the air circulator moments (seems like that is when you get to try to find all those what if items anyway).
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Old 07-14-2012, 01:54 PM   #4
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Boaters with all-chain rodes should always secure the bitter end of the chain to a stout ring or hook in the chain locker with a line long enough to appear on deck when all the chain is let out. The line should be strong enough to absorb the shock of stopping the chain should it all run out for some reason. If there is a need to cut loose or cut loose from the anchor it's a simple job to let all the chain run out and cut the line with the line cutting blade on a Leatherman Wave or whatever.

I came within about five seconds of doing this once as we were dragging into a railroad trestle on a lee shore early one morning. I like to think I'd have had the presence of mind to tie a large fender to the end of the chain before cutting it free so we could come back later and retrieve the chain and anchor but I wasn't thinking about that at the time so I probably would't have.
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:21 PM   #5
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Boaters with all-chain rodes should always secure the bitter end of the chain to a stout ring or hook in the chain locker with a line long enough to appear on deck when all the chain is let out. The line should be strong enough to absorb the shock of stopping the chain should it all run out for some reason. If there is a need to cut loose or cut loose from the anchor it's a simple job to let all the chain run out and cut the line with the line cutting blade on a Leatherman Wave or whatever.

I came within about five seconds of doing this once as we were dragging into a railroad trestle on a lee shore early one morning. I like to think I'd have had the presence of mind to tie a large fender to the end of the chain before cutting it free so we could come back later and retrieve the chain and anchor but I wasn't thinking about that at the time so I probably would't have.
I'm leaning towards about 75 feet of 1/2-5/8 poly line...so it will float when cut and I don't get a fender/float on it.
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:26 PM   #6
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Good idea. Then you don't have to remember something under the pressure of the moment.
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Old 07-14-2012, 06:36 PM   #7
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I have 300' of 5/8 chain and one of my to do list items is remove 200' of it and go with poly line. We haven't anchored in over 50' in 7 years. I like the safety factor of all that scope, but not the weight.

A few years back, friends grabbed a underwater power cable (unmarked) running from Lopez to a small island North of it (can't remember name) and wonder what would have happened if the insulation of the cable broke and the anchor came in contact with the conductors...
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Old 07-14-2012, 11:25 PM   #8
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Sailing yachts commonly carry bolt-cutters to cut away rigging etc in a dismasting, I thought about it but carry a hacksaw, bolt-cutters could be fairly rusty when you finally need them 10years on. Adding poly line at the inboard end of the rode makes sense. We`ve anchored in 120ft starting/finishing a race on the harbour, puts a lot of chain out; what`s down there, apart from bull sharks, is anyone`s guess. BruceK
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:18 PM   #9
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After talking with a knowledgeable local it turns out that the area along the west side of the Sacramento river between buoy 23 and 24 is foul with cables and other debris. This apparently is where sand barges had been moored for years for loading with sand. So word to the wise, as inviting a spot as these beaches are, probably better to anchor elsewhere. The bent anchor bracket as is usual for most boat repairs will require more than just unbolting and straightening the bracket. It seems that the Ideal windless will have to be removed to access the the though bolts on the bracket. I'm sure at this point that it would be far better to cut the chain and replace the anchor. Another option for cutting the chain is a 4" grinder with a cut off wheel. These are so handy that I can't believe I hadn't learned about them years ago. I discovered how handy these are while building a school playground. These cut stainless like butter and are much faster than a saw. The battery versions are plenty adequate for cutting chain. The idea of struggling with a set of bolt cutters large enough to cut 3/8 chain, while far better than a hacksaw, is no where near as easy as a small 4" grinder.
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:39 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
I'm leaning towards about 75 feet of 1/2-5/8 poly line...so it will float when cut and I don't get a fender/float on it.

Outstanding idea!
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:27 PM   #11
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At least it was not conducting electricity!! We actually ended up with a similar size power cable over our Rocna in the Bahamas. Kind of scary especially when you are not wearing rubber boots!! Managed to drop it off with no harm to man nor island power supply.
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:36 PM   #12
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Outstanding idea!
Something I picked up along the way on one of these boards...we all pick up and pass on the kernels along the way of cruis'n life..
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Old 07-16-2012, 06:08 PM   #13
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Thanks for the heads up, Scary. I never knew there were cables lurking there. I'll file this away for future reference! Now that I'm looking at my Navionics app, it shows a "pipeline area' opposite Delta Marina/The Point Restaurant, a submerged pipeline just north of buoys 25/26 and a magenta 'caution area' line just north of 23/24. I'll be paying them more more heed thanks to your warning.

That area called "The West Bank" by local anglers is a popular striper trolling area during the fall and winter months...south of Sandy Beach park, along the old red barn and toward the powerlines to the south. I have seen a few guys anchored there bait fishing, but normally it's an area dominated by multitudes of trolling anglers.

Since the waters run a fairly consistent 7-10 ft deep close to shore, the trollers run shallow divers 140-175 ft back from the boat at a fair clip of 3-5 Kt. When maneuvering around an anchored vessel, the trolled lures often become snagged on the anchor rodes. Maybe not a bad way to pick up a few extra trolling lures in your spare time to offset the anchor hardware costs.
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Old 10-21-2012, 08:17 PM   #14
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" I'm sure at this point that it would be far better to cut the chain and replace the anchor. Another option for cutting the chain is a 4" grinder with a cut off wheel. These are so handy that I can't believe I hadn't learned about them years ago. I discovered how handy these are while building a school playground. These cut stainless like butter and are much faster than a saw. The battery versions are plenty adequate for cutting chain. The idea of struggling with a set of bolt cutters large enough to cut 3/8 chain, while far better than a hacksaw, is no where near as easy as a small 4" grinder."

When we were living aboard our Hylas 49' sailboat we had to deal with the potential requirement to cut away the rigging, as well as terminal anchoring solutions. We bought, and still have, a right angle drill with a massive battery pack and several sets of grinding wheels. The right angle drill was useful to have on board regardless of its safety role and consequently was regularly charged and available for emergency use. It now resides in a locker on my much tamer Salish Sea Bayliner.
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:43 AM   #15
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If you cut with a grinder watch the hot sparks, they can make a mess of gel coat or paint, not to mention gasoline.
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:59 AM   #16
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Good advice Steve. The grinding wheels were only for use in emergency on board. In the circumstances (loss of mast and rigging) the gelcoat would have been low on my list of priorities. I was once moored next to a boat that was having some grinding work done while overwintering in Turkey and within two days my gelcoat had developed hundreds if not thousands of tiny rust stains from the grind waste. I do not know what they were grinding at since I was not on the boat at the time, but it took a heckofalot of work to clean up.
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:46 PM   #17
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Couple of years ago, we had some Wounded Warriors aboard to watch the Red Bull air races in San Diego harbor. When I pulled up the all-chain rode a 5/8" steel cable came up with it, complete with dead-eyes. I could not lift the cable off the anchor but a nearby Navy Security boat showed up and the crew helped me release the cable. This ol' dogface soldier sure thanked the swabbies for their help. They in turn thanked me for being part of the Wounded Warriors project.
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:05 PM   #18
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Couple of years ago, we had some Wounded Warriors aboard to watch the Red Bull air races in San Diego harbor. When I pulled up the all-chain rode a 5/8" steel cable came up with it, complete with dead-eyes. I could not lift the cable off the anchor but a nearby Navy Security boat showed up and the crew helped me release the cable. This ol' dogface soldier sure thanked the swabbies for their help. They in turn thanked me for being part of the Wounded Warriors project.

Cool story ancora!

Besides gel coat and paint abrasive cut off wheel sparks will wreak havoc on stainless steel. Don't ask how I know
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:00 PM   #19
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After several close calls with other dragging boats in nasty weather, I no longer make the bitter end of my rode fast. When I want to turn it loose, I want it loose NOW.

I do use the poly even tho I don't use any chain. If you plan on poly to save your anchor/rode, don't just assume it will work...test it first.

And for you techies, there's another way to open a chain link.
How to Freeze & Shatter Steel | eHow.com
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Old 10-22-2012, 09:10 PM   #20
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After several close calls with other dragging boats in nasty weather, I no longer make the bitter end of my rode fast. When I want to turn it loose, I want it loose NOW.

I do use the poly even tho I don't use any chain. If you plan on poly to save your anchor/rode, don't just assume it will work...test it first.

And for you techies, there's another way to open a chain link.
How to Freeze & Shatter Steel | eHow.com
Why don't you use chain? What anchor do you use? I know of no anchor manufacturers who recommend no chain with their anchors. Maybe this contributed to your close calls.
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