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Old 08-17-2015, 09:44 PM   #1
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Chain length for Great Loop

I've always said you should buy your windlass and chain from the same vendor. Now that I'm looking at the $500 shipping estimate, the advice I so freely gave over the years, seems different. I'm also thinking on cutting back on the length.

I'd planned on 300 feet of 3/8" for eventual cruising downeast but our first chain could well be due for replacement by the time we're done with ICW and southern waters. However, I'm looking at charts of the TenTom and other inland waters we plan to travel for the first few years and not seeing any depths given. It seems like some of those channels could be deep and we might often have to anchor on steep gradients near shore. The full 300 feet might be necessary in those conditions.

Informed comments and opinions appreciated.
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Old 08-17-2015, 10:23 PM   #2
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Plan for a storm. You never know where you may get caught. 10 to 1 in 20' of water plus up to the roller and through the windlass uses most of 300' of chain. 400' for my primary and will likely replace with 400' for the second anchor.

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Old 08-17-2015, 11:13 PM   #3
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We spent the past two years on the Loop with 2 winters in the Bahamas on 90 feet of chain plus nylon. The most I ever had out was 120 total.
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Old 08-18-2015, 07:19 AM   #4
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Yeah 300' of chain for the loop would be overkill. 200' plus 100'-150' of nylon backing should be more than adequate.

And you could easily get away with 150' of chain with more nylon backing.

Of course you'd do just fine, as many others have and do, with just 50' of chain and the rest all nylon as well.

Pick your poison. History has shown they all work.
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Old 08-18-2015, 07:54 AM   #5
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Roger the only time on our "loop" where we used 200' of chain was anchoring in the Ohio river South of Angelo's towhead mile 2.5 Cairo,Il. That part of the Ohio had a sand bottom with about a 3 knot current, we where in a group of four loopers and ran out of daylight heading for the Big E marina in Paducah, Ky.
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Old 08-18-2015, 08:04 AM   #6
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II think deciding what you need is how you approach anchoring...instead of the other way around.

Usually doing the loop, you aren't on a schedule, so flexibility to make you happy is usually there.

While having unlimited chain gives unlimited possibilities....reality is I pick my anchorages based on several factors like most people, protection and water depth.

While there are places where you might need more than 200 feet....they in my mind would have to be over 50 feet deep and / or expected high winds.

If in that situation more than a few time I would be suprised...in those cases I probably would either have a marina in mind or just shackle on whatever nylon I would need to feel safe. Yet I really never envisioning having to do that.

The biggest probability in an emergency anchorage, no fix or tow in the near future and bad weather on the way. Considering that has never happened in 50 years of boating....being worried and over buying chain isn't in my nature.
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Old 08-18-2015, 09:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
The biggest probability in an emergency anchorage, no fix or tow in the near future and bad weather on the way.
I'm still getting used to the idea of not having that seldom used emergency propulsion system wrapped up on the fore stay and boom. It is the idea of sudden silence down below in strong current and narrow river quarters that has me thinking of buying all that chain.

I'm thinking now of going with just 200 feet, as much as I have ever put out in the last 20,000 miles even when in the tides of the Bay of Fundy. I'll have a long rope rode in the other anchor locker and, if we need to anchor deep, I can always shackle that on.

The oversize Mantus anchor I'll be using, judging from the way a smaller one has performed on my sailboat and how hard it is to break out even on short scope, also makes me comfortable with less rode.
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Old 08-20-2015, 08:16 PM   #8
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I have 300' of 5/16" bbb and and I have always been able to find a anchorage under 20' on the Mississippi and the Illinois River. I normally anchor out rather than use marinas unless I need fuel, water or provisions. I've found that on the Illinois and on Lake Michigan & Huron having a wash down pump to wash off the mud is very useful.


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Old 08-20-2015, 11:58 PM   #9
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We cruised the whole east coast (PEI, Nova Scotia, US coast, Bahamas) with 200' of chain and never had a problem. I actually though I had 300', but it turns out it was only 200'. It still was fine.
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Old 08-24-2015, 07:10 AM   #10
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Chain is hardly required there is no coral.

It is very muddy so 4 or 5 ft or what fits from the anchor to the windlass would work just fine.

We coil the nylon on deck as it too can pick up mud and stink below like chain..

Also much faster to deploy as required with out feeding it out a tiny deck hole.
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Old 08-24-2015, 09:08 AM   #11
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I think the guideline of at least have a length of chain that matches the length of your boat is prudent if you don't use all chain. There's nothing like being able to reach out with a boat hook in the middle of the night to wake up the crew of a boat that's along side of you. They had an under size anchor, 5 ft of chain and all rope and where going out with the tide.
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Old 08-24-2015, 09:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiDHo View Post
I think the guideline of at least have a length of chain that matches the length of your boat is prudent if you don't use all chain. There's nothing like being able to reach out with a boat hook in the middle of the night to wake up the crew of a boat that's along side of you. They had an under size anchor, 5 ft of chain and all rope and where going out with the tide.
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Old 08-24-2015, 09:57 AM   #13
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In the rivers I'd use 20' of chain (if that) and 150' of nylon ... preferably "Brait" line. I've never dragged that I know of and never used more than 15' of chain. Assuming rivers have more debris on the bottom I'd be thinking of big cheap anchor like a Claw that wouldn't cause any weeping if lost.
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Old 08-24-2015, 11:04 AM   #14
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In the rivers I'd use 20' of chain (if that) and 150' of nylon ... preferably "Brait" line. I've never dragged that I know of and never used more than 15' of chain. Assuming rivers have more debris on the bottom I'd be thinking of big cheap anchor like a Claw that wouldn't cause any weeping if lost.
Yeah, the more claws lost the better.
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Old 08-24-2015, 11:11 AM   #15
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Yeah, the more claws lost the better.
Maybe PNW anchorers need to seek areas with sunken logs and use wreck anchors so no loss would happen.
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