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Old 12-15-2014, 04:18 AM   #1
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Chain type and quality

I thought as it is the season of goodwill that a non contentious thread might be in order, if this is possible under the topic of Anchors and Anchoring.

So I wondered

What is the view on chain quality, are owners happy with the quality of galvanising. Do owners use G30, or G43 - and why - or to put this question another way - what is wrong with G30 that encourages owners to buy G43. And finally - if you have a second hand vessel can you identify what chain you have anyway - so are the marks obvious.
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Old 12-15-2014, 09:44 AM   #2
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Pracitcal Sailor has a good article (based on independent testing) on this subject this month...I recommend it.

One of the big takeaways was to avoid generic Chinese-made chain. Some tested very well, some tested very poorly, but there was no way to differentiate the good from the bad.

Chain from Peerless (Acco) and Campbell both did well. G43 is stronger than G30, but not always by as significant a margin as first appears.
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Old 12-15-2014, 09:58 AM   #3
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Mine, is 5/16", every couple of links it is stamped G3 or G4, right now I don't remember which.
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Old 12-15-2014, 11:34 AM   #4
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We have ACCO 3/8" G4 (G43). It's marked every link. We're getting ready to replace it. A local shop had some that was stamped G4, marked 1 link per foot and made in China. We passed.

The published SWL for G30 is 2650lb and for G4 is 5400lb. I know for us to change to G30, the gypsy would have to changed out at ~$350.

Retriever: What did practical Sailor article say?
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Old 12-15-2014, 11:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Djbangi View Post
I thought as it is the season of goodwill that a non contentious thread might be in order, if this is possible under the topic of Anchors and Anchoring.



So I wondered



What is the view on chain quality, are owners happy with the quality of galvanising. Do owners use G30, or G43 - and why - or to put this question another way - what is wrong with G30 that encourages owners to buy G43. And finally - if you have a second hand vessel can you identify what chain you have anyway - so are the marks obvious.

Fortunately windlass manufacturers have made these decisions almost dumb proof. If you have the right size windlass there are few options for each gypsy. As far as specs go proof coil vs ht here are some handy reference tables. Click image for larger version

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If you are considering re galvanizing use the specs from this table to determine whether or not to even bother.
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Old 12-15-2014, 12:27 PM   #6
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Strength to Weight Ratio is the key is comparing BBB; Proof Coil, G3; G4/G43; and G70.






BBB (5/16"): 120lbs @ 100 Ft. (Breaking Strength: 7,600lbs)
Proof Coil (5/16"): 100lbs @ 100 Ft (Breaking Strength: 7,600lbs)
G43 (5/16"): 109lbs @ 100 Ft (Breaking Strength: 11,600lbs)
G70 (5/16"): 100lbs @ 100 Ft. (Breaking Strength: 14,100lbs)
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Old 12-15-2014, 05:22 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Larry M View Post
We have ACCO 3/8" G4 (G43). It's marked every link. We're getting ready to replace it. A local shop had some that was stamped G4, marked 1 link per foot and made in China. We passed.

The published SWL for G30 is 2650lb and for G4 is 5400lb. I know for us to change to G30, the gypsy would have to changed out at ~$350.

Retriever: What did practical Sailor article say?
I might not totally knock Chinese chain. Peerless etc have an imported line of chain, I can only guess where they import from, but I am sure that they are very careful of the quality and I assume they import because it offers a cheaper option.

Most Chinese chain in chandlers outside America is unmarked. I wonder if the chain that you have declined has a manufacturer somewhere on the drums? I am under the impression, maybe erroneously, that chain sold in America for anchoring and I'm guessing lifting must be marked. I think it might also need to be marked with country of origin, though that might be by a code as embossing some countries on 5/16th inch might be difficult.

It is interesting you quote SWL, or WLL - this data for G30 and G43 bares comparison with the break strength, also quoted on the thread, if you look carefully you will note that G43 is sold to a 3:1 safety factor and G30 a 4;1 safety factor and the SWL data is 'misleading' if not put into context.

Gypsies, or replacement gypsies, are extorionate, but some 'upgrade' from G30 to G43 - and I wondered why. If you already have a G43 gypsy you are very unlikely to change unless you move to G70 and downsize (that's downsize the chain).

Does anyone know anyone who uses G70?

The imperial chain mark G4, means G43. Campbell mark their chain C4 (or C43) etc. ACCO usually mark with ACCO somewhere (and USA)

No-one has mentioned, yet, galvanising as an issue. Do some seabeds abrade more than others. So do people in Florida get a longer life, or less, than those in Seattle? etc.

Lots of questions

When you buy - how many ask for (and get) a test certificate for the batch they buy. Are you charged for the certificate?
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Old 12-15-2014, 11:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retriever View Post
Pracitcal Sailor has a good article (based on independent testing) on this subject this month...I recommend it.
In addition to the January 2015 edition, focussing on abrasion resistance, there was an earlier article in June 2014 which focussed toward strength (some of which is summarised in the January article).
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Old 12-15-2014, 11:56 PM   #9
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My anchor rode is kept on a winch drum, 40' of 5/16" G4 chain plus 300' 1/4"dia 6x19 SS cable. The chain has historically become rusty after 3-4 years of service, I have been re-galvanizing 2-3 times before retiring the chain. In 2012, I purchased new Chinese G4 chain, and the chain lasted exactly one year before it became rusty. The galvanizing shop reported that they have been occasionally re-galvanizing new chain.
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Old 12-16-2014, 12:30 AM   #10
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Jay N,

There probably hundreds of Chinese chain makers, and I am sure some of them are reliable and dependable. The problem is, distinguishing good from bad. In fact unless they have a 'western domiciled' name behind them and willing to name their chain - they are currently a lottery.

You bought Chinese G4 chain - which does not appear to have been very good - have you any idea where or from whom it came from (in China)?
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Old 12-16-2014, 12:44 AM   #11
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Can't say as to who/where in China. This chain in question is marketed by Canadian Metals.
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Old 12-16-2014, 12:59 AM   #12
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Djbangi - Some of your other questions:

Went with G4 because was trying to get more chain length on the drum, and was able to get 40' of 5/16" instead of 20' of 3/8" BBB. Slightly better BS if I recall correctly.

There may be more exposure to bottom conditions that abrade the chain in the PNW, BC and SE Alaska. While we try to get a nice sand/mud spot, there are always rocks around, which I assume would impact galvanization greater than sand.

Last summer, we anchored about 100 times, so our gear always gets a lot of use.
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Old 12-16-2014, 01:20 AM   #13
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Jay,

Your experiences are quite unusual, or notable - and though it was not part of the original thread (as I did not think it common) your use of stainless wire is interesting.

And thank you for the detail in your posts, lots of food for thought.
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Old 12-16-2014, 06:55 AM   #14
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Just keep in mind chain is for nice weather overnight use.

When a real storm is predicted many folks will break out the Storm Anchor set ,
usually heavier chain that will NOT fit a windlass and heavy nylon with 2X or 3X the breaking strength of chain.

One size anchor gear does not fit all anchoring conditions..
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Old 12-16-2014, 01:42 PM   #15
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Djbangi - Here's a pic of the winch. In the pic, the drum has been drawn back from it's normal position in order to service the pawl. Sorry I couldn't get the picture rotated.

In my boating experience (55+ yrs), this winch is fairly unique. There are a number of winches on the market that are hydraulically operated, but none seem to have a 12VDC motor like this one. Even the current owner of Plath Manufacturing was not aware of a drum winch being produced by Plath in 1970's.

Pros: No anchor locker smell/cleaning required, deploys fast without fouling, re-stows with minimal tending.

Cons: Works more like having a line rode, 4x ratio needed for good sleep, larger swing radius. Other anchoring boats with all chain assume I am dragging when they anchor in my swing circle and there is a wind shift.

FF - As you indicate, our storm anchor gear includes 430' of 5/8" nylon with additional/larger chain. Have used it twice over 17 years, well worth the price to have it, and the effort to deploy it.
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Old 12-16-2014, 02:20 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Djbangi View Post

No-one has mentioned, yet, galvanising as an issue. Do some seabeds abrade more than others. So do people in Florida get a longer life, or less, than those in Seattle? etc.

Lots of questions

When you buy - how many ask for (and get) a test certificate for the batch they buy. Are you charged for the certificate?
When we were in the South Pacific it was all coral and sand. The galvanizing seemed to wear out fairly quickly compared to when we were in the PNW. The picture I posted earlier in this thread shows the condition of that chain after 3.5 years, with lots of anchoring, swapping ends every 6 months and anchoring in mostly sand/mud.

We've had other chain re-galvanized twice. It didn't last as long as new (quality) chain but at 20-25% of the cost of new it was worth it.

Djbangi: I'm not familiar with a test certificate for the chain. For strength? How's it work if you're buying 300'?
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Old 12-16-2014, 05:11 PM   #17
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I am now thinking this is on my list of things to replace
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Old 12-16-2014, 05:17 PM   #18
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Larry M,

The Americans have an industry group of the 6 main chain makers of which Campbell, Peerless (and a stainless chain maker, Suncor?) are the 'marine' members. They have a protocol which appears to demand that every batch of chain is break tested. Its not very onerous in that a batch can be 3,000' and they only need to break test 7 or more links. Most chain makers also Proof Test during production. Proof Test means they have loaded the chain to twice (in the case of G30) and 1.5 times (in the case of G43) the WLL. At the Proof Test load there should be no permanent deformation (chain will deform permanently a bit higher than Proof Test). Obviously, or maybe not obviously, if it deforms below Proof Test loads there is something wrong.

So each batch is tested and these test certificates should be available, on request. If you want your piece of chain tested you would expect to pay as it would be a special request. Personally I would have thought a chandler would have these test certificates as part of their own paperwork, but maybe I'm naive.

But I can buy chain here in Oz, normal G30, and request a test cert free of charge. it gives batch number, Proof Test load and Break Test Load. Its not perfect but its better than a kick in the teeth. Each drum of chain, available off the shelf, is marked with a batch number. If I were buying I would say to the chandler, hold that drum for 48 hours, and if/when I get the test cert I'll buy from or all of that drum. If a test cert is not available - I would not buy (because some chain in Oz is only good enough to restrict a rather large dog - and certainly not good enough for an anchor chain). I would also wonder why a test cert is not available (which goes for imported chain).

I think with both Peerless and Campbell you are perfectly safe, I'm envious of the qualities you have available, but it would still be reassuring to have the certificate (especially as it shows how good is your G30).
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Old 12-16-2014, 05:25 PM   #19
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Re-galvanising

The trouble, I'm guessing here, with re-galvanising is that the company that does the work is a 'sub-contract' galvaniser. They galvanise anything. I'd guess their major business is engineering or construction parts. Beams and the like. The demands for galvanising of beams is different to chain. We want abrasion resistance - most engineering parts are optimised - for something else, but not abrasion resistance.

Chain makers in America do their own galvanising and I hope optimise for abrasion, or longevity, so their galvanising, in our terms is good (it might not meet the needs of someone building a steel bridge). They might tweak the bath chemistry, temperature and time to maximise the longevity we want.

Many Chinese chain makers do their own galvanising and their quality can be good - but anyone, anywhere who subcontracts the galvanising of their chain does not seem to meet the same levels of quality as those that galvanise internally (i.e. in the same company).

So the initial galvanising is good, secondary galvanising is OK, but not as good.

Chain makers might be reluctant to re-galvanise - it takes away some of their own business - do not know.

But do not re-galvanise G70, its strength with each new treatment will tend toward G43.
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Old 12-16-2014, 05:32 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Just keep in mind chain is for nice weather overnight use.

When a real storm is predicted many folks will break out the Storm Anchor set ,
usually heavier chain that will NOT fit a windlass and heavy nylon with 2X or 3X the breaking strength of chain.

One size anchor gear does not fit all anchoring conditions..


You should always use a nylon snubber, 10m is about right. The diam of the snubber will depend on the size of vessel but you should have snubbers for 'normal' use, upto 30/35 knots and another set of snubbers for wind speeds higher. On a trawler I would use a bridle, i.e. 2 snubbers - one each side. I would attach amidships or to a stern cleat, run up the side decks and thus have only a shortish section outboard and forward. Make sure you use good protection where the snubbers rub anything.

Snubbers are sacrificial - assume they will break, every 2-3 years or so - have spares.

I agree, anchor gear - one size does not fit all. (And I do not want to distract nor suggest thread drift - but one anchor does not fit all either)

But can we stick to the rode - save controversy till after New Year
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