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Old 09-05-2014, 08:28 PM   #1
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How much anchor chain?

So I'm in the middle of my trawler projects and finally got to pulling out all the chain and rope, what a mess. Boat has 2 rodes of all 3/8" chain 200' each. Clearly nobody has touched it or end for ended the chain in 12 years. Both would need to be regalvanized and one has links that would need to be cut out or the length shortened to160'. So, trying to decide if I want to:

1. Regavanize and shorten
2. Buy new and have 2 200' rodes $1, 700.
3. Buy new (400') and save the better old as the backup 2nd rode, maybe regalvanized.
4. Buy new (400') and combine the old and regalvanize.

Part of the dilemma revolves around how much chain I need in a worse case scenario storm maybe in the Caribbean. Have the capacity to carry 2 400' rodes, trying to decide whether I should have one maybe 2. Haven't used 100' yet, but wonder worry I might need more in a storm. Looking for opinions.

Ted
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:37 PM   #2
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We have 200' of chain on our main anchor, but I wish we'd gotten 300.' I'm not a fan of combination rodes. Our anchoring depths up here range from 30' to as much as 80' and sometimes more. We never use less than a 5:1 ratio, hence my wish we'd gotten more chain when we replaced the short, rusty chain that came with the boat.

So far we've gotten away with anchoring in depths averaging 30 feet, but as we get the time to travel farther north, we'll start encountering deeper anchorages. So we will most likely replace our current 200' with 300' of chain or perhaps even a bit more.

If you are likely to encounter storms at anchor, I would think that the more chain you can carry the better.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:49 PM   #3
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I'm in the group that believes 90% of all cruisers (coastal) never really test their anchoring system anywhere near the max. Even bad pop up thunderstorms in the typical east coast anchorage if you have picked a good spot are nothing like storm tactics.

That said..what you use day to day and hang from the bow can be off the manufacturer charts and in direct defiance to the "don't anchor next to me crowd".

It just means that your everyday anchoring can be easy and the way you want it to be. That's not to say with the right windlass and 600 feet of 3/8 chain and a 100 pound whatever newgen anchor is a bad thing...it just isn't necessary.

It still is wise to have hundreds of feet of heavy nylon, chain and monster anchors somewhere aboard if you cruise to the more remote spots many do...but all of that doen't have to hang on the bow or be used every day as you MAY only need it once a year or for many...once a boating career.

So splicing chain and using less and having less in the locker is just a preference if you don't think you are going to steadily anchor in gales in unprotected anchorages....whatever your anchoring habits can live with. What other people do is no factor unless you want to do it like them.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:51 PM   #4
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Marin makes a very good point, where and what ya gonna do. I have 2 separate anchors and rodes. Bad capstan and no wildcat so I am starting over, as you. Initial reaction, one main anchor Ronca or similar, 210 feet of chain, laid back nylon to shackle to, Danford spare. Overall, that outta cut it...I hope.
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:23 PM   #5
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I have 280' of 5/16" chain on a 100# Forfjord style anchor as primary. During last years cruise Desolation Sound and the Broughtons I would really have liked another 100' quite a few times. I would have preferred 3/8 chain too, but I would need to change the wildcat on the Windlass. I'm still considering switching.

As a backup I also have a 2 piece #8 alloy Sarca with 35' 3/8 chain then several hundred feet of 3/4" nylon rode. I need to measure it, and write it down. I am yet to see how the windlass will deal with the 3/8 chain, but can haul that much manually if need be. Were I still cruising in areas of deep water I would ensure I had over 400' of nylon, but here in Queensland its pretty much all shallow water anchoring. Staying off the dirt, and finding enough water depth in areas protected from the wind are the main nav challenges.

By the time you have one lot of 400' of chain you have enough weight in the bow, particularly at 3/8" size chain. Plus, having your backup as nylon gives you more choice to match conditions.
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:28 PM   #6
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I have 2 separate anchors and rodes. ......... Initial reaction, one main anchor Ronka or similar, 210 feet of chain, laid back nylon to shackle to, Danford spare. Overall, that outta cut it...I hope.
About the same setup as we now have. 220' of 5/16 chain on a Rocna 20. Can shackle on an extra 200' of 5/8 brait to that or put the brait on the spare FX23. Any more chain would be too much weight in the bow. For East Coast work, hope that will suffice.
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:00 PM   #7
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I have 275' of 5/16. But Ted how much weight are you comfortable carrying in the bow? That to me is critical. You can carry additional nylon elsewhere if you really need the extra depth. Remember that you usually know where your headed and what you're in for.

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Old 09-05-2014, 10:51 PM   #8
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Am already carrying 400' of chain, adding 200' more to one rode is only an additional 300 pounds, not an issue for my boat. Really not interested in a combination rode, prefer all chain and snubbers. Trying to carry both complete rodes up front as the chain locker is huge and with already 2 anchors and a massive windlass that handles both rodes, it makes deploying the second, quick. Moving the 66 pound original Bruce to the backup position and adding an 88 pound Rocna as the primary.

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Old 09-05-2014, 10:54 PM   #9
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I don't like chain. Never had more than 20'.

I view chain as hundreds of pounds of unnecessary weight.

With a bigger boat I may feel the need to reconsider but I really don't know why.
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:34 PM   #10
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Just my 2 cents worth.
I wouldn't have less than about 300 ' of chain as primary but then carry a combination of chain and rope as a secondary.
Ensure that the primary is more than adequate for all anchoring conditions. This is your best insurance when you are out and about.

I carry a #8 Sarca Excel with 100 mts of 1/2" chain as my primary anchor system and a #8 (2 piece) Aluminium Sarca Excel with 10 mts 1/2" chain plus 120 mts 22 mm rope as one of my back up anchor systems.
I also carry a couple of other anchors for emergency use such as kedging etc.

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Old 09-05-2014, 11:44 PM   #11
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I don't like chain. Never had more than 20'.

I view chain as hundreds of pounds of unnecessary weight.
But, Eric, you're the one guy on the forum who for years has been searching for an anchor that works. Meanwhile, the rest of us are doing fine for the most part with what we have. Perhaps if you put a proper chain rode on any one of the 300 anchors you own, you, too, could simply "deploy and forget" like those of us with all-chain do, rather than spend hours wringing your hands over what anchor might hold for you on a 1:1 scope with a shoelace for a rode.

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Old 09-06-2014, 12:07 AM   #12
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300' of 3/8" with a 75lb delta for us.. you couldn't GIVE me a rope anchor rode..
I never liked sailing around the anchorage with a 7/1 scope out..and all the water and crud that comes aboard with rope.
We have a slow boat that doesn't give a crap about a few hundred lbs in her bow. If you ever get the chance to watch an all rope boat in strong gusting conditions they look like they are at the end of a swinging bungee cord.

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Old 09-06-2014, 12:09 AM   #13
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But, Eric, you're the one guy on the forum who for years has been searching for an anchor that works. Meanwhile, the rest of us are doing fine for the most part with what we have. Perhaps if you put a proper chain rode on any one of the 300 anchors you own, you, too, could simply "deploy and forget" like those of us with all-chain do, rather than spend hours wringing your hands over what anchor might hold for you on a 1:1 scope with a shoelace for a rode.

Thanks Marin..
I just about covered the keyboard in IPA when I read that
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Old 09-06-2014, 01:51 AM   #14
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Depending on the type of windlass you have I would consider regalvinizing and adding line to both rodes.

But you need to make sure that the costs of regalvinizing and transportsion to and from the facility make it cost effective compared to buying new chain. You also need to make sure the regalvinizing plant is properly set up to do chain.

The combination of chain and line rode is very hard to beat in a storm where the constant snatch loads of a rode coming tight is the main cause of anchors breaking loose. The stretch in a line rode is better suited to preventing this than most all chain and snubber set ups.

If you still want all chain I'd consider replacement with new longer lengths. While keeping some of the old chain but in a bit shorter lengths while adding some line rode to them to allow you to set up a spider web mooring system if need be with a couple of extra anchors.
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Old 09-06-2014, 04:41 AM   #15
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Ted

If you are going to the Caribbean (not just the Bahamas) suggest you buy 400 ft new while you are still in the United States. Have one 400 ft rode. The other rode for a backup should have 50 ft of chain and 300 of line. If weight is an issue the first rode could be 350 ft of chain and 50 of line.

Many anchorages are deep 30-45 feet and the winds are strong with even stronger gusts. Many trawlers tend to anchor out at the back of the pack which means even deeper water.

Last year alone coral/debris cut the rope rode of two friends and there is a good argument for a chain rode. Also dropping and lifting all chain can be easier and you will be doing a lot of that.
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Old 09-06-2014, 07:01 AM   #16
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What some forget about "line" is that wet, it weighs quite a bit too.

I once read a post by a guy who went through all "his" numbers of what he would carry and use if choosing between combo rodes and all chain.

When all was said and done...using his numbers....at first the combo rode weighs nearly the same as chain when fully wet, but it quickly sheds water to weigh less. but not that much less. In the anchor locker can take days to dry enough to the point the weight reduction gets back to normal.

So if anchoring every day...guess what your actual weight reduction is with a nylon rode that is sized to meet the demands of anchoring every night?

Now I can't verify any of that but it is an interesting mental exercise...I would be interested if someone would put together actual numbers as I handle wet nylon tow lines many days and the can be unbelievably heavy.
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Old 09-06-2014, 07:10 AM   #17
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Quote:
1. Regavanize and shorten
2. Buy new and have 2 200' rodes $1, 700.
3. Buy new (400') and save the better old as the backup 2nd rode, maybe regalvanized.
4. Buy new (400') and combine the old and regalvanize.
I vote for 3 or 4, not having seen what the current rode looks like. Also, I'd add say 200' of 3/4" nylon if you have room to one of the rodes. Do you have a third, easy to handle and stow-able anchor for a stern tie or easy rigging for Bahamian moor? I'd suggest that, with a length say of 50-60 feet of chain and a few hundred feet . This is also something you can throw out when things really hit the fan, and/or the windlass dies.
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Old 09-06-2014, 09:50 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
What some forget about "line" is that wet, it weighs quite a bit too.

I once read a post by a guy who went through all "his" numbers of what he would carry and use if choosing between combo rodes and all chain.

When all was said and done...using his numbers....at first the combo rode weighs nearly the same as chain when fully wet, but it quickly sheds water to weigh less. but not that much less. In the anchor locker can take days to dry enough to the point the weight reduction gets back to normal.

So if anchoring every day...guess what your actual weight reduction is with a nylon rode that is sized to meet the demands of anchoring every night?

Now I can't verify any of that but it is an interesting mental exercise...I would be interested if someone would put together actual numbers as I handle wet nylon tow lines many days and the can be unbelievably heavy.
Unlike Marin you make a very good point Scott.

When I carry my box about w the rode inside I'm always amazed at how much it weighs. The wet line IS quite heavy and as Scott stated it sheds weight slowly. My rode has been in it's box for two years now and it still is considerably heaver than I would have thought. But I do think nylon is the better rode. And so does Chapman.

Marin all the anchors I have, have never dragged or failed me in ant way. Jay Leno has lots of cars ... I have lots of anchors.
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Old 09-06-2014, 10:45 AM   #19
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After reading everyone's comments, I have no clue as to what I should do with my system. The PO had only 150' of 3/8 chain bolted to the bottom of the chain locker.
The chain is in good shape w/ a Bruce on the working end. Again, after reading many post, I am of the mind to add another 150' of chain to the existing chain, then obtain a combo of chain & rode for the backup. The boat is in Portland now, where I have lots of work to do. I plan on going up north when the upgrades are done. Then to Mexico, if the Gods be willing. HollyWood, quit wasting the beer!
Not knowing, can the chain shackle (or splice) pass the windless without binding up?
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Old 09-06-2014, 11:24 AM   #20
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Tontoross, unbolt that chain and splice on a length of line that will get out of the hawse pipe where you can cut it in an emergency. The all chain/chain rope argument is like the anchor argument. Religious. To each his own. That said, we had about 200' of 3/8 BBB spliced to 200' of 3/4 nylon. In most anchorages we found less than 30' depth and the chain was all we needed. On a few occasions we let out some nylon too. For regular anchoring in calm water we went 5:1 but if there was a blow or we THOUGHT there might be some wind, we went with 7:1. We had a second anchor that had a boat length of chain spliced to 300' of 3/4" nylon rode. I think a boat length is a good rule of thumb for chain, it will keep you anchor shank down till you ought to awake anyway.
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