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Old 02-11-2020, 10:38 AM   #1
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Windless Question

Our Mainship pilot 30 ii has all chain on the anchor and it seems to twist and bunch up going through the windless. I also have had trouble getting used to all chain and was wondering if 15 feet of chain and the rest rope may solve all my ills. Any knowledge and advice would be appreciated.
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Old 02-11-2020, 11:15 AM   #2
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I like all chain. Rope often doesn't feed through the windlass gypsy and hawse hole well.

But I take your point about twisting. Two solutions for all chain twist up:

1. Pull it all out, disconnect the anchor and lay it down and untwist it. Sometimes if you anchor in a deep spot, pull the anchor up until the chain is hanging straight down and let it untwist. This won't remove all twist however.

2. Put a chain swivel at the anchor shank connection. This won't solve all of the twisting but may reduce it.

I have anchored several hundred times while full time cruising and only resorted to the full untwisting once and the partial a few times and I had no swivel.

David
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Old 02-11-2020, 11:26 AM   #3
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Interesting question. Like David (and many other cruiser-types), I prefer all-chain. HOWEVER....for a small boat that will likely see only protected anchorages and occasional use, I would go with a rope/chain combination, maybe with 20-feet of chain. Rope has the benefit of stretch, the down-side is chafe, which should be very unlikely in protected anchorages. That said, your gypsy on the windlass may need to be replaced to haul line.

A few years ago, Practical Sailor did an article on "Swivels - do they work?" Here is an exerpt - roughly aligns to David's guidance on swivels:
In our view, it is unlikely that the swivel will reduce anything but a large number of twists, and these twists could be removed more safely and easily by slowing down the retrieval once the anchor clears the bottom. A slower retrieval also prevents the hydrodynamic force on an unbalanced anchor that might cause it to spin. In fact, anchor spin upon retrieval with a high-speed windlass is probably the most likely cause of twist, and is often mistakenly attributed to the windlass itself. Ironically, if your anchor rotates in a beneficial direction as it comes up, the swivel might actually prevent the anchors rotations from untwisting the chain.

If your anchor chain is twisted to the point that it is forming hockles or causing it to jump from the windlass, you will want to deploy all the chain, untwist it manually, and load it back into the locker. You can do this ashore (and mark your chain lengths at the same time, if needed), but it is often easier in deep water.
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Old 02-11-2020, 12:10 PM   #4
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Jay,

It is good form to bi-annually pull out your entire chain length and lay it out on the dock for maintenance. Check for corrosion, apply marking paint, check for stretched links, etc... and untwist it.
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Old 02-11-2020, 01:15 PM   #5
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I untwisted mine one night by letting it all hang down in very deep water while sailing across the Gulf of Mexico.

Not on purpose, of course!
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Old 02-11-2020, 01:30 PM   #6
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Having a groove in the anchor roller slightly wider than the size of the thickness of the chain will help eliminate twist as you haul in the chain.
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Old 02-11-2020, 01:32 PM   #7
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Rocna's spiel on swivels:

"Swivels

Popular "bullet" style in-line swivel, separated from the anchor by a few links of chain in order to ensure that forces applied can only ever be along the axis of rotation.
The choice of connector depends on a number of things. Essentially, if you don't know you need a swivel, then you probably don't, so just use a shackle.

The need for a swivel

There are several possible scenarios which could demand the use of a swivel.

Your chain leaves the boat. This means that the orientation of the chain has a 75% chance of not being maintained, especially if you are using an auto rope/chain gypsy and do not manually 'right' the chain upon its return. This means the anchor is likely to come up sideways or upside-down, and must right itself on the roller. Lacking a swivel, the chain will then twist and discourage the anchor's righting.
You plan on doing lots of 360s in the same direction while anchored (unlikely in most situations). Some tidal anchorages with unique conditions could present this scenario. In this case, you do not want the chain or rope twisting, as it could kink or eventually even begin to un-lay 3-strand ropes. Chain will only endure a few twists before bunching and knotting.

The Rocna should right itself without fuss on the roller, and bring itself home. We suggest in brief that you use a simple shackle at first, and introduce a swivel only if you feel it is required.

Recommended swivel types

If you do use a swivel, use one of a reputable brand. This mostly precludes generic brands and anything of questionable origin. Galvanized swivels are easily available, cheaper than stainless, but are more "agricultural". They tend to bind when new, then rust at the joint as the galvanizing wears. Stainless swivels are expensive, and you get what you pay for. The budget must be a lot higher than for shackles to obtain equivalent quality and security.

The failure mode of swivels is typically when they are subjected to lateral forces. This means it is ideal to install the swivel in such a way that lateral forces cannot be applied across the joint. One way to do this is to use a reputable inline type with a few links of chain between the anchor and the swivel. Generally, installing the swivel directly on the anchor shank is not a great idea.

Ball-and-joint types go some way toward mitigating this issue, but an articulation of only the typical 30 degrees is barely adequate. The safe-working-loads on these swivels is normally not calculated with a force applied outside of this operating range, which is unrealistic."
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Old 02-11-2020, 07:09 PM   #8
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Jay,

It is good form to bi-annually pull out your entire chain length and lay it out on the dock for maintenance. Check for corrosion, apply marking paint, check for stretched links, etc... and untwist it.
Don't forget to reverse the chain end to ends too. Helps even out wear on both ends of the chain.
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Old 02-11-2020, 07:11 PM   #9
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Having a groove in the anchor roller slightly wider than the size of the thickness of the chain will help eliminate twist as you haul in the chain.
I agree 100%.
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Old 02-11-2020, 08:30 PM   #10
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Don't forget to reverse the chain end to ends too. Helps even out wear on both ends of the chain.
When I bought my boat and pulled the chain out I found that the PO had welded the last link to the stem bar. Wow!
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Old 02-11-2020, 08:37 PM   #11
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When I bought my boat and pulled the chain out I found that the PO had welded the last link to the stem bar. Wow!
I'd cut that chain off at the bar and have a length of rope connect the rode to the bar.

Makes it easy to cut the line and tie a float to it rapidly in case you have to get out of the way of a dragging raft of boats headed towards your anchored boat.
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:50 AM   #12
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I have all chain and a swivel. I have manually untwisted the chain. It still twists after a few times anchoring.
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Old 02-12-2020, 08:56 AM   #13
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I'd cut that chain off at the bar and have a length of rope connect the rode to the bar.

Makes it easy to cut the line and tie a float to it rapidly in case you have to get out of the way of a dragging raft of boats headed towards your anchored boat.

Would you have the rope ride extend to deck, or stay in the chain locker so the chain is still on the Gypsy?
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Old 02-12-2020, 09:01 AM   #14
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Would you have the rope ride extend to deck, or stay in the chain locker so the chain is still on the Gypsy?
Have it long enough that it comes up to the deck and the chain runs free of the gypsy. That way if you ever have to cut the whole thing loose, you just let it out and cut the line.
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Old 02-12-2020, 09:42 AM   #15
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I made mine long enough to come out of the chain locker but short enough that the end of the chain is engaged in the gypsy. That way, the chain is held in place by the gypsy, which allows you to attach a fender or two to the rode before releasing the rope and tossing the rode overboard. I attach the rope to the chain with a snap hook to allow disconnecting without cutting the rope.
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Old 02-12-2020, 12:34 PM   #16
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Interesting thread. I have 70' of chain followed by 200' of brait. When we got the boat it came with a Delta, which I liked OK, but it was a bit small. Never had any issues with chain twist. No swivel.



Two years ago upgraded to a rocna. Almost immediately began to get twist, bad enough to bind the chain in the gypsy.



I pulled out the chain and straightened it on the dock multiple times, which helped for a little while, but after two or three anchorings it would twist again. My grooved bow roller wore through at this same time, and being in the Bahamas I replaced it with the only roller I could find; one made for a boat trailer with no groove. Initially, I felt that it was the roller causing the twist, so I replaced it with a really nice, bigger diameter, grooved roller. It didn't help.


I did more thinking on it and realized that a lot of the anchoring that I have been doing is in a tidal creek with a VERY strong reversing current. The boat spins 4 times each day. I think maybe the Delta tended to spin with the boat and the Rocna stays in the bottom which puts a kink in the chain.



I've recently added a Mantus swivel, but haven't had a chance to test it in a big current yet. I'm going to be at a loss if it doesn't work.
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Old 02-12-2020, 02:12 PM   #17
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Thanks Guys for all the helpful responses. I have untwisted the entire length of chain and we do have a swivel, however it is missing a roller. I plan to replace it and get the groove thing going to see if it improves.
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Old 02-12-2020, 02:19 PM   #18
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I don't think there is any way to prevent rode twist with all chain. Nature of the beast.

I have a grooved roller which helps to a point. Eventually the chain will jump out of the groove and cause a twist between the roller and gypsy

Less twist anchoring in deep water since hanging chain with the anchor off the bottom will untwist itself as you retrieve. In shallow water, as the chain gets twisted, I stop retrieving, lift the chain off the gypsy and manually untwist, repeating as necessary.
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:08 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Jay,

It is good form to bi-annually pull out your entire chain length and lay it out on the dock for maintenance. Check for corrosion, apply marking paint, check for stretched links, etc... and untwist it.


200 5/16 chain attached to an 80# Manson Supreme with a swivel that is more work than I intend to do.
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:11 PM   #20
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We anchor 365 days of the year
All chain
No swivel
Can count on 1 hand the times we've had twist in 4 years.

Grooved rollers.
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