anchor chain/gypsy size

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Veteran Member
Oct 7, 2007
My 34' Halvorsen (37' loa) came with what appears to be 8mm (5/16") short link, lowest grade steel anchor chain (its VERY rusty after 1.5 years) and a gypsy that is actually for 10mm (3/8")*HT chain. Whilst this set-up works, the chain clearly doesn't fit the gypsy pockets properly.

Admittedly I did not religiously rinse the chain or allow the chain locker to air, so perhaps my fault that it is so rusty. What is clear is I now need to replace the chain.

I need to decide whether to (a) keep the current gypsy (on Muir VRC1000 windlass) and just buy 3/8" chain, or (b) buy 5/16" chain and a new gypsy to fit. Financially, the former option is much more palattable... the latter requires investment of over US$700 for the new gypsy alone (shipped from Australia).

So my question is: Does 3/8" chain sound a bit like over-kill to you for my 34' boat? Having looked at a sample against my existing chain, I would guess it weighs twice as much. I am told that 100' of this chunky stuff weighs about 150lbs (let's say 70lbs more than I am currently carrying) which sounds perfectly bearable for a 34' boat, no?

Whilst I'm on this subject, I am thinking about adding 100' of rope to my rode for the occasional times that I am in deeper waters/windier conditions. My Muir VRC1000 windlass gypsy also takes rope. Do these cobination chain/rope windlasses deal with*rope*reliably? I don't plan to run down from the flybridge every time I weigh anchor.

Thanks for your thoughts,
IF you don't anchor out where wave action , picking the boat up and slamming it back against the anchor gear , you can get away with the light weight chain.

I would use at least 1/2 fairly light nylon (50 ft min) in the set , to allow some stretch.

For STORM conditions it would be 10 ft of Heavy chain (1/2) and 3/4 Nylon (or whatever suits your boat) .

Chain is weak and for O Nite with limited scope , perhaps a choice for a crowded area.

AS you noticed chain is heavy and MUST be cared for , or it rots to dust and your boat stinks from dead mud.

In the crowded NE we simply use a Bahimian Moore , bow and stern anchors , to the bow , and swing like a moored vessel.

Chain for us is for the coral infested anchorages , PERIOD.

Mark, some folks that will never leave the docks might give you advise that does not make much sense or leave you in a less than desirable situation just when you don't want it. A discussion with folks that have actually used their boats in a variety of conditions and bottoms over longer periods of time will give you a better nights sleep. We have tens of thousands of miles under our boats keel over decades and our last boat survived 15 named storms. So here is our experience with anchoring and a few things you might consider. As you have already found out, there are differing qualities of the same size chains. The quality will have as much to do with longevity as the use and abuse. We do hose our chain and anchor down when it comes aboard but we use sea water so the only issues with not doing this is that the sand and mud and whatever left on the chain can cause the galvanizing to wear off sooner, but probably not as quickly as yours did. If it were my boat I would leave the windlass as is, go with 100' of good quality 3/8 chain, BBB if the gypsy will take it or HT if it will not. Any advise to go with smaller sizes is foolish since you can never be sure of what conditions you might encounter, even in a protected harbor on what starts out as a peaceful quiet day and finds you in a storm situation with the engine not running by afternoon. The primary job of the anchor and rode is to protect the boat in any possible conditions. 100' of rope is probably too little since your safe anchoring scope is 7 to 1 based on the distance from the bottom to the height of your bow out of the water. so if the bow sits up 5 feet, your scope will be limited to anchoring in less than 9 feet of water. In heavy conditions, either seas or wind, you would want a 10 to 1 scope so if the engine quite in a channel for instance, you probably would not have enough rode to safely anchor. I would consider a minimum of 150 feet of rope and if you have the room, 200 feet. Never go smaller of even marginally when choosing either an anchor or rode for the safety of the boat and crew. Hope this helps. Chuck
Everybody has an opinion, so here's mine.

I'm a little curious about who set up the chain/windlass to start with. It sounds like maybe someone put hardware store chain on which wasn't galvinized to start with, hence the rusting so soon. And since it doesn't fit the gypsy correctly it should be replaced, which you've already determined.

I would take the gypsy to the chain store and find a galvinized chain which fits correctly, then determine it's strength and decide if it was right for my boat. If it is indeed 3/8" chain which fits, then it is most probably strong enough. 5/16" chain is probably plenty strong too. But be sure to remember the galvinized part to avoid the rust problem.

Is 150 pounds too much to put in the bow of your boat? I wouldn't think so, but check it out. Have a friend who weighs approximately that much stand on the bow and take a look. Pretty easy, portable ballast. I carry 250' of chain in the front of my 40' trawler style boat with no ill effects.

Rope. Absolutely nothing wrong with properly adding rope to the rode. Remember the thimble and splice, tie the shackle, and take it out for a rinse and dry every so often. As to whether all chain rode or chain/rope rode is appropriate it all depends on your area. In the PNW we often see all chain rode or combination rodes. I understand in other areas very short chain and all rope are common. If something works for 90% of the rest of the boaters in your area, why reinvent the wheel?

I'm curious to see how you intend to pull rope then chain on your windlass. It's my understanding that you'll need to assist in the changeover process each time. Is your windlass self tailing for the rope? How will that stow if you're on the flybridge? I don't see how it can work from afar. Maybe someone else has seen a way to make it happen.

Just my thoughts,
There are at least two ways.

If the gypsy is built for rope/chain all that is required is to splice the line into the chain, no thimble.

If you have done many splices with thimbles , a look in Ashleys will set you on the procedure.

Many folks simply wish to ease the snatching of chain as it becomes bar tight in a surge situation, then a snap shakel will allow a quick fastening mid chain , and the windlass only deals with chain for the recovery. You have to manually unsnap the shakel when it is on deck.

The big problem most folks have is they dream of a "one size fits all situations" anchoring setup.


The reason is the storm ground gear is far and away heavier than the usual gear built for normal anchoring , with daily (in FLA) 60K thunderstorms tossed in.

Its big and heavy but for cruising a complete storm anchoring setup must be aboard.

In our 4 Caribbean Cruises in a 33ft 90/90 almost every night a 35 Danforth , or CQR served just fine .

The same gear combo , but of a weight for a 50 ft boat , 60 Danforth and 60 Plow , ran the "loop" with out an inch of dragging or lost sleep, tho most is quite protected.

In the NE when laying out for Hurricane Bob ,on the 90/90 the table had to be lifted , the floor unpinned and the 60 Danforth and the 100 Herrishoff were brought up.

The 7/8 and 1 inch line set out with the 1/2HT chain. All works together as part of a system.

BOB wiped out much of Long Island , but we watched TV and the breathless blow drys telling us how it was outside. .

With a "great Cabin Aft " arrangement , and a pilot house the view was interesting but boring.

A far more entertaining view is a simple winter storm , only 35K gusts 50 , but the wildly blowing snow adds to the picture.

Retreiving the STORM gear, thankfully is a seldom task and since most is line , the windlass does the work.

The last 20 ft of 1/2 HT chain IS a bear , and needs to be manhandled.

If a 3/8 line is secured to anchor crown and tied off 40 or 50 ft along the working rode hauling the heavy chain and storm anchor is easier.

For overnight and inshore cruising the bottom will guide you to rope or chain .


Our boat was set up with 3/8" chain and we replaced the rusty chain that came with the boat with the same size. We use an all-chain rode (like most powerboaters in this area) but whether you use all-chain or a combination rode, I would recommend changing to 3/8'* chain*for a boat the size and weight and windage of yours.

Galvanizing helps preserve chain for a much longer time than ungalvanized chain but the galvanizing will wear away with time and use.* It is a smart idea to wash down the rode and anchor as they come aboard if for no other reason than to wash away the muck that often adheres to them which, if left on the rode, can cause a major stink inside the boat.* A salt water washdown is fine--- it's not necessary to rig up a fresh water system which will simply draw down your fresh water supply every time you bring the anchor up.

Weight in the bow is a major consideration for sailboaters and planing boaters. It's not as much a concern for trawlers, although a so-called "fast trawler" may do better with a lower rode weight in the bow. I'm not familiar with your type of boat but in the waters I boat in I would not put anything less than 3/8" chain on it. Of course, I probably wouldn't put anything larger than 3/8" chain on it, either.

If you have not already read it I highly recommend a book called "The Complete Book of Anchoring and Mooring" by Earl Hinz. It's the best book I've ever seen on the subject and he goes into extensive, but understandable, detail on sizing line and chain for a boat and the considerations that need to be taken into account when making these decisions. Even if you only plan to use your anchor very rarely, it's a book well worth investing in and reading.

-- Edited by Marin on Tuesday 28th of July 2009 01:33:54 PM
An important part of the ground tackle is the shakels .

A QUALITY shakel will have its load rating cast into the unit.

Mostly US gear is rated , the Chinese or Indian may look similar , but isnt worth finding out how strong it is..

Chain too comes in Quality grades , Good US chain triple dipped , and RATED is the only choice.

Yes, its a great idea to bring your gypsy , or demand a foot sent to you to check for a perfect fit.

Chain is cheapest when bought by the drum, share some with a dock mate if the shot is too long.
Thanks all for your comments. I took the gypsy down to the chain shop a couple weeks ago so I know the 3/8" chain fits. They sell galvanised italian-made stuff which sounds reasonably reassuring... or maybe not given what my rusty Alfa Romeo looks like!

The original chain was thrown in by the shipyard in China. Probably never really cared if it fit the gypsy properly. And I'm certain it wasn't galvanised. Will be pleased to get rid of it. And based on all your comments, 3/8" is the way to go. Very happy to hear that.

Noted your comments about the length of rode necessary. I am rarely anchored in more than 30' of water and, if overnighting, it's in 20', so having 200' of rode (half chain/half rope) will suit my needs.

Self-tailing? This is how Muir describe the rope/chain combo capability of my windlass:


The Rope Chain Management System (RCMS) on Atlantic windlasses consists of a spring loaded finger and 180 degree stripper arrangement that provides smooth transition for rope-chain combination, and carefully guides the anchor rode into the chain locker. This is aided by a unique combination rope and chain gypsy with special inner rope jaws and outer chain pockets that automatically accommodates both the rope and chain rode. A 180 degree stripper/peeler assembly fits into the gypsy hub preventing the rode from jamming and allowing a smooth vertical drop into the chain locker.

Will let you know in due course how it goes.

With the problems many people have getting chain to follow the hawse pipe and settle properly in the chain locker, it seems likely that rope will also tend to foul itself. Time will tell though as you use it.

"With the problems many people have getting chain to follow the hawse pipe and settle properly in the chain locker, it seems likely that rope will also tend to foul itself. Time will tell though as you use it."

A proper chain locker will not allow the chain pile to tumble , usually a tall fairly narrow setup.

Getting the line to follow the is easy , but it sure takes a load of room. Perhaps 100ft of the knitted line that is supposed to solve the storahe problem , might be the answer.

Haven't tried knitted yet. And don't know how hard it would be to do a chain/rope splice with , ask the Mfg.
FF wrote:

A proper chain locker will not allow the chain pile to tumble , usually a tall fairly narrow setup.

Getting the line to follow the is easy , but it sure takes a load of room.
Everyone whose boat came*with a tall narrow chain locker that never has chain pile up in the wrong spot raise your hand. Now, if you have a "load of room" in your chain locker keep your hand raised. Isn't "tall, narrow" descriptive of something other than "load of room"?

I'm still looking for someone who*has a rope/chain anchor rode combination to tell me how well it works from the flybridge with no hands-on assistance. FF says it's no problem, anyone do this in real life?


FF wrote:

"A proper chain locker will not allow the chain pile to tumble , usually a tall fairly narrow setup."
My God Fred!* Where to you get this stuff?

2bucks wrote:I'm still looking for someone who*has a rope/chain anchor rode combination to tell me how well it works from the flybridge with no hands-on assistance.
I'm sure you are aware of the self-tailing winches used on sailboats.* I've used these back when I used to crew on a racing sailboat and they work as advertised.* So it's certainly possible to construct a self-tailing line gypsy, but whether or not this sort of configuration is used on an anchor windlass is something I don't know.* Plus you still have to have the line wound around the gypsy drum however many times are necessary to get the required purchase.* This would make it very difficult to accept a changeover from line to chain when the chain arrived at the windlass.

I guess there are "jam-cleat" style line gypsies that grip an anchor line as it goes partway*around the drum with some sort of stripper to guide the line out of the groove so it can feed into the anchor locker.* But you still have the issue of the changeover from line to chain.

I'm not saying it all can't be done automatically from a remote location, but it seems to me it would require one of those mechanical geniuses like Dyson (vacuum cleaners, hand driers, etc) to figure it out.* I sure can't visualize an actual way to make it happen (as opposed to a theoretical way).

Like Ken says** ..* I've got an opnion.* Get 12' of 1/2" chain, 300' of 3/4" Brait (not braid) and go out on the bow and do it right. One can get three times as much Brait in a chain locker as 3 strand and it goes in and always comes out without a hitch. In the above I assume a good anchor, good winch w foot switches, a good self launching device or suitable subtsitute. Of course the aluminum/hydraulic/drum winch is the best but I think the boat in question it too yachty for that. The Brait and the drum winch are pricy but the winch is actually very light and of course the Brait is much much lighter than the chain. Many, like Marin, feel all chain is the way to go but I think unecessary weight on a boat is at least a sin. By design, boats are usually wide in the aft sections and narrow fwd hence the fwd end of the boat is not well suited to carrying large loads. As the boat swings chain makes noise and nylon is quiet but the nylon suffers more from chafing and as the boat swings the nylon rode has a much longer section that drags over the bottom possibly snagging anything in it's path. Chapman says a "nylon/chain rode is ideal" and goes on to sugest 6 to 8' of chain "or longer" (without being specific about "longer") but the author (I think) implies clearly that the rode should be mostly nylon line. I have been involved in an anchoring experiment that has failed so I'm back to considering all things except I'm probably going to use the Bruce anchor despite it's only moderate holding power. I'm wide open (however) on the rest of the rode.
And Walt, I think you've been too critical of Fred. I don't really like his word "propper" but a tall and narrow chain locker should recieve and discharge chain much better than others. Think about it. Don't you agree?

Eric Henning

-- Edited by nomadwilly on Thursday 30th of July 2009 07:01:28 PM

"Of course a tall, narrow chain locker will dispense and retrieve an anchor rode without difficulty."

A piece of 8-10 inch PVC would make a slick locker if your rode isn't over 9 feet long! Ken's point (and I agree) is, in the real world how many skippers have a tall, narrow chain locker? My point is : Why does Fred have to make all his posts sound like it's the gospel? There are many ways to get things done without implying your a "dunce" if you don't do it his way!* It's not so much the message but rather the style in which the message is delivered.

-- Edited by SeaHorse II on Thursday 30th of July 2009 07:39:23 PM

-- Edited by SeaHorse II on Thursday 30th of July 2009 09:35:32 PM
Sorry Walt,
Your'e right. I just thought I'd cut him some slack** ..* but at your expense** ..* bad idea. He does always sound like the sage instructor and we the freshmen from podunck Nebraska. But remember the topic "what would FF do". He is quite knowledgeable. Remember his trawler in a container? That may be more than knowledge** ..* could be creativity. He's got such a "I am the light" style perhaps his contributions come at too high a price. We can't knock the podium out from under him, he's just that way. Some people on these forums think the only thing worthwhile is something they can take out to thier boats, bolt it on and have some positive result. Others feel they need interesting ideas to stimulate or modify ideas of our own. Others just want something interesting to think about while they go to sleep that day. Some bring other peoples methods, ideas and equipment to the four....m. I think FF was just knee jerking out a spot of " I know what would solve our problems" and any way we could come closer to it will help. There probably wasn't even a fleeting notion that anyone would get out the mat and resin to modify thier chain locker. Anyway* .. everyone has been picking on him (and usually w just cause) for such a long time I wanted to say something supportive, and I have, but I'm sorry it was (to some extent) at your expense.

Eric Henning
nomadwilly wrote:

Many, like Marin, feel all chain is the way to go but I think unecessary weight on a boat is at least a sin....As the boat swings chain makes noise and nylon is quiet...
All-chain is the way to go for my type of boat in the waters I boat in.* This is not just my opinion but the opinon of people I have talked to or read who have more anchoring experience than most of the people on this forum put together.* I do NOT think all-chain is the way to go in every situation on every boat.* For example, my friend Carey's custom lobsterboat with its planing-type hull is sensitive to weight in the bow.* So I would not use all-chain in a boat like his (and he doesn't).* Same thing with a sailboat.*

But on our heavy (27,000 pounds) deep-forefooted GB, weight in the bow (up to a point) makes no discernable difference whatsoever to the trim or performance of the boat.* In fact more weight in the bow is advantageous in our boat in that it makes the boat ride better when heading into the steep, closely-spaced wind waves of two to five feet we get around here on a daily basis.*

Now if I was boating in more open waters with windy, exposed anchorages I would feel better with the shock absorbing qualities of a combination rode as opposed to just the catenary and a couple of snubbers with all-chain.* And the weight of all-chain is only "unnecessary" when it's not necessary.* For our boat and the places we anchor, all-chain makes for a much more reliable and versatile rode than a nylon-chain combination.* Which I guess is why I have yet to see a trawler-type boat in our waters with anything BUT an all-chain rode.* I'm sure there are some out there--- Ken apparently uses a combination rode--- but every displacement or semi-planing trawler-type boat I've seen deploying or retrieving an anchor in the anchorages we've been in has had all-chain.

As to all-chain being noisy when the boat swings, anyone who experiences this has not set their rode up properly.* Our all-chain rode never makes a peep even if the boat swings 360 degees around the anchor on a windy day (or night).* That's because the way we set it up, the chain on the pulpit and going over the rollers bears none of the boat's pull and sees none of the boat's rotation.* But I agree, if you simply put out the anchor and hang off the chain going over the pulpit rollers, yes it will make quite a racket as the boat moves around.

PS- Good luck with the Bruce.* I'd give you ours but I don't want to get sued later for negligence and misrepresentation.* I can, however, tell you unequivocally and from extensive direct, personal experience, that a Bruce anchor makes an absolutely outstanding door stop if you have a heavy door you need to prop open.

-- Edited by Marin on Thursday 30th of July 2009 11:41:09 PM
A proper chain locker will not allow the chain pile to tumble , usually a tall fairly narrow setup.

"My God Fred! Where to you get this stuff?"

Skeen's Elements of Yacht Design

Gives the dimensions to shoot for with different sized chains.

A tall deep locker forces the chain to pile , not spread not in a heap, that can capsize.

"He does always sound like the sage instructor and we the freshmen from podunck Nebraska,"

When someone asks a question , unless its a repair part number , what you get is OPINION,
(or for some folks Religion such as Bruce vs Danfort vs CQR ).

Sorry if I state my opinion directly and clearly, and you somehow find that offensive.

Having worked in the past with long lengths of chain in a different industry than I'm in now, I agree with Fred's point. The less room there is for chain (or rope) feeding into a container to spread out the less chance there is for the growing pile to fall over, collapse on itself, or otherwise jam itself up. I have modified our chain locker floor to some extent by adding vertical extensions that help contain our all-chain rode as it feeds into the locker. There is more than enough room in a GB chain locker--- it's the whole bow of the boat and the floor is about four or five feet below the deck---- but its width makes it easy for the chain to slump over. Attaching what in essence is a triangular box to the floor has elminated the problem we've had a couple of times in the past of the chain falling over on itself and becoming jammed.
OK, here's the best picture I can find of the Muir Atlantic windlass.

It appears from what I can find, that the finger on top forces the rope rode into the bottom groove of the gypsy and hauls without a couple or more wraps which would be required*on a capstan. So, as the rope comes in and changes over to chain, it stays in the same gypsy and feeds into the same hawse hole/pipe. The brochure states that it is ideal for installations where you don't have good foredeck access, indicating that it will feed a rope rode down the hole without problems.

My concern is that*the trawler style boats chain lockers that I am familiar with, generally place their windlass and therefore the hawse*hole,*forward of where the rode actually piles up. This is sometimes only a few inches, many times much more. On my boat, the center of the final resting place for my anchor chain is over 3 feet aft of where the chain goes thru the deck.*On many boats I've seen, as*the rode comes in, it will pile rope*rode*on the stem, and then either tumble over or will pile until the chain starts coming in and then tumble. This may become a safety issue if an anchoring procedure was needed in a hurry, or just an inconvenience when making the occasional deep anchor stop.

Brait line is possibly a solution. However, Yale cordage doesn't seem to address the particular issue of pushing the line into a locker with a windlass like the Muir Atlantic. At over $3.00 per foot, I think I'd want that knowledge before I placed my order.

FF's idea of a large locker for the rode to pile in is fine if that's what you have. I think most of us are looking to use whatever we have which isn't always ideal. I could float some ideas about where the designer of anchor lockers placed in his/her marine architect class, but I think you probably already know.

On my 40' trawler I carry 250' of all chain rode.*The boat*doesn't seem to notice the difference. When considering all the other variables that effect the trim of the boat 250 pounds in the nose isn't the biggest problem. For example, consider that I have tankage to*carry 240 gallons of fresh water, the ends of the three tanks are within 24"of the stern. (240 x 8.4 = 2016lbs) Sometimes the tanks are full, sometimes close to empty. You can tell by the trim of the boat when the water tanks are empty. If your 250 pound 6'4" buddy causes a trim problem when he stands on the bow, then by all means go with the lightest anchor rode you can find.* Otherwise I'd say go with what works for you, your boat, and take your cues from other boats similar to yours who boat in areas similar to where you boat.

Marin and I boat in the same areas. He and I both like all chain rode as do most all the other folks with similar boats in our area. I don't doubt that we could find someone who swears they would only use a combination rode for some specific reason. Marin swears by his particular anchor, I'm happy with a Seahook 40. Cool! Whatever works for*you is fine with me.*I can take advice or leave it as I see fit. Sometimes though, by discussing in more detail I can find a viewpoint I hadn't thought of before. The thought process behind the decision to do a particular thing is interesting to me.

2bucks wrote:

On my boat, the center of the final resting place for my anchor chain is over 3 feet aft of where the chain goes thru the deck.
This implies that you have a fairly shallow angle down from the windlass hawse to the top of*anchor locker itself.* Is the rode in a tube when it makes this passage?* And how much of a drop is there from the rode's entrance into the top of the locker to the top of the pile when the rode's all in there?* Do you think it's a long enough drop that the weight of the vertical line or chain in the locker*will be sufficient to pull the rode through from the windlass hawse and down the angled passageway?

My all chain rode travels off the windlass straight down 18 inches to the deck, then down inside a plastic pipe and exits the pipe about 5 feet lower than it enters. The first of the chain has more than 8 feet of vertical drop along with 3 feet of horizontal from the windlass to the chain locker floor. When all the chain is in the locker it stands 15" tall or so at the highest point. A piece of rope would never drag itself down that pathway.

I had 15 years experience prior to this boat with my Chris Craft and it had only a 30" drop or so thru the hawse directly into the locker. With a combination rode (30' chain) the rope rode had to be hand fed 2 - 3 feet at a time. It would lay ok by itself inside the locker, but would not fall on it's own accord into the locker.

Interesting configuration, that they'd run the rode so far aft to store it. I had gotten the impression from an earlier post that you use a combination rode and so were interested in a windlass that would haul one in via remote control. I misunderstood.
I really liked your post that featured the Muir winlass. Very well said. I have no experience w the gypsy that handles both chain and rope. It would seem the rope would take a terrible beating but it must be negligible as the system must be widely used by now. The hydraulic drum windlass the fishermen use dosn'nt care about shackels, thimbles or whatever* ... it just reels up whatever youv'e got. A fisherman down in Klawock has one for sale and I should probably just buy it but being a P type personality I like to keep my options open. Of course when he sells it to someone else my options dwindle. The bruce looks like it would set and hold better w a shorter shank but it's hard to imagine that it wasn't tried but I've heard of stranger things. I used a small Bruce on my previous boat and it worked fine except it needed to be draged a bit to set more than once. Ive read it's the best setting anchor there is and most of the fishermen here in SE Alaska that don't use the forfjord use the Bruce. In addition most use the drum winch and a combination rode. On at least half you can see the white nylon under the chain. Anyway I'd like to get a cheap and fairly small bruce to experiment with. Thanks for the excellent post.

Eric Henning
Eric Henning

Don't undersize your Bruce too much. The recommended size for a 36' boat is 33#. And the Bruce sizing chart was based on average conditions, not strong winds. While we would not have a Bruce on the boat anymore, I would consider the minimum size for a 36' boat to be 44#.

The Bruce does set fast which is why we got it in the first place but its low holding power later proved to be a problem. Fast setting and resetting don't mean much if the anchor can't be trusted to stay set. And this was with a 7:1 scope of all-chain.

A lot of boats use Bruce anchors with great success, and I realize that under the right--- or wrong--- conditions, any anchor short of a 4,000 pound concrete block can drag. But based on our experience and the experience of a few other people we know, the Bruce is more inclined to drag if the conditions are not absolutely ideal.

The Bruce is much better for the range of bottoms around here than something like a Danforth, but these days there are much better anchors on the market than the "big three" traditional configurations of Danforth, CQR, and Bruce. And while the Bruce may have once been the best-setting anchor configuration, it's not anymore.
"I had gotten the impression from an earlier post that you use a combination rode and so were interested in a windlass that would haul one in via remote control."

Marin, the original poster that started the thread, ( I appologize I forgot the name) intends to run his windlass from the flybridge, anchoring and retrieving remotely. And that is exactly what Muir leads you to believe can be done. I'm skeptical of getting the rope to fall into the locker, but I think our original poster has promised to tell us how it works when he gets his setup complete and working.

We have a remote switch at the upper and lower helm and foot switch at the bow. We have no problem raising the anchor from either helm until the anchor gets to the bow roller. If the anchor comes up right it will come up on the roller with no problem. But sometimes it comes up upside down and gets sideways in the roller and needs to be turned by hand to get it oriented right. A lot will depend on the roller set up and type of anchor. No issue at all with the rode and chain falling into the locker. Chuck
It reached 90 here in Thorne Bay this week but I'm glad We're not down south now. Yes** ..* a 33# is right for our Willard 30. I want the small one just to experiment with. I want to cut 6 - 8" off the shank to see if it will still set well. I'd experiment w a Spade or a Rocna but it would cost too much. What I see in the Bruce is dependability, consistency and economy. I wonder what size of chain I would need to match the working strength of 1/2" nylon. The cost of ground tackle up here should be low due to all the logging debris on the bottom. I know people here that know where there is logging equipment on the bottom such as yarders or skidders** ..* about the size of a very large truck.

Eric Henning
Well, I'll grant you the consistency and economy but not the dependability, at least not in our experience. Debris on the bottom is why we generally use a buoyed trip line.
It must be years ago by now that Practical Sailor did an anchor test resulting in the conclusion that a Bruce would set first and release first.* Over the years since that I have been paying attention, more stories from firends have confirmed that conclusion.
As for the rode falling properly, I have a similar problem with mine.* It piles up if allowed, and then the first time you hit something rough the pile falls over and traps the chain so you can't lower your anchor without going below and pulling the pile apart in order to free up the trapped chain.* I tried pulling all of the 200 feet of 3/4 nylon from under the chain, to see if a 300 ft all chain rode would work better.* Marginally better, as now the chain is in the narrows of the funnel shaped locker instead of standing on the rope and being over a foot higher up.*
What I have to do now is to use the windlass handle, reach down the hole and push the incoming chain alternately to one side or the other so as to prevent it piling up.* This requires me to be down on the foredeck in all but he shallowest anchorages, operating the windlass with my thumb on the foot switch and banging away at the chain as it comes in with the other hand.* Not elegant, but it works. The geometry is a straight fall through a 2" ABS pipe of about 12 in to the middle of a funnel shaped locker.
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