Anchoring: Chain v/s Nylon Line

The friendliest place on the web for anyone who enjoys boating.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.
Oct 31, 2007
Vessel Name
Vessel Make
Willard Nomad 30'
Yes I agree. The angle of the anchor end of the rode is closer to horizontal w the bottom if one uses chain. But 99% of anchoring takes place at far less than maximum load and at max load one needs an anchor that will hold that load and be well set in a bottom that will also hold that load. All fairly unlikely to happen so the talk about an all chain rode being worked so heavily that it becomes (for all PP) straight is not worth talking about. Whats worth talking about is the advantage the chain rode has at 1/4 to 3/4 load * * ... and I think Marin is right * * ..chain is better * *.. as far as the angle of the rode end is concerned. But there is a great deal more to anchoring than the rode angle. If one used an all line rode (I have been experimenting w that) one needs an anchor that will perform well at higher rode angles and since very very few of us (if any) have such an anchor chain is almost required.*Chapman recommends "a short length of chain" on a combination rode w nylon line. How anyone can realistically argue that the entire rode should be chain is beyond me. Marin says the whole rode helps lower the angle of the shank. Obviously the part of the rode on deck or still in the chain locker isn't doing squat to effect the rode angle but one still has to buy it and pack it around. Also obvious is that if you had 300lbs of chain in an all chain rode and changed it to 1/2 chain rode you could almost double the weight of the chain on the anchor end and still have a 300lb rode. With all the chain weight on the anchor end of the rode and w an equal tension on the rode the combination rode would (beyond a doubt) keep the anchor shank at a lower angle to the bottom. So I contend that an all chain rode is a waste of weight and money EXCEPT * * *.. that the whole thing passes gracefully over the wildcat. To Marin's credit there are numerous other advantages as well such as anchoring deep w a minimum of swing or for that matter minimizing swing at any depth except w extreme winds.
To summarize I think the all chain rode is dumb and this discussion should address the question of how much of an anchor rode should be chain. No fixed amount can be assigned as variations in overall rode length, weight of chain, anchor types bottom types and other elements enter into the balance. I'm going to stick my neck waay out here and say that the most respected book on seamanship is probably right * *.....
"a short length of chain".

nomadwilly wrote:Obviously the part of the rode on deck or still in the chain locker isn't doing squat to effect the rode angle but one still has to buy it and pack it around.
Well, your point would be valid if every anchorage was the same depth.* But we've anchored in places where we had less than 100 feet out and places where we've had all 200 feet out to maintain the proper scope.* So I don't think your statement means much as far as reality is concerned.* The nylon rode in your locker isn't doing squat either, but you had to buy it and it's taking up space.* So are you implying that one should ALWAYS anchor in exactly the same depth and so purchase ONLY that amount of rode necessary to provide the same ratio every time at that exact depth?* Don't know about your neck of the woods but I've found that the anchorages around here are not that accomodating and insist on varying all over the place with regard to depth.

Having been on or with boats and watched their combination rode--- nylon with a length of chain equivelent to the length of the boat, which is the rule of thumb for chain length on this kind of rode--- straighten out in 10 knots of wind and a couple of times when the wind hit 15 knots it unset the anchor because the angle of pull hauled up too hard on the shank, I will stick with our all-chain rode, thank you very much.

Now our boat doesn't care about weight--- the more of it you put in a tralwer like ours the happier it is and the better it rides.* So all-chain doesn't make sense for every boat or every situation.* But since the vast majority of power boats these days seem to use all-chain, and a lot of these people aren't simpy following armchair advice but are using what they've proven to work over many years, I'm guessing that under the conditions where it makes sense, it makes a lot of sense.

Marin wrote:

*** But since the vast majority of power boats these days seem to use all-chain,

I was under the impression it was the other way around. perhaps a survey is in order

Any one care to weigh in (Pun Intended)** * Weigh anchor. Ha Ha
I use the combination.


I use the combo method as well. And the ill-fated Bruce on the end which has never failed me. I have been thinking of switching to all chain for none other than trim purposes. It would be nice to get the nose down a bit more!!!
All chain.* Couldn't sleep without it.


-- Edited by Giggitoni on Friday 23rd of July 2010 11:11:02 AM
I use all chain, but most of the other rec boats around here use combo.
We use all chain.* Question though:* What about bottom debris, chafe on the bottom, other boats in a crowded*anchorage?** Chain vs Nylon?*
Hey, nice boat there Larry!
*I like the flopper stopper rig.
As to chain, as long as you have enough, I don't see any downside other than cost and maybe weight. Depends on how your boat was designed.
skipperdude wrote:

Marin wrote:


*** But since the vast majority of power boats these days seem to use all-chain,

I was under the impression it was the other way around. perhaps a survey is in order

I should modify my statement.* The vast majority of powerboats in my area, either in our marina or that we see in the anchorages, use all-chain.**
400' of 3/8" chain, 66 lb Bruce.... never drug until last week in 10' of water with a grass bottom and 45kts of wind.... but I was on 5/1 scope.... 10/1 took care of the dragging and we had gusting to the mid 50's that night..... damn I hate getting up every 30 min. to do a anchor check.****** ( when we drug I had a fleeting thought about replacing the Bruce.... but I got over it! )

-- Edited by hollywood8118 on Thursday 22nd of July 2010 07:26:49 PM
In the Bahamas were stuck using the chain, but almost Anywhere where coral is not a problem , its Nylon (with a short heavy chain ) for me.
All chain, all the time. *Connected to a 88# SuperMax. Makes for a night of sound sleep. :)

-- Edited by ktischler on Friday 23rd of July 2010 07:10:18 AM
Yeah, all chain for me too. I've used combination in smaller yachts, where one hauls by hand, but no way would I use the mix in a vessel over 2-3 ton. There's just no real point in creating that weak spot at the join, and also the hassle of manhandling the rode from rope gypsy to the chain side. The weight as a percentage of the overall vessel is negligible. I know some winches have a dual gypsy which theoretically handles both, but I find it hard to believe the rope part will self stow in the locker, so you must have to muck about guiding it in somehow. Why bother? All the power boats I've anchored near in our Moreton Bay use all chain. Only smaller craft of the trailer yacht or fizz boat types use chain/nylon.
Eric, how is that Manson Supreme working out?
Combo for me.* I will say I do like the way the 35' of chain self stows.* I may eventually go all chain.* But the boat already seems a bit heavy in the bow.* Maybe if I keep the water and fuel topped off she'll trim out a little better.
Hi Larry,I like your Krogen very much. My kind of boat * *..full displacement!
Valid concerns * *chafe, debris on the bottom and crowded anchorages.
Chafe (other than where the rode leaves the boat) I've not experienced much.
Crowded anchorages? Seldom do I experience that here in SE Alaska but down south the best rode (I think) would be as much like everyone else as possible so all swing together. I think you must be thinking of minimizing your swing but in a crowded anchorage swinging with others is ideal.
You'd like the fish boats up here. They have very heavy gear and (unless a blow is forecast) they just drop the huge pile of anchor and chain on the bottom and they sit there all night with the chain falling off their bow absolutely straight down.
Here in SE logging debris is wide spread and I've started to use a trip line.

Eric Henning
Eric:* Your right about the anchorages not being very crowded up north.* We spent 13 years in the PNW with 2 seasons in SE Alaska on various boats including Hobo.* In BC and Puget*Sound area, it was always a scene in the summer when you'd be in a popular anchorage.* You learned to recognize who had rope or who had*chain, and you*anchored accordingly.

Rope vs chain is*sort of like anchors;**No real right or wrong just what*lets you sleep better at night.

Hobo KK42
Santa Rosalia, BCS, MX****
I use all chain but attach about 25 feet of nylon snubber for overnight, or shorten the snub considerably for temporary anchoring.* A few times last week we were in a narrow channel when a severe lighning storm hit.* I was glad to have the chain because we could deploy it quickly and didn't swing much when the wind shifted.

Latest posts

Top Bottom