Chain, Chain, Chain…

55 Pounder

Well, we didn’t like the look of the 44# Spade anchor on the bow, so we called Bacon, had them hold a 55# one for us, and when our chain order came in, we picked it up. The discount on it was deeper. While we are sure the 44 pounder would have performed as advertised, psycho-visually, it just wasn’t right.

The next day, I got up at 0630 and hit the dock at 0700 (already 82° F) and started marking the chain. We had ordered 175 ft, and they delivered 179. It’s a good thing. I used a scheme* we have developed since we went to all chain 1996.

Proper chain deployment is a function of water depth and the height of the anchor roller off the water. So six ft of water  (our very much absolute minimum low tide on a soft bottom number) plus five feet of roller height adds to 11 feet. With our preferred scope multiplier of five, this means we won’t ever anchor, at that scope, with less than 55 ft of chain. Since we measure in 10 ft increments, this means the first 60 feet are marked with red (OK, hot pink) cable ties.

The ties are placed around the intersection of links where the anchor windlass wildcat (gypsy) can’t abrade or cut them, and they are left untrimmed to show up better. [We also keep a supply of ties in the anchor locker so missing ones can be replaced on deployment or retrieval. Another reason not to just use paint.]

The next 60 ft are marked with blue, and the 59 ft  after that with orange. The last marker — warning it is just nine feet to the rope-chain splice is pinkblueorangebluepink. A single yellow tie is added at 50, 100, and 150 feet because we like to do an anchor set engine back-down at those lengths and our final deployment length.

Obviously the pink and orange are sections are “warning” sections. The blue sort of fits our preferred range of water depth — nine to fifteen feet. In guaranteed calm, no current conditions, in crowded spots, we could anchor with a scope of three-four. And when things start to howl, and there is room, we’ll put out even more chain.

It works for us.

Finished with the marking, I spliced the rope to the chain and began the process of pulling the chain off the dock into the anchor locker. Temp now 92° F.

What didn’t work was my memory. New chain is much rougher than old chain. Seven years use polishes the zinc galvanize off, and the chain gets slipperier and falls to the bottom on the anchor locker more smoothly. New chain has to be convinced to fall to the bottom. This is not an easy task. It involves two hands and a boat hook.  It’s nothing you want to do when the bow is pitching and you really must leave an anchorage, nor does it fit with hosing mud off the rising chain.

So, we are going to have to rig a partial chain pipe to move the chain aft to where gravity can solve the problem.

Hey, it’s a boat.

010 pink x
020 pink xx
030 pink xxx
040 pink xxxx
050 pink xxxxx + yellow x
060 pink xxxxxx
070 blue x
080 blue xx
090 blue xxx
100 blue xxxx + yellow x
110 blue xxxxx
120 blue xxxxxx
130 orange x
140 orange xx
150 orange xxx + yellow x
160 orange xxxx
170 pinkblueorangebluepink xxxxx

One response to “Chain, Chain, Chain…

  1. I’m impressed! mst

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