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Old 22-06-2013, 06:24   #1
JPL
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Anchor and chain weight recommendations for a Lofrans Cayman 88

Hi,
Sailing a Bavaria 39 in the Greek Islands, we lost our anchor yesterday when our anchor broke at 4am and we ended up on the rocks!
The boat is ok and we were able to motor back to our base marina.

Questions:
We are offered a used 25 kg anchor with 80m. of 10mm chain which I figure represent together a total weight of about 250 to 300 kg.
We had an 8mm chain and I know the gypsy can be changed for a 10mm but I am concerned about the additional weight on the Lofrans Cayman 88 windlass. The instruction manual does not give any information on maximum weight / pulling power.
Does anyone have any information/experience on this?

Then I admit to being puzzled by this chain failure. What is the life expectancy of a chain? Is there an objective way to assess the quality of a chain? Any thing that can be done to protect the chain in winter?
The boat had remained in the water this winter and when we took it out a week ago to test everything I had observed the chain appeared quite a bit rusted. We had the pro who winterizes the boat look at it carefully and he was surprised by what he saw - a clear overlook on his part - but his verdict was this is probably a low quality chain and next season you should replace it but you'll be ok for now. Not so!
Any advice on these points?

Thanks
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Old 22-06-2013, 07:22   #2
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Re: Anchor and chain weight recommendations for a Lofrans Cayman 88

Chain failures are very rare indeed because there are almost always weaker links. Even when the chain is not in optimum condition, it is usually strong than other elements of the system. When they do fail, it's nearly always because of shock loads. Were you using a snubber? You should protect the whole system from shock loads with a snubber of sufficient length and elasticity. There was a good thread on this on here recently.
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Old 22-06-2013, 07:25   #3
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Re: Anchor and chain weight recommendations for a Lofrans Cayman 88

And you're quite sure the chain itself broke? Rather than a shackle or especially a swivel breaking or coming undone? These are much more common than chain failures.
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Old 22-06-2013, 08:06   #4
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Re: Anchor and chain weight recommendations for a Lofrans Cayman 88

Go to Lofrans.com and find the page on the Cayman. It will tell you its max lift load. Add up the weight of your ground tackle and see if it will handle it. I would prefer at least a Tigres instead. That is a heckuva windlass.

Then, folks here are gonna want to know what happened. You first said the anchor broke. Then said the chain broke. Can you be more specific about how you parted ways with the anchor?
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Old 23-06-2013, 13:45   #5
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Re: Anchor and chain weight recommendations for a Lofrans Cayman 88

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
And you're quite sure the chain itself broke? Rather than a shackle or especially a swivel breaking or coming undone? These are much more common than chain failures.
Yes, I know. Most people are incredulous but the chain broke, not a shackle or a swivel.it broke near the snub as that's about the length of chain that was left over the gypsy. And that's why I am bringing this topic to the forum.
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Old 23-06-2013, 13:49   #6
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Re: Anchor and chain weight recommendations for a Lofrans Cayman 88

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Chain failures are very rare indeed because there are almost always weaker links. Even when the chain is not in optimum condition, it is usually strong than other elements of the system. When they do fail, it's nearly always because of shock loads. Were you using a snubber? You should protect the whole system from shock loads with a snubber of sufficient length and elasticity. There was a good thread on this on here recently.
Yes I was using a snubber, the same one I always used, with a new length of 16mm high quality German line, nylon core with polyester cover. Cleated on deck, through the fair lead and to just above water level.
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Old 23-06-2013, 13:54   #7
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Re: Anchor and chain weight recommendations for a Lofrans Cayman 88

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Originally Posted by SVNeko View Post
Go to Lofrans.com and find the page on the Cayman. It will tell you its max lift load. Add up the weight of your ground tackle and see if it will handle it. I would prefer at least a Tigres instead. That is a heckuva windlass.

Then, folks here are gonna want to know what happened. You first said the anchor broke. Then said the chain broke. Can you be more specific about how you parted ways with the anchor?
Thanks, I obviously looked on Internet for answers, including the Lofrans page, but I was hoping to hear from users experience. Can one go all the way to the quoted max lift load? Or does one risk to overload the windlass if a lot of chain is weighed? ... I tend to consider manufacturers specs as indicative and users validation as prescriptive.
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Old 23-06-2013, 14:08   #8
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Re: Anchor and chain weight recommendations for a Lofrans Cayman 88

[QUOTE=SVNeko;1267291

Then, folks here are gonna want to know what happened. You first said the anchor broke. Then said the chain broke. Can you be more specific about how you parted ways with the anchor?[/QUOTE]

Sorry about the confusion, it's the anchor chain that broke and obviously not the anchor, my omission of the word chain in that first part of the text made it unclear. I apologise for that typo.
Why the chain broke is leaving everyone in the marina speechless.
We contacted the former owners who are close friends and asked if they had extended the chain. A weak link at the connection might explain what happened but they did not.
There were strong winds that night and current in that bay but I have faced stronger winds and currents last season with exactly the same equipment without any problem. The only thing I can think of is corrosion and that's why I asked here if others had a similar experience or information on how to appreciate the possible deterioration of the strength of a chain.
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Old 23-06-2013, 14:34   #9
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Re: Anchor and chain weight recommendations for a Lofrans Cayman 88

Hi JPL
Sorry to hear aot your experiences.

As others have said chain breakage is rare, but your story shows it does occur.
No doubt corrosion was the biggest factor, but 8mm, probably G30 chain is a little light for your sized boat.

New gypsies are expensive and as you noted chain is heavy.
Have you considered hi tensile G70 chain?. I think 8mm G70 would be OK for your size yacht. It has a similar strength to regular 10mm chain.
Italian Maggi chain is some of the best and can delivered to Greece probably for a similar, or not much more, cost to local 10mm chain. You would not have to change your gypsy (with considerable saving) and there would be no weight penalty.

Finally Greek waters are so clear that your anchor should be easily found and retrieved with just free diving.
I am sailing the area (although it is a big country with a lot of scattered islands) if you want to PM the location where the anchor was lost I may know someone near the area that could pick up the anchor for you.

I expect you don't want the chain back
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Old 23-06-2013, 14:35   #10
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Re: Anchor and chain weight recommendations for a Lofrans Cayman 88

Do you know what type of chain you had? Some types are much stronger than others.
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Old 23-06-2013, 15:20   #11
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Re: Anchor and chain weight recommendations for a Lofrans Cayman 88

5/16" G40 chain should be more than adequate for your boat. Believe that's 8mm though don't know if Europe uses our material nomenclature. A 45# Rocna/Manson/Spade would be my choice for a hook.

Sounds like your chain rusted enough to weaken it to the point it broke. Still very strange unless there was serious stress being put on the chain or it was really really rusty. Buying used gear may put you in the situation you are in now with rust just around the corner.
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Old 23-06-2013, 15:51   #12
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Re: Anchor and chain weight recommendations for a Lofrans Cayman 88

A quick search finds 10mm chain at 2.1kg per metre and 8mm at 1.35 kg per metre.

So your 80m anchor chain may weigh 168 kg in 10mm and 108 kg in 8mm.

Obviously 10mm is going to give superior performance to 8mm. The question is whether the extra performance is worth the potential problems of the additional weight.

Don't forget that it's not just the windlass that has to carry the additional weight it's every other part of the system from the anchor rollers through to the electrical wiring, batteries and chain locker.

In my opinion it's unlikely that the chain broke because it was too light. Much more likely is that it was old, the galvanizing had come off and it had be stored wet with salt water for some considerable time.

Reminds me that I need to inspect my chain.
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