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Old 06-09-2007, 12:59   #1
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Anchor Chain Question.....

I have a 46ft sailboat that weights 22000 pounds. I added 200 ft. of 3/8" chain to the anchor/chain locker. I noticed that the boat doesn't reach speed as it used to and am considering removing 150ft and keep only 50 ft and the rest with rope. I do not cruise extensively and only sail weekend trips to local islands here in the caribbean.

Is it too risky to remove that amount of chain? What length of chain is reasonable?
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Old 06-09-2007, 13:18   #2
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I like to have 200 ft although I rarely put out more than 100. With 200 I've got enough for when I really need it and I can end for end it after a few years. I usually anchor in less than 20 ft of water and mostly in water less than 10 ft deep. In your case you could get by with 100 ft and a 30 ft snubber. I would not go to 50 ft as you'll usually have more than that out. In my case I wouldn't go with less even if it slowed the boat down. Nothing like lots of chain!!
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Old 06-09-2007, 15:47   #3
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Depends on the amount of rocks (or coral in the old days) you have in PR and how much chain you will have on the bottom when anchoring. You want all chain close to sharp bottom objects, and the rode to be up higher, protected. Also, the angle the entire anchor system makes with the sea bed as it approaches the anchor is important.

I have 26,000 lbs of boat and 200' of 3/8" chain, followed by another 200' of 5/8" rope rode if needed. Typically, I dump all 200' of chain out every time I anchor becuse I don't want to fuss with it when the winds pick up. I do this even in 10 feet of water. Makes for a boat that goes NOWHERE. I also don't anchor in very crowded places.

So.... reducing to 50 feet is ok - as long as there is not going to be chafing on your rope rode and also as long as the angle the chain makes with the sea bed is close to zero close by the anchor.

If it were me? I'd probably compromise and keep 100 feet just in case you need it some day. You could have a shackle and store the other 100 feet down by the keel or something.

Or... you could break it into 50' lengths and keep it configurable using many shackles.
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Old 06-09-2007, 17:24   #4
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Typically, I dump all 200' of chain out every time I anchor becuse I don't want to fuss with it when the winds pick up. I do this even in 10 feet of water.
Holy smokes, I thought I was conservative and paranoid....

Either you don't trust yer bottom or yer anchor or the weather forecast?

Overkill is good in a hurricane or when ya leave the boat on the hook for a month or some other extreme, but uh, 20 to 1...?

If you had a longer chain, would you go 40 to 1..?
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Old 06-09-2007, 22:38   #5
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Chain, Rope, and Catenary - Anchor Systems For Small Boats
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Old 07-09-2007, 02:27   #6
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Typically, I dump all 200' of chain out every time I anchor
Doesnt that destroy large amounts of bottom dweling life as you drag that amount of chain around?
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Old 07-09-2007, 06:57   #7
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I have the same boat with 280 ft of 5/16 HT chain in the bow, as well as a secondary rode with 50 ft of chain, 2 outboards, holding tank, extra lines, sails, etc... no wonder my boat doesn't go as fast

Actually, I think you could get by with 150 ft of chain and 150 ft of rope--we rarely let out more than 150 ft. If you anchor in 40 ft of water you can let out up to 35 ft of the rope to give you nearly 5:1 scope. The main thing is you don't want the rope to drag on a rocky bottom or catch on a coral head.

Now that you have bought the 3/8 chain, the 5/16 HT is 30% lighter...maybe you can swap.
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Old 07-09-2007, 10:33   #8
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A rule of thumb used to be at least as much chain as the boat length. All the other considerations about chaffing, etc. are correct, I am only talking about keeping the anchor set because lifting the chain absorbs much energy. If the chain is too short the anchor is more likely to drag.

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Old 08-09-2007, 20:41   #9
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Go with all chain. One coral head and shifting winds could ruin your trip.

Use snubber to handle shock loads.
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Old 09-09-2007, 05:04   #10
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Holy smokes, I thought I was conservative and paranoid....

Either you don't trust yer bottom or yer anchor or the weather forecast?

Overkill is good in a hurricane or when ya leave the boat on the hook for a month or some other extreme, but uh, 20 to 1...?

If you had a longer chain, would you go 40 to 1..?

I do leave the boat on the hook for a month or more at a stretch - that's why I do it. When you're busy working (and not on vacation or retired), you have less time to fuss with the boat and need it to be stable even if you're a few miles away and a front line of Tstorms hits with 50mph winds.

200' of chain does wonders. It's just like being on a mooring.
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Old 09-09-2007, 05:05   #11
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Doesnt that destroy large amounts of bottom dweling life as you drag that amount of chain around?
I doubt it. Lobsters a pretty mobile.

Also, the jelly fish in LI Sound float on TOP and they're just about the only life there.

Seriously though, there are times the environment takes a hit and thousands of other times it doesn't. Living on a boat and dumping your daily excrement into the water and putting out 200' of chain is a far sight less damage than anyone who drives a car to work each day, or uses all those "environmentally friendly" electric iteme in their houses. (did you know most electricty is produce by COAL fired plants here in the USA and that burning coal puts out major greenhouse gases as well as large amounts of mercury for you to eat in fish?)

My point is - you can't hang a boater who lives on the hook for not living in an environmentally sound manner unless you are also living on the hook and doing something that impacts the environment even less. If you live on land and go to work you don't have a foot to stand on arguing environmentalism with someone who lives at anchor. Your daily shower alone does more damage (with coal-derived power to heat your 20-40 gallon water wasting shower) than someone living at anchor.
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Old 09-09-2007, 07:38   #12
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If you live on land and go to work you don't have a foot to stand on arguing environmentalism with someone who lives at anchor.


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Old 04-10-2007, 03:12   #13
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If you live on land and go to work you don't have a foot to stand on arguing environmentalism with someone who lives at anchor. Your daily shower alone does more damage (with coal-derived power to heat your 20-40 gallon water wasting shower) than someone living at anchor.

1) Its not the lobsters - it is the sea bed and under seabed organisms that are harmed
2) So you throw all your rubbsh over the side, use TBT bottom paint and pour your old engine oil down the sink as you are, overall, less damaging of the environment than a land-dweller? Of course not.

My point is, there are often more or less environmentally damaging ways of doing many things everyday, and more people are now tending to do the less damaging.

My post was a question - no hanging, no rules. Just pointing out a downside to the approach.

You can do what you want.
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Old 06-10-2007, 18:24   #14
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Some of you mentioned that you use a bunch of chain and then a buch of rope. I'm curios and don't feel like you can't call me stupid, but I'm gonna ask because I don't know.

How do you go about depoloying and wieghing the rode?

I have 150' of 3/8 chain and would like to have the capacity to easily add more rode, say some nylon rope onto that. My windlass is verticaly mounted inside the chain locker. How would I easily use the windlass to switch from chain to rope?

I know, dumb question, but all I can think of is getting to the end of the chain and it falls to the seabed and then letting out the nylon rode. Getting it back up seems like more of a challenge. Using the windlass to bring in the nylon, I'm not sure how to make the switch to the chain when it comes up.
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Old 06-10-2007, 19:02   #15
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Not a problem. With that amount of rode out, just run up on it and you'll be able to haul the line in as fast as you can. No need for a windlass, there's no weight on it. When you get to the chain throw it on the gypsy.
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