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Old 06-09-2018, 16:37   #1
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Chain/Windlass problem- You Won't Believe This One.

Currently we have a Nilssen 1000 windlass and 280 feet of 3/8" chain and a 110# anchor on our very heavy boat . We've known for a while that the windlass was undersized for what we were asking of it. Not in the budget, but oh well, we like to sleep nights.

So we've decided on a Maxwell 3500 but needed to know what kind of chain we had on board in order to properly size the gypsy. My husband just took a length into town to identify it and was told that it's probably BBB by a store that's very reputable that we've often dealt with before (i.e. we trust them). The micrometer measured ours at .3975 and they only sold .3752. The difference is visible and the weight is much less on the store brand. We can buy a barrel of the new stuff (approx 400') for $1500US.

But the chain we have currently on board is in very good shape, not distorted or corroded. Have the dimensions of 3/8" really become that small? I know a 2x4 in the lumberyard is not 2'x4" but this difference is pretty extreme and very expensive. I guess I know the answer to this, but perhaps someone knows of 3/8 that is really 3/8? The boat was built in Canada in 1981, I'm sure the chain is newer than and is of high quality, made in the US and I don't think the previous owners ever anchored out much, but we're in the position of throwing the baby out with the bath water, here.

My question is this: is there any way to reliably identify and match the chain that we currently have so we can size the gypsy properly without replacing all the chain?

Thanks all.
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Old 06-09-2018, 17:12   #2
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Re: Chain/Windlass problem- You Won't Believe This One.

You can ship about a foot of existing chain to the sales outlet, and they can include the gypsy which is the best match for your current chain. Be sure to ask for the bit of chain back, as it will make a nice loop, which has a few uses.

Your present chain is probably re-galvanizable when the time comes.

Ann
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Old 06-09-2018, 17:31   #3
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Re: Chain/Windlass problem- You Won't Believe This One.

Anchor chain comes in many different standards, and each one needs to be an exact fit ( not a "best fit") to the gypsy if it is to work well.

For a boat of the size of yours, 3/8" BBB, I would consider seriously undersized.

Do consider upgrading to either 1/2" BBB or 7/16" HT chain.

But in answer to your question, no, BBB grade chain has not changed dimensions.
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Old 06-09-2018, 17:36   #4
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Re: Chain/Windlass problem- You Won't Believe This One.

According to specs here
https://www.1st-chainsupply.com/chai...lass_chain.htm

https://www.1st-chainsupply.com/chai...lass_chain.htm



BBB 3/8" should be .406 and G40 3/8" should be .394".


Sounds like the 3/8" chain they are selling at .3752" is inferior.


Make sure that in addition to diameter, you identify the pitch and external width of chain. They are the critical issues for gypsy selection.



This page should help:


Chain Wheel Selection Guide
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Old 06-09-2018, 18:12   #5
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Re: Chain/Windlass problem- You Won't Believe This One.

Chain is exact fit. Send a sample to guarantee the wildcat and chain match perfectly. Make sure you get the sample back. You need it to match chain or wildcat replacement in the future. In the Caribbean, chandleries often stock several wildcats and offer many chains. Sample in hand is the only way.

FYI we have a 58 foot Camper and Nicholson that weighs in at 40 tons. Our chain is 7/16 G4 and the anchor is a 121# ROCNA. The swivel is a small commercial anchor forerunner from Washington or Houston chain suppliers. The windlass is a Maxwell horizontal 3500. That is the smallest I would consider. We have stalled it on occasion.
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Old 06-09-2018, 18:46   #6
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Re: Chain/Windlass problem- You Won't Believe This One.

Seems to me that the critical dimension for gypsy fit isn't the wire diameter at all, but rather the pitch of the chain and the overall width of the links.

The wire sizes that Stu has posted are kinda weird, for the G-40 diameter is nearly exactly 10 mm, the BBB slightly greater, and the "inferior" 3/8 inch chain is... exactly 3/8 inch (oh, ok, it's 2 10,000ths of an inch over).

Another factor is that some gypsy designs seem to be more tolerant of variation is chain size than others. Don't know what the difference is, but seems to be true.

It is pretty confusing for sure. When we were buying our last Maxwell VWC we took the requisite bit of chain into the vendor's shop for fitting. He showed us that at that time they had 10 different gypsies that fit "10 mm " chain, and the one that we finally chose still wasn't a really good fit on the chain I had. Interestingly, when I purchased some 10 mm short link "PWB L-grade" chain here in Oz it fit perfectly!

Perplexing...

Jim
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Old 06-09-2018, 18:47   #7
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Re: Chain/Windlass problem- You Won't Believe This One.

We have a maxwell hwc3500 on our 60ft 70tonne vessel.
13mm grade L chain
Never had a problem pulling our boat up to and lifting 150lb anchor.
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Old 06-09-2018, 19:01   #8
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Re: Chain/Windlass problem- You Won't Believe This One.

I guess I was lucky. My boat had 3/8 BBB, well used, well rusted, only 100 ft. It also came with a manual windlass. Since Im all about moving to different places, I procured an electric windlass. A Maxwell RC10 if memory don't fail me. I ordered the one that could do chain and line gypsy, and that worked with the 3/8 BBB chain I already had for a year.

After a year I decided to jump in and get new chain; 200ft of 3/8 G4. Worked perfectly with my gypsy and my windlass.

I wonder ...
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Old 06-09-2018, 19:24   #9
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Re: Chain/Windlass problem- You Won't Believe This One.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Seems to me that the critical dimension for gypsy fit isn't the wire diameter at all, but rather the pitch of the chain and the overall width of the links.

Jim
Agree, some Gypsy's fit many chain wire sizes. It's all about the length and width of the links. The ID of each link doesn't matter.
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Old 06-09-2018, 20:23   #10
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Re: Chain/Windlass problem- You Won't Believe This One.

Stu and Jim,

You both refer to "pitch". What's that?
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Old 06-09-2018, 21:06   #11
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Re: Chain/Windlass problem- You Won't Believe This One.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redhead View Post
Stu and Jim,

You both refer to "pitch". What's that?

Length inside link.



Refer to the link shown earlier for a picture:
Chain Wheel Selection Guide
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Old 07-09-2018, 09:21   #12
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Re: Chain/Windlass problem- You Won't Believe This One.

Chain dimensions and calibration

I haven't seen any reference to the difference in the sizing of 10mm or 3/8 chain links in European sizing compared to US sizing so I thought this was worth posting. The text below comes from one of my favourite sites Chain – Cox Engineering .

"Chain dimensions, and therefore the gypsies that will accept them, vary considerably according to whether they are made to imperial or metric standards and even between manufacturers. European made chain is to DIN 766 and/or ISO4565 and most European gypsies will accept it. There is a strange anomaly that has caught out many owners. The dimensions of the two standards are identical for all chain sizes except10 mm, in which the link length is 2 mm different. The gypsy should be marked in some way to identify to which standard it conforms."
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:15   #13
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Re: Chain/Windlass problem- You Won't Believe This One.

I have had a lot of good dealings with Maxwell in Australia due to many adventures with operator abuse (the winches will do many amazing feats) anchoring on Great Barrier Reef.
I found that sending them the form that has been referred to gets you the answer on what gypsy you need. The gypsy is brass and with a lot of use wears to the point where it has to be replaced anyway. Similarly, if it appears to be some minute amount out when new, it pretty quickly wears to suit what you have chain wise as long as it is close.


Good cruising

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Old 07-09-2018, 10:40   #14
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Re: Chain/Windlass problem- You Won't Believe This One.

Hello,
I had the same problem trying to identify the correct chain for my windless. I have a Lofrans windless. I called the Lofrans dealer. He said no problem. The model number of the gypsy is stamped somewhere on the gypsy. In my case it was on the side. I found the number, called the dealer (Imtra, (great people)) and he told me exactly what chain I needed. So I suggest calling the dealer, to see whether this procedure will work.

Marshall
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:48   #15
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Re: Chain/Windlass problem- You Won't Believe This One.

Getting old and more forgetful.
Genuine Maxwell gypsy has a number stamped on inner face which is useful to send to Maxwell as they can tell you measurements of correct chain for the gypsy you have.
Generally haven't found dealers and chain suppliers much help. Emphasis is generally on selling what they stock at best margin, not ordering something in specially.
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