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Old 03-11-2015, 14:31   #1
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How do you distribute chain in the boat?

Specifically I am curious about things people have done and/or made to pull chain down towards the keel for maintaining weight centrally in boats that tend to hobby horse. Photos are appreciated!
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Old 03-11-2015, 15:18   #2
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Re: How do you distribute chain in the boat?

Best solution I have seen was to mount the windlass just in front of the mast, with the chain running across deck in a plastic channel. and stored in a 18" diameter pipe resting in the keel, and the fwd head shower drained over the chain to a sump for pump-out.
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Old 03-11-2015, 15:42   #3
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Re: How do you distribute chain in the boat?

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Originally Posted by sy_gilana View Post
Best solution I have seen was to mount the windlass just in front of the mast, with the chain running across deck in a plastic channel. and stored in a 18" diameter pipe resting in the keel, and the fwd head shower drained over the chain to a sump for pump-out.
So I am guessing the chain went down a pipe next to the mast and then how was it pulled aft in the 18" pipe?
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Old 03-11-2015, 15:52   #4
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Re: How do you distribute chain in the boat?

I tried on one of my early boats to make a pipe (3"PVC) that ran aft so the chain could live under the V berth. It doesnt work well.. the chain gets jammed in the pipe and wont slide down, so It takes two people, one in the V berth and one on the windlass. Even though the pipe was at least 45degree angle
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Old 03-11-2015, 16:14   #5
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Re: How do you distribute chain in the boat?

I have a trough, specifically a drain, made of plastic, from Home Depot, about six inches square, that spans the bilge from where the chain drops from the windlass, aft about six feet, to the bilge locker forward of my centerboard. I placed a piece of highly abrasion resistant apitong, about 3/8" thick, in the bottom of the trough. In the aft bilge locker I have a rocker switch, connected to the windlass controller, which allows me to retrieve the chain, pull it by hand aft through the trough, and flake it in the aft bilge. Usually I keep a hundred feet of chain in the forward anchor locker for anchoring in 20-30 feet of water, but if I want to keep the bows (trimaran) as light as possible, I will pull all the excess chain aft. This is easier if there are two people, one pulling chain, the other hosing off the mud as the chain rises to the boat.
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Old 03-11-2015, 16:25   #6
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Re: How do you distribute chain in the boat?

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I have a trough, specifically a drain, made of plastic, from Home Depot, about six inches square, that spans the bilge from where the chain drops from the windlass, aft about six feet, to the bilge locker forward of my centerboard. I placed a piece of highly abrasion resistant apitong, about 3/8" thick, in the bottom of the trough. In the aft bilge locker I have a rocker switch, connected to the windlass controller, which allows me to retrieve the chain, pull it by hand aft through the trough, and flake it in the aft bilge. Usually I keep a hundred feet of chain in the forward anchor locker for anchoring in 20-30 feet of water, but if I want to keep the bows (trimaran) as light as possible, I will pull all the excess chain aft. This is easier if there are two people, one pulling chain, the other hosing off the mud as the chain rises to the boat.
In your case you open up access to the bilge in the cabin sole and pull it aft by hand then?
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Old 03-11-2015, 17:44   #7
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Re: How do you distribute chain in the boat?

Yes, my sole panels completely remove and I can step down into the bilge with no obstructions.
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Old 04-11-2015, 04:23   #8
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Re: How do you distribute chain in the boat?

Not to be a wise ass, but if you run a few search variations, you'll come up with numberous threads on this topic.

That said, one option is to keep 200' in your primary chain locker, & take some galvanized pipe (or even stainless), & make a 2ndary hawse in your forward locker which is connected to another locker further aft down low.

Then at the pipe's inlet in your forward locker, manufacture a split cap for the threaded end of the connecting pipe. Such that, the cap is able to be affixed around the chain so that it forms a water tight seal with the chain bolted into it. And design this cap so that it's easy to attach it to & remove it from the chain.

Thus, in most places, the 200' of chain up forward will be plenty. But elsewhere, you can detach the cap, & pull more chain into your primary locker. And cap the pipe with a standard cap, thus re-sealing things, so that your bilges, & the 2ndary locker stay dry.

The above description is about as good as I can muster from memory, sans my morning caffeine. But the system is about the best one which I've been able to distill from the various solutions to this question/problem, presented on this site.
It should be findable via a search, & or by going Way, way back, through my posts.

The "catch" to it, of course, is in not having a way to be able to quickly jettison your chain & anchor in an emergency. As you would, if the bitter end of the chain were attached to the vessel via a rope tail.

Although, even for rodes which have rope tails, I'm still a Strong advocate of having a set or two of bolt cutters onboard. As a hacksaw is a non-solution IMO, to needing to cut metal in a hurry. Especially a moving piece of chain on a wildly bucking boat bow.
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Old 04-11-2015, 10:51   #9
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Re: How do you distribute chain in the boat?

The solution is going to be individual to your boat as there are so many variations in lay out. I use rubber roller made for dingy trailers to direct chain, free running, little wear or friction and quite. If you need to run in pipe it must be at least 2 links wide but traditionally troughs are used as they don't jam and can be easily cleared.
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Old 04-11-2015, 11:15   #10
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Re: How do you distribute chain in the boat?

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Originally Posted by sy_gilana View Post
Best solution I have seen was to mount the windlass just in front of the mast...
Note the location of TN's windlass (between dorade box and mast). Chain runs through a short piece of heavy stainless pipe which directs it to the center of a tall chain locker sitting over the keel in the head compartment. This locker, whose top forms a seat, drains to a shower sump from which it is pumped overboard.

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Old 04-11-2015, 13:38   #11
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Re: How do you distribute chain in the boat?

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
Not to be a wise ass, but if you run a few search variations, you'll come up with numberous threads on this topic.
Hey wise ass! Ha, no insult taken. I actually did do some searches but didn't turn up what I am looking for. I may not be doing the searches well though. AND I looked back into some of your posts, but you have a lot! Specifically I was wondering if anyone had done something like Cheechako had mentioned, and got it to work. I have heard of folks who have run a large pipe along the top of the keel and pulled the chain aft to lay flat. Of course this only works in certain designs. In my own boat I don't have the room to do exactly that, but I am also looking ahead to my future boat (which will likely be another old school boat.) I was wondering if it might work to run a few light lines forward through a pipe with chain hooks on them and use those to pull lengths of chain aft through the pipe, if that makes sense. As the chain pays out it would require unhooking the chain hooks which could be a problem in a hurry. Anyway thanks all for indulging this pondering...
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Old 04-11-2015, 13:41   #12
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Re: How do you distribute chain in the boat?

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Note the location of TN's windlass (between dorade box and mast). Chain runs through a short piece of heavy stainless pipe which directs it to the center of a tall chain locker sitting over the keel in the head compartment. This locker, whose top forms a seat, drains to a shower sump from which it is pumped overboard.

That looks like a great set-up. I couldn't tell, is there something on the foredeck that protects the deck and directs the chain?
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Old 04-11-2015, 14:28   #13
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Re: How do you distribute chain in the boat?

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Originally Posted by Don C L View Post
So I am guessing the chain went down a pipe next to the mast and then how was it pulled aft in the 18" pipe?
No need to go further aft, it's allready well aft of the v-berth just down into bilge me thinks
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Old 04-11-2015, 15:27   #14
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Re: How do you distribute chain in the boat?

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That looks like a great set-up. I couldn't tell, is there something on the foredeck that protects the deck and directs the chain?
Usually folks will use something like a 4" - 6" wide strip of Teak, Ipe or similar, to protect the deck. Although UHMW PE, Aluminum, or even Stainless works too. But the wooden or plastic strip option tends to be easier on the chain's galvanizing, as well as quieter, if the chain's not kept taught.

If the chain's dropping straight down from the windlass/through a hawse pipe, typically it's weight is enough to keep it coming straight aft, when pulling up one's ground tackle. Plus, gravity does the job fairly well on the chain in the other direction, when dropping the hook.
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Old 04-11-2015, 17:10   #15
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Re: How do you distribute chain in the boat?

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Usually folks will use something like a 4" - 6" wide strip of Teak, Ipe or similar, to protect the deck. Although UHMW PE, Aluminum, or even Stainless works too. But the wooden or plastic strip option tends to be easier on the chain's galvanizing, as well as quieter, if the chain's not kept taught.

If the chain's dropping straight down from the windlass/through a hawse pipe, typically it's weight is enough to keep it coming straight aft, when pulling up one's ground tackle. Plus, gravity does the job fairly well on the chain in the other direction, when dropping the hook.
It 's hard to tell, but in TerraNova's photo it looks like the chain is going over the hatch.
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