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Old 21-03-2007, 04:00   #1
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How Much Anchor Chain ?

We are off towards the Caribbean this year and obviously intend to spend a fair amount of time at anchor, my question is how much chain, realistically, to put on the boat? We currently carry around 45 metres on the main anchor and around 10 metres on the spare. Given the likely depths for anchoring that we are likely to encounter on a trip up the Eastern Caribbean islands from Antigua towards BVI's will this be enough for most situations?
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Old 21-03-2007, 10:35   #2
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Yes

Yes, and I'm sure that many other messages will follow regarding this oft-debated question.
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Old 21-03-2007, 13:24   #3
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It is a personal decision. What you have sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

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Old 21-03-2007, 14:42   #4
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Thats what the last owners of our boat had for 4 years in the Caribbean. The size of the chain and weight in the bow can be a limiting issue. Of course you only let out what you need and it's nice to have some left in the locker if you decide you need more.

If it came down to more primary rode chain or a secondary rode I would go with the secondary rode. It adds a lot more possibilities. Having more options is preferred but which ones you choose means there are others you can't have. You have a lot of choices to make and chain length on the primary rode is best determined by a total assessment of the anchoring system as a whole against your capacity to carry more stuff. Then add the skills required to use the system effectively.

You can always want more of anything. You may not make use of everything and you may not understand the limits of what you do carry. If you know the limits of 45 meters of chain then you know when you are making a mistake in picking the anchorage for the conditions you could expect. You can't cruise with unlimited everything.
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Old 21-03-2007, 14:59   #5
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I've sailed in the Eastern Caribbean since 1969...Windwards, Leewards, Virgins, Spanish Virgins, etc. My present boat was there for 11 years.

What you have will do in most cases. There are a few situations where you'll want more than 45 meters of rode. For example, you may wish to anchor at Cooper Island if all the moorings are taken, or in The Bight at Norman Island. Depths could be 40-60 feet in these places, calling for a total rode of some 200 feet or more. You could, of course, extend the total length of your rode by attaching a length of nylon rode.

But, by and large, you'll do just fine with what you've got.

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Old 21-03-2007, 15:30   #6
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Anchor rodes should be at least 4 times the depth of the anchorage, and the length of anchor chain (3/8) should be twice the height of the expected seas, in length, for boats of less than 30 feet OA. Nylon is fine for the rode and should be sized according to the windage effort generated by the hull in the highest expected wind. 5/8 braided (not kernmantle line, but BRAID) nylon is usually adequste for a thirty footer. Chain is too resisting to the surge of the hull and drags the anchor, so I like to use nylon, protected with a moused thimble at the chain shackle, of course. The purpose of using chain at the anchor end of the rode is just to sink the rode after each surge has lifted it, and thus to maintain the best possible holding angle for the anchor flutes on the bottom. None of this matters however, if you do not have a good anchor that is type-suited to the holding ground that you are on. Always maintain an anchor watch in a blow. No anchor is absolutely certain to hold.
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Old 21-03-2007, 15:44   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkipperCanuck
... The purpose of using chain at the anchor end of the rode is just to sink the rode after each surge has lifted it, and thus to maintain the best possible holding angle for the anchor flutes on the bottom. .
The primary purpose of the chain is to avoid chafe. Secondary is to hold the angle down.

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Old 21-03-2007, 16:45   #8
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My daddy always told me the chain holds the boat, the anchor holds the chain. So 45 metres sound smore than enough to me also.
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Old 23-03-2007, 02:47   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkipperCanuck
...........anchor chain (3/8) .............. 5/8 braided (not kernmantle line, but BRAID) nylon is usually adequste for a thirty footer.
Usually adequate for most 45fters as well. My 32fter has 7mm chain and 12mm polyester warp. Mind you while I do anchor in some exposed areas, I would go to 8mm and 14mm if I was going offshore or heavy. Currently running 4.5 alloy or a 10kg anchor.
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Old 14-12-2010, 06:18   #10
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Canuck, I'd respectfully disagree with "Chain is too resisting to the surge of the hull and drags the anchor, so I like to use nylon,..."

That would depend upon depth, current and wind. If a chain rode drags an anchor, the scope is insufficient. With proper scope, chain will lie horizontal on the bottom and lessen the force upon the anchor. A chain rode provides catenary, chafe protection and additional inertia/resistance on bottom. The OP is headed to the Caribbean. "A cruiser may go to the Caribbean with nylon rode, but he'll return with chain." I carry 250' of chain for the ability to set 5:1 scope in the deepest anchorages that I anticipate using, though I've never used more than 150'.
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Old 14-12-2010, 06:38   #11
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Um, 'necroposting' alert! You replied to a thread that is over three and a half years old!!
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Old 14-12-2010, 07:16   #12
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I carry 250' of chain for the ability to set 5:1 scope in the deepest anchorages that I anticipate using, though I've never used more than 150'.
It's still nice to hear people say this! I'll be carrying 115' of chain and 235' of 5/8" New England Ropes Megabrade, but was worried about the small amount of chain. This makes me feel much better.
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Old 14-12-2010, 08:37   #13
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In my experience cruising in the Carib, the tides are moderate and the bottom usually slopes gently, so you don't need all that much chain. I don't recall every anchoring in more than 20 feet of water, and for 20 feet of water (at high tide) plus a few feet to the bow roller 150 feet of chain will be all you really need, unless you're planning to ride out a hurricane or anchor in some oddball deep spot.

It's different where there are high tides! We made a passage plan to St. Malo (in the event we didn't make it past Cherbourg that time) and contemplated anchoring out there. The tidal range is 14 meters!! So if you're in say 15 feet of water at low tide, you are in 65 feet of water at high tide!! Eek! It's true you need less scope in very deep water, but you still need at least 100 meters of rode to be more or less safe there even in non-storm conditions.

Since we sail in places with big tides, we have 100 meters of 1/2" chain as our primary rode.
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Old 14-12-2010, 10:33   #14
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We have two anchors and each anchor is fitted with 150 feet of 3/8 chain. No rode. In strong wind and tide conditions we dump full chain length. Never had a problem, except once in Charleston, SC when it was too tight to drop the full length and when the winds picked up above 35 knots we started to drag slowly. But, we always anchor watch so all ended well.
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