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Old 14-07-2015, 17:53   #1
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Rope only rode

Has anyone had any experience with an anchor rode of rope only?
My boat has an old rope only Good Windlass. It is still in great shape and a real diehard workhorse.
The idea is if a longer rope rode with a heavier modern anchor will be as good or better than chain. The obvious chaving aside.
Other thoughts are the rode is 90% rope anyway and rope doesnt rust is much cheaper, lighter and easier on the hands!
Im just getting too old and sore to lift the 30kg Bruce anchor plus chain manually anymore and am thinking of circuming to the Good rope windlass as I have it anyway. Why repkace it if it works hey!

Any comments or ideas are welcome.


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Old 14-07-2015, 20:36   #2
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Re: Rope only rode

The purpose of the chain is to hold the rode to the sea-floor so that the rope portion is not tugging constantly at the anchor. Chain really helps the anchor to remain set by keeping the rode down on the sea-floor. When the boat tugs, the chain weight has to be lifted before the anchor. The weight of the chain is part of the ground tackle.

I wouldn't use rope-only rode for anything other than a lunch hook for that reason.

If you're looking for a lighter anchor assembly, get a Fortress FX-11 (daysailing) or FX-16 (cruising). They're very light.

Can you replace the gypsy on your windlass with one made for chain? Most windlass makers have multiple gypsy options.
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Old 14-07-2015, 20:42   #3
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Re: Rope only rode

I cruised for years with a rope anchor rode and did OK. Yes the catenary from chain does help make the pull on the anchor more horizontal, until the wind really kicks up and then the difference is minimal. Offset that with a little more scope on the rope.

Of course you will keep a bit of chain on the end since rope could cut through pretty quickly the next time you wrap the rode around a bommie.
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Old 14-07-2015, 20:58   #4
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Re: Rope only rode

Can you get at least a few feet of chain between the anchor and the windlass? It's not ideal but a lot of people get by with six feet or less chain. It would be best to spring for a more modern windlass that will handle chain. Nobody regrets installing a windlass.
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Old 14-07-2015, 21:16   #5
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Re: Rope only rode

Don't know the model windlass that you describe, but if it is a simple rotating drum, you can use it with chain as well as rope. It will scar the drum, but with a couple of wraps and hand tailing it will pull like hell.

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Old 14-07-2015, 22:47   #6
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Re: Rope only rode

Tuff things those Good Windlasses. I saw one on a boat last week that's done 2 circumnavigations and the skipper reckons is over 20 years old without ever missing a beat. He's got chain on the end.

Not to sure you'd want all rope though unless you know what your bottom will be like. If in say a big lake with mud everywhere then why not but as mentioned above in coral or rocks and the like rope can be sliced through in seconds, something that can't happen to chain. We down this end of the world have coral close so that's a worry for many. Yo could use an armoured rope I suppose. Not cheap but does minimise the chafing or cutting issue.

6ft or less of chain?? isn't that a 'Why would ya?'. But then I suppose it's better than nothing...... just.
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Old 14-07-2015, 22:59   #7
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Re: Rope only rode

Thank you so much for the positive response!
I fully agree with Skipmac! A much longer rode is better.
Its a 1/2" Barnegat AFD Good Automatic windlass with two horns built in for tying down the rode. Its entirely covered.
Is anyone perhaps familiar with this winch?
Ive always assumed its rope only and spares are scarce for not that it needs much.



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Old 14-07-2015, 23:09   #8
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Re: Rope only rode

Google it. They're still making them. They have a model now that will handle both rope and chain. Yours looks like one of the old ones that only handles rope. I think they all used half inch rope.
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