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Old 10-08-2014, 13:04   #1
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Snubbers - Or the Lack of Them

Someone on here - I think it was Andrew Troup - questioned whether we even need snubbers at all, if we have a heavy chain. I have been cruising continuously since the end of April, and I decided to try leaving off the snubber. I have 100 meters of 12mm chain.

I would never leave off the snubber if I ever thought that the wind would get up enough to take all the catenary out of my chain, but in the benign Baltic, this was not a problem (not a single gale in 3 months here). Guess what - it was fine! Never missed the snubber. Made no difference at all. The reduction of effort was welcome, too.
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Old 10-08-2014, 13:23   #2
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Re: Snubbers - Or the Lack of Them

As a matter of course I only use about 2 metres of snubber ( led through a fairlead not over the roller) and only to take the load off the windlass.
Only place I have had shallow enough water with enough wind to take the catenary out of the chain was the Falklands, paying out more snubber made no difference to anything........
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Old 10-08-2014, 13:29   #3
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Re: Snubbers - Or the Lack of Them

I started out years ago not using a snubber. After a couple of experiences I can't imagine not using a snubber.
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Old 10-08-2014, 13:46   #4
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Re: Snubbers - Or the Lack of Them

If you are still doing your super duper back down operation to set your Spade anchor... Your windlass will die without the snubber.
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Old 10-08-2014, 13:51   #5
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Re: Snubbers - Or the Lack of Them

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Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
As a matter of course I only use about 2 metres of snubber ( led through a fairlead not over the roller) and only to take the load off the windlass.
Only place I have had shallow enough water with enough wind to take the catenary out of the chain was the Falklands, paying out more snubber made no difference to anything........
Hello

Don't You think that reliable chain stopper can be acceptable alternative to the line in this role? Just asking for Your opinion
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Old 10-08-2014, 14:15   #6
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Re: Snubbers - Or the Lack of Them

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Hello

Don't You think that reliable chain stopper can be acceptable alternative to the line in this role? Just asking for Your opinion
Yup, but I don't have one.
Chain stoppers are all that big ships use.
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Old 10-08-2014, 14:22   #7
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Re: Snubbers - Or the Lack of Them

Well, they aren't necessary for light conditions. But I still almost always use them. I also wear a seatbelt to drive to the corner grocery store.

A few times I've been places where the weather has been perfect for so long that people let their guard down and become a bit lackadaisical about anchoring. I was in Tahiti in 2000 when a handful of people dragged and ran aground from a squall that rolled through. The holding was fine, and anyone who's gotten that far should have the right equipment and know how to use it.

I think it's just a risk assessment thing. A snubber is not much work at all, and improves the situation quite a bit, so I do it.

That said, I rarely clip onto the boat. But I do cleat halyards after the winches, instead of leaving them on the self tailer. And I feel a bit 'naked', like I'm tempting fate, if I am motoring and don't have the mainsail cover off and sheets ready to go, to start sailing if the engine dies. Maybe everyone has a different imagination.
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Old 10-08-2014, 14:35   #8
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Re: Snubbers - Or the Lack of Them

I dunno about you, Dockhead, but putting on a snubber on our boat takes around thirty seconds. It does involve bending over to attach the chain hook, which may be in the too hard bin for you... again, I dunno!

Having a stout chain stopper can relieve the stresses on the windlass just fine, but do little to reduce shock loads on the boat. Few foredecks are designed with the installation of a stopper in mind, and I'd reckon that unless well reinforced there is a potential for serious damage IF the wx packs it in or (as happened to us once in Skeleton Bay, Tasmania) the chain fouled on a boulder at ~1:1 scope and a small sea developed. Broke a new 14 mm brait snubber very quickly, and beat hell out of the windlass before I could veer a bunch more chain.

The act of snubbing is so simple and the gear is so inexpensive I find it difficult to understand why one would not just do it... every time!

Your boat, your decision... each and every one of you that actually anchors in harms way regularly.

Jim
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Old 10-08-2014, 14:47   #9
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Re: Snubbers - Or the Lack of Them

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
As a matter of course I only use about 2 metres of snubber ( led through a fairlead not over the roller) and only to take the load off the windlass.
Only place I have had shallow enough water with enough wind to take the catenary out of the chain was the Falklands, paying out more snubber made no difference to anything........
If it's to take the load off the windlass, then it needs to be at least as strong as the chain, and then it's not any kind of snubber, since it won't be elastic enough to do any kind of snubbing. Snubbing -- that is, providing elasticity in the system, absorbing shock -- and belaying the chain are entirely different functions.
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Old 10-08-2014, 14:51   #10
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Re: Snubbers - Or the Lack of Them

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
I dunno about you, Dockhead, but putting on a snubber on our boat takes around thirty seconds. It does involve bending over to attach the chain hook, which may be in the too hard bin for you... again, I dunno!

Having a stout chain stopper can relieve the stresses on the windlass just fine, but do little to reduce shock loads on the boat. Few foredecks are designed with the installation of a stopper in mind, and I'd reckon that unless well reinforced there is a potential for serious damage IF the wx packs it in or (as happened to us once in Skeleton Bay, Tasmania) the chain fouled on a boulder at ~1:1 scope and a small sea developed. Broke a new 14 mm brait snubber very quickly, and beat hell out of the windlass before I could veer a bunch more chain.

The act of snubbing is so simple and the gear is so inexpensive I find it difficult to understand why one would not just do it... every time!

Your boat, your decision... each and every one of you that actually anchors in harms way regularly.

Jim
As soon as I leave the benign Baltic, I will surely go back to putting on my 16mm, 10 meter long snubber. I was doing without really just as an experiment.

As to protecting my windlass (and my boat) -- I belay the chain with a length of stainless chain shackled to my inner forestay. I would of course never leave the chain on the windlass. Never have, never will.
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Old 10-08-2014, 14:51   #11
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Re: Snubbers - Or the Lack of Them

FWIW, we shared an anchorage with a guy who found it too hard to put a snubber on. Wind and seas got up, his 1/2" chain snapped, the vessel blew out of the anchorage, and subsequently was deliberately grounded and broke up.

Thinking about it at some remove, I would not be surprised to learn that the chain was old and ill maintained, yet, still, a snubber would have given it a better chance. My two cents.

Ann
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Old 10-08-2014, 14:57   #12
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Re: Snubbers - Or the Lack of Them

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
If you are still doing your super duper back down operation to set your Spade anchor... Your windlass will die without the snubber.
Once again, the snubber has nothing to do with protecting the windlass -- it's for shock absorption. If it's stretchy enough to do its job as a snubber, then it's not any good for securing the chain. The ground tackle is only as strong as its weakest link.

As soon as I'm done veering chain, I always make it off with a forged chain hook on the end of a length of stainless chain shackled to a hard point as strong as the rest of the system. I put it on and take it off and put it on again several times in the process of anchoring, as I would never pull back on the windlass.

And by the way, I also keep my windlass clutch in adjustment so that it will let the chain run out if any force is put on it, protecting the windlass. A little mentioned but important issue.
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Old 10-08-2014, 14:58   #13
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Re: Snubbers - Or the Lack of Them

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
FWIW, we shared an anchorage with a guy who found it too hard to put a snubber on. Wind and seas got up, his 1/2" chain snapped, the vessel blew out of the anchorage, and subsequently was deliberately grounded and broke up.

Thinking about it at some remove, I would not be surprised to learn that the chain was old and ill maintained, yet, still, a snubber would have given it a better chance. My two cents.

Ann
That's the awesome power of snatch loads. Of course, I agree, and would not do without a snubber if there were any chance of weather strong enough to pull the catenary out of my chain.
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Old 10-08-2014, 14:59   #14
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Re: Snubbers - Or the Lack of Them

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I was in Tahiti in 2000 when a handful of people dragged and ran aground from a squall that rolled through. The holding was fine, and anyone who's gotten that far should have the right equipment and know how to use it.
I was in Tahiti about 6 weeks back.... six boats near us dragged when a ripsnorting 15knot squall came through.... told be a local that lots of people in that anchorage are lying to 25/30 metres of chain in 15 metres of water due to overcrowding in the anchorage... that was at Taina (sp).
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Old 10-08-2014, 15:02   #15
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Re: Snubbers - Or the Lack of Them

IMHO its like paying for insurance. it may only be absolutely necessary once in 10 yrs but when it is its a matter of losing the boat or not. I read an account of a cruiser weathering a hurricane in the south seas. He broke 3 snubbers from chafing through, on the last one conditions were such where he couldnt deploy one and ended up on the beach and lost his boat. By the time he and wife found shelter and the hurricane passed the boat had been stripped by the natives. After reading that i got some serious chafe gear on my bridle snubber attaches to. Wormed parcelled and served, the serving being with 1/2" polyester double braid wound very tight and stitched in place. The bridle where it can ride against the boat is almost 2" thick.
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