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Old 18-12-2007, 03:24   #1
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Bolt Cutters?

Hi powercruisers,

As a newbie looking to do costal crusing in Oz, does any body carry bolt cutters capable of cutting your anchour chain? Would anybody consider this a necessity or is a fowled anchour so rare that you would never bother with bolt cutters.

Athol
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Old 18-12-2007, 03:32   #2
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I carried Cable Cutters, with specially hardened blades, designed for cutting ACSR
(Aluminum Conductor, Steel Reinforced cable used in overhead power lines).
Standard cable and bolt cutters won’t cut S/S rigging wire.
http://www.greenlee.com/archive/ma-5472.pdf

I also carried (24") bolt cutters, because I already owned them.
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Old 18-12-2007, 03:34   #3
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Originally Posted by debath View Post
Hi powercruisers,

As a newbie looking to do costal crusing in Oz, does any body carry bolt cutters capable of cutting your anchour chain? Would anybody consider this a necessity or is a fowled anchour so rare that you would never bother with bolt cutters.

Athol
I carried bolt cutters. I found them very useful for myself and others.

I had them for the purpose of cutting away rigging in the event of a dismasting. Thankfully, I never had to use them for that purpose. I know that cable sheers are better for wire cutting but bolt cutters work too.
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Old 18-12-2007, 05:43   #4
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I have a pair which is hefty but will not cut though my 10mm rigging wire. To do that would require serious cash and they would probably never get used. How about a drive pin and a heavy hammer for the clevis instead? A hack saw?
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Old 18-12-2007, 06:22   #5
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I have a pair which is hefty but will not cut though my 10mm rigging wire. To do that would require serious cash and they would probably never get used. How about a drive pin and a heavy hammer for the clevis instead? A hack saw?

I was just about to post, "Ask DefJef!"

Newport?
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Old 18-12-2007, 06:31   #6
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I carry a hacksaw as well as a hammer and drift for the rigging. I hope never to need them because it won't be fun and will likely take forever.

To the original question about anchors, a much easier approach is to connect the chain end to the boat with a piece of line long enough to reach when the chain is run all the way out. You can cut that line with a knife if need be. Tie a big fender to the chain before cutting the line and you may be able to recover the anchor and chain with a bit of help on a nicer day.
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Old 18-12-2007, 07:50   #7
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Addressing your issue about the need to cut your anchor chain in case of a fouled anchor (I think a fowled anchor is one infested with chickens! ).

Yes, it's an issue. No, I don't think bolt cutters would work - at least any size your likely to carry on board. A hacksaw is a good backup, but it takes a while to cut through a chain.

You should have a length of rope rode at the end of your chain. A short piece between your boat (remember to tie it on!) and the bitter end of the chain to keep you from accidentally losing everything overboard.

It should be long enough to reach your attachment point, up and out of your anchor locker to your deck. In an emergency, you let out all your chain and cut the rope from on deck.

If you have time, you can add a float so you can recover everything latter.

In 2005, a boat was lost in the South anchorage of Isla Isabella here in Mexico when the anchor fouled and the chain literally sawed through the bow of the boat in extreme swells. They didn't leave at the first sign of trouble and when they did try to leave, their chain jammed - and they didn't have a hacksaw.

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Bill
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Old 18-12-2007, 08:02   #8
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Originally Posted by RaptorDance View Post
Addressing your issue about the need to cut your anchor chain in case of a fouled anchor ...
No, I don't think bolt cutters would work - at least any size your likely to carry on board. A hacksaw is a good backup, but it takes a while to cut through a chain ...
Bill
My 24" Bolt Cutters will certainly cut 3/8" chain (done it), and possibly up to ".
Id expect 18" Cutters to cut 3/8".
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Old 18-12-2007, 18:10   #9
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Grinder?

Has anyone tried using a 4" grinder off an inverter or a generator?
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Old 18-12-2007, 18:50   #10
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My 24" Bolt Cutters will certainly cut 3/8" chain (done it), and possibly up to ".
Id expect 18" Cutters to cut 3/8".
Yep....I've cut 3/8" chain with my 24" bolt cutters lots of times.

As for rigging.......It takes a little chewing but I've cut through 3/8" 1x19 S/S wire (my forestay). I did it as a test when I was re-rigging. It was actually easier than the chain and certainly faster than a hacksaw in adverse conditions. In fact, I doubt that one could cut through rigging wire with a hacksaw on a heaving deck. It's hard enough in a vise with the proper cutting oil.

Of course, the ideal situation would be to disconnect the rigging by removing the pins or unscrewing the turn-buckles. However, the time that might take could be the difference between the mast going through the hull or not. The ideal thing would be to carry a pair of cable cutters. I just didn't want to carry both and once I found that the bolt cutters worked, I chose them.
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Old 18-12-2007, 20:50   #11
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I think I must have had a combo of really good chain and really cheap bolt cutters ;-}
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Old 18-12-2007, 21:00   #12
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Get some heavy wall pipe for the handles and see if the added leverage makes things easier.

(I hate trying to use bolt cutters on soft stuff, watch as the metal deforms... )
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Old 18-12-2007, 23:23   #13
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Cable shears are the go. They have curved beaks that force the wire into the pivot point. I have 36 inch bolt cutters which will cut through 1/2 inch mild, but be warned you can crack the hardening on bolt cutters if you try to hard with SS. Cutting through the few remaing threads can be a pain with bolt cutters. Hacksaws jam as the wire threads spring, the solution is to wrap them in electrical tape and then cut through the tape (this also helps with other cutting methods). I know the thought of trying to wrap tape in a heaving sea with green stuff coming over is ludicrous, but if you wrap and inch of tape just above your swages before you leave it may help ( 10cents of tape and 5 minutes). If you are rerigging then the tape also helps because it keeps the new ends nice. We did this as a habbit when I was putting up wind generator towers.
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Old 19-12-2007, 00:14   #14
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A set of good 24" boltcutters will cut up to 1/2" chain. I know I have 3 or 4 sets which do it many times a day. 48" will do 5/8". For hardened chains you need a bit more grunt though. Anchor chains don't need to be 'hardened', some are but that's more from a personal want rather than need.

Boltcutters cut chain and the like well but are cr*p with wire, use wire cutters.

Would I carry a set of boltcutters aboard for cutting chain? Nope, can't see why you would really.
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Old 19-12-2007, 02:29   #15
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Cutters, Cutting & Cut

Thanks to everyone for your replies.

RaptorDance - I prefer a fowled anchor because it means I have a back-up food supply.

Thanks "Boracay" the angle-grinder could be an option (though I wouldn't try it in cr&p weather). I'm looking at power cruising and I will definitely have one on board anyway as it has sentimental value. (I'm only writing that 'cause the wife purchased it and she's standing next to me.) Plus, a grinder is probably four times cheaper than a good set of bolt-cutters.

Ath
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