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Old 22-04-2015, 21:45   #1
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Moving anchor chain to bilge for offshore passage?

Hi,
Is it worth the effort to move 250' 5/16 anchor chain from the chain locker to the bilge for offshore passages? I'm sure it can't hurt to move 200lbs from the bow to the bilge at the base of the mast. Will it have much effect? Are there any conditions where it would be beneficial to have weight in the bow (motoring or close hauled into steep chop)?


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Old 22-04-2015, 21:48   #2
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Re: Moving anchor chain to bilge for offshore passage?

My thread on rebuilding our soggy anchor locker turned into a discussion on this topic.
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Old 22-04-2015, 22:10   #3
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Re: Moving anchor chain to bilge for offshore passage?

Even offshore passages end sometime, and not always under nice conditions. Picture yourself in a very windy anchorage, boat pitching about, dark of night (might as well add some melodrama) and there you are, trying to drag all that chain back up on deck and then feed it into the anchor locker and attach it to the anchor (also in the bilge?). Not a good scenario, IMO, and we have never followed that practice.

For a biggish vessel with a fairly wide entry angle and a nice overhang, I can't see enough benefit from the move to make it a good trade off.

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Old 22-04-2015, 22:34   #4
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Re: Moving anchor chain to bilge for offshore passage?

If you do move your anchor and chain, you will need to have your compass re-swung.
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Old 23-04-2015, 00:00   #5
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Re: Moving anchor chain to bilge for offshore passage?

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If you do move your anchor and chain, you will need to have your compass re-swung.
I ask out of genuine interest, firstly is the relocation of the anchor chain genuinely enough to necessitate swinging the compass?

Secondly, in this day and age of fluxgate compasses, GPS chart plotters, etc, it it really necessary to have a super-accurate magnetic compass?

We had 2 large bulkhead mounted magnetic compasses either side of the the companionway, but removed one last winter, so now have only 1. That one is accurate to around 3 or 4 degrees (as far as I can tell) and I can't steer to a magnetic compass any more accurately than that.
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Old 23-04-2015, 00:59   #6
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Re: Moving anchor chain to bilge for offshore passage?

Close hauled into steep chop is where it will make the most difference. You can get some idea of the effect by getting (a largish) person to stand at the bow.
Note: Getting wet at the bow, in the interest of science, is a job for the crew not the captain

While this adds rather than removes weight, it will give you some perspective on the magnitude of the difference it would make for your boat.
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Old 23-04-2015, 04:19   #7
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Re: Moving anchor chain to bilge for offshore passage?

Moving the chain will definitely make both a performance, & comfort difference, pretty much regardless of boat size & type. And when I say comfort, what I mean is that the boat will pitch & hobby horse a fair bit less.

Although, as already stated, it's unwise not to have an anchor ready to launch, whether you plan on needing to do so or not. So to have your cake & eat it too, you can leave your #2 rode in the chain locker.
It being composed more of rope rode, than chain. And for truly long passages, if you want to go through the effort, then you can move the all chain rode to the bilges.

One smart member on here had a fairly unique setup, which might be another option to consider. They kept 200' of chain rode in the forward locker all of the time. And fitted a custom hawse pipe into the bottom of this locker so that the rest of the chain could be dropped down, & stored further aft.

I recall liking the idea, & commenting that it'd be fairly easy to make a custom "cap" @ the 200' mark, which bolted onto the rode, to make a watertight seal between the 2 lockers. Thus, any water in the locker in the bow would drain overboard, & not into the bilge/lower compartment.

It was perhaps a couple of months or so back, but if you search for the thread, all of the particulars for, & comments on the idea are there. It's worth the read, if you're up for back searching my posts, or doing a general search on chain stowage in general.
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Old 23-04-2015, 06:53   #8
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Re: Moving anchor chain to bilge for offshore passage?

The anchor comes off the bow roller when going offshore and reinstall it at the new destination. I do have a tube running from the bow locker to the bilge at the base of the mast to shift the anchor chain back and forth, so I can leave enough in the bow locker (say 100') to get the anchor down. But it's still a bit of a pain to pull the chain from the bow to the bilge. There is also 200' of rode in the other side of the anchor locker.



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Old 23-04-2015, 09:36   #9
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Re: Moving anchor chain to bilge for offshore passage?

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Originally Posted by mrybas View Post
Hi,
Is it worth the effort to move 250' 5/16 anchor chain from the chain locker to the bilge for offshore passages? I'm sure it can't hurt to move 200lbs from the bow to the bilge at the base of the mast. Will it have much effect? Are there any conditions where it would be beneficial to have weight in the bow (motoring or close hauled into steep chop)?


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Old 23-04-2015, 09:41   #10
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Re: Moving anchor chain to bilge for offshore passage?

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Originally Posted by Weyalan View Post
I ask out of genuine interest, firstly is the relocation of the anchor chain genuinely enough to necessitate swinging the compass?

Secondly, in this day and age of fluxgate compasses, GPS chart plotters, etc, it it really necessary to have a super-accurate magnetic compass?
One acquaintance had a compass swung and then moved his chanin to the bilge, he said it made a big difference.

I had an instance in which a "stainless" coffee mug threw off my fluxgate compass enough to make the autopilot useless. A crew member stores his mug in the same locker as the sensor.
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Old 23-04-2015, 09:49   #11
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Re: Moving anchor chain to bilge for offshore passage?

Wherever you put it just make sure it is tied down very well.
Bill
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Old 23-04-2015, 10:06   #12
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Re: Moving anchor chain to bilge for offshore passage?

The weight of chain should be about 1.1#/ft, or 275# total. Unless you have an awfully big boat, this should make a world of difference NOT being on the pointy end. However, every boat should have an anchor/rode that is instantly available for deployment, so the question is whether you're willing to have a rode that is ready to go with 30-50' of chain and perhaps 200' of 5/8" nylon forward, while your all-chain rode lies in your bilge.

The issue of keeping the chain IN the bilge (or some locker that's low) is non-trivial in a knockdown. It would really have to be tied well, with several attachment points that are through-bolted and perhaps using 1/4" braid that passes back and forth over the chain.

I believe that Jim and Sue Corenman did something similar when circumnavigating on their Schumacher 50 Heart of Gold. I think Jim used a double clevis to bend on additional chain when anchoring frequently, then stowed the chain above the keel when on passages.

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Old 23-04-2015, 12:01   #13
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Re: Moving anchor chain to bilge for offshore passage?

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If you do move your anchor and chain, you will need to have your compass re-swung.
Good point, Jackdale.

I think the answer lies in the relative size of the boat versus the chain. I already know that the weight of my chain will never exceed the weight of the six or seven lead pigs already in the floor of my forepeak for trim ballast. If I get more chain, I just move the pigs aft! But I have an atypical situation.

I think this guy has a handle on the physics and materials handling of a load of big chain: Building Odyssey
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Old 23-04-2015, 12:45   #14
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Re: Moving anchor chain to bilge for offshore passage?

Weyalan - "in this day and age of fluxgate compasses" - A fluxgate compass IS a magnetic compass. It uses the same earth magnetism to operate.
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Old 23-04-2015, 12:52   #15
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Re: Moving anchor chain to bilge for offshore passage?

Better have some easy way to move the chain around like a tube you pull the chain through. If you transport it througn the interior or over the deck, the damage from the chain will make it an expensive effort to improve performance.

Will it make a difference in how the boat goes to weather, certainly going to weather. Will it make enough of a difference, doubt it. Real cruisers just don't go hard on the wind unless it is absolutely unavoidable. In more than 13,000 miles of cruising, have only gone hard on the wind for less than 500 miles.
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