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Old 04-03-2011, 05:37   #16
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Re: All Chain Rode Opinions

ADMPRTR,

For your 36 foot boat 3/8 G4 is a little large. Go with 5/16 G4.

We have been using 176 feet of 5/16 High Tensile G4 chain with 200 feet of 8 strand plait rope.

Have never had to use the rode yet, just the chain.
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Old 04-03-2011, 07:09   #17
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Re: All Chain Rode Opinions

WOW! What an amazing assortment of opinions in just 7 hours! Thank you so much everyone!

To address an issue that was raised in your responses:

I am a doing a full reworking of my ground tackle, which includes adding a 1K electric windlass and I had choice of going with 5/16" or 3/8" chain. The 3/8" windlass was cheaper than the smaller one so the cost difference was exactly the same (more for the chain, less for the windlass). My decision to go with the larger chain was based on the recommendation of my supplier that the extra weight of the chain would itself help keep the boat in place (as pointed out in this thread). In either case, I have to modify my anchor locker to accommodate the chain/rode and windlass (which should be a "fun project").

I see there are good points on either side of this discussion. Me thinks, given the fact one can not reliably make chain longer that I will err on the side of caution now, and go all chain. Then, if my plans change or I feel it is the wrong choice, I can cut the chain, add rode and use the balance for my second anchor.

Now all I have to do is decide on an anchor but that is probably best left for another thread!

Again, thank you all. This demonstrates why this forum is such a great venue!

Best Regards,
Andrew
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Old 04-03-2011, 07:30   #18
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Re: All Chain Rode Opinions

Andrew,

You might save money buying a 3/8" windlass gypsy that's on sale, but you'll spend more for the 3/8" chain. Moreover, the 3/8" chain weighs almost 50% more than the 5/16". For 300 ft of chain that's like having a 135# crew member standing on the bow... all the time. Food for thought.
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Old 04-03-2011, 07:46   #19
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Re: All Chain Rode Opinions

Depends on where you are going and the depths, bottom, etc. Recently came back from two years down in the SW Caribbean. In the San Blas we had to anchor in 30+ feet of water quite a bit, and sometimes more than 40 feet. We never anchor on live coral, but there are often chunks of old coral on the bottom. However, I don't recall ever using more than about 200 feet of our 300 feet of chain I had onboard. I think next time I will go with 200 feet max of chain. Here on the East Coast of the US you would probably be fine with 50-60 feet of chain, as most of the anchorages are in mud or sand and shallow. Bahamas are also shallow, and you can always dive on the anchor. I agree that 5/16 G4 is plenty of size and weight for that boat. On my 38-footer I did not like the effects of 300 feet of 5/16 chain in the bow in heavy weather. However, there are places where the bottom is so hard, particularly along the Mexican coast, where sheer weight on the bottom was the only thing holding us in place. Heavier chain and something like a 75 lb. fisherman anchor would have been welcome there.
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:02   #20
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pirate Re: All Chain Rode Opinions

If your planning on voyaging I'd suggest all chain... don't worry about the weight.. all that stuff you'll be storing centre and aft will balance you out just fine...
save the chain/rope rode for your kedge....
Whats good for local sailing can be crap 1000 miles away.....
for example Horta, Azores... if the marinas full you anchor out till there's a space... your on 60ft of chain and some nylon rode in 6m on an artficial bottom of square/rectangular rocks..
A few calm days of you drifting back and forth with the tide see's your splice wedge under a corner and along comes a gale thats swings you around a few days...
Sleep Well.....
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:58   #21
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Re: All Chain Rode Opinions

We carry 100' 3/8" chain and 200' of 3/4" nylon 12 plait rode. Have never had any problems using this combo.

Most of the time in the Caribbean the nylon rode very seldom get's wet because of the shallow water. Figuring on 4' bow height and 12' of water, that's still 6:1 scope which is plenty in decent weather.

As above it comes down to personal preferences. I don't like the extra weight in the bow. Ihaul the anchor in by hand (good excercize) figure when I fet to old to haul by hand, I'll get a windlass. Not only that, but I can haul the anchor faster by hand //
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:09   #22
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Re: All Chain Rode Opinions

Rather than using the length of the boat to determine anchoring options, I'd like to suggest using the gross weight of the boat. This weight is what is pulling on the anchor not the length of the boat.

So, it depends.

I used 300 ft of 5/16th chain on my 12 ton 38 ft boat. Rope rode may be allright on a boat of 3 tons.
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:14   #23
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Re: All Chain Rode Opinions

Quote:
Rather than using the length of the boat to determine anchoring options, I'd like to suggest using the gross weight of the boat.
Weight has something to do with it, particularly in an unsheltered anchorage if the boat is pitching, but studies indicate that surface area creating windage is the main source of strain on the anchor. That's why most of us go roughly by the length of the boat, but if you have a high-windage vessel you have to go up in size, or you can go down in size if you've got low windage. Owners of catamarans with lots of windage but low weight will confirm this.

Another way to test this out is to take off your roller furling jib and notice the reduction in pull on the anchor--it is dramatic.
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:14   #24
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Re: All Chain Rode Opinions

Quote:
Originally Posted by cfarrar View Post
Andrew,

You might save money buying a 3/8" windlass gypsy that's on sale, but you'll spend more for the 3/8" chain. Moreover, the 3/8" chain weighs almost 50% more than the 5/16". For 300 ft of chain that's like having a 135# crew member standing on the bow... all the time. Food for thought.
No, actually, in this case, the price was exactly the same. The chain was $5/ft versus $4 for 5/16" for a price difference of $200. The 3/8" windlass was $200 less.

However, your point of the extra weight is valid. And also, I need a larger storage space for the larger chain. Unfortunately, at this point, I already have the Windlass and the chain has been ordered so I could change one but not the other.

Regards,

Andrew
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:15   #25
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Re: All Chain Rode Opinions

5/16" G-4 would be the right size. (3/8" is much heavier for no advantage at all).

I have found that IF you have a rope / chain gypsy, a combination of rope and chain works best on a 36'er, as it keeps the weight down on the bow, (for more seakindliness), and usually works like all chain as well.

It depends on where you cruise, but: I would use 150' of chain, and splice in 200' of NER Mega Braid nylon rope. Even at the appropriate 7/1 scope, you will be using all chain 99% of the time, and have its advantages of: working better in the windlass, as well as the cantenary advantage. The bow will be lighter, and once in a while, in very deep anchorages, you have to wrestle with the rope portion, as the splice can hang up on retrieval, as it goes into the haws hole. On boats over 40', saving weight on the bow becomes a bit less of an issue.

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Old 04-03-2011, 09:24   #26
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Re: All Chain Rode Opinions

About your 3/8" gypsy. I got a windlass in St Martin at such a deal that having a smaller gypsy Fed Exed from the States made sense. (I use 1/4" G-4 on our 34' tri)

If it is not too late on the chain purchase, you could apply the difference in cost of the cheaper (smaller) chain, to a gypsy that will match the 5/16". Most windlasses offer several sizes of gypsy. It is a 10 minute change out!

TOO HEAVY a chain allows for a bit shorter scope, but offers no other advantage in holding power, IF you put out scope appropriate to the situation. The extra weight on the bow however, is not a good thing!

Just a thought... M.
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:30   #27
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Re: All Chain Rode Opinions

Point 1: For a 'normal' cruiser (eg everything but some super light machine), the well proven answer (eg if you look at 99% of the cruising boats in 99% of the worlds cruising anchorages), you will see all chain out. There are good reasons that is the almost universally accepted answer among the 'long distance' (your words) cruising fleet.

Point 2: How much chain you need to be "all chain most of the time" depends on how shallow your boat is, and where you are cruising, and your anchoring/cruising style. We previously had a centerboard boat with a rowing dinghy (no outboard) so we would always sneak into quite shallow water quite close to either the beach or dinghy dock. For most of the world we found 75' of chain just fine to be 'all chain most of the time' but we went to 150' for the Pacific. Currently we have a larger boat with a much deeper keel and we have found we need just about twice that amount of chain (normally 150' but go to 300' for Pacific and Chile). Longer chain is also quite useful when you are Med mooring or the Chilean shore tying.

Point 3: Heavier chain does help in many ways (which are not captured in the cantenary spreadsheet calculations so many people throw around). We did have 3/8" on out 37'er and I was happy for it. You will definitely sleep better with heavier chain. But of course it adds weight. How to make that trade-off depends on your boat (how well it carries weight in the bow) and sailing style (how important is the last 1/100 of a kt to you).

Point 4: when you have 'all chain out' you do definitely and always want to use a snubber. There are generally two schools of thought on the snubber length - generalizing, the Europeans use snubbers that stop at about the water surface and Americans use longer ones. Both seem to work just fine. They are not so much of a hassle to use - perhaps similar to percautions you need to take to make sure a rope rode is properly chafe protected when surging around.

So, the short answer, is I personally think you will be just wonderful with the chain you have ordered - excellent choice IMHO
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:21   #28
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Re: All Chain Rode Opinions

I run 275' of chain with a two-sizes-too-big anchor. It looks funny up on the bowsprit and makes my back muscles work the manual windlass, but I sleep really well.

Rebel Heart - Sailing, cruising, liveaboard blog and website - Eric's Blog - got the new anchor*rode
Rebel Heart - Sailing, cruising, liveaboard blog and website - Eric's Blog - our new manson supreme*anchor

That first link has a good story near the bottom about a guy who lost his boat in a typhoon because the snubber kept melting through from the fiber friction of the nylon, and then eventually the connection to the vessel itself broke.
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:22   #29
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Re: All Chain Rode Opinions

Good points, estarzinger. I would only say that it's less about the 1/100th of a knot and more about pitch stability. 100 ft of 3/8" chain = 154 lbs = more green water over the bow (for my boat, anyway).
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:34   #30
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Re: All Chain Rode Opinions

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Good points, estarzinger. I would only say that it's less about the 1/100th of a knot and more about pitch stability. 100 ft of 3/8" chain = 154 lbs = more green water over the bow (for my boat, anyway).
I agree 100%. On our 38 footer we went from 300 feet of chain to 100 feet for our home waters along the East Coast, and there is a significant difference in pitching and how much water we take over the bow in heavy seas. Also, steering felt sluggish with that extra weight forward.
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