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Old 27-04-2020, 17:59   #1
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Anchor chain rust half and half

Hello wise forum members,

I have 200' of 3/8" anchor chain nice and clean on the anchor end and quite rusted at the tail end. It seems the chain that mostly stays in the anchor locker is rusted but the chain that sees water and sand is clean. I do not know if the previous owner ever swapped it end for end. I wonder if I swap ends, is it possible that the effect of sand will clean up and rub the rust away? Or will the chain remain rusty and the cleaner end, now in the chain locker, will follow suit and rust away? Yes, the galvanising is probably shot and it may be time for a new chain but wondering if I can get some more life out of it.
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Old 27-04-2020, 19:32   #2
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Re: Anchor chain rust half and half

Had this problem when I bought my boat. The PO apparently never let out more that about half the anchor chain so the rest of it sat in the bottom of the chain locker and rusted away. Had to off most of that half as it was rusted heavily.

So first question, hot bad is the rust? If it's superficial and cosmetic then it's worth keeping the chain. If you anchor a lot and the chain is dragged around in the sand a lot then it might take off some of the rust on the last section before the anchor but this would be a very short term cure and the chain could rust away pretty quickly.

Depending on where you're located and if the chain is in good condition you might want to consider regalvanizing. Read this thread for more info.

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...in-233278.html
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Old 28-04-2020, 08:28   #3
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Re: Anchor chain rust half and half

Thanks for your reply skipmac. The rust seems mostly superficial. I've measured some of the rusted links with a calliper and they have not deformed or reduced gauge. The rust is annoying and dirty, thats for sure. Thanks for the link on re-galvanizing!
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Old 28-04-2020, 08:46   #4
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Re: Anchor chain rust half and half

If you are using it in coarse sand, and anchoring often, swapping ends may clean it up a bit. Then fresh rinse and paint it or spray cold galvanizing on it. Then swap ends back to the good end. How long a section is rusted?
Another option if it's not too much length is just to cut it off and splice on some backup 3 strand nylon rode. Most of my boats had 150-200 ft chain and 100-150 ft of nylon like that from the get go.
Fresh Water rinse that anchor locker often.
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Old 28-04-2020, 09:53   #5
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Re: Anchor chain rust half and half

Just happened to me last week! New boat to me....went out for few days...dropped the anchor...75ft of chain out. About 50ft down chain was so rusted it was clumped together. Three of the links had lost half the metal...yikes! Just took delivery of new 5/16 G4 chain..
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Old 28-04-2020, 10:06   #6
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Re: Anchor chain rust half and half

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bambooboat View Post
Thanks for your reply skipmac. The rust seems mostly superficial. I've measured some of the rusted links with a calliper and they have not deformed or reduced gauge. The rust is annoying and dirty, thats for sure. Thanks for the link on re-galvanizing!
Where is your boat located? Since the chain sounds good then could be worth regalvanizing. If no galvanizers in your area then I'll second Cheechako's recommendation. Clean the rusted end, paint with cold spray zinc and then put that end back in the locker. Then rinse frequently with fresh water, pull out occasionally to inspect and add another coat of zinc as needed.
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Old 28-04-2020, 11:17   #7
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Re: Anchor chain rust half and half

Replaced my chain 6 months ago and have been experimenting with Fluid Film. It is a lanolin based product. One of our forum members had reported good results. Reportedly the Coast Guard uses it on their anchor chains.
Looks promising so far
Tom
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Old 28-04-2020, 13:28   #8
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Re: Anchor chain rust half and half

You need to be careful with what you put on the chain if you intend to have it regalvinized in the future.

A problem arises with removing coatings from chain before galvanizing. The galvanizer will pickle the chain in an acid bath to remove corrosion and other contaminants before dipping the chain into the liquid zinc bath. If you put coatings on the chain which are difficult to remove a clean chain cannot be achieved.

If you can manage it compartmenting the chain locker so that the rusty chain is separated from the working chain and consequently remains dry and spraying it with cheap cooking oil using a spray bottle helps a lot.

I have resorted to putting storing chain in plastic jerry cans to achieve the separation and contain the oily chain.
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Old 29-04-2020, 05:10   #9
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Re: Anchor chain rust half and half

Wes used to regularry clean our old Iron chain by letting it out ( with no anchor attached)and drag it through the sand for a couple hours. It worked but it will depend on how bad the rust is our old chain on that boat was iron and it was considered regular maintenance
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Old 29-04-2020, 12:46   #10
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Re: Anchor chain rust half and half

We are currently in the USVIs. I suspect far from possible re-galvanising. It sounds that flipping end for end with the hopes of the sand action cleaning up the rust would give a marginal gain if any. Cold galvanising spray may be the way to go to get a bit more life out of the chain.
Our windlass is chain only so switching to chain/nylon combination would present new issues.
Any thoughts on using a "chain joining link" to join 2 shorter segments? I understand these joining pieces are considered a weak link?
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Old 29-04-2020, 13:40   #11
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Re: Anchor chain rust half and half

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Originally Posted by Bambooboat View Post
We are currently in the USVIs. I suspect far from possible re-galvanising. It sounds that flipping end for end with the hopes of the sand action cleaning up the rust would give a marginal gain if any. Cold galvanising spray may be the way to go to get a bit more life out of the chain.
Our windlass is chain only so switching to chain/nylon combination would present new issues.
Any thoughts on using a "chain joining link" to join 2 shorter segments? I understand these joining pieces are considered a weak link?
My windlasses were chain only too. I figured if I had 200 ft of chain out I could hand in any rode until I got to chain. And , yes that worked. Although fishing nylon down a hawse is like pushing on a wet noodle! It's pretty rare to need more than the 200 feet of chain out anyway, but there if needed.
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Old 01-05-2020, 13:06   #12
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Re: Anchor chain rust half and half

Cheechako, makes sense to extend chain with nylon rode for those greater depths when the chain is not enough. I take it the the nylon rode would then usually sit at the bottom of the chain-locker, mostly unused, but wet and gathering gunk with the chain on top?
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