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Old 04-08-2020, 16:50   #1
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Anchor shackle or direct splice to chain?

I have a plow anchor with a hinge (is it called a hinge on an anchor...?). I need to re-splice the line to the chain and although the previous configuration was a splice to a thimble then shackle to chain I was told it might be better to splice directly to the chain. That makes me think about chafe. I was told if you splice tight enough there will be no movement, therefore no chafe. I like the looks of what I have (thimble, shackle). Pertinent info? I don't plan to anchor much, have a 33 ft boat, 15' of chain, 160' of rode. Line is 1/2' 3 strand nylon. Thoughts?
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Old 04-08-2020, 16:57   #2
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Re: Anchor shackle or direct splice to chain?

Splice right to the chain

Works perfectly.

I’ve done this for decades.
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Old 04-08-2020, 17:27   #3
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Re: Anchor shackle or direct splice to chain?

I take it no windlass? If you have a windlass a shackle and thimble won't work so well so a direct rope to chain splice is indicated.
Without a windlass either will work and a thimble splice is easier to do. My 5/16" BBB chain to 5/8" three strand rope is a b***ch to do so if I didn't have to run it over a windlass I'd use a thimble splice instead. I originally had G4 chain which with it's longer links was much easier to splice to the rope but it didn't fit the gypsy very well. Turns out BBB is the right chain for my gypsy but it's very difficult to fit all three strands of the 5/8" rope through the last link of chain to do the splice.
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Old 04-08-2020, 17:38   #4
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Re: Anchor shackle or direct splice to chain?

If you don't have a windlass, you don't need the splice other than making it easier to pull up over the bow roller.


If you do have a windlass, then you should splice it (and then I wouldn't expect the question, so it seems you don't have windlass???).


Good luck.


PS I don't have a windlass, pull by hand and have a shackle and thimble on my rode.
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Old 04-08-2020, 17:43   #5
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Re: Anchor shackle or direct splice to chain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by capt jgw View Post
I take it no windlass? If you have a windlass a shackle and thimble won't work so well so a direct rope to chain splice is indicated.
Without a windlass either will work and a thimble splice is easier to do. My 5/16" BBB chain to 5/8" three strand rope is a b***ch to do so if I didn't have to run it over a windlass I'd use a thimble splice instead. I originally had G4 chain which with it's longer links was much easier to splice to the rope but it didn't fit the gypsy very well. Turns out BBB is the right chain for my gypsy but it's very difficult to fit all three strands of the 5/8" rope through the last link of chain to do the splice.
No windlass...yet. Just 110 pound me pulling it in. I've done it but it's hard, so I prefer not to anchor. Thanks for the intel, I might not have thought about the shackle/thimble passing through a (future) windlass.
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Old 04-08-2020, 17:47   #6
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Re: Anchor shackle or direct splice to chain?

I prefer a thimble even if using a windlass. I have spliced directly to the chain in the past but a thimble and shackle seem so much stronger. I am concerned with chafe on the splice. Even with a windlass you can walk the thimble and shackle over the gypsy as long as the spurling pipe is big enough to take the thimble.
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Old 04-08-2020, 18:12   #7
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Re: Anchor shackle or direct splice to chain?

I splice directly to the chain. I do inspect the splice for chafe as one of many inspection points with the intent to stay ahead of problems. But I have never had a rode chafe at the splice to chain.
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Old 05-08-2020, 04:59   #8
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Re: Anchor shackle or direct splice to chain?

I am in the "splice rope to chain" group. For the following reasons:
- when having a windlass this is really the preferred option in my opinion
- runs smoother over the bow-roller
- less chance of snagging
- cheaper as no additional hardware is required
- as there is no added hardware, less failure points (ie did you mouse the shackle pin?)
There are hundreds of videos; here is one link, picked at random:

That splice is just as easy as a splice around a thimble. Yes, most boaters are concerned about the chafe on the rope to chain splice. My advice then is to cut the end of the rope and re-splice every year or two. In these changes I have never seen any problematic chafe.

The only advantage I can see for a using a thimble/shackle arrangement is that you can shackle other ropes or more chain to it, ie it offers a few more options.

Hmmmm, I think the original poster said he is lifting 110 pounds? That is a lot of chain or/and a big anchor. Time for a windlass? Or to anchor in shallower water?
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Old 05-08-2020, 05:37   #9
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Re: Anchor shackle or direct splice to chain?

^^ This. The only reason to us a thimble is if you contemplate removing the rope from the chain. The rest is fear of discarding tradition.



  • There is no chafe between the rope and chain. Think of how much easier it is for the chain to bend at the next link. The rope quickly fuses to the link.
  • One less failure point (no shackle).
  • No difference in strength. Either way, 3-strands go around the chain, and the small radius is not a problem because the rope is unlayed (it is 3 smaller ropes).
  • Just as easy to do. No difference, and I've done a few.
  • Smoother over the roller. Easier on the hands.
No, you don't have to. Of course not. But there is no actual downside other than trying something new to you.
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Old 05-08-2020, 05:45   #10
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Re: Anchor shackle or direct splice to chain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HankOnthewater View Post

Hmmmm, I think the original poster said he is lifting 110 pounds? That is a lot of chain or/and a big anchor. Time for a windlass? Or to anchor in shallower water?
You misread the post and the person's weight is 110lb, not the anchor.

Will agree you eventually want a windlass and learn how to anchor well (a prerequisite for cruising).

Agree a rope chain splice is the way to go even if you only have a bow roller. This will save you some extra effort so you don't need to get past the shackle if you are already struggling pull up the gear now.

We use a tapered splice (aka elongated splice) several feet into the chain for a smoother windlass transition. Supposedly, it maintains more of the rope strength compared to the back splice to a single link w/a 3 strand.

Here is a link for both 3 strand splices and also an 8 plait back splice.
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Old 05-08-2020, 06:22   #11
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Re: Anchor shackle or direct splice to chain?

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... We use a tapered splice (aka elongated splice) several feet into the chain for a smoother windlass transition. Supposedly, it maintains more of the rope strength compared to the back splice to a single link w/a 3 strand....

I'm pretty sure (I've been involved in testing with rope manufactures) that there is no difference--the chain interface exceeds rope strength in both cases and the splice fail in the rope where the splice starts.


The important difference is which one you windlass likes better, and it seems to vary. Also, for reasons no one understands, the shovel splice (interwoven through links) is more common in the UK, but no where else.



My windlass (Lewmar) rejects the shovel splice, but it works well for some people.
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Old 05-08-2020, 06:45   #12
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Re: Anchor shackle or direct splice to chain?

I tried a rope-to-chain splice once. Half-inch three-strand to 1/4 chain for a stern anchor. Brand new. Anchored bow-stern off the beach in Cabo San Lucas. Light weather. All the crew ashore with the dinghy. The line broke where it joined the chain. Less than a week in use. Ive never been able to work up enough courage to try it again on my main anchor.
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Old 05-08-2020, 06:55   #13
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Re: Anchor shackle or direct splice to chain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
I'm pretty sure (I've been involved in testing with rope manufactures) that there is no difference--the chain interface exceeds rope strength in both cases and the splice fail in the rope where the splice starts.

The important difference is which one you windlass likes better, and it seems to vary. Also, for reasons no one understands, the shovel splice (interwoven through links) is more common in the UK, but no where else.

My windlass (Lewmar) rejects the shovel splice, but it works well for some people.

Never heard of the elongated splice as a shovel splice, but I will take your word. Been using it for years (even w/o a windlass over a roller) and works well.
I quickly looked, but didn't find any direct test results comparing the 3 strand elongated vs. the back splice. Ages ago I remember reading (in a book, before internet) that the elongated was slightly stronger than the back splice. IMO that makes sense since your aren't bending the strands back 180 degrees, potentially slightly weaking the strand.
I also like not depending on just 1 link (the weak link??) to distribute the load.
It works well w/our Ideal windlass and wasn't a big deal to splice in into G4 chain.
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Old 05-08-2020, 08:25   #14
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Re: Anchor shackle or direct splice to chain?

We have a shackle but this is because we have no winch.


I would splice it if I had a winch.


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Old 05-08-2020, 09:01   #15
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Re: Anchor shackle or direct splice to chain?

splice to thimble, shackel to chain.
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