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Old 01-10-2010, 19:03   #1
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'Big' Anchor Question

So, knowing absolutely nothing about anchoring prior to landing here in the Philippines (I mean, I knew how to deploy and recover, that you should have chain between the rode and anchor, and I had what I believe to be the right sized anchors for my 65', 45 ton boat), I made a bunch of rookie mistakes. Hopefully I'm past absolute stupidity on the subject, but I would like some guidance from people with experience on similar sized boats.

I've got a hydraulic windlass with 250' of steel cable, which had probably 30' of 1/2" studded chain connected to a 75lb CQR anchor. This is what was on the boat when I bought it, and it all works quite well. A good going over of the hydraulic pump, including seals replacement and some work on bearings has given it all the power it needs for this. But, not knowing about snubbers at the time, I broke my chain a bunch. I've tried various snubber substitutes but haven't had much luck with any of them.

I also have a 45lb Danforth anchor, as well as a 100lb CQR. My solution to the snapping chainlinks (probably shows how daft I am when it comes to anchoring) involved 90' of 3/4" studded chain attached to the 100lb CQR, with 250' of 1 1/4" rode. Obviously this is a chore to bring up and down, requiring quite a few people on deck. There's a funny story involving this chain and anchor that I'll bring out some other time, also

So, rather than wasting any more time with this subject (since I'm obviously less-than-experienced with anchoring this thing), I'd like some advice, and if possible the answer to a couple questions.

1. What is a good substitute for a 3/4" in-line snubber? Is there one, or should I just order a dozen of the black in-line types to keep on the boat?

2. If I end up using the 3/4" chain and the 1 1/4" rode as the best solution for the boat, where can I get a manual windlass that fits this? I've looked without much success, but knowing where to start is usually 80% of the fight.

3. There isn't a ton of room inside the windlass' housing for the cable to spin, if disconnected, but I think I could do it if the best solution is an attachment for the hydraulic drum to pull up the bigger 3/4" chain.

Where I anchor generally doesn't have much wind (gusts up to 40mph is about the most we get. Once it got to 60mph in the last year for a couple hours), but what I do get is lots of surf. Short, choppy waves bobbing the bow up and down. This is the part that most concerns me, since if the weather really does turn, I just pick up and get out between the islands, rather than sit at anchor.

Ok, please tear me apart
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Old 01-10-2010, 20:35   #2
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fishery supplies in seatle? Given the sizes I would optimize strength and reduce size. So your looking for high tensile chain and probably 8 plait rhode. More holding strength less mass. Otherwise fire hose and other means of chafe protection where the snubbers are riding. sounds like you know what you're doing and what to be worried about. Last thing dont ask if a rocna is better then any other anchor or for that matter which is the best anchor. Best not to ask.Imagine your wife meets your old friend a charming girl. You ask the old friend do you remember that night in the back of the mustang? The dialogue will out live your begging for forgivness.
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Old 01-10-2010, 22:49   #3
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fishery supplies in seatle? Given the sizes I would optimize strength and reduce size. So your looking for high tensile chain and probably 8 plait rhode. More holding strength less mass. Otherwise fire hose and other means of chafe protection where the snubbers are riding. sounds like you know what you're doing and what to be worried about.
Thanks for the vote of confidence I gave a good look over Fishery Supplies in Seattle (familiar with them when my boat was near there), but I didn't find anything in that size. I'll try to give them a call tonight/today during their business hours.

Lugging up 600lbs of anchor and chain by hand is a bit of a chore, but I do sleep well at night when it's down.
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:58   #4
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Well, you're lucky you broke only chain and not windlass. You've got a fine windlass to stand up to that.

I think few people here will be able to give you much advice because your boat is far heavier than the average boat here and your ground tackle is more like what you would find on a commercial fishing boat.

Our boat is about half the mass of your, and we use more conventional sailboat stuff. We have a 121 pound Rocna anchor and 100 meters of 12mm (about 1/2 inch) chain on a regular Lewmar vertical windlass.

As far as I can tell your only problem is devising an effective snubber. I think that would probably be an extra heavy (1 1/4"?) nylon 3-strand line long enough to reach just about to where your rode touches the bottom. The longer the better, because the heavy line will not be as elastic as lighter line. Then you need to figure out how to run the snubber so that it doesn't chafe. The suggestion about a fire hose is good. Another idea is to run the snubber over a spare bow roller if you've got one. I did that recently while anchoring in a storm, and it worked a treat. The roller rolls and so doesn't chafe the line. I'm thinking about changing the second bow roller, which I don't otherwise use for anything, to Delrin from bronze, so it will be even easier on the nylon snubber.

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Otherwise, you should be fine. Sounds like you have very good ground tackle. I'd love to have a hyraulic windlass like yours. You should go back to using your steel cable and chain, I think. No reason in the world why that shouldn't work as long as you have a decent snubber, and you should not be breaking chain. 5/8" G40 chain should be all you ever need; should be plenty strong enough. Maybe your chain was faulty, rather than your anchoring technique? I would consider that more likely.

You can add a rubber damper into your snubber if it's not elastic enough, like a dockline compensator. But the main thing is to make the snubber as long as possible without touching the sea bed.

Another thing you might think about it upgrading your anchor. I would think that 100 lbs. is a little light for a ship like yours. I use a 121 pound Rocna on a boat half your displacement (a Moody 54 with about 22 long tons of displacement) and it is not too big. You would gain a lot of security with a somewhat larger and more modern anchor. Rocna make 70 and even 110 kilo anchors (154 pounds and 243 pounds respectively). I bet your ground tackle could handle either of those. Spade and Manson also make first-class, state of the art anchors. People usually notice a pretty dramatic improvement in anchoring performance when they go from CQR to one of these.

There's a lot of really good information on the Rocna site, see for example:

Chain (Rocna Knowledge Base)

The Rocna guy is also extremely knowledgeable and helpful. He does a real hard sell on his own anchor, which you can take with a grain of salt, but despite this he is a real fount of knowledge and generous about sharing it.
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Old 02-10-2010, 05:06   #5
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Originally Posted by sabray View Post
Last thing dont ask if a rocna is better then any other anchor or for that matter which is the best anchor. Best not to ask.Imagine your wife meets your old friend a charming girl. You ask the old friend do you remember that night in the back of the mustang? The dialogue will out live your begging for forgivness.
LOL! How true!

I'll save you time -- Rocna, Spade, and Manson are absolutely equal in performance according to everything I know once you filter out the hype. At least, they are close enough to equal that no one can really prove otherwise. I have had both Spade and Rocna and they work exactly the same, as far as I can tell. And I mean at exactly the same excellent level, vastly better than older designs. I haven't tried the Manson, but people who have both Manson and Rocna also report not being able to tell any difference.
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Old 02-10-2010, 05:40   #6
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Thanks for the input, Dockhead! Plenty of info to muse over, there.

I'll sheepishly admit that I did do a little damage to the windlass in my ignorance Tore out the dog before realizing it wasn't built for that purpose...I should have read the instructions, but this is my first windlass. Shame on me, and like I said..I've made plenty of rookie mistakes. Nothing that can't be fixed, and fortunately it didn't damage any of the mountings or functioning parts.

I've got some pretty stretchy 1 1/4" here, and the best setup I've had is with the 100lb CQR attached to the 90' of 3/4" chain, connected to the 250' of 1 1/4" rode. Attaching it to one of my aft mooring posts (about 45' from the bow) I could see about six to eight inches of stretch at the bow roller. Letting out the proper amount of scope (about 150' at the anchorage I was in) seemed like it would be nearly two feet of total stretch if what I saw on the deck was representative of the action down to the chain.

Still though, that 90' of 3/4" studded is heavy. Almost 500lbs, I think. I'm wondering if I should chop it in half? It won't have a huge impact on the total weight I'm hauling up at first, but it would make the max effort phase shorter.

Will definitely be looking at ordering some fire hose. That never even occurred to me when I was outfitting for the trip.
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Old 02-10-2010, 06:02   #7
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Originally Posted by NotQuiteLost View Post
Thanks for the input, Dockhead! Plenty of info to muse over, there.

I'll sheepishly admit that I did do a little damage to the windlass in my ignorance Tore out the dog before realizing it wasn't built for that purpose...I should have read the instructions, but this is my first windlass. Shame on me, and like I said..I've made plenty of rookie mistakes. Nothing that can't be fixed, and fortunately it didn't damage any of the mountings or functioning parts.

I've got some pretty stretchy 1 1/4" here, and the best setup I've had is with the 100lb CQR attached to the 90' of 3/4" chain, connected to the 250' of 1 1/4" rode. Attaching it to one of my aft mooring posts (about 45' from the bow) I could see about six to eight inches of stretch at the bow roller. Letting out the proper amount of scope (about 150' at the anchorage I was in) seemed like it would be nearly two feet of total stretch if what I saw on the deck was representative of the action down to the chain.

Still though, that 90' of 3/4" studded is heavy. Almost 500lbs, I think. I'm wondering if I should chop it in half? It won't have a huge impact on the total weight I'm hauling up at first, but it would make the max effort phase shorter.

Will definitely be looking at ordering some fire hose. That never even occurred to me when I was outfitting for the trip.
Well don't feel so bad. There's not a sailor alive who hasn't busted some gear out of ignorance. I won't tell you what I busted this summer out of stupidity. It goes with the territory.

If you've been breaking that 3/4" chain then I would question whether the chain itself is sound. The chain should not be the weakest part of your ground tackle. Something else should have broken.

If I were you I would consider buying some G40 -- higher strength -- 1/2" or at most 5/8" chain and replacing that heavy and suspect 3/4" chain. In my opinion it has been proven objectively that heavy anchor rode doesn't do you any good; that you want weight concentrated in your anchor.

See: Catenary & Scope In Anchor Rode: Anchor Systems For Small Boats

I guess you don't really need 90' of it, either. What is the safe working load and breaking strength of your steel cable, by the way?
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Old 02-10-2010, 06:09   #8
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A bit hard to comment on the windlass without pics. I presume the issue is that the windlass is set up for the wire rope rather than the chain, leaving you the task of pulling up the chain by hand. I am not familiar with wire rope. I would guess a simple solution is to change over to chain only - 16mm sounds right bit hi tensile 13 mm will do too. Hard to believe that an arrangement with a good hydraulic windlass would leave the crew manually pulling in the last 30' of chain. There must be suitable attachment for the windlass.

Keep the hydraulic windlass.

Change to a modern anchor and increase weight to 240 lbs (at least).

I don't think you need to be choosing a rope snubber to be so long or as heavy as normal rode.You want it to act like a spring. Maybe 15m of 18 - 20 mm would be adequate for most situations.
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Old 02-10-2010, 16:43   #9
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If you've been breaking that 3/4" chain then I would question whether the chain itself is sound. The chain should not be the weakest part of your ground tackle. Something else should have broken.

If I were you I would consider buying some G40 -- higher strength -- 1/2" or at most 5/8" chain and replacing that heavy and suspect 3/4" chain. In my opinion it has been proven objectively that heavy anchor rode doesn't do you any good; that you want weight concentrated in your anchor.

See: Catenary & Scope In Anchor Rode: Anchor Systems For Small Boats

I guess you don't really need 90' of it, either. What is the safe working load and breaking strength of your steel cable, by the way?
The 3/4" chain has never broken, and I think (according to what research I did on stud types and such) that it's reasonably good quality. It's a marine grade chain that I got from one of the few reputable hardware places on this island. But that's about the best I could tell you, unfortunately.

The steel cable is either 9/16" or 5/8", but I haven't counted threads. Still, that would put it's working strength somewhere between 7,000 and 11,000lbs. It's in pretty great condition, really.

So it sounds like smaller chain with better snubbing is the best suggestion? I'm still ambivalent, but I'll most likely lean whichever way the board suggests. Would 45' of the 3/4" be enough if it were on the cable? I could probably figure out how to increase the housing clearance on the windlass spool the way it currently sits, without too much modification if 45' would be enough. Otherwise, I'm going to have to go the wildcat route on the end of the spool.

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